I begin class by asking the students to draw a color-coded graphic that expresses the components of a standard essay. I provide highlighters on the tables to help out. I do this in order to gain an understanding of what the students already know, as well as to give each of them a "jumping-off-point" for the day's lesson.
I start my instruction by asking a few students to share the images they created. It doesn't particularly matter if they have everything correct or now, just that they made a valid effort. I provide feedback on each, celebrating the areas of strength, and offering support for the areas that require it. I draw an image on the white board that shows what we agree on as being a solid representation of a standard five-paragraph essay. I color code the introductory paragraph green and put a star next to the thesis statement. I color the topic sentence of each of the body paragraphs yellow and underline the transition word or phrase. I color the details that provide support in each of the body paragraph pink. I then color code the conclusion paragraph green as well, and I put a star next to the re-worded thesis.
I then go through the Powerpoint presentation that establishes, step-by-step, what each sentence in a microtheme entails. When we conclude the presentation, I give each student a 5"X8" index card and have them place their name on the back.
Using the same colors we used to label the standard five paragraph essay example, we create a visual for the microtheme on the index Card. While doing this, I have the students color code their notes, as in the Microtheme Color-Coded Notes example, treating the notes as a "key" like on a map. In doing this, the students are creating multiple connections to the format they are learning about. Adding the element of color to each element of the notes from the PowerPoint will help students in the future during their first few attempts at writing microthemes.