Write in Five Parts, Not in Five Paragraphs: Learning the Five-Part Essay Structure and Analytical Sentence Outline

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SWBAT construct an analytical sentence outline based on the five-part argumentative essay structure.

Big Idea

"Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it." --William Zinsser

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Context and Time Frame

At this juncture, students have chosen their research topics, completed much of their research and note taking, composed the thesis generator and working thesis, participated in loop writing. Now it's time for them to really think about the structure of their papers. Even though they have composed a reverse outline, they still need another lesson in crafting their papers. 

In lesson 9 of the research project, I ask students to 

  • watch a tutorial about composing the 5-part essay (not to be confused with the 5-paragraph essay)
  • compose an analytical sentence outline

Also in this lesson I include a video clip showing a conference I had with a student prior to his completion of his final essay because I require students to compose multiple drafts of their papers before giving them credit for the final paper. 

An Essay Has Five Parts so Avoid the Five-Paragraph Essay

10 minutes

At times students need to hear a voice other than the teacher's, especially when learning a complex essay structure such as the argumentative essay. To help clarify the structure for students, I show a tutorial: "How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Logic and Structure":

Although complicated, the tutorial offers excellent visuals, so I pause frequently so that students can take notes. If students want to listen to the tutorial again, I take time to show it. I also refer to the details in the "America: Made in China" essay we used in the "Back 'Er Up: Reverse Outlining" lesson because it follows the five-part essay structure. Finally, I've prepared some notes that might help those new to the tutorial and that I can share w/ absent students: Five Part Essay Notes.docx

Writing Road Map: Composing an Analytical Sentence Outline

15 minutes

When I was a student, I learned to compose a traditional outline using Roman numerals, Arabic numbers, and complete sentences; I was required to use parallel construction. I learned this in ninth grade. 

My students struggle with organizing their writing. An analytical sentence outline is a looser way to plan a paper. I give students a document with a definition and the parts of the outline: Analytical Sentence Outline.docx

Next, I show them how to compose topic sentences for the various parts of their essays. I begin with the thesis I composed for the lesson on composing a thesis generator and thesis worksheet: A Road Map for Research is the lesson. 

Next, I direct students to complete their own analytical sentence outline. They do this with various levels of success, but I try to keep the lesson informal. Here are some examples: Analytical Sentence Outline Screenshot and Analytical Sentence Outline Student Work and Analytical Sentence Outline and Research Check Sheet, which shows the outline and the check sheet students get initialed as they work through the project. Analytical Sentence Outline Completed and Analytical Sentence Outline in Progress show additional student work. 

As students work on the analytical sentence outlines, I emphasize transitions because transitions sho the relationship among ideas and give an essay cohesion 

Some students also take a dual enrollment communication class from me via our local university. In that class I'm required to teach students to write the kind of outline I learned to write in ninth grade. When these students are in English with me, they almost always prefer to use the traditional outlining method. They have learned that this method is so detailed that they find writing the final paper from the outline fairly simple. Here is an example of a traditional outline from a student who learned the process from in in Communication 1101: Traditional Outline Page 1 and Traditional Outline Page 2 and Traditional Outline Page 3.

Meet with Meet: Conducting Writing Conferences

5 minutes

Throughout the research project I meet frequently with students to discuss their process. Conferencing with Student shows one such meeting at what kids call the skull table. I try to assess their tasks in class during research time, during free-reading time, and at any other opportunity, including during lunch, during my prep, and after school.

In Student Conference clip I'm meeting with a student to discuss his use of parenthetical citations and his works cited page as failure to complete these according to prescribed standards will result in the student plagiarizing the paper and failing the project. By helping the student this way, I'm helping him be successful and doing it in a nonthreatening way. 

When I begin a conference with students, the first thing I do is ask a couple of questions:

  • How can I help you?
  • What would you like me to look at in your paper?
  • Is there anything in particular that's causing you concern?

The last thing I do is invite the student to show me his revisions so we can be sure he is successful on the final project.