Writing compelling conclusions is very challenging. (I personally struggle with it — still!) But the good news is that a conclusion can follow a set pattern that is a meager three sentences. Just three sentences!
Start with a restatement of the thesis statement, in different words, of course. Then add at least two additional wrap up sentences, using the suggestions below.
There is overlap among these ideas, and that is deliberate. Different methods will work for different children and at different times for various topics. Having multiple tools at your disposal is to your benefit.
If you can answer the question “So What?” at the end of an essay, you will have a strong conclusion.
Now that the reader has read all of your ideas, “So What?” Why should he care? What difference does it make? How does it apply to him and to every person on the globe?
I like to think of a conclusion as triangle.
You start specific by restating the thesis statement for the essay and then make some general or universal statements related to your topic. This transition is reflected in the shape of the triangle. It is narrow at the top and broadens to a wide base.
So think in categories. Take your essay topic, and mentally expand it, asking yourself what category it would fit into. Then try to think of a universal statement about that general category.
Here are some examples of essay topics & broad categories that they fit into:
- essay topic: the three best pets — broad category: animals
- essay topic: why children should have household chores — broad category: the family
- essay topic: the achievements of Marco Polo — broad category: explorers
- essay topic: paintings by Monet — broad category: Impressionism
Thinking in terms of broad generalizations is difficult for many children and is not developmentally appropriate until later middle school or high school.
Revisit the Attention Grabber
What did you use for a hook in the introduction? Was it a startling fact, a question, or a story? Consider returning to that idea and wrapping it up in the conclusion.
Stories are perfect for this, especially if you can leave the story somewhat unfinished in the introduction. Now in the conclusion, you have a chance to revisit that story and neatly tie up any loose ends as you make some statements related to your essay topic.
Present a Call to Action
What do you expect or want the reader to do with what you’ve written? Is there an action the reader should take or a belief the reader should now have? Express that in a call to action at the close of your essay.
Free Printable Graphic Organizer
When drafting a conclusion paragraph, this graphic organizer can help students remember what it needs to include, how long it has to be, and some reminders about the foolproof endings.
This printable is part of my ebook Essay Tune Up.
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Filed Under: language artsTagged With: homeschool, language arts, teaching, writing
In this unit, students are introduced to the skills, practices, and routines of argument writing by working collaboratively with their peers to examine argument models, plan for their writing, and gather evidence. Students independently practice writing and revising and also engage in peer review to revise their work. Throughout the unit, the class will construct an Argument Writing Checklist, which students will use to guide their drafting, review, and finalization. By the end of the unit, students will have produced fully developed arguments.
Students begin the unit by reading two model argument texts, “Keep on Reading” and “We Need the League,” exploring how each writer organizes and expresses his ideas. Using the models as examples, students learn the purpose of argument writing, the key components of an argument, and the importance of considering one’s audience. Students then analyze the prompt for this unit’s argument writing assignment, which asks them to take a position on whether their school should participate in the national event “Shut Down Your Screen Week.”
In order to build their knowledge on the argument topic and practice the skill of gathering evidence to support claims, students read and analyze four articles that discuss the effects of digital media usage. After gathering evidence and deciding on a central claim, students learn how to plan their arguments and begin drafting. Students draft their arguments in a nonlinear process, focusing first on developing the supporting claims, evidence, and reasoning in their body paragraphs before composing a clear, engaging introduction and powerful, logical conclusion. To continue to strengthen their drafts, students engage in peer review and teacher conferences, incorporating constructive feedback into their revisions. Finally, students learn and apply the conventions of the editing process to finalize their arguments. To close the unit, students engage in a brief activity in which they reflect on the writing process, identifying strategies that helped them succeed as well as areas for improvement.
This unit contains a set of supplemental skills lessons, which provide direct instruction on discrete writing skills. Teachers can choose to implement all of these lessons or only those that address the needs of their students. Teachers also have the option of implementing activities from the module’s vocabulary lesson throughout the unit to support students’ comprehension. Student learning is assessed based on demonstrated planning, drafting, revising, and editing throughout the writing process. At the end of the unit, students are assessed on the effectiveness of their finalized drafts according to the class-generated Argument Writing Checklist.
Unit and/or Assessment Task Texts
“Keep on Reading” (argument model)
“We Need the League” (argument model)
“Kids Still Getting Too Much ‘Screen Time’: CDC” by Amy Norton
“Social Media as Community” by Keith Hampton
“Attached to Technology and Paying a Price” by Matt Richtel
“Education 2.0: Never Memorize Again?” by Sarah Perez