The Five-Paragraph Essay
Today's Snack: Can you get your mouth around a stack of five saltine
crackers, spread with peanut butter or soft cheese spread? Can you drink a
glass of chocolate milk in five gulps?
Cut construction paper
For each student, give
one strip of one color of construction paper,
three strips of a
and one strip of a
Pencil or pen
The classic school assignment is to write a
five-paragraph essay that presents information, lets you share an opinion, or
is designed to make the reader stop and think about a subject as never before.
The most common format is to have your introduction and
set out your main point or question in the first paragraph, use the next three
paragraphs to make three key points full of details and information, and then
write the fifth and final paragraph as a summary and conclusion.
Your first paragraph should get your readers' attention
by surprising them, captivating their interest, or challenging their set ideas.
middle three paragraphs prove your point.
the fifth and final paragraph makes sure your readers remember what you had to
say, and agree with you that the topic is important. Why? Because you did such
a good job in Paragraphs One through Four!
five-paragraph essays are personal. The writer is expected to share a lot of
feelings and personal information.
Others are straightforward reports, no-nonsense and
informative in nature.
A five-paragraph essay should fill one page of lined
notebook paper. It's a good idea to skip one line between paragraphs to make
your paper look neater.
You either respond to a prompt, or choose a topic, and
research it or make notes of all the things you want to include. Then pick the
three very best, and use them for your middle three paragraphs. Each of those
paragraphs should start with a word or two of transition (Also, Then, In
addition, Besides, etc.) to tie them to the introduction, the conclusion, and
each other. Each of the three middle paragraphs should have a topic sentence
that spells out your idea, and then supporting sentences that expand on the
idea and show how it relates to your main point.
Now take the construction paper strips - one in one
color, three in another color, and one more in a third color.
Let's write a five-paragraph essay on someone special -
someone you know well, or would like to know well.
Follow the five-paragraph format and write your
introduction on one colored strip, make your three key points on the three
other colored strips, and wrap it up with a conclusion for the fifth and final
Lay them on the desk in front of you. Mix up the order so
that the conclusion is in the middle, the beginning is at the end, and so
forth. See how the five-paragraph format is the best and clearest way to