Essay Writing Practice Guide

Step One: Thesis Statement Brainstorm

Argument:  Describe one way that the above statement can be proven true

OR

Counter-argument: Describe one way that the above statement can be disproven

Step Two:  Thesis Statement

Directions:  Choose a thesis template below based on your thesis brainstorm from the previous step, and create a thesis using one of the templates below.

Full extent (Use if you have THREE arguments)

Moderate extent (Use if you have TWO arguments and ONE counter-argument)

Step Three:  Topic Sentences

Rewrite your thesis statement here

Directions:  Now, break down the three arguments/counter-arguments in your thesis statement into three separate topic sentences.  Each one of these topic sentences will begin each of your body paragraphs, and should explain what you will be arguing in each body paragraph.

Topic Sentence 1:  First argument or counter argument from the thesis statement. 

Use “because” to help you explain your argument or counter-argument.

Topic Sentence 2:  Second argument or counter argument from the thesis statement. 

Use “because” to help you explain your argument or counter-argument.

Topic Sentence 3:  Third argument or counter argument from the thesis statement. 

Use “because” to help you explain your argument or counter-argument.

Step Four: Evidence Workshop

Directions: Write out each one of your topic sentences.  Then find two pieces of evidence to support each argument/counter-argument.

Topic Sentence 1. Make sure that you have used the word “because” to help you explain your argument.

 Supporting evidence 1:  Quote or other information

Supporting evidence 2:  Quote or other information

Topic Sentence 2. Make sure that you have used the word “because” to help you explain your argument.

Step Five: Essay Graphic Organizer

Directions: Use the following graphic organizer to write your essay.  Each one of your topic sentences will become a body paragraph. Each body paragraph must contain two pieces of evidence from a text that support the argument or counter-argument being made in the paragraph.

Your thesis statement, topic sentences and pieces of evidence for each body paragraph, should be copied from prior pages.

By filling out the following essay graphic organizer, you will have completed a rough draft of your essay.

Do not use the following words in formal writing: I, we, your, feel, believe, thing, basically, a lot, things, something.

Introductory Paragraph

  1. Introduce your topic (Who are you writing about?, What events will be covered?, Where did they take place? When?) 
  2. Essay Thesis Statement: (Copy from previous section)

Body Paragraph 1

A. Topic Sentence 1: First argument/counter-argument: State your first argument or counter-argument from your thesis statement. Use the word “because” to explain your thought)

B. Provide context for your first piece of evidence. What background information does the reader need to understand the quote or information in part C below? If using a quote – Who wrote or said it? What is the quote about? Where was it written? When was it written?

C. First piece of evidence proving your argument/counter-argument above: Provide a quote or other information from a text would support this little thesis.

D. Paraphrase: Put this evidence in your own words if using a direct quotation from a text

“The author is communicating the idea that …”

E1. Analysis of evidence
“This evidence proves the argument that” …. (re-state your argument or counter-argument)

E2. Deepen your analysis by choosing ONE prompt below that is most relevant to your argument or counter-argument
– “This represents a change from the past/continuation of the past because …” OR
– “The tone/underlying belief of this evidence is …. This further supports my argument because …” OR
– “This was caused by/this led to ….” OR
– “This is significant because …”

Common Core State Standards for Five Paragraph Essay

This packet contains a comprehensive set of graphic organizers and suggested lessons that assist students through the entire essay writing process, including the construction of a thesis statement, the selection of appropriate supporting evidence, and the writing of a draft of the essay.

By employing heavy scaffolding, these graphic organizers allow students to create and develop complex, nuanced ideas and express them in a clear and coherent manner that is consistent with the type of writing required by the Common Core State Standards.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2a Introduce a topic and organize ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2b Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2c Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2e Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.2f Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).