High School

5-Paragraph Essay

I have an unconventional way of teaching five-paragraph essays. Usually, a teacher will assign the students the introductory paragraph first and have them write a thesis, typically the last sentence of the first paragraph, which states what the entire paper will be about.

I believe that it’s difficult to write an introduction when you don’t know the direction of the rest of the paper. I teach my students to first find their evidence (quotes or supporting details) for the three body paragraphs. After finding the evidence, such as quotations, I have them analyze the quotes and then write their three body paragraphs. Many times this leads them to realize their conclusion, so they write their fifth paragraph after paragraphs two, three, and four.

The students write their introduction LAST, as a result of having a clear direction for their paper…like I said, this is NOT CONVENTIONAL at all!