Persuasive Essay Outline—Minimum Criteria

Paragraph #1 Introduction of Persuasive Essay (40+ words)
Introduce topic, author, text+ 2 sent. summary of text

Thesis Statement (3+ sentences)
Take a stand on your topic
(topic +opinion about topic+ 3 reasons that support opinion)

Odysseus and his crew are responsible for their misfortunes because(reason #1)________________,(reason #2),______________________, &(reason#3)_______________________________________________.

Paragraph #2, 3, &4 Body Paragraphs—Repeat for ALL body paragraphs
#1 sentence Topic sentence ­­gives first reason that supports thesis #2 sentence Concrete detail­starts with For Example(lead into example)

#3 sentence Commentary—explain how your example proves your point—starts with—This shows that…
#4 sentence Commentary—elaborate­­say more about sent. 3
#5 sentence Concrete Detail—start with In addition(lead into example)
#6 sentence Commentary—explain how your example proves your point—starts with—This shows that…
#7 sentence Commentary—elaborate­­say more about sent. 6
#8 sentence Concluding sentence—closing commentary about this point  starts with—As a result, OR Because of this,

Paragraph #5 Concluding Paragraph of Persuasive Essay (40+ words, all commentary)
Summarize the opposing argument,
Acknowledge the other side—start with—Although some would argue that…
Rephrase thesis points  Closing sentence that finishes essay

Thesis Sentence
1st Reason
2nd Reason
3 rd Reason

Concrete Detail=

examples, quotes, paraphrasing, proof from the text—You must always “lead into” an example or quote.  In other  words, you have to introduce the example (Odysseus’ behavior can sometimes be described as arrogant when he confesses his name to Polyphemus, “Tell them that it was me, Odysseus that blinded you.”).

Commentary=

Analysis, interpretation, your thoughts about your opinion—why you believe the way you do?  Explain

Concluding Paragraph=

This is the last paragraph of your essay. It rephrases your thesis points.  A closing sentence that may include a final comment about  your topic.

Persuasive Essay Conclusion=

In a persuasive essay, you need to summarize the opposing argument, and acknowledge the other side—start with—Although some would argue that…

Essay Prewriting Techniques

Prewriting techniques are meant to help students get warmed up and start a free flow of ideas. This should be a low-stakes exercise, with just participation points awarded, if any, to cut down on anxiety or worrying about getting it “wrong.”

Copy the handouts for the students, or have them use their own paper. You may want to pass out the clustering example as a handout or use it as an overhead.
The reason short time limits are given on each exercise is because students should work quickly and spontaneously, and not over think each topic. Reassure students that no idea is too silly to write down. The point is to keep the ideas flowing.

Personal Brainstorming List:
Before beginning, have students make a list from 1 – 10 on their paper. Remind them that they should choose a topic that is meaningful to them and related to something in their lives. Then give them two minutes to think of as many possible topics as they can.

Group Brainstorming:
After Personal Brainstorming, have students form groups of 3 – 5 people. Give them
about 10 minutes to share their lists and ask each other questions. The students should get feedback on what the most interesting topics are, or what they liked to talk about the most. Ask them to write this down on their papers also.

Clustering:
Ask the students to choose two topics from their brainstorming session. For the first
topic, have them draw a circle in the middle of their papers. Then give them two minutes to make clusters of related ideas. In the example, you can see that the student started with “Images in the media” and branched off to different ideas.

Do a second cluster the same way with another topic. Ask the students to circle a section of one of the clusters that interests them the most.

Free write:
Give the students three minutes to write as much as they can on the ideas they circled on one of their clusters. Then have them re-read the free write, circle the most interesting thing, and start with that idea on another three-minute free write. If time allows, do the same thing for another round.

When free writing, students should never stop writing, even if they run out of things to say about their topic. If this happens, tell students to write “I can’t think of what to write next…” or something similar. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar don’t count.

Arguments:
Most essays, whether they are research papers, compare and contrast, or persuasive, will depend on an argument. To make sure students do not simply write an informational essay, have them do the last pre-writing activity when they have narrowed down their choices to two or three topics.

Ask the students to write down a topic, and an argument, that they will make. Using the example in the cluster, a student could write as the topic “media and eating disorders.” An argument could be “media images can be a cause for eating disorders in girls.” The opposition might be “eating disorders are caused by a mental illness and not the media.” This exercise helps students think through whether their topics have an argument and what direction their papers might take. Of course the ideas will change as they start researching and delving into their topics, but they will have a possible direction in mind.

Opinion Essays…Come to Life

Learning Goals & Standards Addressed
-Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
-Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts details.
-Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically)
-Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
-With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1 -3 up to and including grade 5)

As an indicator of understanding, students should be able to…
– Develop a logical arguable claim.
-Use different print and/or non-print sources to compare and contrast two sides of their arguable claim.
-Organize notes into paragraphs using the Opinion Essay Organizer.
-Write a rough draft of the essay citing evidence from their sources to support their claim and refute their counterclaim.
-Revise and edit their rough drafts, including revising their Introduction Paragraph.
-Create a Final Draft based upon their revised and edited rough draft.
-Design a VoiceThread project, using the finished copy of their Opinion Essay, to apply what they’ve learned from their research.

Editing Checklist

Conventions:
___ My spelling, capitalization AND end punctuation were looked over by:___________________________
By signing above, this person confirms that they have looked over your paper to check the following:
____ There are Capitals at the beginning of every sentence.
____ There is an end mark at the end of every sentence.
____ Everything is spelled correctly.

Sentence Fluency:
___ My Sentences mostly begin with different words.
___ If I repeated anything, it was for effect.
___ If read aloud, you can hear a rhythm behind my sentences.

Organization:
___ My Introduction “hooks” the reader in some way.
___ All of my ideas are presented in a logical sequence.
___ Each paragraph is ONE topic and all details are about that topic.
___ My Conclusion leaves the reader satisfied AND refers back to the main points in my paper.

Conventions:
___ My spelling, capitalization AND end punctuation were looked over by:
____________________________________________
By signing above, this person confirms that they have looked over your paper to check the following:
____ There are Capitals at the beginning of every sentence.
____ There is an end mark at the end of every sentence.
____ Everything is spelled correctly.

Sentence Fluency:
___ My Sentences mostly begin with different words.
___ If I repeated anything, it was for effect.
___ If read aloud, you can hear a rhythm behind my sentences.

Organization:
___ My Introduction “hooks” the reader in some way.
___ All of my ideas are presented in a logical sequence.
___ Each paragraph is ONE topic and all details are about that topic.
___ My Conclusion leaves the reader satisfied AND refers back to the main points in my paper.