This week I am holding a writer’s workshop in my eighth grade English classroom to help my students understand and apply the elements of effective argumentative essay writing. I began the week with an interactive foldable on Ways to Start an Essay which addresses six different strategies for to start any kind of essay.
For my students, the two hardest parts of essay writing are the claim/thesis and the analysis of textual evidence that supports the claim. In a post earlier this school year I created a foldable for writing a thesis or stating a claim. Once my students have their thesis complete, we move on to the body paragraph.
The body paragraphs are the meat of one’s essay. The body paragraphs must include specific textual evidence to support one’s claim and provide analysis of the textual evidence describing how it supports the claim. Stating, “This quote proves . . .” is not enough. One’s analysis needs to hold the reader’s hand and walk them through the connection between the textual evidence and one’s claim. The body paragraphs should include three or more examples of textual evidence to really prove the claim is valid.
I created a graphic organizer for my students to record the textual evidence, summarize the evidence, and describe how and why the evidence is significant to the claim. In completing the graphic organizer, my hope is that it will be easier for my students to craft a body paragraph that explains, proves, and supports the claim.
In addition, there is a great Writer’s Checklist on essay writing from Read Write Think that I adapted and had my students include in their Interactive Notebooks to help guide my students in the essay writing process.