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Ch 2: Writing Informative Texts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2

About This Chapter

Use the following lessons to enhance your understanding of the Common Core English Language Arts requirements, and teach your 8th-grade students about informative and explanatory texts. Find helpful tips on how to use the lessons in your classroom, and determine if your students have met this standards-based competency.

Standard: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information through the selection, organization and analysis of relevant content.

About This Chapter

Mastery of this standard includes the ability to define, structure and develop an informative or explanatory essay. Students also demonstrate age-appropriate diction and vocabulary in their writing, as well as how to use and evaluate information and sources relevant to their topics.

The lessons for this standard will provide you with information about the following topics:

  • The informative essay, including definition, characteristics, structure and examples
  • The descriptive essay, including definition, characteristics, structure and examples
  • Introducing and organizing topics and ideas, such as essay development and formatting
  • Thesis statements and topic sentences, including their relationship with main ideas
  • Basic essay structures and five-paragraph essays
  • Diction, style, tone and point-of-view
  • Transitional sentences and their use in navigating the essay
  • Understanding and using sources to write an essay.

When they have mastered this standard, students are able to introduce a topic with clarity and present an organized preview of the text to come. They can also classify and sort ideas and information using graphics, headings, and when appropriate, multimedia materials. In their essays, they demonstrate a precise use of language and writing style, and develop their topics using well-chosen definitions, examples and facts. Essays are cohesive and promote unity among ideas and conclude with a logical extension of the introduction and text.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Informative and Descriptive Essay Lessons

Assign the videos on the informative and descriptive essays for homework. In class, use and discuss examples to compare the similarities and differences between descriptive and informative essays.

Introducing and Organizing Topics and Ideas Lesson

Watch and discuss the lesson on introducing and organizing topics and ideas in class. As a homework assignment, have students organize and format a pre-selected group of five paragraphs into a cohesive essay by rearranging the paragraph sequence and using headings and subheadings. If possible, distribute the text to students electronically.

Main Idea, Thesis Statement and Topic Sentence Lesson

After students have watched the video on main ideas, discuss how a main idea differs from a thesis statement and the use of topic sentences to support the thesis and introduce paragraphs. Highlight the key attributes of thesis statements, including arguability, limitations and unity. As an in-class activity, distribute a 5-paragraph essay, and ask students to identify the thesis and main ideas. Follow up with discussion.

Transitional Sentences Lesson

View and discuss the transition statements lesson at the beginning of class, using examples. As a homework assignment, ask students to create a visual map of a teacher-selected essay, identifying and using the transitional sentences to link pictures or symbols representing the main topics.

11 Lessons in Chapter 2: Writing Informative Texts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2
Informative Essay: Definition, Examples & Structure

1. Informative Essay: Definition, Examples & Structure

There are many ways to inform your reader on a topic, from comparing and contrasting to providing a simple definition. Watch this lesson to learn about informative essays and how they educate readers through different formats.

Descriptive Essay: Definition, Examples & Characteristics

2. Descriptive Essay: Definition, Examples & Characteristics

A descriptive essay allows you to paint a picture for your reader in words. Watch this video to learn more about the techniques and elements that can help you fill the picture with lots of great details.

How to Introduce a Topic Clearly With a Summary Preview

3. How to Introduce a Topic Clearly With a Summary Preview

Here's a simple, surefire way to write an introduction for your paper, including a summary preview (or what some teachers call a thesis statement). This works for almost all papers, including definition, classification, comparison/contrast or cause/effect papers. Try this simple approach to set up your paper easily.

Organizing and Categorizing Ideas, Concepts and Information

4. Organizing and Categorizing Ideas, Concepts and Information

In this lesson, you will learn clear, simple ways to group your ideas together. First, you'll figure out what the paper is about, and then the rest is easy!

Writing: Main Idea, Thesis Statement & Topic Sentences

5. Writing: Main Idea, Thesis Statement & Topic Sentences

What exactly is your essay about? Writing great thesis statements and topic sentences that align with your main idea will help readers to understand the theme, ideas, and central focus of your essay.

Basic Essay Structure: The Five-Paragraph Essay

6. Basic Essay Structure: The Five-Paragraph Essay

Working with an established essay structure provides writers with the necessary elements of a successful essay. In this lesson, we'll work through the drafting process for the five-paragraph essay and make note of important dos and don'ts.

How to Write With Good Diction to Develop Style, Tone & Point-of-View

7. How to Write With Good Diction to Develop Style, Tone & Point-of-View

Developing a good writing style starts with developing good diction. You can't craft an essay or story the way you want without being able to choose the right words first. Here's how.

How to Write and Use Transition Sentences

8. How to Write and Use Transition Sentences

Like a road map, transitions guide readers through your essay. This lesson examines the way writers transition between sentences, within paragraphs and between paragraphs to make for a smooth reading experience.

How to Use Sources to Write Essays and Evaluate Evidence

9. How to Use Sources to Write Essays and Evaluate Evidence

When writing an essay, you will often be asked to utilize appropriate sources for evidence, including facts and definitions. In this video, we will talk about the ways we can utilize and evaluate sources and evidence.

The Importance of Using Precise Language in Writing

10. The Importance of Using Precise Language in Writing

The simple tips in this lesson will help your writing come to life. Learn how to choose particular nouns and verbs that are active or that show precise states of being, perfect modifiers, and, as an added bonus, a very powerful writing tool: similes.

How To Write Effective Conclusions: Importance and Elements

11. How To Write Effective Conclusions: Importance and Elements

Follow this easy method to write a wonderful conclusion to your paper. Here you will find everything you need, including some most excellent writing tips!

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