Lesson plan

All About the Informative Essay

Informative essays have a structure that is fairly easy to dissect. This lesson includes an anchor essay which students will mark up, a mixed-up essay outline for them to sort, and a web for them to organize ideas for their own essay.
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Students will be able to identify the parts of an essay and generate ideas in their own graphic organizer.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to work with a partner or table group and think of the three most important things to do in order to be successful in school.
  • Share answers and decide on three as a class. Write them on the board.
  • Have students work together again and think of three details for each of the three ideas on the board.
  • Share and write three details under each idea.
  • Tell students that they just created an outline for an informative essay.
  • Discuss possible topics for the essay. Examples might include: How to Succeed at School, Three Keys to Academic Success, and How to Rock Your Report Card.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Informative Essay: Anchor Paper.
  • Go over the instructions and read the essay together.
  • As a class, follow the steps on the bottom. Students will mark up the essay, identifying each of the parts.
  • Add additional explanation about each of the parts as needed.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute scissors, construction paper, and glue.
  • Distribute the worksheet Informative Essay: Mixed Up Essay.
  • Go over the instructions together and then support students as they assemble the essay outline.
  • Students will arrange the strips in a variety of ways. Having the freedom to do this will help them think about how the ideas are related and organized.
  • Review the correct arrangement using the answer key, discussing discrepancies if needed.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Informative Essay: Idea Map.
  • Students will practice generating a hierarchical structure of information by creating a web of their own. You may choose to have students actually write an essay based on this idea web.


  • Give clues for the Mixed Up Essay activity by providing one or more of the topics or getting them started with the title.


  • Instruct students to write an informational essay based on their idea web.
  • Instruct students to examine structure of other nonfiction texts. How is it similar? How is it different?
(5 minutes)
  • Provide three details and have students write a reasonable topic that they would fall under in a paragraph.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: How is the structure of an informational essay different from the structure of a narrative or a story?

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