Lesson Plan

Informative Essay

Introduce students to research materials and guide them through the writing process.
Eric W.
Classroom teacher
West Ottawa High School Campus
Holland, United States
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My Grades 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

  • incorporate research from diverse sources.
  • organize and support informative writing.
  • use the writing process.
English Language Arts
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Poll Everywhere allows students to vote using any device that allows text messages to be sent (smart phones not required). Students may vote online as well if phones are unavailable.

I used Poll Everywhere to ask students their opinion on a variety of topics. In this lesson, students vote on an area of life that is most affected by technology. I can project the poll results on the screen, and we can discuss all the effects of technology.

Students are engaged and want to discuss why other people voted for different fields. They have to call on their prior knowledge during the conversation to support their vote.

The assignment requires students to write an informative essay explaining how technology has impacted their chosen field. Because they usually vote for areas they are interested in, students are interested in gathering more supporting information.

2 Direct Instruction

Free, Free to try, Paid

Evernote allows the user to clip articles, annotate them, and save for use. The app even allows users to access the articles when Wi-fi is not available. It is available free, but the paid version even allows users to share notebooks with others.

I project an article (or articles) to my class. Together, we read and annotate the article(s). As we do this, we discuss and brainstorm how the information applies to the topic and what ideas are illustrated through the examples. If the teacher has the paid version of Evernote, he/she can then share the annotated article with students, too.

Modeling this process demonstrates to students how to use their reading to inform their opinion. It also helps teach the synthesis process where students can combine their research to create a new idea.

After annotating, the teacher can also use Evernote to create an outline of the essay, showing how the thesis and topic sentences are supported by the research.

3 Guided Practice

Inspiration Maps VPP
Free to try, Paid

Evernote would work as an oragnizing tool, but Inspiration Maps provides tools to help students organize their writing via outlining templates. 

The teacher would need to host writing conferences (either face-to-face or online) to provide feedback on the outlining process.

4 Independent Practice

There are numerous blogging tools. I like WordPress because I'm comfortable with it, but any blogging service will provide students with a greater audience. WordPress allows students to moderate comments and limit negativity on their page.

Students will create a researched, informative essay and post it on their blog. Their peers will  be directed to visit and comment on the post. This feedback should help students clarify their thinking as confusing parts are questioned. It can be revised multiple times as the audience comments.

Other writings can be posted on the same blog and form a writing portfolio for summative assessment at the end of the semester.

5 Wrap-Up

After students have read several of their peers' blog posts, students will vote again regarding which field has been most affected by technology. Our discussion this time will focus on which topic sentences/supporting examples were most convincing.