Thesis statements are like menus: a promise of what is to come. Hook and satisfy your diners/readers with this lesson! Use this easy simile to teach your students why essay writers need thesis statements, how they function in an essay overall, and what a “good” one looks like. This handout can be used as a full 45-minute lesson, an activity for a mini-lesson, or a writer’s workshop tool just to differentiate for the students who need it.
This handout (both PDF and editable PPT files), applicable to argumentative OR informative essays, was designed as an introduction for students who have not been taught this content before, but it also serves as a great review lesson for older students, or for any learner who just needs to hear something multiple times.
Lesson includes an explanatory page that explains purpose and uses multiple metaphors to explore the function of a thesis, including the menu concept in the overall meal; then students examine “bad” and “better” versions of thesis statements using specific criteria like formality and specificity before writing their own. (Use the last portion as an exit ticket or formative checkpoint to give quick feedback!)
STAR CHART—The purpose of this chart is to help students find an idea to write about based on the prompt. The 5 points of the star signal for students to come up with 5 different ideas so that they can choose the best one to write about.
ORGANIZATION CHART—This chart helps children see how the paragraphs in their essay will flow. It includes a circle for the central idea, two boxes for topic sentences, and a final circle to restate the central idea.
DETAIL CHART—This chart helps students focus each other their body paragraphs. They write the topic sentence in the top box, then add 3 details about that topic sentence. Finally, they add a personal connection to go with each topic sentence.
ROUGH DRAFT CHART—This chart helps students visualize the structure of the essay. There are up to 4 lines for a hook and to state the central idea in the introduction paragraph, there are 9 lines for each of two body paragraphs, and there are 4 lines to restate the central idea and leave the reader with a good feeling in the conclusion.
FINAL COPY—The final copy page is purposefully formatted like the STAAR writing paper. There are 26 lines. After revising and editing their rough draft, students write the final copy on this page.