Teaching
Jane Schaffer’s
Multiparagraph
Essay
A Step-by-Step Guide
Terminology for parts of an essay
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Essay
Introduction
Thesis
Body paragraph
Topic sentence
Concrete detail
• Commentary
• Chunk
• Weaving
•Concluding paragraph
• Concluding sentence
Essay
• A piece of writing that gives your
thoughts (commentary) about a subject
• All essays should have at least four
paragraphs: introduction, body
paragraphs (also called the body of an
essay), conclusion
Essay Form
• Paragraph #1: Introductory Paragraph
(at least 4 good sentences)
• Paragraph #2: First Body Paragraph (811 sent)
• Paragraph #3: Second Body Paragraph
(8-11 sent)
• Paragraph #4: Concluding Paragraph (at
least 4 good sentences)
Introduction
• The first paragraph
in an essay
• It includes the thesis
at the end.
What is a thesis?
• A sentence with a subject and an opinion
(also called commentary), and two arguable
prongs (ideas, topics, reasons why)
• The thesis provides the focus for your essay.
• Example: California is the best state of all
for a vacation because of the fabulous
beaches and the excellent variety of
restaurants.
Introduction Paragraph
• Sentence #1: all commentary.
Starts with a theme or themes.
Sentence #2: says more about
sentence #1. Is all commentary.
• Sentence #3: says more about
sentence #2, narrowing the
subject closer to the thesis
• Sentence #4: the thesis. Has
subject, opinion and at least 2
prongs (reasons why…)
• There is no concrete detail in this
paragraph.
Body paragraph
• A middle paragraph
in an essay
• Develops a point
you want to make
in supporting your
thesis
Body Paragraph Format
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Sentence 1
Sentence 2
Sentence 3
Sentence 4
Sentence 5
• Sentence 6
• Sentence 7
• Sentence 8
TS
CD
CM
CM
CD
Topic sentence
First sentence of concrete detail
Commentary on sentence two
More commentary
Second sentence of concrete
detail
CM Commentary on sentence five
CM More commentary
CS Concluding sentence
• The first sentence in a
body paragraph
• Focuses on main idea of
paragraph and the first
prong of thesis statement
• Provides direction for the
paragraph
Concrete Detail (CD)
In an Essay about a
book:
CD is a quote or a
paraphrase
For an SAT-type
prompt:
CD is an example
Commentary
• Commentary means your
opinion, interpretation,
insight, analysis, personal
response, feeling,
evaluation, explication, and
reflections about a concrete
detail in an essay.
Conclusion Paragraph
• The conclusion is the last paragraph in
the essay.
• It is all commentary.
• It does not repeat key words from
anywhere in the essay.
• It gives a finished feeling to the
paper.
• The last sentence should connect to
the theme of the work—the “so
what?” OR be a universal statement.
Terminology for writing the essay
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Pre-writing
Shaping the essay
First draft
Word counts
Peer response
Revision
Final draft
Pre-Writing
• Bubble Clusters
• Spider
• Line Clustering
Diagrams
• Columns
• Outlining
Why do a Prewrite?
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Organize your thoughts
Make sure you’re not repeating
Get your CDs clearly stated
Help you write the entire essay faster
because you will already have your CDs.
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Jane Schaffer`s Multi