Sign up or login to use the bookmarking feature.

Writing an Essay for Assessment

Teacher Tips and Answers


Writing an Essay for Assessment

Writing an Essay for Assessment

Some tests ask you to write an essay response to articles you have closely read. The following activity will help you practice.

Analyze an essay prompt.

Read the following prompt, answer the PAST questions, write a focus statement, and list details. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  1. Read the writing prompt.
  2. Imagine that your teacher has assigned you to write an explanatory essay about the lives of monarch butterflies. You will be using the sources in this unit. Focus your thinking about monarch butterflies and create an essay. Include details from the sources to support your ideas.

  3. Answer the PAST questions.
  4. Purpose?

    To explain details using sources to support my ideas


    Teacher and class


    The lives of monarch butterflies


    Explanatory essay

  5. Write a focus statement.
  6. A monarch butterfly may visit your backyard, but it’s probably on its way to thousands more.

  7. List supporting details.
  8. --A milkweed gives monarchs a place to lay eggs and grow up.

    --Adult monarchs are flying on marathons across country.

    --Milkweeds make the migration possible, but milkweeds are vanishing.

Write an essay response.

Create an explanatory essay about monarch butterflies. Include a beginning paragraph that leads to your focus statement. Include middle paragraphs that support the focus with specific details. Finally, add an ending paragraph that wraps it all up. Use details from the sources, giving credit with the title and author’s name.

          Have you ever seen a king? You probably have, and maybe even in your own back yard. If you have seen a monarch butterfly, you have seen the king of butterflies. A monarch butterfly may visit your backyard, but it is probably on its way to thousands more.

          If you are lucky enough to have a monarch in your backyard, it’s probably because a milkweed grows nearby. A milkweed gives monarchs a place to lay eggs and grow up. In “Mother’s Milkweed,” David Jones says that the milkweed uses sticky sap called “latex” and poison to keep most insects from eating it. Monarch caterpillars eat in circles to avoid the sap, and they use the poison to make their own bodies poisonous so they won’t be eaten. Milkweed helps the caterpillar grow from tiny to huge. Then it spins a chrysalis and transforms into a butterfly.

          But where is the butterfly headed? Adult monarchs are most often flying on marathons across the country. Jana Harrolt says in “A Journey for Generations” that some monarchs migrate from Mexico to Canada in the spring and back down in the fall. If you live in between, you’re seeing butterflies that are on their journey. In fact, the distance is so far that the butterflies that set out from Mexico aren’t the ones who reach Canada. Jana Harrolt reports that the creatures that fly the return trip might be five generations younger than those that flew north.

          That’s where the milkweed comes in. David Jones says that monarchs have to have milkweed on their migration routes so that new generations can be born to continue the flight. Milkweeds make the migration possible, but milkweeds are vanishing. “If monarchs can’t find enough milkweeds along their routes, they will die in the middle of migrations,” he reports.

          You can help. For one thing, if you see milkweed near your home, don’t destroy it. Also, you might plant a butterfly garden with milkweed to encourage them to come around. In “King of the Butterflies,” Gabriel Garcia says that monarch butterflies might even need endangered species protection. You can write to your representatives to let them know how important monarchs are to you. Then you can help make sure that monarchs are around in your back yard for a very long time.

Revise and edit your essay.

Read your essay and ask yourself the following questions. Correct any problems you find. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

  • Is my essay on target with the prompt and the PAST questions?
  • Do I have a clear focus statement and topic sentences?
  • Do I support them with a variety of details?
  • Are my beginning, middle, and ending paragraphs effective?
  • Have I checked spelling?
  • Are all of my sentences complete (no fragments or run-ons?)

Teacher Support:

Click to find out more about this resource.

Standards Correlations:

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

© 2024 Thoughtful Learning. Copying is permitted.