For the Instructor

Chapter 4: Getting From Your Thesis To Your Essay

For the Instructor

As you have been working towards having the students prepare for their midterm close reading, it is best that you have them bring in a three-storey thesis to this class (as discussed in Chapter 3). It makes sense that they bring in a sample three-storey thesis statement in response to the midterm articles that you have assigned. This particular class is a very useful one for giving specific and direct one-on-one feedback on those thesis statements and giving the students activities that they can do on their own or in pairs will free you to look at student thesis statements and give specific feedback on their writing.

In class:
Have the students look at the thesis statements they wrote in response to the midterm articles and evaluate each other’s work using the evaluation form earlier in this chapter. Have the students discuss their own thesis statements and give their partners suggestions and feedback. Again, while they work in pairs, you can circulate and give specific direct feedback on their writing.

After they have completed this, have them rewrite their thesis statements with a specific focus on the third storey. By the end of this activity they should have a full revised three-storey thesis statement. You could then have them meet with their partners again and share this new revised version, getting them to give each other feedback on this new version and respond to the edits that were made. Pausing to showcase exemplary student examples is a good way to model positive modes of writing and raise morale.

Lastly, have them take this new full thesis statement and expand it into an essay outline, as mapped out earlier in this chapter. It may be useful to walk them through an example, focusing on identifying the small components in their thesis statements that deserve their own paragraph(s). Again, this is an opportunity to circulate around the class and give further individual feedback. Once they have completed their essay outline, have them resume working in pairs and walk their partner through the logical process of their proposed argument without looking at their outline. Having the students explain their arguments anew will demonstrate how well they understand their own thesis and the author’s argument. After this, have the partners evaluate each other’s essay outlines and give feedback on the logical flow and cohesion of their partner’s argument.