Composition: Organization & Planning

Thesis statements! Very little else generates so much anxiety in students. Many times when I work with students, I find that they have written an entire paper but cannot verbalize their main argument. The following video breaks down the thesis statement, and the accompanying handout provides some templates. 

Intro to Thesis Statements 

Thesis Statement Templates

Each time I taught students how to write thesis statements, I found that I also needed to teach them how to employ parallel structure. Not only does using parallel structure in a thesis statement make the sentence sound better, but it also prompts students to find errors in their thinking. I created the following video and accompanying handout  to introduce parallel structure.

Parallel Structure Basics (video)

Parallel Structure Handout

Many students erroneously believe that writing comes into the world in its perfect form, and that planning and editing are only for poor writers. (Not true, of course!) As a result, they disdain the planning process and neglect to think about how they will write successfully. Even worse, when students receive graded writing with feedback, they tend to look only at their grades; doing so means they lose out on an enormous part of the learning process. The handout below requires students to think about the effort they will--and did--put forth on a writing assignment. 

Writing Process: Plan and Reflect