What Are the

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Date of publication: 2017-09-03 09:56

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How to Write a Good Five Paragraph Essay

For a final exam, Sarah Lorenz, a teacher-consultant with the Eastern Michigan Writing Project , asks her high school students to make a written argument for the grade they think they should receive. Drawing on work they have done over the semester, students make a case for how much they have learned in the writing class.

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I teach them that any statement they make needs to be defended logically/with proofs, or explained by personal example (depending on the type of essay). If they can't defend it, kill it. It's worthless.

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Please let me know how Aristotle's form goes. One part that has helped me help students with the background section is to tell them their audience is someone who is not in our class and has not read or viewed the texts we have.

Yes, Chris. It's an argument--a rudimentary one. There is really no point in anyone reading the rest of your essay because you just gave away the whole thing. Also, the logic here is off. It's quite easy to measure if someone is taller, and faster, and stronger. That becomes a statement of fact, not one that can be debated. My intention here is to get teachers and students to think of thesis statements in more sophisticated ways.

Kathleen O'Shaughnessy, co-director of the National Writing Project of Acadiana (Louisiana), asks her middle school students to respond to each others' writing on Post-it Notes. Students attach their comments to a piece of writing under consideration.

Effective cover letters aren't written in five-paragraph essays.  We don't expect a news article to follow a five-paragraph format.  Quite simply, there aren't always three reasons to prove our point.

Onomatopoeia Worksheet 8 - This worksheet has 75 more sentences using onomatopoeia. Students circle the onomatopoeic words and identify what made the noise. View my readibility scores .
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Suzanne Linebarger, a co-director of the Northern California Writing Project , recognized that one element lacking from many of her students' stories was tension. One day, in front of the class, she demonstrated tension with a rubber band. Looped over her finger, the rubber band merely dangled. "However," she told the students, "when I stretch it out and point it (not at a student), the rubber band suddenly becomes more interesting. It's the tension, the potential energy, that rivets your attention. It's the same in writing."

Supporting students in their development as writers of persuasive essays can be a difficult task. There are many aspects to writing a good essay. Students need to learn how to develop a good argument, find information to support their ideas, think about alternative points of view, and do all this in a clear and structured essay.

I don’t believe the five-paragraph essay structure is “bad writing.” It’s a useful format that teaches students about essay structure, cohesiveness, and unity – a basic foundation that students need to understand first before they can apply other approaches to writing and before they are able to respond critically and creatively (to other writers’ discourse). Otherwise, the students’ writing can be rather incoherent and disorganized.

This form should also not be the form for a narrative essay.  For that, we should follow the example of NPR This I Believe essays.  While personal essays do carry a subtextual argument, they are not intended to persuade.  They are written so we can experience what we have not or find solidarity through what we have.

I teach them to overwrite, expecially in the beginning. They ask me how much more. My response is always the same: "Until my eyes bleed and I beg God to make you stop."
Why? Because my students tend to hide what I call their "gems" well into their writing. When I find the "gem" I show them how this small piece of what they've written is what's going to turn a hum-drum essay into something that stands above the crowd.

Due to the popularity of this post since May, in October I wrote about strategies for effective narrative writing --especially for personal statements--that avoid the traditional five-paragraph form.

If there is a prompt, I have the student break the prompt into its various parts and put each part at the top of a separate page. After dealing with each part of the prompt, they can join the various sections. This way they are assured they addressed the entire prompt.

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