Chris Adcock
English Language Arts, Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Literary Analysis
  • Thesis
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Essay Structure

    Essay Structure


    In the final lesson in this episode, and as a warm-up for the final essay and project, students will discuss the organization of the student sample essay “The Search for Knowledge.”


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Decide how you will configure the small groups and how you will handle time period assignments for the final project. It's likely many students will prefer the more recent decades.
    • If your classroom doesn’t have Internet access, decide how students will find texts from the authors and facts about their assigned time period in Tasks 4 and 5. You could provide a selection of titles for students to choose from and sources for key information.

    Student Essay Example

    • Make sure that students mark important transitions and signal words and relationships among ideas in the essay.
    • Briefly explain the two stories that are used in the essay, to provide context and allow students to activate any prior knowledge.
    • Remind students to make notes and annotations in the text for easier reference.


    In preparation for writing your own essay, examine and analyze this model.

    In this student essay, the writer compares and contrasts the protagonists of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse andOedipus the King by Sophocles.

    • Read and annotate the sample student essay “The Search for Knowledge.”

    Search for Knowledge Share

    • Circulate among pairs, checking students' understanding.
    • Students might need examples of possible organizational strategies.
      • SWD: Provide examples for students who require support for inferential thinking and support students in generalizing the examples to other essays.
    • Encourage students to ask questions and expand upon the ideas of their classmates.
    • If appropriate, share the annotated version of the student essay with your class.
    • Students can annotate the rubric to score the essay or record their scores elsewhere.
      • ELL: Review the rubric content and how to apply it as needed, focusing on the most important language.

    Work Time

    Discuss the organization of the essay with your partner.

    • Who are the two characters being compared?
    • What topics or categories does the writer choose to make the comparison?
    • Describe the organizational strategy used.
    • Finally, score the essay using the Grade 11 Informational Writing Rubric.

    When you finish, share your ideas with the class.

    Final Project Assignment

    • Go through the entire assignment with students. Have them read it to themselves or aloud in their groups. If you didn't choose to share the full Unit Accomplishment document with your students earlier in the unit, this is their first opportunity to see it.
    • Have students write down notes as they go as well as questions, and encourage them to attempt to answer those questions in their groups before they present them to you or the entire class.
    • Most importantly, circulate among the groups and make sure that students understand all aspects of the assignment.
    • In assigning time periods, make sure that no two groups have the same time period.
    • There are various ways to assign time periods to each group. You could plan them ahead of time. Or you could give groups time to discuss their options, and then have them submit two or three different time periods in which they would be interested. You could then make assignments based on their requests.
      • ELL: For students who are recent immigrants, it can be helpful to provide some context for the various American time periods under discussion. Identify important characteristics for each time period, like music or fashion of the time, or key events or historic figures of the time.
    • Brief descriptions of stories from most of the authors listed in the assignment are in More to Explore.

    Work Time

    Get into the small groups your teacher has assigned.

    • Open the Unit Accomplishment document, read through the project assignment with your group, and note any questions you have.
    • Attempt to answer your questions within your small group, if possible.
    • Ask your teacher any questions you are unable to answer.

    Your teacher will assign a time period to each group.

    Final Project Work Plan

    • Make sure that, by the end of the class period, students have agreed upon their roles and the work they are to complete on their own.
    • Let students know how they should submit their work agreements to you.
      • SWD: If you have students who need modified work plans or due dates, be sure to go over those with them at this point.

    Work Time

    • Prepare to report to the class on one or two texts from each author in your time period and three to five key points about the time period you have been assigned.
    • Make agreements with each other about what you will accomplish before the next lesson and submit those agreements to your teacher.

    Open Notebook

    You will have more time to work with your group in the next lesson.

    Project Progress Reports

    • Allow students time to report to the rest of the class. Groups may share resources here; if a group found a helpful website with information that would be beneficial to other group(s), encourage them to share with their classmates.
    • Check in with each group and make sure any questions regarding the project are answered. Students will continue their work for homework.


    Have a representative of your group report the following information to the class.

    • The titles of one or two texts from each author in your group’s time period.
    • Three to five important facts about the time period that are essential to the understanding of the texts.

    Individual Project Work

    • The next lesson will begin with some discussion on the essay, then groups will return to working on projects and review the work completed at home by group members.


    Assign homework for each member of your group. What will you and your group members do to prepare for the next lesson?

    • Complete the work your group has assigned you for homework.