Middle 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!

I asked my students to take a position on schools requiring their students to wear uniforms: For your in-class writing assignment, you are asked to write a five-paragraph essay, taking a stand on whether children should wear uniforms to school.

STEP ONE: Make a list of pros and cons (organizing your thoughts-looking for three strong reasons)
STEP TWO: If you do not have a complete list of pros and cons, do a Google search on the computer to help you think of more arguments
STEP THREE: Choose a side. Keep the notes for both sides in case you interweave counterarguments into your essay.
STEP FOUR: Write details for each of your three arguments
STEP FIVE: Reread details and decide if you are finished note-taking or if you want to change an argument or a detail
STEP SIX: Write the three body paragraphs
STEP SEVEN: Write your conclusion
STEP EIGHT: Write your introduction

Download Sample Pros & Cons.

Download PDF Essay Examples: no. 1 | no. 2