The Five-Paragraph-Theme Blues and Writing for Real

by Michelle Tremmel Mr. C is the reason I became an English teacher.  Smart, charismatic, funny, and caring, he inspired students over a long career with a passion for and knowledge of American and British literature.  However, one feature of his teaching—the five-paragraph theme—was a mistake even in the hands of an otherwise brilliant teacher.…

Photo of a notebook with red writing

What do students think about the five-paragraph essay?

by Jennifer P. Gray, Ph.D. Do you ever wonder what students think about the writing assignments they do for school? Lately, I am hearing about how assignments fit into Common Core areas or how assignments match up with general education requirements, and I’m curious about the students’ perspectives. What do the students think about our…

A girl sits at a computer and works on an assignment

“I’ve Got Better Writing to Do.”

By Tim Dewar My older daughter has written her first five-paragraph essay for school. In the language of the Common Core, and since she is in fourth grade, it was an opinion piece.  The topic? Should students have more or less homework? She argued for less with a tone best described as “Duh” by a…