There are endless, different ways to write a compelling essay. But, if your teacher is demanding that you sum up your argument in five succinct paragraphs, follow this easy tutorial on how to create a 5-paragraph essay outline.
Using information directing from your source shows that you have read the material and know your topic. Most English teachers require that you use quotations from the work directly. To qualify as 3.5 format, your essay needs three body paragraphs. Of the entire essay, your three body paragraphs should contain the most information.
Finally! Students have arrived at the easiest part of the essay-writing process -- writing the essay. All they have to do now is arrange their outline text into a five-paragraph-essay format and add a few transitions, and they're done!
We've been saying this same thing at National Writing Project as well as the multiple local writing project sites, but it's still a wonderful message to continue to convey. I think teachers are so overworked and battle weary that the 5 paragraph essay is sometimes a mindless, and easy choice. I've observed English teachers in my area who just give up and don't ask the kids to write anything but short answers and journals.
If there is a writing project site at a university near by, it's a worthy way to spend the summer in professional development. It transformed my teaching and opened up leadership opportunities for me. Thanks Ray (from another endangered species - a native Hawaiian English teacher)
Help Me Write A 5 Paragraph Essay
The reason the 5-paragraph essay made its return was because teachers needed in-depth education and ongoing support in how to teach writing well. Without serious training in the art of writing, students' growth as writers is not likely. Writing is thinking and even the most innovative approaches to writing will fail if our teaching of writing is built on anything other than the belief that writing begins with a thought -- a deep thought that has pluses, minuses, and interesting implications. Also, the true craft of writing reflects what readers know -- how to use words and conjure images to make one's writing readable. Again, if the teacher cannot make this thinking visible, we will make no progress in an area where improvement is sorely needed.
How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay
When I first started teaching 16 years ago, I was told that I had to teach the five paragraph essay format because it was part of the curriculum at my school. I didn't think it was particularly useful and had some other ideas, but I was smart enough to see that this format was really being pushed at my school and that it would be politically unwise for me to speak out against it. Instead of pointing out its flaws, I marveled at its sparkling as my superiors held it up to the light as a key tool in a successful teacher's repertoire.
Now, the buzz is that the five paragraph essay is "out", and my superiors at school (none of whom were around in the old days) have begun to repeat the buzz they, too, have been hearing about how awful the five paragraph essay is. I can see that it is most advantageous for me politically to join in their chorus, and so I have. Down with the five paragraph essay!
Until the flow shifts again, anyway.
You present a persuasive argument for the abandonment of the 5-paragraph essay and suggest a new format for presenting an argument... However, you did not provide much information on what is expected to go in between your introduction and conclusion? You suggested this format opens the essay to compare/contrast, cause/effect, analysis, etc... but how do you suggest students structure an essay with these approaches in practice? Any piece of writing needs some structure and main ideas that are then supported with various pieces of evidence (whether you are writing a historical thesis or a persuasive essay)... If you are abandoning a "main idea followed by supporting evidence" format, what do you propose should take its place? Or perhaps my understanding of the 5-paragraph essay you are speaking of is incorrect?
How To Write the 5 Paragraph Essay: 4th Stage — …
For standardized tests, students usually have to write a five paragraph essay, which should be 500 to 800 words long and include an introductory paragraph, three supporting paragraphs and a concluding paragraph.