Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Essay Writing 101: Thesis Statements


Essay 101: How to write an essay, introduction to the thesis statement.
Ah, yes! The dreaded essay. Students hate hearing that five letter word. Why? Not because essays are hard, but because they do not understand how to write an essay and the importance of a thesis statement. Honestly, the only reason why some students despise essay writing is because they just can't get the format down. Once they have the format figured out, it's smooth sailing! Start off small, and improve from there. My goal is for new essay writers to write a solid two pages. Their word choice and vocabulary might not be very diverse, but if they are able to get all of the parts of an essay down, that's all I am looking for at that time! By the time they write their second and third essay, they have made huge strides!

One of my most prized teaching possessions is the Essay Writing Scavenger Hunt that I created. If you are struggling to get your students to understand HOW to write an essay, then I suggest you give this a try. After some initial review, they often only need to complete the activity once to understand the format (the activity can also be used as an example for when they write their own essay). For students who need a little extra support, I have them complete the scavenger hunt twice. This helps them to remember the different parts of the essay in preparation for when they write their own. You don't even need to waste class time on that second activity - it's perfect as a homework activity too.
Every good essay starts with a great thesis statement. Here are some strategies you can use to help your students remember how to write a thesis statement. These examples are applicable for students new to essay writing, for those who are still struggling, or for those students who just need a review.
TIP: If students are new to essay writing, start out with a persuasive essay. The thesis statement is often easier to write and students are able to come up with their three points a lot easier.
Once students are comfortable in writing a thesis statement, they can start to explore other ways of writing their thesis (still using the ABC format). The format is just rearranged to help students create more diverse, effective sounding statements.
Happy essay writing!
P.S. Black border with apple clip art created by Jax and Jake!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trick-or-Treat! Halloween Resources for the Classroom

Halloween is just around the corner. As a high school teacher, I still enjoy incorporating holiday-themed activities and projects into my classes. Whether you're a grade 1 or grade 12 student, they all love holiday themed school work (although the 'big kids' might not like to admit it). I still put stickers on their work...and if they don't get one and their friend does, I hear about it. So, I will continue to use holiday projects and activities, and stickers and stamps on their work because we all like a little holiday cheer when we do something great!

Two holiday-themed activities that I both created and use with my students are a Halloween-themed career project and a Halloween news article writing activity. Both activities allow students to complete course requirements in a creative and engaging manner.

As I was perusing Pinterest, I found a few really cool bulletin board ideas. While the books that surround the zombie are more appropriate for older students, it's a great library display for any age (just change the books so it's age appropriate).

Looking for short story ideas?

• The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

• The Tell-Tale Heart

• The Fall of the House of Usher

• The Monkey's Paw

• The Landlady

Looking for book ideas?

• World War Z by Max Brooks

• Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

• The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

• The Walking Dead series by Robert Kirkman

• Feed by Mira Grant

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!