PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Gr5 Personal Essay Inquiry – Immersion Stage.

In an inquiry classroom, one begins a new writing unit by:

  • asking lots of questions about the genre
  • collecting journeys of thought in a writer’s notebook
  • being exposed and immersed in mentor texts in that genre
  • noticing, discovering, talking, making meaning  through a social construct
  • annotating (interacting with material independently + collaboratively)
  • learning about quality writers’ in that genre (essayists)

After being immersed in a plethora of material and having constructed meaning + understanding, a writer can then begin to go through the stages of the writing process by beginning to draft (and throughout his/her writing journey will learn about stages of the writing process such as revision, editing, language systems – punctuation/grammar)

  • What motivates one to write Essay?
  • What is a Personal Essay?


ESSAY DEFINITIONS, for blog readers who are NOT currently a fifth grade student.

For making detours and going by side roads nothing is more convenient than essay form. One can take off in almost any direction, certain that if the thing does not work out one can turn back and start over in some other at moderate cost…. – Clifford Geertz, American Anthropologist

The Personal Essay

In a way, all essays are personal essays. They represent what you think, what you feel, about a given topic. They represent your effort (the word essay comes from the French essayer, which means to try) to communicate those thoughts and feelings to others. In the purely personal essay, however, there is no effort to objectify those thoughts, there is no concealment that this is your opinion; no standing behind any mask of objectivity is permitted, no embarrassment is allowed.

The personal essay is often a free-wheeling device of self-expression. If you ever want to experiment with prose and with loosened structure, this is where you can do it.

* Personal essays by definition contain a personal perspective. You should be there. Watch your construction. If every sentence begins ‘I’, you need to rephrase to provide a better rhythm and pace to your piece. Academic essays contain more facts than opinion, personal essays contain more opinion than facts. 

Here are some Personal Essay Immersion Stage Learning Photos:

Personal Essay IngredientsPersonal Essay Noticing’sPersonal Essay AnnotationsPersonal Essay – BIG IDEA