I really wanted to focus this blog entry on the expository genre because I feel it is very important for students to understand the process of things, as well as understanding present information. Prior to reading about expository writing, I wasn't exactly comfortable with writing an expository piece. It always took me some time to start the piece, and I never had a clear understanding of how my piece was going to flow. I think I was mainly hesitant to think about teaching this genre because I had the assumption that it was going to be difficult for students to understand. If I didn't understand exactly how to teach it, then they would not comprehend it. After the expert genre presentation, I understood that the expository genre is mostly about finding things that are real and current to write about. I thought that this would actually be fun to write and teach. Instead of writing about something factual, I always wanted to write creatively instead of writing about something in history. After reading more in depth about the expository genre in Tompkins (2012), I feel more confident about what the genre is composed of, and how it can be beneficial for students of all ages. I understood expository writing as describing something in history. I didn't realize that this genre isn't just about history, but about other factual events. Not only can you write about factual events, you can make it creative and interesting as well. I could write an expository piece about how you braid hair, or how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the possibilities are endless. According to Tompkins, "expository writing is factual, its purpose is to convey information about the world. The information might be an explanation of the importance of recycling, the steps of how a bill became a law, a comparison of Islam and Christianity.." (Tompkins, 2012).
Not only have I developed a better understanding of the components of the expository genre, but I have learned different ways to organize my information before writing. I think this was one of the hardest steps for me before creating an expository piece. It becomes so helpful to brainstorm and organize information in a meaningful way, so that when it comes time to draft, the process won't be so overwhelming. Some organizers that can be beneficial are description organizers, sequence organizers, and comparison organizers, cause and effect organizers, and problem and solution organizers. I've used description organizers for many different pieces of writing, and this strategy seems to help me the most. The whole purpose of a description organizer is to describe a topic by listing features, characteristics, and examples of that topic. While doing this activity in class, I chose to make the organizer about bats. I was so surprised to see how much new information I learned, by just breaking down the topic into categories. I can already see this strategy being a huge success in my 3rd grade classroom. Many of the students I'm with need that extra visual to sort their information. This organizer can be presented as a web, or could look like a tree, or speech bubbles depending on if there is dialogue. I like that this genre gives you several ways of presenting a topic, because students can pick from different organizers, and for those students who struggle, you can find an organizer that will really help them grasp the topic at hand. The expository genre has opened my eyes to many new ways to teaching non-fiction, and that it can be a fun genre to learn and teach!