Writing Essay Conclusions


Use this plan to help your middle school students write a great conclusion paragraph for their essays!

Once I have taught my students to read & flip the essay prompt, read and mark the text, write an introduction paragraph for informative and argumentative, write the body paragraph and the counterclaim, the last part of the actual essay is the conclusion paragraph.  My students typically are worn out by the time they get to the conclusion and just want to say, "Thanks for reading my essay." or "In conclusion, this essay is finished."  Both of these statements are like nails on a chalkboard for me!  

So, I came up with a plan.  I thought to myself, what's the last thing students probably grab from home before they leave the house?  Their cell phone!  Now how do I connect that to the conclusion as the last thing they do before they call an essay finished?  With this mnemonic that outlines the 3 sentences (minimum) that a conclusion needs to have:

A - Affirm the thesis

T - Trim the point

T - The Call to Action

AT & T - Ok not everyone has AT & T but they get the idea!

1.  Affirm the Thesis

This is the first sentence in a conclusion.  By affirm the thesis, I mean restate the thesis.  If in the introduction the thesis ends with the reasons, then the affirm begins with the reasons.

For example, if the thesis is:

After reading multiple texts, it is clear to see that these places should be protected because of their natural, historical, and cultural benefits.

Then the Affirm is:

Natural, historical and cultural benefits are reasons why Pipestone National Monument and Mount Rushmore are so significant that they should be protected.

2.  Trim the point

This is the second sentence in the conclusion and students are tasked with telling the main idea of the essay.  I tell my students to ask themselves "What's the point?"  The answer is the sentence they should write here.

3.  The Call to Action

This is the last sentence of the conclusion and should tell what it is hoped that the reader has learned or what it is hoped that the reader will do as a result of reading this essay.

I give my students sentences starters like "Now the reader may understand why..." or "Now the reader may understand how.." or "Now the reader can choose..."

Watch this preview of how I teach the call to action from the conclusion here:

Now that students have a plan for their conclusion, I hopefully won't hear those nails on the chalkboard any more!

Want to try this with your students?  I have a complete plan for both informative and argumentative essays with my printable and digital units that include the expanded version of the video above plus videos for every other section of the essay too!

Middle School direct instruction for writing argumentative essays in printable and digital formats!Middle School direct instruction for writing informative essays in printable and digital formats!

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Give your middle school students a plan for writing essay conclusion paragraphs!


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