Teaching essay-writing in a way that children will never forget

When working with young students on organizing a five-paragraph essay, a visual analogy is key. Take the cheeseburger. They’ve all had one, they all know the joy that is a greasy, dripping burger topped with melting cheese on a sesame seed bun…that bun perfectly sandwiching the meat and cheese in grilled harmony…And, yes, an essay is stacked just like that cheeseburger.

You’ve got the bun–without it, what holds the burger together? This is your introduction and your conclusion. One on top, one on the bottom. Pretty much the same on each half, but the top has a little added spice, to lure you in (this is your thesis statement!). But where would your cheeseburger be without some lettuce or tomato? This is the first supporting paragraph. It adds some crunch (or a strong argument backed with evidence…like fiber). Then there’s the cheese. This is the second supporting paragraph, and it melts (or leads with a clear transitional sentence) into the meat. Of course, the meat is your second supporting paragraph. It’s got some essence of cheese on it, but it stands alone (with potent supporting details).

1. Bun, 2. lettuce or tomato (have it your way), 3. cheese, 4. meat, 5. bun. Cohesive, organized, and developed. And stored in your child’s mind for all of their future schooling and the many, many, pieces of written work that they will create in their life!