In this article, you’ll find all the NoRedInk resources that can help your students develop strong expository/informational writing skills. You can use NoRedInk to support students with every stage of the writing process, from practicing specific skills to planning, drafting, and revising full expository essays.
To help you choose and sequence activities, we’ve organized our resources below according to stages of the writing process:
- Practice activities and interactive tutorials help students master specific expository writing skills
- Quick Writes allow students to develop their skills with short written exercises
- Pre-writing worksheets help students plan their expository essays
- Guided Draft assignments support students as they draft full expository essays
- Peer Review assignments help students craft strong expository essay components, such as a thesis statement
- Guided Drafts allow you to leave feedback on students’ essays and request revisions
- Self Review supports students as they revise their work independently
You can also take advantage of NoRedInk’s Expository Guided Draft essay plan, which leads students to draft full expository essays over the course of two weeks. Activities include a mix of pre-writing, scaffolded drafting, and targeted skill development. You can assign all of the activities, pick and choose the ones you want to assign, or just use this plan as inspiration!
Before drafting expository essays
Assign Practice to help students master expository writing skills
An engaging way to build or reinforce skills is via mastery-based Practice. Click below to see the pathways that teach students how to select strong evidence, how to restate ideas in new words, and more!
Pathways for Expository Writing
💡 Note: Each pathway includes free and Premium topics. Click the links to view the selection of topics in each pathway.
To learn more about Practice on NoRedInk, check out this article.
Use interactive tutorials to pre-teach or review expository writing skills
NoRedInk’s interactive tutorials break writing concepts down into manageable chunks. If you're preparing students to write an essay, consider assigning an interactive tutorial to give them a primer on the most important elements of strong expository writing. You can also assign tutorials for specific skills you’d like students to review.
To learn more about how you can use interactive tutorials, see this article.
Click the headers below to browse our expository writing tutorials!
Writing Expository Essays
Sub-skills for Introductions
Sub-skills for Body Paragraphs
Sub-skills for Conclusions
Using Formal Language in Essays
Develop expository writing skills with Quick Writes
Quick Writes are lightweight exercises that can serve a range of purposes, from developing specific writing skills to preparing for longer assignments. Click here to learn more about Quick Writes.
Check out the Skill Building section in NoRedInk's assignment library to find prompts that can help students practice specific expository writing skills like revising wordiness, restating ideas, or using transitions.
If your students are preparing to draft full essays, you can also create your own Quick Write to check that they’re on the right track and to give them feedback on their ideas. Here are some ideas:
- Ask students to submit their thesis statement and topic sentences for review
- Get students to brainstorm evidence that supports their thesis
- Have students plan one paragraph, like their first body paragraph
Click here to create your own Quick Write prompt!
Use pre-writing worksheets to help students plan expository essays
Before students start writing their essays, set them up for success with these pre-writing materials! You can pick and choose the worksheets you think will most help to prepare your students for a Guided Drafts assignment:
Drafting expository essays
Support students in drafting full essays with Expository Guided Drafts
When your students are ready to write full essays, NoRedInk’s Guided Drafts can provide them with scaffolding, exemplars, and tips to help them produce strong writing. Click here to learn more about Guided Drafts.
Browse our library of expository essay prompts, or use your own prompt! You can assign work directly from the assignment library.
What students see during a Guided Drafts assignment
Use Peer Review to help students build strong expository essay components
During Peer Review, students write a specific component of their essays (like their topic sentences) and then give and receive anonymous feedback from classmates to improve their writing. You can use Peer Review to help students focus on one part of their essays. Students can then use their revised essay components as part of a full-length Guided Drafts assignment.
To learn more about Peer Review, click here.
The following Peer Review units can help students write stronger expository essays:
- Introductory Paragraphs
- Topic Sentences
- Body Paragraph: Embedding Evidence
Click here to create a Peer Review!
Revising expository essays
Give feedback on Guided Drafts to help students revise
Once students have submitted their essays, you can provide immediate feedback by grading students on each of the rubric items you selected and giving an overall score. You can also leave both general comments and comments on specific parts of students’ essays.
If you want students to incorporate your feedback into their work, you can send the essays back for them to revise based on your comments.
When students revise their Guided Drafts, you will be able to see the previous submissions to check that they understood your feedback and made appropriate changes.
Click here to learn more about giving feedback and requesting revisions on Guided Drafts.
Use Self Review to help students revise their essays independently
Once students have completed the first draft of their essay, you can assign an Expository Self Review to help them revise their own work. NoRedInk supports students with scaffolding, exemplars, and tips as they review and revise their writing. Click here to learn more about Self Reviews.
What students see during a Self Review assignment
Looking for ways to combine these resources?
You can combine NoRedInk’s assignments in a variety of ways to meet different learning objectives! The sample plans below illustrate some of the most high-leverage ways to sequence NoRedInk’s expository writing assignments and printable resources.
These plans are just examples—adapt any plan to meet your and your students’ needs!
- Skill Focus: Topic Sentences Support the Thesis can be used over 1–2 class periods to help students develop topic sentence writing skills (best used while planning an essay, after students have a thesis and evidence).
- The longer Expository Guided Draft essay plan leads students to draft full expository essays over the course of two weeks. Activities include a mix of pre-writing, scaffolded drafting, and targeted skill development.