Boxes & Bullets: Framing Personal Essays

In order to keep my demonstrations fresh, I’ve come to believe that I have to craft a NEW piece of writing each and every year for units I’ve taught in the past. If I don’t, then I find my teaching becomes stale. Plus, I believe kids can sense when their teacher is recycling and old piece of writing.

I was creating my news & announcements charts (Morning Meeting) for the upcoming week this morning. I began creating Monday’s chart and found myself framing my new essay right on to the chart paper. (Hence the reason there are so many strips of white correction tape visible on image you see here.) I decided to try a more complex thesis statement this year since many of my students really pushed themselves to craft heavy-duty thesis statements thanks to the graphic organizer I provided them with yesterday.

It’s hard work to create a strong thesis statement for a demo that has reasons that match. I took a crack at it on the chart, but will be showing the kids how I revised it by the time the Writing Minilesson arrives. I want them to see that you can clarify your thinking and make reasons really match a thesis statement by revising even before you start to actually write (an essay).

I used boxes and bullets to help me frame my essay. The box contains my thesis statement/claim. The bullet points contain the topic sentences for each of the body paragraphs I plan to write when I craft my essay. As you can imagine, I repeated the stem of my thesis and the word “reason” in all of my bulleted statements since I’ve found that repetition helps kids when they’re framing their essays.