Expository Writing

One-semester Course
Open to 10, 11, 12
Range of difficulty 1-3

1. Rationale

Writing forces exploration and organization of one’s thoughts. It produces a tangible and sharable body of ideas and information. Expository Writing hones a student’s thinking and writing skills, skills required in most academic areas. Emphasis is on organization, technical control, development of ideas, and style. Students gain an understanding of the writing process: choosing a voice and an audience, drafting, revising, and editing. Through writing samples and shared student writings, students learn to edit their own as well as their peers’ writing and then to revise their work.

2. Topics and Themes Emphasized

Topics and themes generally come from the following:

• Expository Writing
a. character sketch
b. personal experience
c. persuasive arguments
d. critical analysis
e. shorter, more informal writing
f. writing for an authentic audience

Writing skills
• Evaluating, critiquing, and editing skills
• Exploring writing style
• Understanding authorial voice and chosen audience
• Improving grammar, diction, and vocabulary

3. Methods and Sample Assignments

Kinds of questions and thinking required:

• Why write? Will I need to write today and beyond? What is the writing process? How is writing part of the thinking process and part of observation and assimilation? How is it connected to other disciplines? How does one develop a writing style? What is good writing? How does one become a good writer?

• Students regularly evaluate and discuss sample writings in preparation for the writing assignment. Some class periods are spent on grammar and vocabulary. Some class time is devoted to sharing students’ writing and critiquing papers. Students act as the editors for one another, and then they revise their work.

4. Expectations for Students

Reading: Students are assigned sample essays as models for the type of essays they are assigned to write.

Writing: Students write frequent essays. Essays may be critiqued by one’s peers and then rewritten to be evaluated again. Student have in-class and outside writing assignments.

Listening and Speaking: Students are required to listen carefully to one another’s writing and commentary. Their observations must be accurately presented. Students depend on one another as editors to aid in the revision of their work

Other: Vocabulary and grammar reviews and tests may be given.

5. Reading Lists and Other Materials

Readings are generally drawn from the following list:

Elements of Style, Strunk and White
Practical Guide to Writing, Barnett and Stubbs


Students will read from a variety of professional essays and fiction.

6. Bibliography

Patterns of Exposition, Decker
At Large, Ellen Goodman

Sample Assignments

1. Write an essay about a person or experience who/that has had a lasting effect on you. Try to show, not tell what the effect has been and use stylistic techniques we’ve been practicing in class (like  employing figurative language, writing in the active voice, and creating a mood).

2. Write about a subject of your choice under the broad category of “Race and Class.” Use a controlling metaphor in your essay, or a particular persuasive technique.

rev. 10/17

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