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Essay Structure Made Easy
Transcript of Essay Structure Made Easy
You've been assigned to write a 500-word argumentative essay on whether or not high school students should be required to take the California High School Exit Exam,
but you've forgotten how to structure an essay. Where does your thesis go? What IS a thesis? What should the body paragraphs say? How should you even start the essay?
Planning out an essay
How to write introductions, thesis statements,
body paragraphs, conclusions
How to title your essay No need to worry because today we will be talking about... Let's get started! How a college essay works It's important that your ideas
match what is asked in the
assignment. If it asks you to describe an event, be sure to focus on
illustrative descriptions. If it asks you to argue, be sure to structure your essay
around reasons that support your argument. If it asks you to compare and contrast, be sure to focus on similarities and differences. It's important that your essay is organized. If it’s an argumentative paper, you might want to build up your arguments in order of their significance, using your strongest argument last. OR
You could present your ideas in the order of how many people it affects (students, communities, the nation) students community nation How do you think you could structure ideas for a narrative essay? It’s important that each paragraph deals with a single main idea. Try not to squish more than one main point in a paragraph. Focus on one idea and use the body paragraph to illustrate it for the reader. Step One Come up with ideas by prewriting? What is Prewriting is basically anything you do prior to writing your essay that helps you come up with ideas and a plan of attack for your essay such as... Freewriting Listing Clustering Freewriting is when you write
freely on a topic with no worries
of grammar or organization. Just
keep moving your pen and let ideas pour out. Listing is when you list ideas until you arrive at
something that sparks your interest. Usually you look
back over your list and decide which ideas to further
pursue. Clustering is when you group ideas together, like this: Let’s practice prewriting.
Think about your favorite movie and why it’s your favorite.
Then choose one method of prewriting and get your ideas down on paper. Step Two Plan your essay Essay structure, in visual terms,
looks something like this: Each shape represents a paragraph. Introduction Body paragraph Body paragraph Body paragraph Conclusion Begins with more broad information in the form of an attention getter.
You can get the reader’s attention by using:
-a series of questions
-a startling statement
-statistics (if accurate and cited appropriately.) Lead to your thesis statement Thesis The thesis is the main point of the entire essay. Below is an example of an introduction. On your copy, see if you can identify the type of attention getter the author used. If you can find the thesis, underline it. I Have a Dream
by Dominic Deiro Imagine being in high school all four years, making friends, joining clubs, playing sports, and bettering your education. What if that were ripped away from you in one second because you were an illegal alien about to be deported? I, along with many other Americans, believe this type of treatment to be inhumane. In order to combat the issue of deporting young illegal aliens, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Richard Lugar dream up the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal alien students who graduated from high school, who have good moral character, who arrived in the U.S. as minors, and who have been in the country for at least five years the opportunity to earn permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years in college. Even though proponents of the act drew many supporters in 2007, with 52 senators voting in favor of it, they still could not break the filibuster, and thus the DREAM Act was not considered. However, in December 2010, the act may come up for vote again. If it were proposed in Congress today, I would vote for the DREAM Act because it would increase the number of active duty soldiers, it would raise the amount of money in circulation, and it would allow individuals the opportunity to get an education and to further benefit the community. What kind of attention getters does the author use? Where is the thesis?
Does it give you a good idea
of what he plans to argue? Many essays have three body paragraphs, but, depending on the topic and scope of your topic, you could have more or less than three body paragraphs.
Most body paragraphs consist of the same elements: A topic sentence (to introduce the main point) Supporting sentences (with reasons, examples, and details) A concluding sentence (to close the paragraph and possibly transition to the next idea) Let’s try writing our own topic sentences.
Pull from your prewrite about your favorite movie.
One reason you like the movie will become the focus of your topic sentence. Once you have a topic sentence, you should build the case for that specific main idea. Your support sentences should show the reader why your idea is justified. Your concluding sentence could wrap up the first idea while providing a transition to the next idea. Say you chose Peter Pan as your favorite film and you focused on three reasons:
it has quirky characters like Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys
it has a sense of adventure and exploration in the story
it has a good moral--treasure your youth A concluding sentence for the first paragraph could go something like this:
"Not only does the movie have entertaining characters like Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys, but it embodies the spirit of adventure." Following is an example of a body paragraph. On your copy, underline the author's supporting sentences and judge whether he does a good job justifying his reason. I Have a Dream, cont'd Lastly, the DREAM Act should be passed because it would allow young individuals the opportunity to get an education and to further benefit the community. The act states that in order to become an American citizen, the individual must either join the military or enroll in a college. With those extra years of schooling, these individuals would increase their knowledge and would be in a position to benefit society. Throughout the history of America, there have been many immigrants who have made a strong and lasting impact. Albert Einstein, who emigrated from Germany, was critical in World War II when he advised President Roosevelt of a bomb the Nazis were developing. John Muir, who emigrated from Scotland, helped to create Yosemite National Park to benefit our environment. More personally, my mother, who worked at St. Joseph's Hospital, learned about an immigrant doctor from Iraq. She told me that he was one of the most skilled doctors at the hospital: "He was very attentive, always focused in surgery. I've seen him save more lives than any other doctor I've worked with." In all of these examples, the immigrants who had an opportunity to become American citizens were able to benefit society by giving back to the nation that allowed them to work toward their goals. Under the DREAM Act, young immigrants would have the same choice. Where are his supporting sentences?
Does he provide effective supporting details
to illustrate his main point? Restatement of thesis The conclusion allows you to bring all your ideas together to make one final point. Now is your time to make final suggestions to your reader, express your opinions, make overall observations, or leave your reader with a certain emotion about the topic.
Basically, you’ll want to:
-restate your thesis
-review your main points
-provide one last concluding statement Step Three Revise and polish Look at your essay to make sure you:
-addressed the assignment question
-stayed on topic
-followed essay structure
-used enough illustrative details Clean up any grammar errors, spelling mistakes, or needless information
If you have a hard time deciding what to fix, the Writing Lab tutors can
assist you with your writing at whatever stage you are in. Give your essay a title! Make sure your title fits the essay, so avoid general titles like:
World War II
And don't make a sentence out of you title, like this:
World War II Was Terrible
My Favorite Movie Is Star Wars Some people tend to create titles using this kind of format: Creative Title:
An Explanation of What My Paper Will Be about So you could write a title like this: Swashbuckling and Pixie Dust:
Why Peter Pan Is a Childhood Classic Just try and give your title some thought. After all, it is the first thing your teacher will read. Today we covered essay writing, all the way from prewriting to giving your paper a title.
Following these steps can make essay writing much easier. I believe that America, its citizens, and those around the world would benefit from the DREAM Act. By increasing the number of active duty soldiers, improving the economy, and allowing young individuals the opportunity to get an education, the DREAM Act builds on our forefathers’ idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Increasing the number of individuals in our military not only strengthens our stance as an international power, but also builds on a sense of family and camaraderie. Taxes on paychecks would increase the amount of money in circulation and would aid the U.S. in its quest to get out of debt. Finally, more individuals would be granted the opportunity to get an education, which would allow them to further benefit the community. Overall, these three reasons promote strength and support for the DREAM Act. I believe that it should be passed so that everyone can be a part of the American Dream. Let's look at Dominic Deiro's concluding paragraph for his "I Have a Dream" essay: