Stop teaching five paragraph essay

Click on the image to view these task cards: When you talk about restating the thesis sentence, tell students that they need to make it sound different enough from their original thesis sentence to save their readers from boredom.

After the hook, I ask students to add a sentence or two of applicable commentary about the hook or about the prompt in general.

I start color-coding with my students at the very beginning when they are working on simple paragraphs. Beyond the pleasing parallelism, the five-paragraph essay is better as an example of what not to do in good analytical writing.

Tips for Teaching and Grading Five Paragraph Essays

We have fun with simple paragraphs. Browse various text structures, with each text structure on a separate slip of paper. This is the code that I use: The three body paragraphs are the foundation of the essay.

You can guess what happened… there were lots of graded essays in the trashcan at the end of the day. Our students are still learning. I used to think that teachers had to have all the answers. An unfortunate teaching point of the five-paragraph essay is commonly that each paragraph should focus on a different device.

Restate the prompt, topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3. This is coloring with a purpose! Who wants to read the same thing twice? And because Gretchen, like so many teachers I know, is so generous, you can find more about kernel essays and text structures on her website here.

My thesis has halted any opportunity for my ideas to build. Now each of my paragraphs will be about one of those characters, in that order. Teach the Introduction Paragraph I have to say, this is my favorite paragraph to teach.

Please Stop Teaching the Five-Paragraph Essay for Analysis

Wondering what to do now? There are three major issues with the five-paragraph essay. Sometimes students are the best teachers. I add the additional elements of the color-code as we progress through our five paragraph essays.

Its parallel structure was favored over more meandering approaches. I have a freebie for you! Click here to check it out: Students will review hooks attention-gettersthesis sentences, body paragraphs, topic sentences, closings, and more. Here are other text structures that might have also worked for my sentence: With my students, I use the analogy of a gift.

“Teachable Alternatives” to the 5-Paragraph Essay

Trust me, you will develop a quick essay-grading ability. Your students are not benefiting from marks all over their writing. Ultimately, here was mine: The essay turns analysis into a literary scavenger hunt instead of an exploration of purpose and meaning.

The structure dictates a closed thesis, which means static thinking. Please, pretty please with a cherry on top! Once your students are good essay writers… These task cards will help your students stay sharp on their five paragraph essay knowledge. The kids who need help will get it and the rest of your class will receive a refresher.

Finally, we add the thesis sentence.Yes, I think they should stop teaching the 5-paragraph essay. I was a college professor teaching freshmen english for a decade, and I spent too much time in every class trying to deprogram the students from writing the 5-paragraph essay.

The five-paragraph essay, a staple in school writing curricula, has become a source of debate for educators, with critics charging the format is too rigid and constraining. In this case, I would say to do away with the 5-paragraph format, but instead, teach them how to write a good paragraph.

For the kids who can write eloquently and argue effectively with more than 5 paragraphs, I would do away with the 5-paragraph format as well.

I have been teaching five paragraph essay structure and everything that goes with it for a lot of years now. I hope that after you read this blog post, you will have a good understanding of how to teach and grade five paragraph essays.

It wasn’t until last year when I came across Ray Salazar’s provocative post, “If You Teach the 5-Paragraph Essay, Stop It!” that I realized I could use the classical arrangement for.


Please stop teaching the five-paragraph essay for analysis. Please, pretty please with a cherry on top! Let’s talk for a moment about the purpose of the five-paragraph essay.

Stop teaching five paragraph essay
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