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Essay Writing

  • Title:Essay Writing: Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up
  • Author:Jock Mackenzie
  • Publication Date:January 2007
  • Grade Level:4-12
  • ISBN:9781551382104
  • Publisher:Pembroke

The skills required to write an essay are the same skills required to write a speech, to prepare a persuasive argument, to prove a point, or to explain an idea. If we can help our students acquire these skills as we teach “the essay,” we will have assisted them in accomplishing truly valuable life skills.

Essay Writing contains easy-to-incorporate lessons along with tips for teaching specific concepts that range from pre-writing exercises to revising and editing to celebrating the final product. This down-to-earth look at the foundations of good essay writing is full of useful ideas and strategies that help students:

  • build skills in writing on a wide range of topics;
  • distinguish between formal and informal writing;
  • use effective pre-writing techniques such as brainstorming, making an outline, gathering information, and evaluating the relevance of information;
  • gain confidence as they begin to recognize what works and what doesn't.

The book incorporates a wide range of innovative approaches to teaching essay writing — from how to “picture” and “act out” an essay to a winning format for a topic sentence and using scattergrams to turn brainstorming into constructive outlines. Throughout the book, assessment tools and marking keys support simple marking techniques that consider not just the final essay, but effort and time on task.

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Author Bio

Jock Mackenzie became a teacher for a number of reasons: "to try to emulate the great teachers I had had, to do better than those who were not so great, and because I enjoy working with people." He was a teacher and principal at elementary and high/middle schools for thirty-one years. He is currently a speaker and part-time IPP coordinator at Eastview Middle School. His areas of specialty are language arts, leadership, and fundamental teaching strategies. Jock says he loves to teach because he loves the energy that a school emits and the chance to help children find their special talents. He believes that professional development "needs to provide immediately practical possibilities. The sessions that I give are interactive, involve humor, and are based on real results from tried and true experiences."

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