We opened class this week with readings from those students that had not had an opportunity to read their draft essays last week. Everyone should be a little further along in the process of refining their supporting arguments, tightening up their introductions, and crafting their conclusions.
Essay Structure - Creating Topic Sentences
We reviewed the basic structure of the body of an essay and discussed the importance of each body paragraph containing a clear topic sentence (see post from 3/3/14). For those students having difficulty organizing the information in their supporting arguments (and this is often the case!), I once again stressed the importance of creating a simple outline that lists the topic sentences for each body paragraph. The topic sentences must clearly state your supporting argument. Then, make sure all of the content in the paragraph ties in with and supports the topic sentence. Do you need to rearrange some of your text? Pare down? Remember - your case will be made best with clear, strong, and well organized points. Simply bombarding your reader with a multitude of facts and statistics can quickly become overwhelming and ineffective.
Remember to think too about the order of your topic sentences. How can you make the most convincing case - weakest to strongest argument, or strongest to weakest? Try rearranging the paragraphs in the body of your essay and re-read with a fresh perspective.
After reviewing the basics of the essay structure, students paired up and read a persuasive essay on the topic of "transhumanism". They worked together to identify the hook, the thesis, and the topic sentences. We looked at how the author created body paragraphs that flowed from one clearly stated topic to the next, and how the information within each paragraph supported the topic sentence. I asked students to think about their own essays in relation to this structure and work on editing their drafts this week with an eye toward clarity and organization.
For homework this week: