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Teacher Tips and Answers

Prewriting for Classification Essays

Prewriting is your first step in writing a process essay. You can start by brainstorming topic ideas. When you brainstorm, you don’t hold back or judge your ideas. You just write down whatever comes to mind as quickly as you can.

Prewriting to Focus Your Ideas

List topic ideas.

Think of specific things that interest you. Some examples might include a hobby, a sport, a career or profession, a skill, an art form, a place, or an idea or concept, such as authority. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can (at least 20), rapidly jotting them down without judging. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

What Interests Me


Narrow your subject list.

Circle topics you already know something about. If a circled topic can be broken into categories, put a star by it. Rank the starred topics, writing a 1 next to the one that interests you most.

Prewriting to Select a Topic

You should be able to break down the subject of your essay into three or four parts or categories that can be explained in separate paragraphs. A subject that is too broad may include too many categories or categories that are difficult to explain. A subject that is too narrow will not have enough categories.

Too Broad: Mammals—This topic is too general because there are so many kinds of mammals and each kind is a complex subject of its own.

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