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I hope that after you read this blog post, you will have a good understanding of how to teach and grade five paragraph essays. We always start with simple paragraphs. Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks.
Trust me! We spend a while cementing paragraph structure:. I give students topics, they come up with their own topics, we write together, they write with a partner or independently, the more variety, the better. We have fun with simple paragraphs. Please refer to my five paragraph essay organizer below. The three body paragraphs are absolutely crucial to the success of the five paragraph essay. Some teachers have trouble teaching the structure of five paragraph essays because they start with the introduction paragraph. Always teach the body paragraphs first! They need to write the entire five paragraphs to get all of the practice they need.
However, think of it as building a house. The three body paragraphs are the foundation of the essay. Ask students to write out their three body paragraphs just like they have practiced…Topic sentence…Detail 1…Detail 2…Detail 3…Closing Sentence. Students are on their way to five paragraph essays, so be sure to build their confidence. I have to say, this is my favorite paragraph to teach. The introduction paragraph is what draws readers into the essay and makes them want to read more. After the hook, I ask students to add a sentence or two of applicable commentary about the hook or about the prompt in general.
Finally, we add the thesis sentence. The thesis sentence always follows the same formula: Restate the prompt, topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3. I do suggest having students write the introduction paragraph plus body paragraphs a couple of times before teaching the closing paragraph. In the conclusion paragraph, we mainly focus on restating the thesis and including an engaging closing thought. With my students, I use the analogy of a gift. The introduction paragraph and body paragraphs are the gift and the conclusion paragraph is the ribbon that ties everything together and finishes the package.
When you talk about restating the thesis sentence, tell students that they need to make it sound different enough from their original thesis sentence to save their readers from boredom. Who wants to read the same thing twice? No one! Students can change up the format and wording a bit to make it fresh.
36 Awesome Anchor Charts for Teaching Writing
Ways to write the closing thought: ask a question, personal statement, call to action, or even a quote. I especially like reading the essays in which a quote is used as a closing thought or a powerful statement is used.
Training your students to color-code their paragraphs and essays will make grading so much easier and will provide reminders and reinforcements for students. When students color-code their writing, they must think about the parts of their paragraphs, like topic sentences, details, and the closing sentence. Also, when you are grading, you can quickly scan the paragraphs and essays.
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Trust me, you will develop a quick essay-grading ability. I start color-coding with my students at the very beginning when they are working on simple paragraphs. I add the additional elements of the color-code as we progress through our five paragraph essays. This is the code that I use:. Imagine a lonely, stressed teacher grading five paragraph essays on the couch while her husband is working the night shift.
That was me!
Create an Essay Outline
Seriously, guys, I would spend about ten minutes per essay. I marked every little error, I made notes for improvement and notes of encouragement. I reworked their incorrect structure. Those papers were full of marks. On Monday, I proudly brought back the essays and asked students to look over them and learn what they needed to fix for next time. You can guess what happened… there were lots of graded essays in the trashcan at the end of the day.
I decided that my grading practices had to change.
I needed my weekends back and my students needed to find their own errors! This is my best advice:. I created this five paragraph essay instructional unit for teachers who are new to teaching five paragraph essays OR just need all of the materials in one place. Click here to check it out:. I have a freebie for you! Click on the image below to reach the sign up page.
These task cards will help your students stay sharp on their five paragraph essay knowledge. Critical thinking is essential for long-term success in any field, especially writing. Teachers can help students develop this skill by hosting a question-and-answer period after students have read a book or written an essay and read it aloud to the class.
Promoting confidence in the writer is also crucial. Learning how to revise work is a process that takes years to master. One excellent way of teaching proofreading and revision command is returning essays after a few days so students may rework them for a second grade.
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A fresh look, with or without suggestions for improvement, often reveals the flaws missed on the first draft. Repeating format and structure exercise rules for writing multiple times may cause students to lose interest. To rouse interest, incorporate the full spectrum of essay styles, narrative, persuasive, comparative and expository in assignments.
Writing in each format helps students solidify their understanding. Enforcing rules and standards is extremely helpful for unmotivated writers struggling to complete open-ended assignments.