Informational Essays

imgres.jpgAs we review informational writing, please copy the resources below into your Class Notebook.

Ms. Ellis’ Notes on Informational Essay Writing



Any information that is grade specific will be highlighted in the appropriate color below.

10th Grade Specific

11th Grade Specific



Introductory Paragraphs

  • Expectations:

    1. Intriguing Hook (lead) that is unbiased. (1-2 sentences)

    2. Substantial background information that tells your audience about your topic. What is it? What is important to know prior to hearing your reasons? (2-3 sentences)

    3. Clear and concise thesis Statement (using the umbrella or list method). (1 sentence)

  • Resources:

Student Examples:imgres-1.jpg

Click below to see images of student examples and the in-class activities completed w/ Ms. Ellis.



(Yes, I do realize this picture contains a grammatical error. Live a little.)

Body Paragraphs


  1. Clear topic sentence or transitional sentence at the beginning of each paragraph including reason. (1 sentence)

  2. Explanation of reason.

  3. Evidence #1 to back up reason.

  4. Explanation of evidence #1.

  5. Evidence #2 to back up reason.

  6. Explanation of evidence #2.

  7. Evidence #3 to back up reason.

  8. Explanation of evidence #3.

  9. Clear and concise closing statement or transitional sentence that leads into next reason. (1 sentence)

  10. You must use 6-7 pieces of evidence in your entire essay. (Includes intro and conclusion). NOTE: 11th grade = 7-8 pieces

    • i.e.- You may have a quote for your hook (1), five pieces of evidence in your body paragraphs (5), end your conclusion with a notable quote (1) = 7 total pieces of textual evidence utilized in your essay.

  11. Vary the ways you integrate quotations in your essay.

    Essay Requirements

    (10th Grade= 6-7 pieces of textual evidence)

    Reg.- Use 3 types of quotation integration strategies & 1 paraphrased piece of evidence.

    -paraphrase (1)

    -explanatory phrase + comma (1)

    -complete sentence + colon (1)

    -make quotation part of  your sentence (1)

    Hon.- Use all types of quotation integration strategies & at least 1 paraphrased piece of evidence.

    (11th Grade= 7-8 pieces of textual evidence)

    1. Paraphrasing (2)

    2. Complete sentence w/ a colon (1)

    3. Explanatory phrase w/ comma (1)

    4. Make quote part of own sentence (2)

    5. Short quotations part of own sentence (2)


  • Cite Evidence Notes
  • Integrating Quotations

    • Reminders:

    • Thoreau ends his essay with a metaphor: “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.” Note the location of the period.

    • Thoreau ends his essay with a metaphor: “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in” (paragraph 3). Note the location change of the period after citation.

    • Vary your tags! (Do not repeat “said”). i.e.- gasped, replied, stated, explained, informed, proclaimed, rebutted, suggested, etc.

    • Paraphrasing: Rule #1: Do NOT repeat the same keywords as the original author. Rule #2: Do NOT look at the quotation more than twice. If you stare at the author’s words too long, you will be unable to come up with your own original synonyms.

    • Know the difference:

      • Comma= ,

         (Use an introductory dependent clause prior to the comma)

        • If you use the word “that” you DO NOT use a comma.

      • Colon= :

           (Must be preceded by a complete sentence)

      • Semicolon= ;

        (May NOT be used to introduce a quotation)

    • When quoting poems, include the line break. i.e.- “Roses are red,/ Violets are blue…”

    • Only use an ellipsis (…) when it won’t change the meaning of the quotation.

    • In- Class Practice: (10th Grade)

  • Transition Words and Clauses

  • Transition Words List #2

  • Transition Sentences and Words- Student Copy


Concluding Paragraph


  1. Mirror your introduction’s hook. (optional)

  2. Restatement of your thesis. (1 sentence)

    • You must REWORD your thesis. Do not write your thesis statement in the exact same way!

  3. Recap major points in body paragraphs. (2-3 sentences)

    • DO NOT mention new information. This is a summary section.

  4. Discuss controlling idea and set it in a larger context. How will others be affected? OR Redefine key terms to help audience better understand your topic.


  • Types of Conclusions

  • Look in the Student Examples section to see conclusions from your own peers.


  1. Do you have clear and concise Sentences?

  2. Writing Checklist


Directions: Revising your Fall Writing Interim


  1. Rewrite your essay based on the notes you received.

  2. I will review each portion of the essay and then you will rewrite just that piece.

  3. The following class I will check your rewrites and review the next section.

    • i.e.- I will teach introductory paragraphs; you will rewrite your introduction; I will check your revised introductory paragraph.

  4. By the end of the workshop, you will have revised your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

  5. Type up the revised paragraphs into a final draft. Please use the following set up when typing.

    • Font= Times New Roman

    • Size of Font= 12 points

    • Line Spacing= Double Spaced

    • Header in Left- Hand Corner= Name, Teacher, Date, Period

    • Title of Essay= Centered in the Middle

    • Use this template for assistance: Student Essay Template

  6. Legend



Let’s Take It Digital!

  1. Upload your final essay onto your Digital Portfolio under “Informational Writing.”

Bellringer #1: Witness Protection Writing Exercise

Where will your character go?

Where will your character go?

Directions: (to be completed in your class journal)

Put a character in a situation entirely new to the character, e.g., college, a new school, a new job, a new city or country. Let the character improvise a new identity, as most of us do when we’ve moved into a new world. This exercise should not be about the new situation but about how the character adjusts herself and her mind to the new situation.

(Brian Kiteley. The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. 105-106. Cincinnati, OH. 2005)


  1. Date your journal entry.

  2. Plan. Brainstorm your ideas before writing.

  3. Come up with a creative title.

  4. Specificity (use specific details to enhance your writing)

  5. Vocabulary (utilize the words learned throughout high school career)

  6. Writing Techniques (i.e., incorporate figurative language, sensory details, imagery, tone)

Length: at least three (3) paragraphs

All About the FSA

FSA Logo

Don’t fret parents and colleagues. Everything you need to know about the FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) can be found here. Please message me if you have any questions or new documents to share! 🙂

Official FSA Website

FSA Online Portal





Below you will see PDF files will additional information. 

Information for all grades is included. I have extracted some of the high school information so the parents of my tenth graders can easily see the test dates.

FSA 2014-2015 testing schedule -updated

High School Dates:

FSA Writing= March 2, 2015

FSA Reading= April 13, 2015

*Don’t forget that the district will average the students Writing and Reading scores to make one (1) score. That one (1) score will be added to the student’s FCAT scores from the previous year (if they are in 10th grade), and that will make up the student’s final score.

*10th grade’s score counts for graduation.

Florida Family Brochure

2014-2015 Assessment Accommodations FAQ


Presentation handed down by the state of Florida. It includes the key aspects of the test that teachers should be focusing on.

FSA Updates Presentation

FSA Writing Planning Template

K-12 Argument-Opinion Writing Common Core Sample Essays

Instructional Implications for the New Writing Assessment


Grades-9-11 FSA ELA Reading Paper-Based Training Test

Test Administrators:

Spring 2015 FSA ELA Writing Training Materials Final



*As many of the documents included in this post have been passed back and forth via colleagues, this page is updated weekly. Check back frequently for new resources.