Thesis statements are statements that are arguable and that state a writer’s stance on a subject. Typically, a good thesis statement serves as a blueprint of an essay or paper that readers can use to follow along. Thesis statements give focus and organization to your writing, but sometimes they can be challenging to write.
When teaching thesis development, try using interesting examples that will engage students. If you know that your students are basketball lovers, a three-part thesis using a basketball superstar will both engage their interest and help them learn thesis formation. “Michael Jordan is the best basketball player in history because of his jump shot, stats, and work ethic.” This three-part thesis is arguable and stated authoritatively. Using examples that students can relate to or are interested in will help them to form their own thesis statements.
Making a game out of identifying the thesis statements in the writings of others is a fun way to help students develop strong thesis statements. Give student groups three model essays and highlighters. Set a timer and reward the groups that highlight the correct thesis statement in all three essays. Adding competition to thesis development is another way to engage students.
Have students debate each others thesis statements. This is a good way to have students test whether their statements are arguable. If a student’s thesis can’t be argued, they will have to rework their statement so that it is arguable. Have student’s write their thesis on a small piece of paper and put the papers into a bowl. Have each team choose a paper from the bowl to see which thesis statement will be debated. Ask students whether each thesis is an effective thesis statement.
Introduce students to thesis writing by using manipulatives and group work. Give student groups copies of the body and conclusion of an essay and have them read it. Cut the thesis statement into pieces word by word. Create similar thesis statements and cut them up as well. Give each group a stack of the cut-up words and have them put the correct words together to make the best thesis statement. Once students have pasted the words onto construction paper with the body and conclusion of the essay, have them report back to the class on why they chose the thesis that they did. This combination jigsaw/thesis activity will help students learn how to create thesis statements and have fun at the same time.
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