Descriptive Essays: Writing Enough Content

Students often have problems with coming up with enough details for their examples when writing descriptive or even persuasive essays. So I came up with this exercise to teach them how to write enough content that the reader understands their examples. 

I start by writing this sentence on the board:

NLP is one of the most effective methods of improving your life by breaking bad habits and developing new skills.

Tell student that this is the first sentence of a paragraph in an essay about NLP. Ask them what else they want to know about NLP. As students ask questions, I write more sentences answering those questions and then elicit more questions until students say that they have no more questions and are satisfied by the information in the paragraph.

For example, many students ask, “How does NLP work?” So I might write, “NLP is a method of programming yourself or others using certain words or gestures.” When they say they still don’t get it, I add “It’s something like hypnotism” Or I ask, “Would you like an example?” and then give them an example.

After the students feel the paragraph is complete, I review what questions they had and how they were answered. It really helps students think about the reader and what questions a reader has about their own writing.

Obviously you could use any topic area instead of NLP as long as its something the students won’t know a lot about. Pick an obscure side of a hobby for example.

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Author: Teaching Recipes Staff
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