Formal Writing: The Introduction Puzzle, ELA 7-10

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Introductions, Thesis Statements, Topic Sentences, and More!

After many years of teaching writing, I have found that teaching students how to write an incredibly clear introduction helps them tremendously in writing a good analytical paper. By taking the guesswork out of the structure, students quickly find that writing a paper isn’t the terrible awful ambiguous project they once thought it was. They simply write the introduction and then follow their own blueprint for the paper. In this packet, I offer you resources to help them solve the introduction puzzle.

“The Four Pieces”: This handout clarifies the four elements that must be in every introduction: the hook, mention of the author and title, a strong thesis, and an organizing sentence.

“Putting the Pieces Together”: This handout gives clear examples of two introductions that incorporate the four introduction puzzle pieces.

“Identify the Pieces” (with key): This handout gives two examples of introductions and asks students to identify the hook, mention of author and title, thesis, and organizing sentence for each.

“Strengthening Your Thesis”: This handout explains the purpose of a thesis, shows several “empty” theses and asks students to practice creating a thesis with a full argument.

“Where does the Organizing Sentence come from?” : This handout explains how to create an organizing sentence, starting with a search for three relevant quotations from the text.

“Craft your Own Organizing Sentence”: This graphic organizer, which you can use again and again with students, guides them in finding three pieces of text to support their thesis, drawing three main points from these quotations, and summarizing these into an organizing sentence.

“Write your Own Introduction” (to be used again and again): Students use this graphic organizer to write down the four elements of their introduction and then link them together into an introduction.

“Topic Sentences”: This handout reinforces the connection between the organizing sentence and the three main points of the paper, showing students that once they have completed their introduction, they have also virtually written the first sentence (and main point) for each body paragraph.

“From the Introduction to the Paper as a Whole”: This handout shows a breakdown of what goes into each part of the paper, and how it is all linked to the introduction.

“Moving Beyond the Blueprint”: This handout shows students new directions for the structure of their analytical writing once they have mastered this basic blueprint.

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Lifelong Tool

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Formal Writing: The Introduction Puzzle, ELA 7-10
Formal Writing: The Introduction Puzzle, ELA 7-10
Formal Writing: The Introduction Puzzle, ELA 7-10
Formal Writing: The Introduction Puzzle, ELA 7-10