Writing Thesis Statements

 

 

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Level: upper intermediate (B2)                                             Age: young adults (17-25)

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to identify Thesis Statements (TS) in short essays.
  • Students will be able to distinguish between an effective TS and an ineffective TS.
  • Students will have the opportunity to practice the writing of a persuasive TS.

Time Needed for Activity: 35 minutes

Preparation time: 1 hour

Prior Knowledge: Before doing this activity, Ss are supposed to know what Topic Sentence (hook) and Statements of Fact are.

Materials:

  1. chalks or marker
  2. handouts

Introduction:

This activity is designed to teach Ss to identify the TS in the text. It will also teach them how to write an effective TS in their short essays.

 

Procedure

Warm up: Brainstorm (5 minutes)

  • Divide the class into groups of three.
  • Write down the following topics on the board.
  1. Women’s rights
  2. Smoking in public places
  3. Capital punishment
  4. Violent video games

 

  • Ask each group to pick a topic and brainstorm it by writing down the key points and arguments.
  • Give them 3 minutes.
  • Ask each group to read their ideas.

 

Writing Activity: How to write a thesis statement (25 minutes)

 

  • Write “Thesis Statement” on the board.
  • Ask Ss whether they have heard this term before or whether they know what it means.
  • If they know, ask them to talk about it, if not, tell Ss that TS is a sentence in the introductory paragraph of an essay that identifies the main idea and tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • Write the following examples on the board.

 

  1. I love fast food but I know eating fast food is bad and harmful. So, in my opinion, it should be avoided.

 

  1. People should avoid the regular fast food consumption, because fast food can cause serious health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

 

  • Ask Ss which sentence better identifies the main idea of the paper.
  • Then, tell Ss that the TS must be persuasivelike sentence “b”, rather than a statement of fact like sentence “a”.
  • Also, tell Ss that sentence “a” is not a good TS as it is subjective and is not written in third person.
  • Tell Ss that TS should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence and facts.

 

  • Then, distribute the activity handouts to all Ss. (see appendix 1)
  • Ask Ss to do both activities individually first.
  • Give them 5 minutes.
  • Then, write “Golden questions” on the board.
  • Tell Ss that some basic questions help us to improve our TS.
  • Ask them if they know these golden questions.
  • Write the following questions on the board.
    1. Is my TS debatable?
    2. Is it supportable?
    3. Is it specific?
    4. Does it give me a guide to the organization of the paper?
    5. Is it written in third person?

 

  • Ask Ss to go back to their handouts.
  • Ask Ss to compare their answers in their groups of three and check whether the variants they have chosen in activity 2 answer the questions written on the board.
  • Give them 3 minutes.
  • Check the answers by asking Ss to read them aloud.

 

Writing Thesis Activity: (5 minutes)

 

  • Now tell Ss to continue working in their groups and to write a TS for the topic they have brainstormed.
  • Remind Ss to keep the golden questions in their minds.
  • Give them 3 minutes.
  • Ask each group to read their TS.

 

Anticipated problems:

1-Ss may not understand how to write an effective TS. T should devote several lessons to practice how to write a TS.

2- Some Ss may not have enough knowledge about the topics suggested by T. The teacher should have additional topics or ask Ss what topic they would want to write an essay about.

 

References: Taken and adapted from

http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/real/tlr/TLR_LessonPlan.aspx?id=53

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/

Appendix 1: Activities

 

Activity 1: Read the following paragraph and answer the questions.

 

The Best Medicine

 

Last week, I noticed that my son got flu. I took him to the doctor and she told me that my son had an infection. Then she gave me a prescription for antibiotics. After two days, my son was happy and healthy thanks to this important medicine. Everyday doctors prescribe antibiotics to help thousands of patients around the world to fight infections. I do not like to think about what might happen if we did not have antibiotics. Antibiotics are considered important medical inventions in human history for several reasons.

 

  1. A) Underline the hook (opening sentence). Which of the following strategies is used?
  2. a) a personal story   c) an anecdote
  3. b) a fact d) a question

 

  1. B) Circle the sentence that gives background information.

 

  1. C) Underline the thesis statement.

 

 

Activity 2: Identify TS in each topic and circle it.

 

1- Topic: Homeless people in Yerevan

  1. a) Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, has lots of poor and homeless people, who need our help.
  2. b) Homeless people in Yerevan should be given access to free services, such as regular food donations and public restrooms, because it would improve their lives.

 

 

 

2- Topic: Using cellphones at school

  1. a) Cell phones should not be allowed at school because of their potential to distract students, to lead to thefts, and to be used for cheating.
  2. b) Nowadays, most of children have cellphones and bring them to schools. I believe that cellphones should not be allowed at school.

 3- Topic: Pollution

  1. a) Beijing is the most polluted city in the world. Pollution is harmful for the environment and can put species in danger.
  2. b) The pollution rate in Beijing is very high. Due to this fact at least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.

4- Topic: Internet addiction

  1. a) Nowadays, internet addiction has become a major problem in the world and many people suffer from it.
  2. b) Like other addictive behaviors, internet addiction may have serious negative consequences, including academic failure, job loss, and a breakdown in personal relationships.

 

5- Topic: School uniforms

  1. Schoolchildren should wear uniforms.
  2. School uniforms provide many benefits to students, parents and educators.

 

 

 

 

 

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