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how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

When I look back to my first experience teaching five paragraph essays to fifth graders, I can remember how terribly unprepared I felt.

I knew that the five paragraph essay format was what my students needed to help them pass our state’s writing assessment but I had no idea where to start.

I researched the few grade-appropriate essays I could find online (these were the days before Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers) and determined that there was a structure to follow.

Every essay followed the same basic structure. I taught the structure to my students and they did well.

I have been teaching five paragraph essay structure and everything that goes with it for several years now. I hope that after you read this blog post, you will have a good understanding of how to teach and grade five paragraph essays.

Once you’ve learned all about teaching basic essay structure, you’ll be ready to grow your writers from “blah” to brilliant! 

Teaching five paragraph essays is just one part of teaching 5th grade writing. Click here to find out exactly how I teach writing to my 5th graders! 

Five paragraph essays - Start with simple paragraphs!

Start with Simple Paragraphs

We always start with simple paragraphs.

Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks. Trust me!

We spend a while cementing paragraph structure:

Topic Sentence

Closing Sentence

I give students topics, they come up with their own topics, we write together, they write with a partner or independently, the more variety, the better.

We have fun with simple paragraphs. Then, it’s time to move on to body paragraphs.

Five paragraph essays - organize and write body paragraphs

Organize and Write Body Paragraphs

Please refer to my five paragraph essay organizer below.

The three body paragraphs are absolutely crucial to the success of the five paragraph essay.

Some teachers have trouble teaching the structure of five paragraph essays because they start with the introduction paragraph.

Always teach the body paragraphs first!

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

I had a teacher say to me once, “What’s the point of just writing parts of the essay? They need to write the entire five paragraphs to get all of the practice they need.”

I understand that point. However, think of it as building a house. Should you test out the foundation and make sure it’s sound and sturdy before building on top of it? Absolutely! That’s what we’re doing here.

The three body paragraphs are the foundation of the essay.

Ask students to write out their three body paragraphs just like they have practiced…Topic sentence…Detail 1…Detail 2…Detail 3…Closing Sentence.

I “ooooh and aaaah” over their three paragraphs. Students are on their way to five paragraph essays, so be sure to build their confidence.

Five paragraph essays - introduction paragraphs

Teach the Introduction Paragraph

I have to say, this is my favorite paragraph to teach. The introduction paragraph is what draws readers into the essay and makes them want to read more.

We start with what I call a “hook.” The hook captures the readers’ attention and can come in many forms: asking a question, making a bold statement, sharing a memory, etc.

After the hook, I ask students to add a sentence or two of applicable commentary about the hook or about the prompt in general.

Finally, we add the thesis sentence. The thesis sentence always follows the same formula: Restate the prompt, topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3.

That’s all you need to write an excellent introduction paragraph!

I do suggest having students write the introduction paragraph plus body paragraphs a couple of times before teaching the closing paragraph.

Five paragraph essays - teach the closing paragraph

Teach the Closing Paragraph

In the conclusion paragraph, we mainly focus on restating the thesis and including an engaging closing thought.

With my students, I use the analogy of a gift.

The introduction paragraph and body paragraphs are the gift and the conclusion paragraph is the ribbon that ties everything together and finishes the package.

When you talk about restating the thesis sentence, tell students that they need to make it sound different enough from their original thesis sentence to save their readers from boredom.

Who wants to read the same thing twice? No one!

Students can change up the format and wording a bit to make it fresh.

I enjoy teaching the closing thought because it’s so open to however students want to create it.

Ways to write the closing thought: ask a question, personal statement, call to action, or even a quote. 

I especially like reading the essays in which a quote is used as a closing thought or a powerful statement is used.

Example of a Five paragraph essays

Example of a full five paragraph essay

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Let’s Talk About Color-Coding!

Who doesn’t like to color? This is coloring with a purpose!

Training your students to color-code their paragraphs and essays will make grading so much easier and will provide reminders and reinforcements for students.

When students color-code their writing, they must think about the parts of their paragraphs, like topic sentences, details, and the closing sentence.

They will be able to see if they are missing something or if they’ve written something out of order.

Color-coding is a wonderful help for the teacher because you can skim to ensure that all parts of your students’ paragraphs and essays are present.

Also, when you are grading, you can quickly scan the paragraphs and essays. Trust me, you will develop a quick essay-grading ability.

I start color-coding with my students at the very beginning when they are working on simple paragraphs. I add the additional elements of the color-code as we progress through our five paragraph essays.

This is the code that I use:

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Let’s Talk About Grading Five Paragraph Essays!

Imagine a lonely, stressed teacher grading five paragraph essays on the couch while her husband is working the night shift.

That was me!

Seriously, guys, I would spend about ten minutes per essay. I marked every little error, I made notes for improvement and notes of encouragement. I reworked their incorrect structure.

Those papers were full of marks.

On Monday, I proudly brought back the essays and asked students to look over them and learn what they needed to fix for next time.

You can guess what happened… there were lots of graded essays in the trashcan at the end of the day.

Make grading five paragraph essays easier!

I decided that my grading practices had to change. I needed my weekends back and my students needed to find their own errors!

This is my best advice:

STOP correcting every error!

Your students are not benefiting from marks all over their writing. They need to find those errors themselves so that they will remember their mistakes and change their writing habits.

Do a quick scan of each student’s writing as soon as it’s turned in to you.

If there are major problems with a student’s writing, call him/her over individually and show him/her what needs to be fixed or put the student with a competent peer editor who will help them fix mistakes.

If you have several students who are struggling with a skill, like closing sentences, do a mini-lesson on this topic.

You can do a mini-lesson with a small group. However, I prefer doing mini-lessons with the entire class. The kids who need help will get it and the rest of your class will receive a refresher.

It’s OK if there are some small spelling/grammar mistakes!

If the errors are few and they don’t take away from the meaning/flow of the essay, I don’t worry about them.

Our students are still learning.

Even your brightest star writer will have a few spelling/grammar mistakes from time to time.

Don’t discourage students from writing because of small errors.

Students who receive papers back with markings all over them don’t think, “Oh boy, my teacher has made it so easy for me to make all of these corrections.” They are thinking, “What’s the point in writing? I must be a terrible writer. Look at all of these mistakes.”

If your students are taking a standardized writing assessment, the structure and flow of their essays will be worth much more than perfect spelling.

Need more help?

I created this five paragraph essay instructional unit for teachers who are new to teaching five paragraph essays OR just need all of the materials in one place.

“Teacher Talk” pages will guide you through the unit and this unit contains all materials needed to help students plan, organize, and write amazing five paragraph essays! Click here to check it out:

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

I have a freebie for you! Enter your first name and email address below. You’ll receive three original prompts with five paragraph essay organizers AND two lined final draft pages!

Once your students are good essay writers…

These task cards will help your students stay sharp on their five paragraph essay knowledge. Students will review hooks (attention-getters), thesis sentences, body paragraphs, topic sentences, closings, and more. Each card contains a unique writing example!

I suggest using these task cards as a quiz/test, scoot game, individual review, or cooperative group activity.

Click on the image to view these task cards:

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

To save this post for later, simply pin this image to your teacher Pinterest board!

21 comments.

Wow! I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve always stressed over the thought of teaching writing, but your blog makes me think I can do it successfully. Putting your writing packet on my TPT wish list!

Thank you, Shannon! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I am so glad that my blog post was helpful to you!

Thanks for the tips! When I taught 6th grade I taught this same subject matter, but struggled to get started. I wish I had this then!

I appreciate your comment! Teaching was much different before Pinterest, wasn’t it?!?

This helped me so much!🙂 thanks a lot, I imagined being one student of yours. I’d be so smart and good at essays! Would’ve been so much easier in person❤️❤️❤️

Thank you so much, Aizlyn!

Thank you so much for this! May I ask where I can see the rubric for scoring the compositions?

You are so welcome! Click on the resource link. Then, you will see the rubric in the preview!

Thank you so much,I am a parent and this really helped me be clear how to guide my son. God bless you always.,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

you are welcome!!!

This looks great! Looking forward to using your tips and freebies with my 6th graders. 🙂 THANK YOU.

You are so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

Can’t wait to use this with my class tomorrow! Thanks a bunch for sharing!!

You are so welcome, Amy!

Thank you for making it easy to teach an essay with clarity.

You are very welcome, Yamuna! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback 🙂

I am so happy I discovered your blog. I just started teaching grade 5 in September I have been searching for a simple method to hel me in guiding them in writing. I will be putting your method into practice in the coming week.

That’s wonderful, Cherry! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Welcome to fifth grade 🙂

Beautiful lesson well explained! Thank you so very much .

Thank you so much, Cheryl!

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How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

Last Updated: April 4, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 524,607 times.

Five paragraph essays are a common assignment throughout your school career, especially in high school and college. Since any subject can include a five paragraph essay, you’ll want to be good at writing them. Luckily, five-paragraph essays are really easy to write if you know the expected format and give yourself the time you need to write it. To write your five paragraph essay, draft your introduction, develop three body paragraphs, write your conclusion, and revise and edit your essay.

Drafting Your Introduction

A draft of a hook for an essay written on a piece of paper.

  • For example, you could phrase your hook like this: Nature’s life cycle is often used as a metaphor to convey ideas about the passage of life.
  • If you are writing a persuasive essay, don’t include your stance in your hook.
  • Don’t say “In this essay” or “I am going to show.” Instead, use the “show, don’t tell” technique using descriptive language.
  • It’s often easiest to come up with your hook after you write the rest of your essay. If you’re struggling to come up with one, use a basic placeholder and then create a better hook when you revise your essay.

Step 2 Include a sentence about your topic that provides more information.

  • Don’t reveal your main points yet.
  • For example, you could say something like this: While spring compares with birth, summer can symbolize maturity, with fall and winter showing a descent toward death.

Step 3 Write another sentence about your topic that leads to your thesis.

  • This sentence depends on what type of paper you’re writing. If it’s an argumentative paper, introduce both sides of the argument. In an informative paper, mention the central idea and focus.
  • As an example, you could narrow your topic like this: Writers often use nature metaphors in their work to show themes about life, such as the blossoming of youth.

Step 4 Finish the introduction...

  • For example, your thesis could read like this: In the poem “Raspberries,” the author shows youth through the ripening berries, summer blossoming, and blushing color of the fruit.
  • Each of the three examples provided in the thesis will become the topic of a body paragraph. For the example thesis, you would have body paragraphs about ripening berries, summer blossoming, and the blushing color of the fruit.

Developing Three Body Paragraphs

Step 1 Arrange your points to sandwich your weakest.

  • You should include three body paragraphs, one for each supporting point.

Step 2 Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence.

  • Your topic sentence is like a mini-thesis for just that paragraph.
  • Use a quote related to your thesis and analyze it in the body paragraph. If you use a topic sentence, put the quote next.
  • For example, your topic sentence could look like this: Ripening berries show youth in the poem “Raspberries” by reaching maturity and becoming ready for picking.

Step 3 Provide your evidence or examples.

  • Each paragraph should contain two to three examples or pieces of evidence.
  • If you use research, cite your sources in the appropriate format that your instructor specifies.

Step 4 Add your own commentary.

  • Include two to three sentences of commentary for each example or piece of evidence.
  • Depending on the type of evidence or examples, it’s often best to alternate your evidence and commentary throughout the paragraph. For example, provide one example, then provide the commentary.

Step 5 Conclude your paragraph by linking back to your thesis.

  • For example, you could wrap up your paragraph like this: As the girl plucks the ripe raspberries from the bush and eats them, her actions represent her own youth and readiness to be “plucked” by someone.

Drafting Your Conclusion

Step 1 Restate your thesis.

  • For example, you could restate your thesis like this: The poem “Raspberries” provides an allegorical representation of youth through a metaphor of ripening berries, summer blossoming, and blushing color of the fruit.
  • If you're a beginning writer, it's okay to start your conclusion with "In conclusion." However, if you're an advanced writer, avoid starting your conclusion with statements like “In conclusion,” “To conclude,” or “In the end.”

Step 2 Summarize how your points supported your thesis.

  • Use an authoritative tone as you restate your arguments so that your reader walks away knowing that you are correct.

Step 3 Avoid introducing new information.

  • Include a call to action.
  • Provide a warning about what could happen if your stance is ignored.
  • Create an image in the reader’s mind.
  • Include a quote.
  • Make a universal statement about life.

Revising and Editing Your Essay

Step 1 Use spell check.

  • Always reread your sentence to make sure that the word processor is suggesting the right word. If you’ve misspelled a word that is similar to another word, then it’s possible that your spell check could suggest the wrong spelling, such as “then” instead of “than.”

Step 2 Proofread your essay.

  • Look for errors that your spell checker missed.
  • If you can, ask someone else to proofread your paper. They will usually spot errors that you overlooked.

Step 3 Revise your essay to improve the flow.

  • Combine choppy sentences.
  • Breakup long, convoluted sentences into shorter sentences.
  • Rewrite fragments and run-on sentences.

Step 4 Fix your formatting.

  • If you have cited sources, make sure that you include a reference page in the style chosen by your instructor.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

  • Never plagiarize an essay, which means copying someone’s work or ideas without giving them credit. Your teacher will deny you credit for the essay, and you may also get a discipline consequence. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

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Write a Comparative Essay

  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/five-paragraph-essay/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/college-writing/
  • ↑ https://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/FiveParagraphEssayOutlineJuly08_000.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789530/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/ending-essay-conclusions
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_suggestions.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write a five paragraph essay, start with an introductory paragraph that includes a hook to capture your audience’s attention, and a thesis that explains the main point you’re trying to make. Then, use the next 3 paragraphs to explain 3 separate points that support your thesis. As you explain each point, use evidence from your research or examples in the text you’re discussing. Finally, conclude your essay with a paragraph summing up the points you’ve made and telling the reader how those points support your thesis. For tips on how to revise your essay to improve the flow and formatting, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay

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  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows a prescribed format of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph, and is typically taught during primary English education and applied on standardized testing throughout schooling.

Learning to write a high-quality five-paragraph essay is an essential skill for students in early English classes as it allows them to express certain ideas, claims, or concepts in an organized manner, complete with evidence that supports each of these notions. Later, though, students may decide to stray from the standard five-paragraph format and venture into writing an  exploratory essay  instead.

Still, teaching students to organize essays into the five-paragraph format is an easy way to introduce them to writing literary criticism, which will be tested time and again throughout their primary, secondary, and further education.

Writing a Good Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph in your essay, and it should accomplish a few specific goals: capture the reader's interest, introduce the topic, and make a claim or express an opinion in a thesis statement.

It's a good idea to start your essay with a hook (fascinating statement) to pique the reader's interest, though this can also be accomplished by using descriptive words, an anecdote, an intriguing question, or an interesting fact. Students can practice with creative writing prompts to get some ideas for interesting ways to start an essay.

The next few sentences should explain your first statement, and prepare the reader for your thesis statement, which is typically the last sentence in the introduction. Your  thesis sentence  should provide your specific assertion and convey a clear point of view, which is typically divided into three distinct arguments that support this assertation, which will each serve as central themes for the body paragraphs.

Writing Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay will include three body paragraphs in a five-paragraph essay format, each limited to one main idea that supports your thesis.

To correctly write each of these three body paragraphs, you should state your supporting idea, your topic sentence, then back it up with two or three sentences of evidence. Use examples that validate the claim before concluding the paragraph and using transition words to lead to the paragraph that follows — meaning that all of your body paragraphs should follow the pattern of "statement, supporting ideas, transition statement."

Words to use as you transition from one paragraph to another include: moreover, in fact, on the whole, furthermore, as a result, simply put, for this reason, similarly, likewise, it follows that, naturally, by comparison, surely, and yet.

Writing a Conclusion

The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim (from your thesis sentence). It should point out your main points, but should not repeat specific examples, and should, as always, leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The first sentence of the conclusion, therefore, should be used to restate the supporting claims argued in the body paragraphs as they relate to the thesis statement, then the next few sentences should be used to explain how the essay's main points can lead outward, perhaps to further thought on the topic. Ending the conclusion with a question, anecdote, or final pondering is a great way to leave a lasting impact.

Once you complete the first draft of your essay, it's a good idea to re-visit the thesis statement in your first paragraph. Read your essay to see if it flows well, and you might find that the supporting paragraphs are strong, but they don't address the exact focus of your thesis. Simply re-write your thesis sentence to fit your body and summary more exactly, and adjust the conclusion to wrap it all up nicely.

Practice Writing a Five-Paragraph Essay

Students can use the following steps to write a standard essay on any given topic. First, choose a topic, or ask your students to choose their topic, then allow them to form a basic five-paragraph by following these steps:

  • Decide on your  basic thesis , your idea of a topic to discuss.
  • Decide on three pieces of supporting evidence you will use to prove your thesis.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, including your thesis and evidence (in order of strength).
  • Write your first body paragraph, starting with restating your thesis and focusing on your first piece of supporting evidence.
  • End your first paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to the next body paragraph.
  • Write paragraph two of the body focussing on your second piece of evidence. Once again make the connection between your thesis and this piece of evidence.
  • End your second paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to paragraph number three.
  • Repeat step 6 using your third piece of evidence.
  • Begin your concluding paragraph by restating your thesis. Include the three points you've used to prove your thesis.
  • End with a punch, a question, an anecdote, or an entertaining thought that will stay with the reader.

Once a student can master these 10 simple steps, writing a basic five-paragraph essay will be a piece of cake, so long as the student does so correctly and includes enough supporting information in each paragraph that all relate to the same centralized main idea, the thesis of the essay.

Limitations of the Five-Paragraph Essay

The five-paragraph essay is merely a starting point for students hoping to express their ideas in academic writing; there are some other forms and styles of writing that students should use to express their vocabulary in the written form.

According to Tory Young's "Studying English Literature: A Practical Guide":

"Although school students in the U.S. are examined on their ability to write a  five-paragraph essay , its  raison d'être  is purportedly to give practice in basic writing skills that will lead to future success in more varied forms. Detractors feel, however, that writing to rule in this way is more likely to discourage imaginative writing and thinking than enable it. . . . The five-paragraph essay is less aware of its  audience  and sets out only to present information, an account or a kind of story rather than explicitly to persuade the reader."

Students should instead be asked to write other forms, such as journal entries, blog posts, reviews of goods or services, multi-paragraph research papers, and freeform expository writing around a central theme. Although five-paragraph essays are the golden rule when writing for standardized tests, experimentation with expression should be encouraged throughout primary schooling to bolster students' abilities to utilize the English language fully.

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This form of writing goes by different names. Maybe you've heard some of them before: "The Basic Essay," "The Academic Response Essay," "The 1-3-1 Essay." Regardless of what you've heard, the name you should remember is "The Easy Essay."

Once you are shown how this works--and it only takes a few minutes--you will have in your hands the secret to writing well on almost any academic assignment. Here is how it goes.

Secret #1—The Magic of Three

Three has always been a magic number for humans, from fairy tales like "The Three Little Pigs" to sayings like “third time’s a charm.” Three seems to be an ideal number for us--including the academic essay. So whenever you are given a topic to write about, a good place to begin is with a list of three. Here are some examples (three of them, of course):

Topic : What are the essential characteristics of a good parent? Think in threes and you might come up with:

  • unconditional love 

Certainly, there are more characteristics of good parents you could name, but for our essay, we will work in threes.

Here's a topic that deals with a controversial issue:

Topic : Should women in the military be given frontline combat duties?

  • The first reason that women should be assigned to combat is equality. 
  • The second reason is their great teamwork. 
  • The third reason is their courage.

As you see, regardless of the topic, we can list three points about it. And if you wonder about the repetition of words and structure when stating the three points, in this case, repetition is a good thing. Words that seem redundant when close together in an outline will be separated by the actual paragraphs of your essay. So in the essay instead of seeming redundant they will be welcome as signals to the reader of your essay’s main parts.

Finally, when the topic is an academic one, your first goal is the same: create a list of three.

Topic: Why do so many students fail to complete their college degree?

  • First, students often...
  • Second, many students cannot...
  • Finally, students find that...

Regardless of the reasons you might come up with to finish these sentences, the formula is still the same.

Secret #2: The Thesis Formula

Now with your list of three, you can write the sentence that every essay must have—the thesis, sometimes called the "controlling idea," "overall point," or "position statement." In other words, it is the main idea of the essay that you will try to support, illustrate, or corroborate.

Here’s a simple formula for a thesis: The topic + your position on the topic = your thesis.

Let’s apply this formula to one of our examples:

Topic: Essential characteristics of a good parent Your Position: patience, respect, love Thesis: The essential characteristics of a good parent are patience, respect, and love.

As you see, all we did was combine the topic with our position/opinion on it into a single sentence to produce the thesis: The essential characteristics of a good parent are patience, respect, and love.

In this case, we chose to list three main points as part of our thesis. Sometimes that’s a good strategy. However, you can summarize them if you wish, as in this example:

Topic: Women in combat duty in the military Your Position: They deserve it Thesis: Women deserve to be assigned combat duty in the military.

This type of thesis is shorter and easier to write because it provides the overall position or opinion without forcing you to list the support for it in the thesis, which can get awkward and take away from your strong position statement. The three reasons women deserve to be assigned combat duties--equality, teamwork, courage--will be the subjects of your three body paragraphs and do not need to be mentioned until the body paragraph in which they appear.

Secret #3: The 1-3-1 Outline

With your thesis and list of three main points, you can quickly draw a basic outline of the paragraphs of your essay. You’ll then see why this is often called the 1-3-1 essay.

  • Supporting Evidence for Claim 1    
  • Supporting Evidence for Claim 2
  • Supporting Evidence for Claim 3

The five-paragraph essay consists of one introduction paragraph (with the thesis at its end), three body paragraphs (each beginning with one of three main points) and one last paragraph—the conclusion. 1-3-1.

Once you have this outline, you have the basic template for most academic writing. Most of all, you have an organized way to approach virtually any topic you are assigned.

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how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay: Outline, Example

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

‍ Imagine this:

You have to write your first essay, but you’re not sure where to start. You have a hundred questions , and more are coming to you every minute, but you’re afraid to ask the teacher for help.

What’s the difference between an argumentative essay and an informative essay? How will I be graded? What must I include? The list goes on. Well, first, take a breath. Before you tackle different essay varieties, grading rubrics, and the bullet points of exactly what should go in your essay, you need to make sure you understand structure. The 5 paragraph essay format is a classic example of an essay, and once you know how to create a 5 paragraph essay outline, you can write any essay that’s assigned to you.

Perfecting the art of essay writing is not only essential for acing your assignments but also for securing financial support as you transition from high school to college. A well-structured essay, such as the 5-paragraph essay, showcases your writing prowess and your ability to articulate ideas in a coherent and compelling manner. As you master the formula of a 5-paragraph essay, consider leveraging these skills to apply for scholarships. Numerous scholarships are specifically geared towards high school seniors, offering a financial launching pad for your college adventure. The skills you hone while crafting precise and impactful essays will serve you well as you embark on the exciting journey of drafting scholarship essays, each a stepping stone toward your higher education and a bright future. If you need additional support or guidance, don't hesitate to explore the " pay for an essay " options.

The 5 Paragraph Essay Outline

Don’t know the 5 paragraph essay structure? It’s pretty simple. Here’s the basic outline you should follow:

5 paragraph essay

Now let’s discuss what should go in each paragraph. The following 5 paragraph essay template by our service should tell you exactly what you need to do to complete your assignment.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Paragraph 1: Introduction

In the introduction, you should provide background information on your topic. Usually, this information should be factual, especially for a history paper, but you can be creative in how you present it. The key is that you want to intrigue the reader. You want to draw the reader into your topic by creating a natural curiosity about it.

Somewhere in the middle of your introduction, you need to present the 3 main points you will discuss in your 5 paragraph essay . These 3 points are crucial for the basic essay, as you need to ensure you have enough to talk about, and it’s best to introduce them in the first paragraph. However, keep in mind that as your essays get longer, you may need to use more than 3 main points. That’s not something you should worry about now, though.

In any essay, your introductory paragraph should end with a strong thesis statement that tells readers exactly what you aim to prove. If the essay is meant only to inform, the thesis statement should clarify to readers exactly what you’re going to inform them of.

Paragraph 2: First Main Point

The second paragraph is where you begin laying out the 3 main points that you promised in your introduction. In this paragraph, the first sentence should transition from the previous paragraph to the current one. It should also clearly introduce the topic, your first main point.

The sentences that follow should provide examples and support, or evidence, for your topic . Readers should see that every example and every piece of support you provide (e.g., quotes, graphs, paraphrased information) is connected to your topic. They should never be left wondering why you included something.

Paragraph 3: Second Main Point

The third paragraph of your 5 paragraph essay is where you lay out the second main point. As the previous paragraph, it should begin with a transition and a description of the topic you’re about to discuss. Any examples or support you provide should be related to the topic at hand.

Paragraph 4: Third Main Point

The fourth paragraph is where you lay out the third main point that you promised in your essay’s introduction. Like any paragraph, it should have a transition and a topic sentence, and any examples or support should be related and interesting.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

The last paragraph of a 5 paragraph essay — or any length should be a conclusion . It should not present new information, but it should always wrap up your discussion. One way to conclude is to summarize your 3 main points and then leave the reader with some key takeaways or a final thought about your thesis that drives your essay home.

However, your essay should not end with a cliffhanger. Remember that idea of cohesion? When the reader finishes your essay, he or she should feel like the information or argument is complete and fascinating.

Creating the 5 Paragraph Essay Graphic Organizer

Now that you understand the 5 paragraph essay format, it’s time to begin planning and writing your essay. To do that, custom writing professionals suggest using a graphic organizer. It can be a simple outline in bullet points, or it can be more visual in nature.

For example, you can create a mind map with your thesis idea — or even the whole thesis sentence — in the middle. Circle your thesis. From there, you can draw lines from the thesis outward and create new bubbles for your mind map, perhaps showing the main points you intend to discuss. Your mind map can include any information that’s helpful, and you may find that you want to expand on each main point with new bubbles.

PRODUCTION: Create a simple drawing of a mind map. Put the word “Thesis” in the middle (circled), and then put the words “Point 1,” “Point 2,” and “Point 3” around it. Draw circles around those words, and connect them to “Thesis” using lines. See example below.

Don’t spend too much time creating a graphic organizer, though. At some point, you need to start writing your 5 paragraph essay! Then the real fun begins.

5 paragraph win

The 5 Paragraph Essay Rubric

If you’re wondering how your essay will be graded, you’re not alone. While the exact rubric your teacher uses will vary, here’s a basic one that may help you see what’s expected in your essay.

Grade A: Excellent

  • Both introduction and thesis are strong.
  • Details and examples are strong and well organized.
  • The conclusion is strong enough.
  • Grammar is correct.

Grade B: Good

  • Has some spelling and grammar errors.

Grade C: Fair

  • The introduction is good, but the thesis is weak.
  • Examples used are weak.
  • The conclusion is weak.
  • Has major spelling and grammar errors.

Grade D: Poor

  • Introduction and thesis are weak.
  • Details and examples are weak and somewhat unorganized.
  • Details or examples are few.
  • Does not have a conclusion.
  • Has serious spelling and grammar errors.

Grade F: Unsatisfactory

  • Does not contain a thesis, and introduction is weak.
  • Details and examples are weak and have no clear organization, or there are none at all.

In some cases, your teacher may give you a rubric before you start your essay. If so, make sure you read it carefully and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. The rubric should tell you exactly what the teacher is looking for, whether it’s a 5 paragraph essay or something much longer. To succeed with your task, please find some essay writing tips .

5 Paragraph Essay Sample

Below you can find free 5 Paragraph essay sample called " The Impact of Technology on Education ".

"In today's rapidly advancing world, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, revolutionizing various sectors, including education. Its influence on the way we learn, teach, and interact with educational materials is undeniable. This essay examines the significant impact of technology on education, highlighting its benefits and exploring real-life examples that illustrate its transformative power.

One of the primary benefits of technology in education is the enhanced accessibility to information. The internet has brought a wealth of knowledge right to our fingertips. Students can now access a vast array of educational resources, such as e-books, online articles, and interactive learning platforms. For instance, platforms like Khan Academy provide video tutorials and practice exercises on various subjects, enabling students to learn at their own pace and revisit concepts as needed. Furthermore, online forums and discussion boards foster collaborative learning, connecting students and educators from around the globe to share ideas and insights.

Another key advantage of technology in education is its ability to promote active and personalized learning. With the advent of educational software and applications, students can engage in interactive activities that cater to their individual needs and learning styles. For example, adaptive learning platforms like Duolingo tailor language lessons based on the learner's proficiency level and progress. This personalized approach helps students stay motivated and enhances their comprehension and retention of the material. Additionally, digital simulations and virtual reality tools provide immersive learning experiences, allowing students to explore complex concepts in a hands-on and engaging manner.

Furthermore, technology has revolutionized the way educators deliver instruction and assess students' progress. Online learning management systems, such as Moodle and Canvas, enable teachers to create and share course materials, assign tasks, and provide timely feedback. These platforms streamline administrative tasks, giving educators more time to focus on designing innovative lessons and individualized support for students. Moreover, digital assessment tools offer immediate feedback, enabling students to track their progress and identify areas for improvement. Platforms like Kahoot! and Quizlet make learning enjoyable by incorporating gamification elements, making the assessment process interactive and engaging.

In conclusion, technology has had a profound impact on education, transforming the way we learn and teach. The accessibility to vast amounts of information, the promotion of active and personalized learning, and the innovative methods of instruction and assessment are just a few examples of the positive effects of technology in education. However, it is important to ensure that technology is used as a tool to enhance learning rather than replace traditional teaching methods. As we continue to embrace technological advancements, it is crucial to strike a balance between leveraging its benefits and maintaining the human element in education. By doing so, we can harness the full potential of technology to create a future where education is accessible, engaging, and empowering for all learners."

Final Thoughts on the 5 Paragraph Essay

Once you’ve mastered the format of the 5 paragraph essay, you can write a paper at any length imaginable. Remember that it’s helpful to create an outline or graphic organizer to organize your ideas before you start writing , especially for a longer essay. If you have a rubric ahead of time, you’ll know exactly what you need to watch out for as you edit and polish your paper.

how to write the best 5 paragaph essay

With the above information at your disposal and a rubric in-hand, you should have no excuses for a poor grade. Just be mindful of how much time you have to work, and break the writing into small chunks if you need to. Always start early to get the best grade possible.

Still not sure how to write a good 5 paragraph essay? You can order a high-quality custom essay from us or just take advantage of our top-notch paper editing and rewriting services. So in other words, we’ll write your essay from scratch, write a new draft, or just clean up the draft you’ve already written. Whatever you need to finish your writing and get an excellent grade, you can buy it right here. Check out our reviews if you want to see what some happy customers have said.

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Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay: Tips to Make It Easier

Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay: Tips to Make It Easier

Even though students start learning about the 5-paragraph essay in middle school (sometimes even elementary!), it seems like they magically forget everything by high school. In this post, I hope to share some tips for teaching the 5-paragraph essay to teens.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #1: Know Your Success Criteria

Before even discussing the 5-paragraph essay with students, make sure you know your own success criteria.

Success criteria are the standards by which you’ll measure students’ ability with the task. 

There are multiple ways to approach the 5-paragraph essay, and every teacher has his or her preferences. Maybe for you starting the essay with a rhetorical question is just too blase, and you expect a more exciting hook. Perhaps you expect seven sentences in a body paragraph while your colleague is content with five. 

Make sure you know what success looks like in your classroom before you begin teaching anything to students. 

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #2: Don’t Do It In Isolation

Teaching the 5-paragraph essay just for the sake of it is never going to work. Students need buy-in before they’ll even think about attempting something hard. 

So try to avoid a unit that’s just about writing a 5-paragraph essay. Instead, make sure students have a compelling topic to write about.

This could be a literary analysis essay–especially if the novel in question is a hit with students. 

It could also be a research paper in which students can choose between engaging and controversial topics. 

Give students the topic about which they’ll be writing first. (I would even give them the actual essay assignment before talking about how to write an essay.)

If you can get them to care about the content of their essay, getting them to understand the format will be much easier. 

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Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #3: Break It Down Piece By Piece

This is where high school teachers mess up. They assume that, because students have probably done this before in earlier grades, they can rush the essay writing process. Sadly, you can’t.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

While some students might be able to write a 5-paragraph essay in their sleep, a lot will have completely forgotten the format. Or they’ll struggle with citations and tracking their sources. Or they remember what the thesis statement is but can’t start their body paragraphs. 

For most students, there are going to be holes in their knowledge. Go over the format of the 5-paragraph essay slowly.

In my 5-Paragraph Essay Mini-lessons resource , I break down the 5-paragraph essay into five lessons: an overview, the introduction paragraph, the body paragraphs, the conclusion paragraph, and citing sources. 

You could break this down even further and spend an entire day talking about thesis statements or writing conclusion sentences. 

Basically, while you can teach the 5-paragraph essay too quickly, it’s almost impossible to go too slowly.  

(Want to break down the 5-paragraph essay even further or have plenty of time to build up students’ skills? Try teaching claim, evidence, and reasoning skills first! This will make a huge chunk of the 5-paragraph essay a breeze for your students!)

Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #4: Provide Examples

Just like with everything else you teach, you can’t provide too many examples for students. 

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

When it comes to the 5-paragraph essay, you should even present examples for the pieces of paragraphs. (“Here are some examples of thesis statements…” and “Here are some examples of clinchers…” etc.)

If possible, however, I recommend you not show examples using the same topic that your students will be using for their papers. It’s too tempting for students to copy. 

Instead, model for students how they can rephrase the essay question you gave them and fill in the blanks to create their own thesis statement. Or create sentence starters to help struggling students begin their claims. 

Don’t show them a completely done essay on their topic; give them tools to help them get there on their own. 

But do use examples from other essay topics, so students can learn what a strong essay looks like. 

Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #5: Don’t Write It Chronologically

When I have students write an essay, I never have them write it from beginning to end. 

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Instead, we spend a day writing our thesis statements. The next day, we write all of our claims. The day after, we gather and construct our evidence, and so on. 

I encourage my students to write in the order of what is most important to the overall essay–not in chronological order.  (And I use the most scaffolded outline in this resource to do so.)

Writing a hook (the first sentence of the essay) can require some creative thinking. For some students, this will completely stall them out for days–even weeks–if they let it. And while they may end the unit with the world’s greatest hook, they’ll still have the rest of the essay to write.

Instead, if I can get students to start with the thesis statement, the rest of the essay will be easier. They’ll know their stance and their major ideas. 

Plus, you can grade an essay if it has a few strong ideas strung together. You can’t even begin grading an essay that just has a few sentences of the introduction. 

Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #6: Let Them Use Tools

No, I don’t mean you should accept ChatGPT essays. 

But students could use ChatGPT to ask questions about their topic if they get stuck. They shouldn’t, of course, use this as a source in their essay, but it could help get some struggling students thinking about their major supporting arguments. 

Students should also be allowed to use citation generators like EasyBib.com or CitationMachine.net.  

I, personally, have never formatted a citation by hand since learning about these tools, and if a real-world English teacher isn’t manually citing sources then students shouldn’t certainly have to. 

Instead, make sure students know what proper citations look like and teach them how to use these websites–and their limitations. 

Help students use these websites and double-check the generator’s work, rather than teaching them the useless (and time-consuming) skill of creating citations manually.  

There are all kinds of accessibility tools out there, too. Students who struggle to read should be allowed a screen reading extension–especially for research-heavy papers. 

If you have struggling writers, reach out to your school’s librarian or tech guru to see what kind of software your school computers might already be equipped with to help make essay writing easier for your students.  

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Teaching the 5-paragraph essay probably won’t be the most fun you have in your classroom. But, if you break it down, go slow, and provide plenty of examples, you might be able to avoid a mental breakdown grading those same papers. 

If you’d like to make teaching the 5-paragraph essay as easy as possible on yourself, check out my 5-paragraph essay resources. 

How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay [+Bonus Template]

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Writing an essay, choose a credible structure used by thousands of students around the world. This format is called 5-paragraph essay, and has a couple of simple rules to follow.

🎂 How is an essay like a cake?

🗼 the 3 pillars of a consistent 5-paragraph essay, 🍰 feature of the cake layers, 📑 create a refined essay with our writing hacks, 🕔 draft an astonishing essay with a 5-minute outline, 📝 write a killer paper using our 5-paragraph essay example as a guideline, 🅰 getting an a+ grade for 5 paragraphs writing is easy.

The best part about this type of outline is that it fits any topic. Whether you’re creating a paper on technology, friendship, or global warming, you can use this structure and get a fantastic logical essay with statements, details, and conclusions.

In this article, you’ll know all you need to turn your ideas into an excellent piece of academic writing.

Can’t wait?

So, let’s start!

Did you know that you can effectively unleash your creative capacity and astonish everyone with your talent by creating just 5 paragraphs? Writing a 5-paragraph essay can be easier and faster than baking a 5-layer cake if you know the secret ingredient. Keep reading to get to the essence of 5-PE mastery.

You may be wondering: “What does this kind of essay have in common with a 5-layer cake?”

In fact, both are well-structured. All their components are coherent and interrelated.

  • They start with a solid background (in the essay, an introduction = in the cake, a firm biscuit base).
  • They contain 3 middle layers (3 body paragraphs = 3 cheesecake layers).
  • They finish with a summary that wraps it all up (conclusion = berry jelly with fruits).

5 Paragraphs Essay Structure1.

The 5-paragraph essay writing method helps inexperienced writers to state their ideas within the given topic in the most clear and logical way. Once you understand and get used to this writing formula, you’ll become more comfortable with it. The basic elements of a 5-paragraph essay are 3 pillars you will come to lean on.

So you’ve got a five-paragraph essay assignment.

What does 5 mean here? Why not 2 or 7?

In fact, it consists of 5 paragraphs, made up of 3 main parts:

  • Introduction

Here are the key insights to each component of a correctly structured essay:

Our “cake study comparison” reveals the following distinctive features of the cake layers:

  • Introduction: the solid biscuit base of the cheesecake sets the overall style of your culinary masterpiece. Its sweet and melting taste makes it the most promising part for the end-consumer.
  • Main body: 3 magnificent cheesecake layers, each one different in taste and color, each complementing the creamy flavor of the basic cheesecake part of the cake.
  • Conclusion: a berry jelly with fruits to conclude. Its sour-sweet taste complements the main body and contrasts with the cheesecake, contributing to the inimitable aftertaste.

As for the 5-paragraph essay conclusion, its “aftertaste” is exactly what will stay with your readers after they put down your paper. So carefully consider the structure of your essay to make sure all its parts are coherent and balanced. Take a look at some essay examples to have a better idea of how it can look like.

Now you know about structure, which is the secret ingredient that makes your essay convincing and your cake delicious.

Whatever project you have to complete ‒ creating a 5-paragraph essay or a 5-layer cake ‒ the perfectionist in you may not feel fully satisfied until your masterpiece is flawless. Harness these useful tips if you need to create an engaging essay that your readers will enjoy reading and talking about.

  • To make an effective start, you first need to get organized.
  • Analyze your task in detail.
  • Determine your purpose.
  • Think about your step-by-step plan.
  • Don’t get lost in the detail. Before you set out with the actual writing, map it out . Otherwise, you may get lost.
  • Divide your future essay into sections; develop each piece separately and incrementally.
  • First figure out how to make an outstanding outline, and then you can go ahead and start your essay-building process.
  • Develop your unique writing style and stick to it.
  • Start strong by grabbing the reader’s attention . Aim to keep it until you reach your final point. Stay powerful and convincing.
  • Use active voice instead of passive whenever possible.
  • Don’t let your reader fall asleep: play with your English, vary sentence structures, avoid repetition, sharpen and diversify your vocabulary when you revise the text.
  • Brainstorm to search for the best ideas that support your case. Include only the arguments that are effective and that you have some knowledge of, otherwise you won’t do a good job of presenting them.
  • Writing introductory paragraphs on different topics can be very helpful. It will help set the tone for the paragraph, making it easier to write the supporting sentences. Moreover, seeing your pattern progress is always inspiring!
  • Supporting ideas, examples and other details should all be relevant to the subtopic. It will help you and the readers to stay focused.
  • There are some other specific rules that you can use as a guide to creating an outstanding 5-paragraph essay.
  • Don’t use abbreviations and contractions.
  • Avoid casual language (it’s better not to begin sentences with “sure”, “well”, “yes” or “no”).
  • Don’t use slang (there’s a big difference between academic writing and a message to your friend).
  • Try not to begin your sentences with “There is/are”. For example, instead of “There is a need to edit the essay”, write “Essay editing is essential”.
  • Don’t begin sentences with conjunctions (“and”, “but”, “for”, “yet”, “so”, “or”, “nor”).
  • Avoid using phrases like “a lot”, “lots” and “lots of”. Think about replacing them with “many”, “most”, “much” or “often”.
  • Avoid using exclamation points; stay more or less neutral in your writing.
  • Forget about your writing! Get some rest… and then read it again with fresh eyes. Polish and refine your essay as many times as you need to ‒ you won’t be sorry for spending time on it. Ask someone knowledgeable to review and criticize your essay as well – they may make suggestions that surprise you.
  • Check your writing for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Make sure your ideas flow logically.
  • Avoid too much detail or wordiness.
  • Be concise, specific and brief, but do give details and examples.

Also, make sure to check out free handout about essay writing.

Humans crave order. Anything else can lead them astray. A 5-paragraph essay outline is essential for those who want to create their short essay in the most effective and timely way. An essay outline will streamline your writing; it will also make you focus on the main topic and on the subtopics exposed in each separate part of the paper.

Have a look at our 5-paragraph essay writing outline for “How to Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons”, and use it as an essay sample whenever you need inspiration for the framework of your own essay. It will take you just 5 minutes, and it will considerably save time when it comes to your own essay writing.

How to Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons

You will soon discover that it’s not that difficult to learn how to write a 5-paragraph essay that will hit the spot and win you the highest grade. Our tips for writing a good essay can help you to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively.

Think about all the possible 5-paragraph essay topics and select the one that’s best for you – that’s the one that will make five-paragraph essay writing interesting for you!

Good luck with your writing!

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Breathtakingly amazing article!

Thank you for your feedback! We greatly appreciate it!

Thank you so much. It’ s really great and amusing explanation of how to write an essay.

You’re welcome, Doha! Glad you enjoyed the article.

Your essay writing system is very good.

Thank you so much!

Actually I have difficulties in the introduction of each type of essay, for example, the expository essay “developed by examples or developed by definition”. I need more explanations about each type, please.

Thanks for the feedback, Rawya! We will take into account your suggestion for our next post on essays.

Good tips! I think it can be useful for my writing.

Thanks for the feedback, Sophy!

You’ve got it in one. Couldn’t have put it better.

Glad you liked, Cherilynn!

I’m so grateful to have found this nugget because my students are struggling with essay writing. Thanks.

Thanks for your feedback, Justina! Glad you found my guide helpful 🙂

Five Paragraph Essay Outline

10 May, 2020

7 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

The five paragraph essay exists as one of the most commonly assigned essays, especially for high school students. In fact, the five paragraph essay format is so popular, it is often used not only in the classroom but for exams and admission essays as well. If you’ve never written a five paragraph essay, or find that you simply need a good refresher, you’ve come to the right place! We have thrown out all the useless information and boiled it down to the essential info you need to both understand what a five paragraph essay is and how to write one to earn the grade you want.

five paragraph essay

What is a Five Paragraph Essay?

Unlike some misleading names, the five-paragraph essay is exactly what it sounds like: an essay that consists solely of five paragraphs. This type of essay is strictly about the structure. That’s what matters much more than the topic or questions to be discussed in the essay. The paragraphs in the essay paragraphs follow a very specific outline.

This kind of essay was separated from all other types with a sole purpose – teaching students about the concept of the essay by practicing it’s most basic structure variant. Even though any kind of essay can have five paragraph – from a  definition essay to story-based narrative essay ; five paragraph essay is never limited to the approach. It might look like any other essay, but the structure is the king here.

Meet the Five Paragraph Essay Outline

This type of essay contains three distinctly different kinds of paragraphs including (in order):

  • Introduction paragraph
  • Three body paragraphs
  • Conclusion paragraph

While all three types of paragraphs follow traditional grammar and syntax conventions, what goes into each paragraph varies based on its purpose.

Let’s take a look at what makes each of these paragraphs unique:

5 Paragraph Essay Outline Structure

Introduction

The introduction paragraph should have three key parts: an attention getter , background information , and a thesis statement . These elements should appear in this order; the thesis statement typically appears as the last sentence in the introduction because it acts as a transition to the body paragraphs which each work to support the argument outlined within the thesis. Let’s say that the topic of your five paragraph essay is the best type of pet to own. After doing some research, you decide to write about cats. The attention getter sentence should capture the audience’s attention and make them want to read more about cats. Attention getter sentences often fall into one of four categories:

  • An interesting fact
  • An engaging statistic
  • A relevant quotation
  • A personal anecdote

It’s important to note that a personal anecdote or story from your own life may not be appropriate for all types of essays — especially if an instructor has noted that no personal pronouns be used in the paper.

Related post: How to write an Essay introduction

After gaining the audience’s interest, the next few sentences, anywhere from 3 to 10 sentences, depending upon the essay, should be about background information. Such information may define specific vocabulary or generally provide background information relevant to the topic.

In a five-paragraph essay about cats, relevant background information could include when cats became domesticated, how many breeds of cats are available today, and where individuals can find cats as pets.

Finally, the last part of the introduction paragraph should be the thesis statement. A well-written thesis statement should include an argument and a roadmap on how to prove it.

In this case, a simple yet effective thesis statement could be: “Cats make the best pets because they are intelligent, friendly, and sociable.” The first part, “cats make the best pets” is the argument while the second part, “intelligent, friendly, and sociable” is the roadmap. This is called a roadmap because it outlines the ideas that will guide the paper in the body paragraphs.

According to this thesis statement, there will be a body paragraph that provides evidence that cats are intelligent, another proving that cats are friendly, and a third proving that cats are sociable.

Stuck on writing your outline? Our essay writer will help You!

Body Paragraphs

A typical body paragraph is anywhere from six to twenty sentences; the length of a body paragraph depends upon the amount of research, analysis, and discussion needed in each paragraph to support the argument set forth in the thesis statement. Typically, a body paragraph will follow an organization such as this:

  • Topic sentence
  • Background sentence(s)
  • Explanation

There could be more sentences if you have more quotations from research to include. Additionally, some topics may require several background sentences while others only require one.

Body Paragraphs

Remember: value your time and your teacher’s time; skip writing sentences to pad the length of your paper and ask yourself if each sentence contributes to proving the argument outlined within the thesis. If the sentence doesn’t, get rid of it!

The conclusion paragraph should be the final paragraph in the paper. It is often the shortest paragraph. Its purpose is to review the main points and prove to the audience that the writer has successfully argued his or her point. A conclusion paragraph should never introduce any new information. Most teachers prefer students to skip obvious phrases such as “In conclusion” or “Before ending” because these statements are understood by the reader.

Related post: Cause and Effect essay outline 

Following the conclusion paragraph, you will likely need to create a “Works Cited” and/or a “Bibliography” page if you included any type of research within the five paragraph essay outline. After each quotation or paraphrase in the essay should be a parenthetical citation, and each parenthetical citation should be referenced in the Works Cited and/or Bibliography page. Your teacher or professor should clearly communicate their preference; a Works Cited page exists as a reference for all the works quoted in the essay whereas the Bibliography page lists every source you consulted during the research process.

Tips from our writers

Tips and Tricks

If writing isn’t one of your favorite requirements of academic life, check out these 10 tips and tricks to navigate creating a five paragraph essay smoothly:

  • Begin early
  • Make an appointment with the teacher to discuss your ideas/progress and get feedback
  • Take good notes, and cite the sources as you go
  • Create a sentence outline before the draft
  • Edit the essay twice: once for content, once for grammar
  • Get at least one other person to provide constructive criticism
  • Make an appointment at the Writing Center if your campus has one
  • Hire a professional editing service to catch pesky grammar errors
  • Review the final essay against any provided rubric item by item
  • Check the paper’s formatting for spacing, margins, and headers/footers

Writing assignments are never sprints, but they don’t have to be marathons either — try to find a happy medium!

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Ethical Research Paper Topics

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Art Research Paper Topics

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Five-Paragraph Essay Lesson Plan: Producing Writing

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Five-Paragraph Essay Lesson Plan .

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Five-Paragraph Essay , and supports the standard of developing an organized piece of writing with a clear thesis, relevant details, and a concluding statement. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

As a class, or individually, have students read Tim’s model essay, The Case For a Longer School Year. Ask:

  • What argument is Tim making in his essay?
  • What are his reasons or evidence for his argument?
  • Is Tim’s argument persuasive? Why or why not?
  • What is the purpose of the first paragraph? middle paragraphs? Last paragraph?

Step 2: BUILD KNOWLEDGE

  • Read aloud the description on the Five-Paragraph Essay topic page . 
  • Play the Movie , pausing to check for understanding.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign the Five-Paragraph Essay Quiz , prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Step 4: DEEPEN and EXTEND

Students express what they learned about writing five-paragraph essays while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie : Produce a movie where you present a persuasive argument that follows the format of a five-paragraph essay. 
  • Make-a-Map : Create a concept map that shows the features of each paragraph in a five-paragraph essay. 
  • Creative Coding : Code a meme that shows the benefits of using the five-paragraph essay format.

More to Explore

Related BrainPOP Topics : Deepen understanding of the writing process with these topics: Types of Writing , Writing in Sequence , Research , and Outlines . 

Teacher Support Resources:

  • Pause Point Overview : Video tutorial showing how Pause Points actively engage students to stop, think, and express ideas.  
  • Learning Activities Modifications : Strategies to meet ELL and other instructional and student needs.
  • Learning Activities Support : Resources for best practices using BrainPOP.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

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how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Teaching How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

Having already taught your students how to write a FIVE SENTENCE COMPARISON PARAGRAPH  you have the base materials required to construct a Five Paragraph Essay Outline.

While the Five Paragraph Essay is far from the best form for students to express their ideas, the organizational skills learned while writing a five paragraph essay will built the essential foundation required for their future progress.

Though we will move quickly from how to write a five paragraph essay to writing a more organic multi-paragraphed essay, all teachers must have a handle on how to teach the fundamental skills.

seasons-of-the-year-1127760_960_720

Instruct students to sit in groups of five and provide them with the following quotation, cut up into the five individual sentences:

Summer is better than winter because it offers comfort and freedom.  In the summer people wear shorts and sandals which allow their skin to breath, taking in the fresh air while being warmed by the afternoon sun.  Not only that but the days are longer offering time to swim in neighbourhood pools, bike along wooded paths, and sit outside in the shade of large oak trees reading a new book.  Also, summer brings the Warped Tour music festival, Ribfests, and community BBQs that end in firework displays that turn the night sky red, green, and orange.  During the summer one is granted the opportunity to explore in comfort, from the moment the sun rises until the sun sets fifteen hours later.

Instruct students that they will be rebuilding the paragraph in the most logical manner.

Each group member will then be required to write a justification for why they placed their sentence in the order they did.  Ideally they will come up with some of the following reasons:

  • The first sentence offers a clear opinion, setting up the rest of the paragraph
  • The third and fourth sentences can not be second due to their transitional words, “not only that”, and “also”.
  • the final sentence rephrases the opening opinion while offering a transition into the first body paragraph.
  • The second sentence adds a deeper explanation for the stated opinion, while being free from transitional words, and also being connected to the final sentence’s transition

WhatBinderDotCom - Essay Planning Sheet

Once students have explored the introductory paragraph, provide them with the  ESSAY PLANNING SHEET  (PDF provided in the Resource section at the bottom of this page).

Students will fill out as much of this sheet as possible, based on their current paragraph.  They will start by addressing the thesis of the piece.

Teaching how to Write a Thesis

A strong Thesis has two main parts, the theme the essay will be addressing, and the specific focus that the writer will use to hone their ideas.

You can teach students that the theme is their main thought, and the focus is why someone should care about it.  For example, if you just said, “Summer is better than winter?” why would anyone care about what you had to say.  It fails the “So what?” test.

“Summer is better than winter.” “So what?” “…”

If you can answer “So what?” then you will most likely have a solid foundation for an argument.

“Summer is better than winter.” “So what?” “So, you have more comfort and freedom.” “Ohh, o.k.”

Filling out the Essay Outline Sheet

Students should have the following information based on the paragraph.

ESSAY THEME: Summer is better than Winter. FOCUS:  Summer offers more comfort and freedom. THESIS:  Summer is better than Winter because it offers more comfort and freedom. TOPIC 1: Clothing options SUBTOPIC 1:  Wearing shorts and sandals SUBTOPIC 2:  Loose clothing allows comfort outside SUBTOPIC 3 (Optional): TOPIC 2:  The days are longer SUBTOPIC 1: More time for friends (swimming) SUBTOPIC 2:  More time for solitary activities (reading) SUBTOPIC 3 (Optional):  More time for exercise (biking) TOPIC 3:  More festivals SUBTOPIC 1:  Music festivals (Warped Tour) SUBTOPIC 2:  Food Festivals (Rib Fests) SUBTOPIC 3 (Optional):  Community events (Fireworks)

Once students have filled out the essay outline sheet based on the information provided from the exemplar paragraph, they should begin filling out the “evidence” column.  They should have at least one  SPECIFIC DETAIL  per subtopic.

For example: Warped Tour, 2019 – Cleveland Ohio – June 8th ( https://vanswarpedtour.com/ )

At this stage it’s more important that they’ve recorded their evidence, and know where it’s from, rather than being focused on the correct MLA or APA way to embed and cite their examples.  After all, this is just an outline.

Personal Devices

This is a great opportunity for students to use their personal devices to research specific details.  You may want to take five minutes to teach a mini-lesson on specific vs. vague details.

Once students have completed their outline, and recorded specific details you can move on to having them write a body paragraph.

Writing a Body Paragraph

Explain to your students that a FIVE PARAGRAPH ESSAY  is…  FIVE PARAGRAPHS .  I know this will come as a shock to them, but they may wonder what each of the paragraphs are.   Of course, the five paragraphs are:

  • Introduction

You can explain to students that the opening paragraph they assembled acts as the introduction paragraph, and that each of the three body paragraphs will explore one of the three topics it set out.

You can then provide them with an example of a body paragraph, demonstrating how each subtopic and its supporting evidence, can be integrated to form a coherent paragraph.  Each subtopic should have two or three clear sentences devoted to it.

During the summer months there are far more festivals that provide opportunities for self-expression, and entertainment.  Music festivals take place in large fields where stages have to be quickly assembled and disassembled as the festival moves across the country.  This rapid construction, and comfortable gathering place for people to stand outside can only be accomplished during the summer.  For the comfort of both fans and musicians, The Warped Tour hosts its three shows between “June 8th [in] Cleveland, OH” and “July 20 [in] Mountain View, CA”.  On top of music festivals, summer is also when food festivals attract large crowds.  As they, too, tour from city to city large open air spaces must be free from snow and ice to attract those seeking the finest BBQ their country has to offer.  In Toronto, Canada “Gates open June 28th” for “Toronto Ribfest”.  Providing an opportunity for friends and family to eat together long into the night before the “9:03pm sunset” is something that winter can not match.  Finally, community events such as large firework displays “along the beach, celebrating the birth of [the] nation” can only be appreciated during the warmer months.  Volleyball, picnics, swimming, and bright explosions high in the sky are only ever combined when the water is free from ice, and the air free from snow.  Though music festivals can be expensive, bands often offer free shows during food festivals and community events, allowing those on a budget to fully experience and enjoy everything that summer offers.

Highlight that this paragraph is approximately  250 WORDS.  Most five paragraph essays are given a 1000 WORDS  word count.  This will fit that model:

  • Introduction – 125 Words
  • Body Paragraph 1 – 250 Words
  • Body Paragraph 2 – 250 Words
  • Body Paragraph 3 – 250 Words
  • Conclusion – 125 Words

Next, ensure they understand that each SUBTOPIC  had at least two or three sentences devoted to it, before the paragraph concluded with a transitional and summarizing sentence.

They should also note that each of the subtopics is supported with at least one quotation.

Releasing Responsibility

Allow students to choose either  TOPIC 1  or  TOPIC 2 to develop as their own body paragraph.

If possible, assign different topics to different groups, so that you have at least one group working on  TOPIC 1  and one group working on  TOPIC 2 .

After twenty minutes, have each group write their paragraph on chart paper, and display them in your class.  You will now have an  Introduction ,  Body Paragraph 1 ,  Body Paragraph 2 , and a  Body Paragraph 3 .

Consolidation

To conclude the lesson, and the essay, explain to students that a conclusion should rewrite the information from the introduction, while hammering home any last points they want the reader to take away.

By now, students have a mostly-complete five paragraph essay in front of them.  They should now write the concluding paragraph on a half-sheet of paper, and hand it in as an Exit Card before they leave for the day.

Essay Outline Sheet – WhatBinderDotCom.pdf

What’s Next?

Now that students know how to write a  FIVE PARAGRAPH ESSAY  we will quickly show them why no one actually writes essays that way, and why – going forward – they should avoid writing essays like that as well.

They will learn that a  MULTI-PARAGRAPHED ESSAY  is just as easy to write, and can be written with the same organizational sheets.  This one step will take their work from being ready for the classroom, to being ready for the world at large.

Navigate the Essay Unit

  • How to Teach Essay Writing Skills
  • Identifying and Avoiding Common Essay Problems
  • Teaching how to Write a Five Paragraph Essay
  • Understanding that Five Paragraph Essays do not Exist in the Wild
  • The Importance of Supporting Your Claims with Evidence
  • Embedding Quotations as Supporting Evidence
  • Teaching how to Go from Text, to Outline, to Essay
  • Student Learning through Digital Editing and Revision
  • Release of Responsibility: Writing the Final Essay

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This is super helpful; a life-saver for me, actually. I am a grade one teacher tossed into grade seven this year (due to making class sizes smaller because of COVID) Thank you so much for posting your knowledge free-of-charge for people like me to access freely! Much appreciated!

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How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay: Outline, Examples, & Writing Steps

If you wish a skill that would be helpful not just for middle school or high school, but also for college and university, it would be the skill of a five-paragraph essay. Despite its simple format, many students struggle with such assignments.

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A 5-paragraph essay structure consists of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. It is one of the fundamental techniques for primary English education. It is also used to test the level of knowledge in almost any humanities subject.

  • 👣 7 Writing Steps
  • 📝 Essay Examples

🔗 References

📑 5-paragraph essay outline.

This genre is probably the most structured type of writing. It starts from a broad explanation and definitions, continues with narrow argumentation, and finishes with another broad generalization. The Hamburger Format can help you memorize the step-by-step essay structure .

A Five-Paragraph Essay Consists of an Introductory Paragraph, Three Body Paragraphs, and a Concluding Paragraph

Top Bun: Five-Paragraph Essay Introduction

The first sentence is usually a hook . It may be a rhetorical question, a stunning fact, or an example from real life. Its purpose is to make the reader interested in what’s going to come next.

It is hard to recollect that some 20 years ago, cell phones used to be a luxury.

Then you are supposed to provide a “ trailer for the movie :” hint what you are going to talk about, without revealing the plot. Two or three sentences will suffice.

Secondary school teachers can tell the children to put away their gadgets, but this practice becomes hardly possible at college, where adult people are taught.

The last sentence of an introduction is a thesis . It introduces your message to the reader and is usually arguable.

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This essay explores why it is morally permissible to introduce cell phone control at colleges and what results it may entail.

5-Paragraph Essay Body

Lettuce: paragraph #1.

  • The first paragraph should provide the most prominent and substantial argument .
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence . It links your ideas to the thesis statement. If at some point, you realize that there is a discrepancy between your topic sentences and the thesis, you should update the latter.
  • Then comes the evidence or explanation . Avoid generalizations here. Defend your argument in the most concise manner. If any words could be left out, they should be deleted.
  • Finish each paragraph with an analysis : how does it refer to your thesis?

Tomato: Paragraph #2

The second and third paragraphs follow the same structure. Your “tomato” argument is the weakest and less evident than the first one.

Burger: Paragraph #3

Dedicate the last paragraph to the most persuasive claim. In an argumentative essay, the third paragraph dwells upon the opposing opinion, substantiating its wrongness.

Bottom Bun: Five-Paragraph Essay Conclusion

A conclusion intends to summarize the main body paragraphs and restate the thesis in different words. The last sentence of your conclusion should indicate that the text is over.

Having considered everything mentioned above, it shall be stated that the use of telephones ruins the learning process and should be controlled.

5-Paragraph Essay: Outline Template

To simplify the outline above, feel free to use the following 5-paragraph essay template. It will do for any essay length.

  • “movie trailer”
  • thesis statement
  • topic sentence
  • allusion to thesis
  • overall concluding sentence

How Many Words Is a 5-Paragraph Essay?

A typical five-paragraph essay is 500 to 1000 words long . However, for easy writing, the average of 250 to 500 words is admissible. This word count should be distributed among the introduction, three body paragraphs (each consisting of a topic sentence and at least three evidence sentences), and the conclusion.

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👣 How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay: 7 Steps

Step 1. choose your 5-paragraph essay topic.

As a rule, the teacher provides the topic or at least the scope of topics in the assignment. However, it may happen that you will have to come up with your own theme. To avoid changing the title in the course of writing and starting the whole work from the beginning, make sure you observe the following rules:

  • Avoid overused subjects if you don’t want half of your classmates to have similar essays.
  • Try to find a narrow topic that suggests an argument.
  • The best topic is the one that you would argue with your friend for hours . If you feel excited thinking about it, your readers will enjoy learning about your opinion.

Step 2. Create Your Thesis Statement

Simply put, the thesis statement is the point of your essay. A well-developed thesis statement is a one- or two-sentence summary of what your essay shows and how it shows it. In other words, it should outline the points that will be made in your body and indicate the conclusion made from those points.

A thesis statement is the centerpiece of your essay. And this is why writing a thesis statement should happen first . It shouldn’t be the first sentence of your essay, but it must be in your introduction. Ideally, the thesis statement should be tucked into the middle or end of the first paragraph while writing essay introductions.

Here are a few thesis statement examples to make sure you understand the idea:

Thesis Statement Example #1

“There are many organic foods available today, but the vast majority of conventional foods can be eaten without any concern about the consumption of toxic pesticides. This is because many foods are not grown with pesticides, while thick peels cover the edible parts of other crops, and some agricultural foods are grown with nontoxic pesticides.”

Thesis Statement Example #2

“Detroit did not become the automotive capital of the United States overnight. Rather, automotive manufacturing became established in Detroit because of its position in proximity to raw materials like steel, navigable waterways, and the efforts of local entrepreneurs.”

Thesis Statement Example #3

“Three key design elements that defined the Art Deco movement were bold geometric shapes, rich colors, and luxurious ornamentation.”

Notice the similarities shared by these thesis statements. They each list three points that will be elaborated on in the body. Five paragraph essays rely upon this magic number of 3 points, which is discussed next. And you can also imagine the essay that each of these statements belongs to.

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Step 3. Structure Your 5-Paragraph Essay

Five paragraph essays require a very special sort of discipline. In this case, you only have five paragraphs to work with, so there is only one structure that makes sense: one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and one conclusion paragraph. Above there is detailed information about the five-paragraph essay outline. In the next few paragraphs, its part’s goals and the ideas they should convey are described in more detail.

Step 4. Write Your 5-Paragraph Essay Introduction

The purpose of an introduction is to demonstrate the focus of the essay. An introduction should provide enough information to orient the reader to the essay subject, state the thesis statement, and roughly outline the body’s content.

  • When you are writing an introduction, you first need to grab the attention of the reader . Your introduction’s first sentence should be a bold statement, a striking fact, or a provocative question. The trick here is to use something memorable. This is one reason many essays begin with a famous quote.
  • After you have the attention of the reader, give a little more background about your essay topic.
  • Then use your thesis statement to indicate what your essay is about clearly.
  • After this, you should conclude your introduction with a quick summary of the points you will be making in the body.

Step 5. Write Your 5-Paragraph Essay Body

The purpose of a body is to explain the content of an essay. If you are writing a standard college essay, like an argumentative essay or an analytical essay, each of these paragraphs will unfold one of the points you mentioned in your introduction.

Every paragraph of the body is like a miniature essay:

  • Each paragraph has a point or thesis statement
  • Each paragraph starts with an introductory sentence
  • Each paragraph ends with a brief conclusion

If the body paragraphs feature separate topics, sometimes they will appear disconnected to your reader. Transition sentences fix this problem. As the first or last sentence of a body paragraph, they help transition the reader from one idea to another.

There are countless ways to write transitions, but this is the easiest process. Write each of your body paragraphs as you naturally would. And then revise your text to link the ideas with transitions. One of the basic essay example thesis statements was from an essay about the automotive industry in Detroit. You could link a paragraph about access to raw materials with a paragraph about adjacency to waterways using the following transition sentences:

Transition Sentence: Example #1

“Steel was cheap because it was produced near Detroit, but this raw material was made even cheaper by the Great Lakes’ nearby waterways.”

Transition Sentence: Example #2

“Proximity to coal and iron ore was not the only advantage Detroit had in becoming the automotive capital of the 20th century.”

After you’ve written your essay, go back and check to make sure that you use a transition sentence between every paragraph. Often, you can turn the first or last sentence of a paragraph into a transition.

Step 7. Edit Your 5-Paragraph Essay

For most essays, you will have time to check your work and revise it. Though exams and tests may limit you, try to budget enough time to reread your essay. As you are doing that, here are some great questions to ask yourself. As you answer these questions about your writing , try to put yourself in the position of your reader.

The top trick for how to write a college essay is, of course, the same top trick for writing a high school essay or any other writing at all—that is, rewriting. This is the stage when good writing becomes great writing. This is your chance to fix the issues you uncovered while rereading your essay. Keep it simple. If you encounter a difficult sentence to understand or is more than two lines long, try to figure out ways to break it up. Simplifying your ideas is an essential part of the rewriting process.

📝 5-Paragraph Essay Examples

In this section, you’ll find a free 5-paragraph essay sample. It focuses on the disadvantages of home-based education. Note that the full version of the text is downloadable!

Disadvantages of Home-Based Education

Currently, education seems to be more accessible than ever before. The technological progress of the last century rendered information and learning instruments more available, facilitating alternative education types such as home-based learning. Compared to formal education, homeschooling practices seem to have a long-standing history since for a significant part of human existence knowledge and skills were transmitted directly from parents to their offspring. Although home-based education predates formal schooling, its long history should not be the reason to select this type of education since it has several downsides: effectiveness, socialization, and time and monetary resources.

5-Paragraph Essay Topics

  • Cooperation of Treyarch and Pepsi’s from the virtue ethics perspective. 
  • Examine the situation with food packaging litter in Ireland . 
  • Should World Trade Organization tasks and policies be revised?  
  • Discuss how Codex Hammurabi helps to understand the judicial system of ancient Babylon.  
  • Analyze the stylistic devices Elie Wiesel uses in his novel Night .  
  • What can be done to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia? 
  • Analyze the storming of the Bastille.  
  • Describe the different meanings of the term honor .  
  • Why the Internet is an effective instrument of advertisement.  
  • How artificial intelligence facilitates the accountants’ work.  
  • The collaboration agreement and its advantage to companies.  
  • Analyze the Ritz-Carlton Hotel’s company. 
  • Analyze the importance and methods of quantitative research .  
  • Why do we have to protect sharks from extinction?  
  • The influence of peers on behavior change of teenagers.  
  • The role of clothing designer in a movie production.  
  • Discuss college experience of a nursing student.   
  • How to get rid of fear of public speaking.  
  • Analyze the development of the U.S. household appliance stores.  
  • Foreign relations of Korea in the first decades of the 19th century. 
  • Review of the article Why the Student Loan Crisis Is Everyone’s Problem?  
  • Describe the main character of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.  
  • The effect of cancer on the DNA replication.  
  • Are the anti-bullying programs really working?   
  • Examine the rhetorical techniques used in Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery . 
  • The pathogenic bacterium of streptococcus: definition, prevention, and treatment.  
  • Explore the task of the manager in modern empowered teams. 
  • Analyze the reliability of the article Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment .  
  • Discuss the issues and possible solutions for the gifted education program.  
  • The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on social media activism.  
  • The effectiveness of sensitivity training against workplace prejudices. 
  • How does a vacuum cleaner work?  
  • Describe the ways media can promote terrorists’ agenda.  
  • The role of prayers in major world’s religions.   
  • The defining traits of Meursault in The Stranger by Albert Camus . 
  • Describe the field experience at the science lesson . 
  • Discuss the importance of employee motivation.  
  • Benefit corporations as a new element of modern business.  
  • Role of advertisement in creating the nursing image .  
  • Is goal attainment theory compatible with personal nursing philosophy?  
  • Why it is critical to eliminate orientation-based prejudices in the workplace. 
  • Reasons of the failure of Superior Bank FSB. 
  • The crucial meaning of a qualified nurse for preservation of patient’s health.  
  • Compare different ideas of a good life from an ethical perspective .  
  • The importance of development the cybersecurity industry .  
  • Explore how the authors reveal the theme of true freedom in The Cask of Amontillado , Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed , and The Story of an Hour . 
  • Shakespeare’s sonnets from the perspective of Lynne Magnusson.   
  • The interpretation of healthcare in Health Care Reform and Equity by Fiscella. 
  • How can a leader establish a friendly and calm atmosphere in the team?  
  • Role of social media in promotion of positive changes in society.  

✏️ 5 Paragraph Essay FAQ

A concise paper with an Introduction, 3 paragraphs in the body part, and a Conclusion, is a popular format for student essays. Each paragraph of the body should present a new idea with a couple of arguments or examples. This structure looks neat and cohesive.

A 5-paragraph essay is relatively fast and easy to write. Here are 3 simple steps you may take:

1. Create an outline with key ideas (at least 3 points for the body),

2. Write those 3 body paragraphs with examples,

3. Add an introduction and a conclusion.

The time you spend to write about 2 pages depends on multiple factors:

1. The complexity of the topic,

2. How experienced you are,

3. How serious you take the task.

In any case, 2 hours should be enough. Create an outline to save time.

The second paragraph typically opens the body part of the essay. Some ways to begin it are:

1. present the first argument;

2. provide an example (remember to explain why it is relevant);

3. write down a hypothesis.

In rare cases, the second paragraph might be an addition to the intro.

  • The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
  • Ending the Essay, Conclusions: Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
  • Writing Paragraphs: The Writing Centre, University of Ottawa
  • Essay Introduction: OWLL, Massey University
  • The Basics of Effective Essay Writing: Becton Loveless, Education Corner
  • Suggestions for Proofreading Your Paper: Purdue Writing Lab
  • Basic Essay Structure: The Five-Paragraph Essay (Study.com)
  • Example Five-Paragraph Essay (UW Madison)
  • Write Your Essay | UNSW Current Students
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how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

  • Mar 24, 2021

Essays in 6th Grade: A Basic Format that Elevates the Standard 5-Paragraph Structure

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

6th grade is such a funny year. Funny haha and funny weird. Student writing levels are all over the map. You will have students coming to you writing on a very elementary level, still needing loads of help with grammar and paragraph formation. Then, you will have students ready to write critique pieces and analyses. How do you navigate this? Read to find out more!

Give Them a Format...to Start

I've learned that 6th graders still need format . They still need structure. They still need checklists. As much as I loathe limiting them in this way, I think it is very reassuring to them. That's not to say you can't tweak for the strong writers, but I do still feel they need it.

For my students in particular, I like to let them dabble in looser formats of non-fiction writing in other ways. They do book reviews , a debate , podcasting , etc. They are offered choices in reading responses to non-fiction reading and analysis, too. My classes actually write digital eBooks, too. But on the whole, they are expected to write two essays with a very similar format twice a year.

Bye-Bye 5-Paragraph Essay

Alright, so this is kind of not totally true. My students do end up writing 5 paragraphs, but that typical structure we all commonly know, I navigate away from. I think it's a fine format, but as they get into middle school they are expected to compare a LOT more and not focus on one specific topic . They are expected to follow through on a thread, a claim, a theme, an idea and how it is shown in various sources. And this is super new for them, analyzing various sources on the same concept. They really need a structure for this.

So, the typical essay, before they get to me, goes like this, and it is a good precursor:

Introduction that states your thesis and 3 major reasons to support your claim.

Conclusion that looks a whole lot like the introduction.

This format does not allow analysis of multiple sources and if you throw in other sources, it gets messy. Instead, I gear my students to focus on each source separately, then comparing them all.

The Format that Works (Research and Literary Analysis)

First of all, it's important to know what essays I actually do with my kiddos. I do a research unit. This changes almost every year, but typically they choose some kind of topic, I group them based on their topic choice. First, they do research (non-fiction skills) using a book, article, and video. They then use those sources to write an essay on a claim they make based on their topic. Later, they make eBooks in groups based on their topic.

The other essay I do is Literary Analysis . This follows a dystopian unit . They read a dystopian book in book clubs. Then, I have them choose from a short list of short stories that are dystopian. Lastly, we watch the movie The Truman Show . (This year I had them watch "The Scarecrow" on YouTube since we were hybrid due to the pandemic). They then determine a theme that is true for all three sources and write an essay based on that theme.

This essay format works for both of these essays. So here it goes!

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Introductory and Conclusion Statements

In a traditional essay, students have to write a hook, their claim/thesis, and essentially ANOTHER three sentences that state what their essays will be about. In my opinion, all of this is completely unnecessary. How many times do you read introductions in books? Okay, real avid readers do, but in reality many people don't. So for these, I tell my students to get right to the point .

Here's what should be in their introductory and conclusion statements:

A statement that introduces the topic. (This is a hook of some kind. I sometimes tell them to start it with "in our world..." or "in our lives..." and something that relates to their topic. Or just starting it with their topic and explaining what it is.)

The claim/thesis.

A statement that references there are differences and similarities in the sources. (For example: "[Title of sources] support this claim in different and similar ways." That's it.)

This all ends up being 2-3 sentences.

Topic Sentences

I have my students start their essay prep with topic sentences. This helps them get a sense of where their essays will go.

The big thing to understand here is how the paragraphs are set up .

Body #1 : Focus on source #1 and how it shows claim/thesis.

Body #2 : Focus on source #2 and how it shows claim/thesis.

Body #3 : Focus on source #3 and how it shows claim/thesis.

Body #4 : Focus on how ALL SOURCES show the claim/thesis in the same way.

So they start with creating topic sentences for those paragraphs. Each topic sentence is set up like this. The last topic sentence would start with "all sources..." instead of "source title".:

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Body Paragraph Format

In the picture you see below, I have specific colors for specific aspects of body paragraphs. ALL body paragraphs follow this format in that exact sequence/order. I will be completely honest, I don't give them a ton of wiggle room since this is pretty new to them. However, my stronger writers dabble in mixing evidence stems and elaboration stems around.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Their paragraph starts with the topic sentence they already prepared. From there, the next sentence begins with an evidence stem . Here are a few examples of evidence stems:

According to the text,

The author states,

In [title],

Right after the evidence stem, in the same sentence, they add their text detail to support their topic sentence. I encourage them to quote exactly from the text for most text details. They can paraphrase, too, but should really try to get exact lines.

In regards to quoting, I also mention to them not to quote plop . I made this up. I plan on making a product for this at some point. A quote plop is bad . It's when students take a line from the text and just plop it in their essay. I show them how to break up the quote from the text with their own words.

So, a first sentence may look like this: According to the text [evidence stem, highlighted green] , when Luke was hiding due to being a third child, "they took the woods away" , [text detail with context, a.k.a. not just plopping the quote in the sentence, highlighted yellow].

Directly after that sentence should be an elaboration stem with an elaboration explaining how the text detail shows their claim/thesis. Students highlight this entire sentence in blue and their claim within it dark blue. Here are some elaboration stems:

This proves [claim] because...

This shows [claim] because ...

After that they do the same process two more times; two more text details with elaborations. Lastly they do a closing sentence .

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Comparison Paragraph: This is set up almost exactly the same, except the focus is on how ALL the sources show the claim in the same way. They then provide a NEW text detail from each source to prove how the claim is being shown similarly in each.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Once all their body paragraphs are written, I have them go review their introductory and conclusion statements, put everything into a final draft and leave the highlights in the essay . This helps them visualize all the components and helps me grade!

For revision, the focus is on not quote plopping, being sure their details support their thesis, changing up the wording of claims/theses, and rearranging for strong writers.

Bottom Line

While this is very limiting for some, it is super helpful for struggling writers. Having that checklist and having the highlights helps students visualize what they need to compare sources in an essay format.

I'd say it'd be great to introduce this in 6th and by 8th, they can certainly make these more interpretive, creative, and unique.

You can find a lot more detail about this in the product below . What you see here is only a taste. This contains a full sample essay, checklists, tips, and more. You can also edit it to meet your needs.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

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Really interesting - thank you!!

This exactly the kind of thing I've been looking for, and even better! I love your approach and it's so well explained. I couldn't disagree more with any of the negative feedback to this article. I think it's perfect for my style of teaching and my standard of writing. Most of all, the way you explained this and broke it down into small steps will make it so achievable for even lagging students to develop great writing skills and feel confident in the process! You nailed it. Thank you so much!

I read all the essay writing format instructions. All the points are useful for any kind of essay writing. But at the age of high-level essay writing learners need to be essay writer experts like the 6 Dollars Essay Website , ready to do professional essay writing for any essay grade.

This is beyond me and I teach HS English. Where does this lady teach, at Princeton? I do not know any 6th grader that does this or would understand this. I see why so many of our young people have become disinterested in the learning process. I also see why so many teachers quit. The profession is stale, boring, and antiquated. This article was not fun to read and I'm thinking this new 5 paragraph writing style would be a drag for the average ela teacher to teach.

. In the blog post, I mention the various types of writing I do with students. I also have other blog posts that discuss these other formats. This is not the end all be all. In my over a decade experience with teaching writing, having a structure helps struggling writers. This is not a writing style. This a format for one type of writing. As teachers, we should be offering all types of formats, especially with younger writers who are still learning how to write.

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Help your 5th Grader Write a Great Essay

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Writing essays can be a daunting task for students. 5th-grade students have a strong foundation of writing skills to help them construct body paragraphs and express their ideas using complex sentences. Still, they may need an extra push to write confidently and expressively.

The most challenging task when writing an essay is starting the writing process and learning to be confident.

Helping students tackle the task and build their confidence in writing multiple types of essays such as a persuasive essay, an informational essay, or even a narrative essay such as short stories takes a lot of practice, focus, and support from instructors and parents.

Learning to Express Ideas

Pre-writing is a crucial step in the writing process. Fifth graders should be in a place in their writing journey where they can perfect all the pre-writing strategies before they even write a word of an essay.

This will set them up to successfully construct excellent five-paragraph essays consistently.

When your child sits down to write a five body paragraph essay, the very first thing they should do is read the prompt. Understanding what the prompt is asking for is the first step in being proactive about writing an excellent essay.

You want them to ponder these questions: am I writing a persuasive essay? Am I writing an essay on a topic requiring me to do my research? Will I need to list evidence? Am I writing a narrative story that requires figurative language?

How to Successfully Brainstorm An Essay

One excellent way to get the brainstorm rolling is to have your fifth-grade student utilize a graphic organizer such as a cluster map as a way to write down all the related words or small phrases they can think of about the prompt.

The organizer will help get their creative minds rolling until they write something they are interested in or perhaps even excited about exploring further.

Brainstorming is a crucial component of teaching writing. This first step should be the most relaxed, no-pressure section for the student.

As a fifth-grader, your child will have a good idea of how to brainstorm different ideas on paper, but an essential part will be to organize these ideas into something of an outline.

Through brainstorming, students learn to think creatively to answer the prompt. Sometimes logical thinking is also required. For example, with a persuasive essay, students must brainstorm their arguments and develop reasons or evidence to back up their claims.

Supporting this step will allow students to perfect the details of the content they’re writing about and give them the main idea for their entire essay.

How to Turn a Brainstorm into an Outline

Encouraging your fifth grader to write a quick outline in a way that’s organized according to the five-paragraph essay format will give them a solid foundation to write their first rough draft.

These pre-writing skills are crucial in turning students from simple sentence writers into detailed five-paragraph essay writers.

Five-paragraph essays are the standard way to construct an essay, including writing an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Using this format, your fifth grader should write a short and straightforward outline that showcases every paragraph’s main ideas and contents in logical order.

Instead of freewriting the essay off the top of their head, an outline in the five-paragraph essay format will help your fifth grader have a guide to help them construct the first draft of their essay and flesh out ideas when they write body paragraphs.

Constructing a 5 Paragraph Essay

Read below for a brief five-paragraph essay instructional unit to help you guide your child in writing an exceptional essay.

1) How To Write An Introduction

In the five-paragraph essay format, the introduction is vital in grabbing the reader’s attention and holding it throughout the essay.

When teaching writing, the introduction is explained as the initial place to set up the topic of the essay. It usually requires a direct address of the contents to follow in the form of a thesis.

A thesis statement is a sentence in the introduction that directly answers the prompt and has reasons and evidence for the writer’s claim. It’s like a short preview of what the students will write about in their body paragraphs.

Furthermore, students write the thesis at the end of the introduction paragraph and ensure it follows a specific sentence structure to make it stand out as the most critical part of the intro.

2) How To Write Body Paragraphs

An excellent way to help students be confident in their work is to help them build clear strategies or steps to tackle daunting parts of an essay, such as a body paragraph.

Acronyms are one good way to remember all the steps of constructing a remarkable body paragraph. For example, TEEA is a wonderful acronym to get your fifth grader started on the task.

TEEA stands for:

T: Topic Sentence

The topic sentence is the very first sentence of a body paragraph. It explains what your section is about and its main idea. Ideally, this should be one sentence long and directly explain the topic at hand.

For the second section, you will want your fifth grader to answer the following question: WHY are you talking about this topic or idea? Why is this important? This should be about 2 or 3 sentences long because you will want your child to use lots of details to support the idea in the topic sentence.

  E: Example

In the third section, the student should prove what they explained about their topic by giving a solid, real-life example. This can be 2-3 sentences. The key here is to make the example applicable to the topic and explanation.

A: Analysis

Lastly, the analysis explains how the example supports your topic. This will probably be 1 or 2 sentences.

The analysis is the most tricky part of a body paragraph. The best way to get your child to think about this is to emphasize the how question. How does your example prove you are right? How does the example relate to the topic?

Using TEEA, your child will be able to construct a clear and strong body paragraph for almost any prompt or topic.

3) How to Write A Conclusion

Lastly, to conclude an essay, students must think about what idea they want the reader to leave with after reading their essay.

To start, students can use their introductory paragraph as a guide. They should restate their essay topic or thesis differently.

Next, students should summarize the main points made in the body paragraphs.

After this step, students can play the “so what?” game. Have your fifth grader think about what they’ve written in the conclusion, then answer the question, “so what?” Why is this important? Why should anybody care?

The very last sentence of the conclusion is a fantastic place to answer the “so what” question and leave the readers with a good impression or the desire for more information.

Using this instructional guide, with practice, your 5th grader will be able to construct logically sound and impeccably organized essays in no time.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

The Reading Ranch Method

Struggling writers can experience various difficulties in any step of the writing process. The Reading Ranch Intervention Program is a research-based program to help students strengthen their writing skills in an interactive and dynamic environment. Our curriculum prides itself on being an interactive writing curriculum proven through various studies to immensely help struggling writers. Contact us today if you’re looking for help with your child who struggles in school and at home because they are stuck when they write and unable to keep up with their peers. We offer either online or in-person programs we feel confident we have something just right for every family.

Kiran Gokal   is a freelance writer, teacher, and lover of the written word specializing in content articles, blog posts, and marketing copywriting. For the past three years, she’s been teaching bright young students all about reading and writing at The Reading Ranch®,  while also lending her writing skills to different businesses and non-profits in the education sector.

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Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay: Expand the Possibilities of the Genres You Teach

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

My Understanding of Essay, Then…

I did my student teaching in a classroom where all students were handed a hamburger graphic organizer and were taught to fill in all parts of the burger if they wanted to create a “good essay.” The kids seemed bored as they dutifully wrote sentences to fit inside of the graphic organizer. Their essays were lackluster, but they followed the formula, which was supposed to help them do better on “the test..” 

When I began teaching personal essay in my own classroom, I was insistent that all of my fifth graders had three body paragraphs to support their thesis statement they wrote in the introductory paragraph because they were supposed to write five-paragraph essays (which I’ve now come to realize is an artificial construct). After a couple of years of teaching personal essay, I got better at helping students collect a variety of information (e.g., anecdotes, quotations, observations, statistics) to help them prove their thesis statements. Students would cull through their patches of thought folders for each of their “body paragraphs” on drafting day. They’d toss aside evidence that didn’t support their topic sentence. Then, they’d string all of their patches of thought together into one body paragraph. As a result, many students’ body paragraphs went on for a page or two since each paragraph contained a variety of information that proved their topic sentence (which was one of the three supports for their thesis). 

As a New York City public school teacher, I attended Calendar Days hosted by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. In November 2004, I attended a session preparing NYC teachers to teach personal and literary essays to students. While the personal essays were five paragraphs and the literary essays were four paragraphs, it was the first time I ever heard someone talk about essay in ways that made them seem — dare I say it — fun to write. I soaked up as much as I could from that day of professional learning and taught my students to embrace essay writing without the use of a hamburger chart. All of my students collected patches of thought to prove a claim, which helped them produce essays about topics that were meaningful to them as people. They may have still been formulaic, but my students were invested in their writing.

My Understanding of Essay, Now…

Through the years, I’ve come to understand that essay writing is writing to think ( Hoagland, 1976 ).  Michel de Montaine was a philosopher who wrote in the countryside during the French Revolution. He called his attempts at writing essaying (or trying). In French, the word essais means trial. To write an essay is merely an attempt, or a trial, at exploring a topic.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

It can be challenging to wrap our heads around essay being more than something that has a thesis statement one is trying to prove to someone. If we adopt the original meaning of essay in classrooms, then we are going to be able to teach kids to develop ideas on the paper that reflect their thinking about a topic.

Katherine Bomer offers a working definition of essay in her book, The Journey is Everything: Teaching Essays That Students Want to Write for People Who Want to Read Them (Heinemann, 2016):

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Essay writing is writing to think.

Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay Structure

It’s a big leap for a writer to shift from proving something using topic-centered paragraphs and concluding sentences to growing provocative ideas with complexity and depth.  

If my 2020-self could provide some professional development to my early 2000s-self, I would encourage students to break from the five-paragraph structure. Just because two pieces of evidence are related doesn’t mean they should be in the same paragraph! Here’s a chart I’d share with my early-career self to help teach kids about reasons essayists use paragraphs. 

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Of course, like anything else, I’d tell my early-career self to make sure kids knew the rules before they broke them. That is, once a child understood paragraph structure, I’d encourage that child to get inventive with the way they used paragraphs in their essay writing. 

So, how do we, as adults, move beyond the five-paragraph essay mindset? 

I’ve come to believe it’s necessary that teachers immerse themselves in different kinds of essay writing. First, we have to find essays that move beyond the formulaic five-paragraph essays we’ve written and taught for years. Here are two places to look:

  • The afterword of The Journey is Everything by Katherine Bomer contains essays written by adults. Some of my favorite essays to study alongside teachers from the afterword of Bomer’s book are “What I Want to be…” by Randy Bomer, “Querencia” by Georgia Heard, and “Tattoos: Marked for Life” by Deb Kelt. In addition, Bomer introduces readers to “Joyas Voladoras” by Brian Doyle in her book. It’s also an exquisitely crafted essay to read and study alongside teachers.
  • Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays: Your Favorite Authors Take A Stab at the Dreaded Essay Assignment edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe contains a variety of personal, persuasive, and literary essays that can be used as mentor texts with students. The go-to essays I suggest for personal essay are “Raised by Wolves” by Sarah Prineas and “A Good Lie” by Laurel Snyder. For literary essay, I’m partial to “Princess Leia is an Awesome Role Model” by Cecil Castellucci and “When to Say No to Breakfast” by Brad Wolfe.

I advise immersing yourself in essay writing with the titles listed above prior to teaching an essay-writing unit to students so you can envision what the end product of a journey of thought essay looks like. As you’re reading, jot your favorite lines down. Note features you admire. Reread with different lenses. Then, talk with your colleagues — who also want to change the way they teach essay — so you can process essays you’re studying together. 

Once you’re done immersing yourself in several essays, you can dive in and write one yourself. Or, if you’re studying with other teachers who want to move beyond the five-paragraph essay, then consider doing some shared writing with your colleagues. This will allow you to experience the way essay writers need to think (and write to explore) in terms of structure. In addition, it will give you a way to figure out how you might use shared writing as a launch point for doing writing-to-think work with your students. Once you’ve written a few shared pieces with colleagues, you can write your own essay, which you’ll be able to use as a mentor text with your students. 

TIP: The first time you write an essay that reflects Bomer’s definition of essay (above), don’t think about standards, learning progressions, or the lessons you might teach. Pick a topic you wish to explore in your writing that holds meaning and value to you. Then, write about it, just as the authors of the above-mentioned essays did in their essays. It’s okay to try to do this kind of work and feel as though you’ve failed at it the first few times. That’s called being human. After years of being trained to write an essay in a formulaic way, it takes time to retrain ourselves to write differently. I promise you, as someone who has written a few non-formulaic essays, it is possible to retrain yourself to write an essay that is meaningful and provocative, but doesn’t necessarily win an argument in the end. I find I’m still doing things like making use of transitional phrases, but I’m no longer worried that every paragraph begins with a topic sentence, has three detail sentences, and ends with a concluding sentence.

There will be times in our students’ lives (e.g., standardized tests) when they will need to write formulaic essays that ask them to make a claim and prove it over the course of a few well-structured paragraphs. However, if we’re going to prepare students for those kinds of tasks, then it’s important to teach them how to essayer , or try, to grow new ideas and understandings in their writing. We have to push beyond the five-paragraph formula so kids aren’t doing formulaic writing. When we move beyond the five-paragraph essay, we free our students to “explore, explain, and express” (Bomer, 2016, 22). If we can teach students to think through an idea across several pages so as to come to a new understanding, then we’re teaching them a valuable life skill.

I’m curious…

What thinking have you done about moving beyond the five-paragraph essay? What are you planning to read to move help you move beyond the five-paragraph essay with your students?  (Next on my to-be-read list is Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities by John Warner.) What will you do to take the next steps to change the way essay is viewed among your colleagues? Please share your reflections below.

Giveaway Information

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how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

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Published by Stacey Shubitz

I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island. I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010). I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels. View all posts by Stacey Shubitz

33 thoughts on “ Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay: Expand the Possibilities of the Genres You Teach ”

Looking for more essays to use as inspiration? I read this piece today and I think it would be great for use as an educator. It is NOT a mentor text to use with students due to the content (eg, infertility) of the essay.

Tacos Were Always My Greatest Comfort—But I Had to Give Them Up to Get Pregnant By Katie Gutierrez https://www.bonappetit.com/story/tacos-pregnancy

The five-paragraph essay debate has always been a heated one among my colleagues. Five-paragraph essays do exist “in the wild,” but they aren’t the only option; forcing our students to use them–just like any arbitrary writing rule–often does more harm than good. I’ve enjoyed this post very much!

How to teach essay is certainly a debate amongst educators. As you know, it is one worth having!

Delightful post. Essay. I, too, get caught in the tension between structure–the five paragraph essay somewhere in grades 4-6–and development of voice–breaking the five paragraph essay structure somewhere in grades 6-12. Fundamentally, something is wrong if we have to break what we teach. I suspect we teach what’s wrong because it’s easier to grade. To test. SBAC, SAT, and AP writing sections are perfectly designed to encourage five paragraph structures. Even my state licensure testing priviledged it. It’s killing student voice. But I see here I’m starting to go on. Sauntering. Essaying. Which is not the best structure for a comment box. 😉 Thank you for the inspiration!

Actually, Kris, I think the way you expressed yourself, in a sauntering way, was perfect for the comment section of this post! 🙂

Thank you for shedding light on this important topic. It’s true that school seems to be the only place that the 5-paragraph essay thrives. Thank you for all the helpful resources that will continue to help educators grow their understanding and stretch beyond the formula.

It’s my hope that this will push some thinking and get teachers to try moving beyond the formulaic responses we’re so accustomed to in schools.

Our district is just starting to adopt the Lucy Calkins Units of Study where the five paragraph essay abounds in grades 3-8. With this foundation, and all of the state testing requirements, the hope is that as students enter 7th-12th grade that five paragraph structure can be expanded and manipulated in ways you have mentioned in this post. We are starting a book study with the John Warner book and are hoping he can leave Charleston and pay us a visit (we are in the upper part of South Carolina)– his book left the staff with so many questions, yet inspired much needed conversations! Thank you for the wonderful visuals that I can share with the teachers!

Wow! I love this idea! What a better writer I would have been if this was the instruction. Excited to see how this generation of writers changes the world!

So powerful, Stacey, on so many counts. I think foremost is the sharing of your own progression as a teacher of writing- I remember those hamburger organizers! I think of how many students dutifully comply with such things … but what a world of difference there is between compliance/checklists and creativity/real communication. Being shown how to communicate your own thoughts, your own ideas, things that matter to you in a way that impacts others is immeasurable in the spectrum of learning AND LIFE. It’s both craft and creative freedom; parameters are removed vs. enforced. I could go on – just thank you for this labor-of-love post. I have Warner’s Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities and have used it in summer writing pd for teachers at all grade levels; this book is mighty, inspiring, and true. One of my favorites on how to revise the way writing is taught- and empowering tge writer.

As a literacy coach, I was just having this conversation with 5th and 6th grade teams. They were discussing whether or not to use “I” in an argumentative essay, and how they might break away from the formulaic style of writing. Great timing!

Really great! Essay writing is so powerful and asking students to plug in ideas from an organizer doesn’t let them explore what essays really could be.

Exactly. Graphic organizers have a time and a place, but are often overused, rather than used as a scaffold.

Like Liked by 1 person

Yes. They are incredibly powerful as a scaffold, but it’s so easy for essays to read like graphic organizers without the shapes! Getting students to write in prose is always a challenge.

I have tried to design my 7th grade writing class so that kids have choice in topics and genre. Unfortunately, because of curriculum restraints and lack of time to develop solid writing lessons/units, I end up giving up by November. I would happily move away from the 5 paragraph essay! And I love this post which has validated my thinking! Back to the drawing board…right after I finish the argument essay unit. [email protected]

Let me know how it goes once you go back to the drawing board after your next unit!

Thank you!! As a mentor teacher for first year colleagues, I too have seen many hamburger anchor charts, stop lights, structured outline scaffolds, and more. I appreciate the idea of learning about traditional five paragraph essays while giving students the “permission” to explore writing as a means of sharing thought. The chart showing reasons to change paragraphs is brilliantly compiled. I will be sharing your terrific insights!

I’m thrilled that you’ll be sharing this piece with your mentees.

Really like the “Reasons to Start a New Paragraph” chart. I’m in the middle of the Research Based Argument Essay Unit of Study, which somewhat implies the 5 paragraph essay structure. However, I always tell my writers that they are in charge of their writing and need to determine how many paragraphs they need to completely share their argument. I think this new chart will help immensely. Thank you!

We’ve done some posts on when to change paragraphs in narrative writing, but I think this is the first time we’ve done it for information writing so I’m delighted it’s been well-received.

Our district has the goal of moving away from formulaic writing, so I love the content of this article. I’m thinking about how to weave this into instruction with my first graders. We’ve never asked them to write 5 paragraph essay, but we seem to be giving them writing instruction that sets them up for that. The hamburger graphic organizer sounds so familiar! We want to support kids in their understanding of how to organize their writing and what makes a paragraph. Our kids are so busy making their ideas fit into our pre-made graphic organizers, that I’m afraid they’re losing the voice and genuineness in their writing.

Tomorrow our resident primary teacher, Kelsey, will have a post about K, 1, and 2 so be sure to check it out.

Thank you so much for the information and the chance to win new books. I have a lot to learn about teaching writing.

Focus Lesson is amazing!! Would love to add Craft & Process Studies to my teacher library. We’ve spent the first half of the school year deconstructing and dismantling the idea of the 5-paragraph essay. Students are all too eager to let go of that worn & tired structure too. Thank you for this post…so many writing gems to use!

They are eager to let it go. We have to be willing to let it go too.

I struggle with the monotony of teaching 5 paragraph essays, thank you for the great ideas!!!!!

My pleasure! You should check out Bomer’s book that I referenced. It is stellar!

These look like wonderful resources to enhance anyone’s teaching of writing. Thank you!

We do the five paragraph essay at my school just to give kids a structure. They always ask, “How many paragraphs do I need?” I tell them, “As many as you need to get the job done.” Which meets with groans. Thanks for the graphic, which has added a few new starts for me! Keep up the good work!

I adore the fact that you tell your kids to write as much as they need to to “get the job done.” That’s stellar!

We are currently writing literary essays so this article came at the perfect time.

I’m so glad!

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Five-paragraph essays

Grammar and Writing Workbook for Grade 5

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Classic essays

Students are given an introductory paragraph and expand it to the classic 5 paragraph essay.

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

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How to Improve Your Essay Writing Skills in 10 Simple Steps

How to Improve Your Essay Writing Skills in 10 Simple Steps

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Updated: May 5, 2024

What makes an A essay different from a B essay? What makes one essay stand out among countless submissions while others barely make the grade?

The answer lies in both the content and the execution of your writing. Strong content that is poorly executed can lead to disappointing results, just as weak content cannot be saved by writing style alone.

A strong essay needs to be balanced. The writing should be informative and exciting but also fun to read. At the same time, your grammar, syntax, and punctuation should be on point.

If you’re struggling to make the grade and are unsure what you’re doing wrong, this article will cover ten basic strategies for improving your writing skills.

With a bit of understanding and a steady commitment to improving your craft, you should see a noticeable increase in your essay grades.

These strategies will help refine your writing style and structure while enhancing your analytical thinking and argumentative skills. We’ll also discuss some AI tools you can use starting today to make the essay writing process more fun and manageable.

1. Read a Lot

To truly master the art of writing, you must read as much as you can. To the best of your ability, immerse yourself in various texts and read across different genres and disciplines.

One of the best things you can do in essay writing is study published essays and periodicals to better understand how accomplished writers develop their arguments and maintain flow.

Of course, reading is a time-consuming activity. If you want to expand your knowledge without spending hours at a time in the library, consider using Smodin AI to help.

Smodin’s AI Summarizer can help you take long pieces of text and create an extractive or abstractive summary. This way, you can read a portion of the text and use AI to grasp the main points and key arguments without dedicating too much time to each piece.

Using this approach, you can cover a broader range of materials in a shorter time, particularly useful if you’re juggling multiple assignments or subjects during midterms or finals week.

2. Understand the Topic

A solid understanding of your essay topic is crucial to producing an engaging and insightful piece of writing. One of the worst things you can do as a student is to submit a paper without thoroughly researching and understanding the topic.

In other words, read the instructions before writing a single word. Invest however much time you need in researching and gathering relevant information.

Don’t rush the process, and take the time to build a strong foundation for your arguments. Study the counterarguments and ensure that your thesis is factually accurate and thoroughly thought-out.

That said, if you’re sitting at your desk, struggling to figure out where to start, or need help comprehending the topic, Smodin’s AI Chat can help you gather your thoughts.

The chat can help you understand complex topics using real-time Google Insights and provide instant access to a wealth of information with a single click.

3. Outline Your Essay

Even the best writers outline their writing before they begin. Creating an outline is crucial to organizing your thoughts and structuring your essay so it flows logically and cohesively.

When writing an essay, your topic will often take on new dimensions as you delve deeper into your research. Sometimes, your essay ends far off course and entirely different from what you envisioned.

An evolving outline can help you manage these ideas and ensure they are woven into your essay in a way that is meaningful and makes sense.

Any piece of writing needs a roadmap, whether it’s essays, articles, short stories, novels, or nonfiction books. Your ideas need to progress logically from one point to another so that they are persuasive and easy for your reader to follow.

Remember, effective time management is one of the secrets to writing an effective essay. That’s why it’s essential to use AI tools like Smodin to optimize your outlining process.

4. Master the Basics

A strong command of grammar, syntax, and punctuation is fundamental to writing an A-level essay. While most teachers and professors will not deduct points for an occasional misspelling or comma splice, too many mistakes will leave a negative impression on your reader.

The good news is that mastering the basics of writing has never been easier, thanks to the rise of AI. Do your best to practice the basics of good writing using ordinary resources like grammar guides and books, then use AI to enhance your knowledge.

In this area, Smodin has several tools that can help. The AI Rewriter can help you rewrite or completely recreate a piece of text to optimize the content so it is polished and easy to read.

You can also use the AI Chat feature to ask any question you like about grammar rules or stylistic choices, ensuring that you understand the fundamental principles of good writing.

5. Nail the Intro

The introduction of your essay sets the tone and hooks the reader. It also helps you make a strong impression and stand out among your peers.

A compelling intro should start with a strong first sentence that piques curiosity and leads the reader to the second sentence. That second sentence should lead the reader directly to the third, and so on.

Always do your best to think of a solid opening statement or pose a thought-provoking question. Remember, your essay is just one of many essays the teacher or professor must read, so you must do everything possible to stand out.

You want a clear and concise thesis that sets up the arguments you will develop throughout the body of your essay. Smodin’s AI Essay Writer can help you craft essays with compelling titles and opening paragraphs.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider trying the “Supercharge” option to tap into the power of a much more advanced and sophisticated AI model to take your writing to the next level.

6. Use the Active Voice

Generally, the active voice is more engaging and easy to read than the passive voice. Active voice constructions are more direct and energetic. They keep the reader engaged and make statements that are easier to visualize.

For example, compare the active sentence “The scientist conducted the experiment” with the passive “The experiment was conducted by the researcher.”

The active voice allows you to clearly identify who is taking action. This helps make your writing more assertive and easy to understand.

However, there are situations where the passive voice is appropriate or even necessary. For instance, if the person taking action is unknown, irrelevant, or obvious from the context, the passive voice might be the better choice.

For example, in scientific or formal reports, the passive voice is often used to create an impersonal tone and to emphasize the action rather than the person.

In most cases, you should use the active voice to make your arguments more engaging and your prose easier to follow.

7. Avoid Repetition

If you’ve ever tried to “word stuff” an essay to get to a specific word count, you know how easy it can be to repeat yourself accidentally. To keep your essay engaging, always do your best to avoid unnecessary repetition of words or ideas.

Never use the same word too often, especially in the same paragraph. Varying your language and sentence structure can help keep the reader engaged and create a pleasant cadence for your essay.

Always avoid rehashing the same ideas twice unless necessary to your thesis or argument. When in doubt, use Smodin’s Essay Writer to help structure your essays with a clear flow and easy-to-understand introductions and conclusions.

8. Get Feedback

Receiving feedback is one of the most effective ways to improve your writing. Of course, your teacher’s or professor’s feedback matters the most, but what if you want feedback before the final submission?

Seek constructive criticism from peers or tutors who can look at your writing and give you feedback to help you improve your writing. Being able to seek out and incorporate feedback is one of the most vital skills a student can have.

Also, consider using an AI tool like Smodin that can draw upon hundreds of thousands of published and peer-reviewed academic articles as a basis of comparison. By tapping into the unlimited power of AI, you can easily create essays that match college-level writing standards.

9. Organize Your References

Managing and organizing references can become overwhelming during the research phase of writing an essay.

It’s crucial to keep track of all the sources you consult to maintain academic integrity and avoid plagiarism. This is where tools like Smodin’s Research Paper Generator come into play.

Smodin’s Automatic References tool utilizes AI-powered algorithms to generate accurate citations. It pulls information from reliable databases like Google and Google Scholar, ensuring each reference is precise and meets academic standards.

This feature is a time-saver and a crucial component for any student who wants to ensure their work is appropriately credited and free of plagiarism concerns.

This tool streamlines the process of citation creation. The Automatic References feature formats each reference correctly according to your chosen style guide, whether it’s APA, MLA, Chicago, or another academic citation format.

This allows you to focus more on the content of your essay rather than the tedious task of manual citation. It’s like having a personal assistant at the click of a button.

10. Revise, Revise, Revise

The single best thing you can do to improve your writing is to get into a habit of constant revision. Try to write your essay as far in advance so that you can let it sit for a while and revisit it with fresh eyes.

You may be surprised how many areas of improvement become apparent after taking a short break. Allowing your writing to breathe after the initial draft can dramatically enhance its quality.

The three main things you want to look for are ways to improve clarity, strengthen your argument, and refine your language.

Of course, Smodin’s Rewriter Tool can help you do just that. Using this tool, you can easily see and improve sections that need rephrasing. Use this technology alongside your own manual refinements to create a tone and style that aligns with your voice and creates a unique style.

Then, once you’re 99% done and happy with your essay, run it through the Plagiarism and AI Content Detector to ensure its complete academic integrity.

Ultimately, your ability to improve your essay writing skills will depend on your level of dedication. Spend as much time as you can mastering the above techniques and consistently practice.

Remember, AI tools like Smodin have made essay writing more accessible than ever before. If you need help with essays and consistently bring home B, C, or even D-level papers, Smodin’s array of AI tools is what you need to take your writing to the next level-

  • AI tutoring for students
  • AI content detection
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Essay, research paper, and article writing features
  • Text summarizer
  • Homework solver

When you sign up for Smodin, all this and more comes standard. If you’re ready to get started, click here to try it!

how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

Grade School Student Was Asked To Type Up The Class Clown’s Written Essay, So They Complied Exactly To Every Horribly-Spelled Word

Everyone had one, or two, or five of these kids in their grade school class: the mouth-breathing, all-eyes-on-me, class-clown.

Sounds familiar? Wasn’t you, was it? Ok just had to check.

They  were always making life difficult, and not just for the teachers.

Other classmates being goaded into picking up the slack was always par for the course.

And that’s exactly what this person recalled in this story .

So they complied.

Fine, I’ll Type It This is an old one from back when I was in 6th grade and school computers were still in labs. There was a guy in my class I’ll call Jason, who was that certain breed of show off common to the early 90s – the one who totally knows kung fu but just can’t show you right now, and who makes loud fart noises every time the teacher turns around, and is more concerned with belching the alphabet than with learning to spell.

OP explains their connection to Jason.

Unfortunately, one of my friends was “dating” Jason (as much as a 6th grader can) so he was always hanging around.

And then this nightmare assignment.

We got to the dreaded Five Paragraph Essay assignment and Jason showed up with a crumpled notebook page. He was a terrible typist and always asked me (the nerd of our group) to type his work up for him. I, being twelve and wanting to keep my friend happy, usually did it. For whatever reason, this essay was my last straw, so I typed it exactly as written.

But this time, an opportunity for a bit of malicious compliance arose.

Except instead of fixing his spelling as I went, I tried interpreting his terrible handwriting literally – and as wrongly as possible whenever there was ambiguity. It wuz am umreodable mass. My friend was mad at me, but he never asked again. He also had been held back two grades by the time we turned 18, and is now a tractor salesman, so I guess he never needed that five paragraph essay anyway.

Let’s see what folks had to say about this one.

One person felt the need to point out a very important fact.

Another person completely agreed.

While one commenter was giving OP their flowers.

And one Redditor wondered if there was something really at play here.

All’s well that doesn’t end in a preposition.

If you enjoyed this story, check out this post about a daughter who invited herself to her parents’ 40th anniversary vacation for all the wrong reasons .

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The post Grade School Student Was Asked To Type Up The Class Clown’s Written Essay, So They Complied Exactly To Every Horribly-Spelled Word first on TwistedSifter .

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance, pexels

IMAGES

  1. Definition essay: Example of a five paragraph essay

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  2. Sample Five Paragraph Essay

    how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

  3. How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay (with Pictures)

    how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

  4. 5 Paragraph Essay: What Is It and How to Write It

    how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

  5. 5 Paragraph Narrative Essay Example & Guide

    how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

  6. Five paragraph essay

    how to grade a 5 paragraph essay

VIDEO

  1. How Easy are Grades 5 and 6?

  2. What is an outline that identifies the 5 sections of a 5 paragraph essay?

  3. 5 paragraph essay

  4. English Grade 5

  5. How to write a 5 Paragraph Essay By KGTeacherFlow- (Beef it Up Instrumental)

  6. Write a 5 paragraph essay on how this relates to the theme #meme #memes #gaming

COMMENTS

  1. Five Paragraph Essays

    We always start with simple paragraphs. Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks. Trust me! We spend a while cementing paragraph structure: Topic Sentence. Detail #1. Detail #2. Detail #3. Closing Sentence.

  2. How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay (with Pictures)

    1. Arrange your points to sandwich your weakest. You should have three points, and you want your reader to view them as being strong. Starting off with your strongest point will show the reader that your stance is right, and ending with your second strongest point will create strong support for your thesis.

  3. The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay

    Students can use the following steps to write a standard essay on any given topic. First, choose a topic, or ask your students to choose their topic, then allow them to form a basic five-paragraph by following these steps: Decide on your basic thesis, your idea of a topic to discuss. Decide on three pieces of supporting evidence you will use to ...

  4. Secrets of the Five-Paragraph Essay

    The five-paragraph essay consists of one introduction paragraph (with the thesis at its end), three body paragraphs (each beginning with one of three main points) and one last paragraph—the conclusion. 1-3-1. Once you have this outline, you have the basic template for most academic writing. Most of all, you have an organized way to approach ...

  5. How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay: Outline, Example

    Put the word "Thesis" in the middle (circled), and then put the words "Point 1," "Point 2," and "Point 3" around it. Draw circles around those words, and connect them to "Thesis" using lines. See example below. Don't spend too much time creating a graphic organizer, though. At some point, you need to start writing your 5 ...

  6. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay (with Examples)

    Writing a five-paragraph essay. Write the hook and thesis statement in the first paragraph. Write the conflict of the essay in the second paragraph. Write the supporting details of the conflict in the third paragraph. Write the weakest arguments in the fourth paragraph. Write the summary and call-to-action prompt in the fifth paragraph.

  7. Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay: Tips to Make It Easier

    Teaching the 5-Paragraph Essay Tip #2: Don't Do It In Isolation. Teaching the 5-paragraph essay just for the sake of it is never going to work. Students need buy-in before they'll even think about attempting something hard. So try to avoid a unit that's just about writing a 5-paragraph essay. Instead, make sure students have a compelling ...

  8. How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay [+Bonus Template]

    Specific writing tips. There are some other specific rules that you can use as a guide to creating an outstanding 5-paragraph essay. Don't use abbreviations and contractions. Avoid casual language (it's better not to begin sentences with "sure", "well", "yes" or "no"). Don't use slang (there's a big difference between ...

  9. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay That Works

    Step 4: Create your essay outline. This step is so important to writing essays that I continue to use outlines to this day for articles and blog posts, which are usually a lot more complicated than five-paragraph essays. But for your five-paragraph essay, here's a good outline to complete: Introductory paragraph.

  10. How to Write an Essay: Formulas for 5-Paragraph Essay

    Here are simple formulas to write the 5-basic academic essay. The 5-paragraph essay is a standard way to write most essays. The 5-paragraph essay has an intr...

  11. Five Paragraph Essay Outline

    If writing isn't one of your favorite requirements of academic life, check out these 10 tips and tricks to navigate creating a five paragraph essay smoothly: Begin early. Make an appointment with the teacher to discuss your ideas/progress and get feedback. Take good notes, and cite the sources as you go. Create a sentence outline before the ...

  12. Five-Paragraph Essay Lesson Plan: Producing Writing

    Step 2: BUILD KNOWLEDGE. Read aloud the description on the Five-Paragraph Essay topic page . Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS. Assign the Five-Paragraph Essay Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic. Step 4: DEEPEN and EXTEND.

  13. Teaching How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

    Students should have the following information based on the paragraph. ESSAY THEME: Summer is better than Winter. FOCUS: Summer offers more comfort and freedom. THESIS: Summer is better than Winter because it offers more comfort and freedom. TOPIC 1: Clothing options. SUBTOPIC 1: Wearing shorts and sandals.

  14. How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay: Example, Outline, & Writing Steps

    Second, you can simply reword your thesis statement, starting with "in summary.". The first approach is better, but the second works if you are in a rush. Alternatively, you can use a paragraph summarizer to get the idea of how the conclusion for your particular text may look like. Step 7. Edit Your 5-Paragraph Essay.

  15. Essays in 6th Grade: A Basic Format that Elevates the Standard 5

    Essays in 6th Grade: A Basic Format that Elevates the Standard 5-Paragraph Structure. 6th grade is such a funny year. Funny haha and funny weird. Student writing levels are all over the map. You will have students coming to you writing on a very elementary level, still needing loads of help with grammar and paragraph formation.

  16. PDF Five Paragraph Essay Template

    of their essay. 5. Transitions: These are words that denote movement from one topic to the next. They include first, last, third, fourth, next, etc. Teach these words to your students as necessary before starting an essay assignment. 6. Conclusion: This should wrap up the paragraph, or essay in its entirety, re-stating the topic sentence or claim.

  17. Help your 5th Grader Write a Great Essay

    Constructing a 5 Paragraph Essay. Read below for a brief five-paragraph essay instructional unit to help you guide your child in writing an exceptional essay. 1) How To Write An Introduction. In the five-paragraph essay format, the introduction is vital in grabbing the reader's attention and holding it throughout the essay.

  18. Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay: Expand the Possibilities of the

    I, too, get caught in the tension between structure-the five paragraph essay somewhere in grades 4-6-and development of voice-breaking the five paragraph essay structure somewhere in grades 6-12. Fundamentally, something is wrong if we have to break what we teach. I suspect we teach what's wrong because it's easier to grade. To test.

  19. Five-paragraph essays

    Classic essays. Students are given an introductory paragraph and expand it to the classic 5 paragraph essay. Worksheet #1 Worksheet #2 Worksheet #3 Worksheet #4. Worksheet #5 Worksheet #6. Similar: Informative essays Comparing and contrasting.

  20. How to write a five paragraph essay?

    A five minute tutorial on writing an essay - by Maia Pandey ( Intern - Deerwalk Sifal School )

  21. 5th Grade Essay Writing Worksheets & Free Printables

    Worksheet. 1 2. Fifth grade students are expected to master and utilize many skills when developing and writing essays. Our fifth grade essay writing worksheets will give them the encouragement they need to remain composed while composing. From understanding various text types and their purposes in the organization of an essay to synthesizing ...

  22. How to Improve Your Essay Writing Skills in 10 Simple Steps

    When writing an essay, your topic will often take on new dimensions as you delve deeper into your research. Sometimes, your essay ends far off course and entirely different from what you envisioned. An evolving outline can help you manage these ideas and ensure they are woven into your essay in a way that is meaningful and makes sense.

  23. The Five Paragraph Essay Outline

    Learn how to create a well-structured five paragraph essay with this informative guide. Get step-by-step instructions and tips for each section of the essay. ... Five Paragraph Essays - How to Teach & Grade. When I look back to my first experience teaching five paragraph essays to fifth graders, I can remember how terribly unprepared I felt ...

  24. Grade School Student Was Asked To Type Up The Class Clown's ...

    Everyone had one, or two, or five of these kids in their grade school class: the mouth-breathing, all-eyes-on-me, class-clown. ... We got to the dreaded Five Paragraph Essay assignment and Jason ...