Beginning to the End: Writing an Introduction and Conclusion

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Objective

SWBAT write an introduction and conclusion to their essay.

Big Idea

Students learn that an introduction informs the reader about the topic of the essay and a conclusion leaves them with something to think or do.

Introduction

5 minutes

Students are almost done with this unit. They have done some impressive work brainstorming ideas for an essay, developing their thesis, and finding ways to support their ideas with information, research and anecdotes. Their job as writers are not done yet. They still have to introduce their essay in a way that makes readers want to read it as well as conclude their writing so that readers finish their essay and continue to think about what they read. They also need to consider ways to make the introduction really interesting and intriguing and their conclusion stong and clear.

 

Main Activity

45 minutes

The introduction is the first thing readers read. It's the part that needs to capture their attention and make them want to keep reading. It also helps them focus on what they will be expected to understand or agree with at the end of the writing. Writing and introduction and conclusion can be one of the hardest part of writing and therefore, it comes at the end of the process, when writers have developed their draft and have a stronger sense of what they want their readers to understand.

In order to write a strong introduction, a writer might use one of these techniques:

  1. Tell a story about one person who benefited from this information in the essay. You can use the words, “What (that person) and others need to know is that…”
  2. “Many people (don’t know, don’t think, don’t realize) but I’ve (now realize, think its important)…”
  3. “Did you know…? Have you ever (wondered/wanted to know)…? I have found…”
  4. Raise a question that people ask…and show that this essay will answer it. “Many people wonder … You will learn…”

I then ask students to share with a partner, one way they might write their introduction. They can use one of these ideas to try out.

Students need to also think deeply about the type of conclusion they will write. The writer wants the reader to know that they have been effected by the essay and that they now think or understand something in a different way. Writers do this by using one of the examples below:

  1. (My thesis) is true. If my thesis is true than so is…
  2. I understand that…
  3. This makes me think…
  4. I believe that when I …, I feel…
  5. Other people should care about this because …
  6. This is important because…

I also ask students to pick one and try it out with a partner before returning to their own independent work.

When they return to work on their essay, I suggest they try a few different examples. They never know which one will work the best. Just like before, they need to practice a few different introductions and conclusions, asking themselves what way is most clear and convincing.

Closing

5 minutes

To conclude this lesson, students share their introduction and conclusion with a partner. They also explain why they chose the one they did compared to one that they did not chose. This is a strategy to hold students accountable for actually trying out a few different examples. They are going to have to share so they might as well try it. It also gives students immediate feedback on how strong their introduction and conclusion is. Without reading the body text, they can also check to see if their introduction and conclusion is clear. A reader should be able to determine what the essay is about from the introduction and why the topic or information is important from reading the conclusion. If it either the introduction or conclusion is not clear or convincing then students have the information they need to revise before they publish.