What is a Kernel Essay?

Kernel essays and text structures go hand in hand and are the perfect launching point for getting authentic writing out of your students. Kernel essays are a simple, fun, and fast way of seeing if we have a story worth telling. The text structure helps us stay organized and tell if your kernel essays grabs a readers attention.

For example, let’s say you tell your students, “Think about a time when you were____.” Fill in the blank — really proud of someone. Upset at a friend. Angry at a sibling. Disappointed by an adult. The ideas are limitless. You tell your students to have that memory painted clearly in their head.

Then show them this text structure: The Memory Structure. As you show them each question, instruct them to write only one complete sentence.

  1. Where were you & what were you doing?
  2. What happened first?
  3. What happened next?
  4. What happened last?
  5. What did you learn or realize?

What your students write, those 5 complete sentences, is their kernel essay. A simple, painless way to see if they have a story worth telling.

Kernel essays and text structures extend to all genres and can be used in many different ways.
Below you will find tons of resources to help change your classroom into a kernel classroom!

Check out Gretchen’s explanation of kernel essays in this powerpoint.  screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-10-09-42-pm

Planning and Process

Glossary of Terms (3 pages)

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Planning Sheet

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Self-Guided Practice

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Primary Expository Blueprint (3 pages)

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Kernel Essay Process

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Planning Sheet

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Sample: Avery's Balloon (3 pages)

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Hands

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Text Structures

A Growing Collection (22 pages)

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Comic Text Structures (119 pages)

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Expository/Informative (3 pages)

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Expository (2 pages)

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Greatest Hits

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Literary (3 pages)

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Expository: Find the Kernel Essays (9 pages)

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Alternative Text Structures (4 pages)

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Text Chunk Yard

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Text Structures for Math

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Text Structures for Science

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Text Structures for Social Studies

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Text Structures for Current Events

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Andrea's Truth Bomb Text Structure

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STAAR Concept Text Structure

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STAAR Expository Structure

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STAAR Persuasive Structure

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Basic Informational Structures

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Basic Informational Structures

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Other Resources

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