3c.EX1: ABCD Essay 2017-07-28T11:41:37+00:00

EX1: ABCD Essay

3c. Engaging students in learning
Writing a five-paragraph essay with clear scaffolding and steps

Educator: Dianne Shibe [Email Dianne]
School: Colony High School, Palmer

Appropriate for Grade Levels: 8-12
Content area(s): English Language Arts

How does this lesson or technique improve student learning?

Writing a five-paragraph essay is a rite of passage for most high school freshmen. The challenge is to infuse logic into the essay. This technique helps students build the steps needed to use logic to prove their thesis.

What does it look like in my classroom?

Timeline: 5 class periods

Students start by going over the Powerpoint that describes the type of essay and instruction. This is followed by working through the outline and developing an appropriate and specific thesis. They then proceed to the body paragraphs of the essay and follow the directions about the use of colored pencils. Following the directions carefully and thinking carefully about every sentence in the essay is new to most freshmen. I teach the middle and the ending before I get to the introduction.

The key to this activity (why it works so well for this component):

This works well in my class because it is straightforward and easy to follow. The essay is more about the logic and support, and less about the topic. In fact, simpler topics help students stay focused and not get lost in complications.

Supporting materials

ABCDE First Presentation PowerPoint
A 14-slide presentation on how to teach this lesson.

Artifacts to gather for evaluation

  • Student essays
  • Student outlines and notes

The Danielson Connection

This meets a high level in the Danielson Framework component 3c because of its emphasis on scaffolding and the pacing provides time for students to contribute meaningfully. Being able to organize an essay is intellectually challenging for high school students. The structure of the lesson is clearly defined and logical. The end result is a well-organized essay.