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Avalon
02-17-2013, 10:38 PM
I've been thinking about how to teach my kids how to write the basic formal essay (the one with an introduction, 3 main points, and a conclusion, with topic sentences, etc...). I haven't brought it up before because I always found them horrible. I hate the formula, and the fact that most of those essays come out sounding boring and uninspired.

I think my kids have picked up most of their writing from reading, so now I'm wondering if there are any really great examples of essays that people might actually want to read? If my daughter simply read a couple dozen excellent essays, she would probably get the knack without the agony.

So, are there any collections of brilliant, lovely, well-written formal essays that students can study to learn the form?

Stella M
02-18-2013, 12:12 AM
Well, I had dd15 read from The Art of The Personal Essay. Not exactly 5 paragraph form though.

I'd actually recommend Bravewriter's Help for High School as a simple, painless way of honing essay skills.

WhatEverWorks
02-18-2013, 09:04 AM
This is an excellent idea! We’ve use the same idea for more specific writing skills, such as dialogue and descriptions, but not for a whole piece. My son is into Mindcraft, so I think we’ll look for blogs written in the basic format. Even if it isn’t in the 5 paragraph form, we can still look at the construction.

Avalon
02-18-2013, 02:37 PM
Thank you for the Bravewriter idea! I can't believe I forgot about them.

Stella M
02-18-2013, 04:06 PM
If you don't want to spend the $, I did find that teaching the basic essay myself was really easy. I think we just spent a week writing one step by step, from defining terms and writing a thesis to editing.

The nice thing about Bravewriter though is that it guides the kids into writing about things they actually care about, so there's a whole lot of interest driving the essay skills along.

CrazyCatWoman
02-24-2013, 02:57 PM
Just a thought, most state testing has online examples of previous years testing (called "released") so that teachers can make sure their kids are on track. If you really want to pursue this, you can get the released examples for your kids to look through, online. WA has a LOT of writing in the state tests, including in math, and may be a good place to start. 4th grade has a writing test, younger grades have language arts that you could look at paragraph style answers. WA OSPI state testing is about what you would google for WA.