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Writing Personal Essays

Writing Personal Essays
Grade 9
Grade 10
Student Access: 
Writing Personal Essays
License duration: 
1 years
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Writing Personal Essays guides your students step by step through the process of generating a narrative that reflects on an important period in their lives. Instructions, activities, examples, interactives, and downloads help students think about a significant time that made them who they are, and then gather information about the key events during that time. Students use action, dialogue, description, and sensory details to develop an effective narrative about this formative period. You can present this unit right from your interactive whiteboard.

First students warm up by thinking about times they wish that they could go back to—perhaps the summer they learned to swim or the holiday they spent at their cousin's house in Seattle. Then students read a sample personal essay about one key period in another student's life. After responding to the sample personal essay, students work step by step through the process of writing their own narratives.

  • Prewriting activities help students explore different periods of life that shaped them. Students select a specific time period and list the important events that occurred. They gather action, dialogue, sensory, and reflective details.
  • Writing activities help students organize their thoughts into a personal essay that builds toward a key moment and shows how the student is transformed by the experience. Students learn effective narrative strategies for beginnings, middles, and endings and read a sample essay by another student.
  • Revising activities help students improve their pacing, slowing down for key moments and speeding up to jump from one event to the next. They also learn to use transitions to help establish new settings. Students get a peer review and use a checklist to improve their personal essays.
  • Editing activities help students correctly punctuate dialogue and check the facts of the essay. An editing checklist guides students in correcting punctuation, capitalization, spelling, usage, and grammar.
  • Publishing activities encourage students to share their clean, final copies with others and reflect on what they have learned.

Teacher Support:

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Standards Correlations:

The State Standards provide a way to evaluate your students' performance.