Grading Essays Made Easy, Point OrdersGrading your middle school or high school student’s essay can be difficult. Where do you begin? What criteria do you use?  How do you ask intelligent questions that will really get to the heart of the essay?

In this informative video series, I show you specifically what to look for when grading those homeschool essays. Grading Essays Made Easy #1 teaches you six key questions to ask of your student’s essay, beginning with the most obvious and proceeding to the least obvious.

The question in Grading Essays Made Easy #2 (today’s video blog) is this: Are the essay’s points arranged in a logical and effective order?

In this video, I’ll show you six different point orders your student can use when organizing his or her essays. They’re easy. They’re fun. And they’re all about trash.


Yes, my subject matter for these point orders is trash. Join me as I talk about trash in Grading Essays Made Easy #2 and tell you  what the following point orders will look like in an essay:

    1. Order of importance or emphatic order (a family of orders):
      Inverted triangle
      Climactic order
      Psychological order
    2. Chronological order
    3. Spatial order
    4. Effect-size order

Your students most likely arrange their points intuitively. That is, they might not know what point order to use or the names of the point orders, but they probably are using one that makes sense to them. If they’ve nailed it, congratulate them and give them a higher grade.

It’s easy to tell if your students wrote without thinking. The essay is a disorganized mess. If this is so, ask them to explain why they chose that particular order. Help them see that there is a more logical and effective way to arrange the points in the essay. Most students will respond well when they know their tools.

A disorganized mess gets a slightly lower grade, even if the points are well researched and are well stated. You might want to see your students’ points and the order in which they’ve arranged them before they write the essay. This will be a tremendous boon to you and your students—and the grades likely will be higher!

The material in Grading Essays Made Easy #2 is taken from my very practical textbook The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School. Your students will learn more point orders there as well.

Click here to view today’s informative video blog on point orders and discover what to look for in your students’ essays.

Yours for a more vibrant writing class,

Sharon Watson




What other aspects of grading essays would you like me to cover? Leave a comment below.


.Interested in a full writing curriculum for your middle school or high school student? Click Jump In or The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School. Is your teen a story writer? Check out Writing Fiction [in High School].

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