Writing frames are a great way to get your students to practice writing. Rather than using a generic prompt, frames engage students in a type of writing by providing structure. This helps students better plan their writing. They’ll spend less time organizing thoughts, and more time focusing on their writing.
However, like most teachers know, finding time for student writing in an ELAR class is hard enough, but for other subject areas, it can feel impossible. We know that the key to improving our students’ writing is giving them more chances to practice. This means practicing in science, social studies, art, choir, band, technical theater, and even math class.
You can accomplish this by using writing frames in all of your classrooms. By spending less time coming up with unique prompts, you’ll spend more time letting your students practice their writing directly.
In this guide, we’ve included three writing frames we use all the time when teaching students. We’ve included frames for expository writing and persuasive writing, along with a writing frame for writing 11-minute essays.
As a bonus, we’ve also included links to some of the very best writing frames available online, so you can spend more time writing and less time searching for valuable resources.
Expository Writing Frames
Expository writing is one of the main forms of writing are students are asked to complete. Whether it’s on a standardized test or just an in-class assignment, expository writing is dominant throughout the education world.
This frame helps break down the traditional points of a piece of expository writing: the topic sentence, examples, evidence, concluding sentence, and more. By using these frames your students can quickly mock up a research paper on Louis and Clark or an analysis of Impressionism.
Persuasive writing is usually opinion-based and used to convince or persuade someone that the writers’ point is correct. This type of writing might be done in a debate class as prep work for an upcoming debate, in science class as a way of persuading people to join the fight against climate change, or even in a theater class to convince others that Hamlet is the best Shakespeare play to perform.
This frame helps your students keep track of the many asks of a persuasive piece of writing. Topic sentences, main examples, evidence, and conclusions are all included as areas your students should be writing about.
11 Minute Essay Frame
Every teacher knows that finding any time in class to fully teach a lesson, let alone try something new, can be difficult. By using short writing frames like an 11 Minute Essay frame, your students can practice their writing without eating up too much class time.
These quick writing frames are designed to get your students thinking about the main parts of an essay. It also gives them practice implementing those parts without the stress of a major assignment. This frame asks your students for a topic, what that topic means to them, examples from various sources, what they’ve learned, a conclusion, and finally to write a quick expository essay from those details.
Other Writing frames from across the web
If you’re looking for more creative writing frames, we’ve compiled some of our favorites from across the internet. Sites like Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Scholastic, and more have plenty of resources available for teachers to use free of charge, or through purchasing.
A 5 Paragraph Essay Outline from Freeology
This simple frame can be used to help structure 5 paragraph essays, which are commonly used across subject areas.
This Essay Map from The Teacher Treasury
Suitable for multiple types of essay writing, this map is simple to use and helps students structure their essays with main ideas and supporting details.
A Personal Narrative Frame from Scholastic
This personal narrative frame from Scholastic helps your students organize their thoughts before starting on their personal narratives.
This biography frame from Scholastic
Biographies are used all the time to enhance student learning in social studies or history classrooms. Use this frame from Scholastic to help your students structure their writing.
This Narrative Planning Map from Teachers Pay Teachers
Narrative writing is one of the most engaging types of writing for our students. Use a narrative planning map, like this one on Teachers Pay Teachers, to help students structure their narratives.
Do you have other examples of writing frames you regularly use with your students? We’d love to see them! Leave a comment with frames you use and why.
Mary Black works with teachers and principals in creative and strategic planning for curriculum and instruction at schools with diverse student populations. She has years of leadership experience in secondary schools, beginning her educational career as a high school English teacher in an urban high school, also serving as a high school principal. She is currently Program Manager and the Certified SIM Professional Development Leader for the SIM team at Region 13.