grade essay
Step by step example of the five
paragraph theme
By Lara Cooper
The Introduction
The word perfect has been used to
describe many products. One can find
“perfect” toilet paper, shampoo and
floor cleaner, but can one find a truly
perfect day? How precious and rare it
would be to be given a single, mistakefree, perfect day. Would I ask for
outrageous gifts like winning Lotto
tickets, or overseas trips? No – my
perfect day would be simple. The
perfect day would be quiet, stress-free
and filled with all the hobbies and
events that I never have time for.
Notice how I used an attention getting
device. I sucked readers in by giving
them a weird way to introduce the
idea of “perfect” then enticed them
with the idea of having a prefect day –
I mean who hasn’t wished for that?
I then go on to set my reader up for MY
idea of a perfect day, so that they
know what is to come.
I used a dash to show an abrupt
change in thought. I really love dashes.
I think readers get bored with regular
punctuation and need something
different once in a while.
1st Body Paragraph
I enjoy quiet moments at home.
Being the mother of three kids,
and having a multitude of pets at
home, having time that is soundfree is nearly impossible. From
6a.m. to 11 p.m. the house has
some form of noise – be it running
kids, barking dogs or Mr. Cooper’s
late night television habit. Having
a house without the four other
members of my family is a treat. I
would turn off my phone, turn off
the t.v. and put the dogs out of
earshot. Having a few hours of
silence allows me to quiet my
mind and be calm and restful.
Those stolen moments of
relaxation are more valuable to
me than money.
Notice how I did not use a transition word
here. If you are writing for the Benchmark
test, use one; if you are writing for yourself
or another teacher and can make your
writing sound grown-up without those
transitions, then don’t use one.
I wrote this paragraph about having quiet. I
referred to it in my introduction so I made a
promise to my reader that I would discuss it
in my essay. I started with a topic sentence
right at the beginning and each sentence
describes or builds on the one that came
before it.
I gave my reader some background about
why I don’t get the opportunity to have quiet
time. Then I described why I enjoy the quiet
so much and what it is that I get out of it.
I gave enough personal, and specific
information for my readers to get involved
with me as a writer. I want them to feel as if
they know me, and that we have a lifestyle in
common. That helps me build a relationship
with the reader. It makes them want to read
2nd Body Paragraph
Another element of my perfect day,
and perhaps the most important,
would be to have a day that was free
from stress. Stress is a very damaging
reality for me. I have the stress of
getting papers graded, test scores up,
lesson plans completed, meetings to
attend, and that’s just at work! Then I
get to start my “second shift” at home.
It would be so delectable to have a
day where I could relax and have
nothing on my to-do list. I could simply
have fun finding ways to occupy my
time with what I WANTED to do,
instead of having to WORRY about
things I had to get done. That really
would be perfect.
Here I decided to use a transition word to
make sure that my reader knows I am
changing ideas. I am sick of hearing
first, second and last, so I opted to go
with “another” instead.
I wrote about a stress-free day since I had
mentioned it in my introduction.
Again, I explained to my reader what kind
of stress I deal with (this makes them
feel sorry for you – you can have a lot
of power to make people feel emotions
just by your writing). Then I
explained how precious having that
perfect day would really be.
I mentioned the word “perfect” again to
remind (nag) my reader as to what the
topic of the essay is about.
3rd Body Paragraph
Now that I would have a quiet
house, with nothing stressful to think
about, I would have the time and
peace of mind to spend on some of
the little luxuries I enjoy. I would spend
some time outside with my camera
since I dabble in photography. Taking
interesting pictures, especially black
and white photography, is a wonderful
way to creatively express myself. I
love finding just the right angle, or
lighting to make an ordinary object
look special. I would also spend some
time curled up on my sofa reading. I
have so many books I want to read for
myself, but I end reading books that
have to do with my work. It would be
great to read something just for the
pleasure of it.
I used a typical transition (now) and
reminded the reader of where we were in the
journey. I promised to talk about my hobbies
in the intro, so I made good on my promise by
including that info in this paragraph.
I added lots of specific details about my
interests, keeping my reader interested in me
as a person. Writing doesn’t have to be
boring. Everyone has opinions and
experiences and essays are just one way of
showing those off.
I showed the reader more of who I am, as an
individual, instead of giving them so much
background. I think they understand me
better and I didn’t want to use the exact same
format in every body paragraph. I wanted to
keep it fresh.
The Conclusion
It’s a common daydream to have a
perfect day. I think everyone desires it.
I often see teachers and kids who are
stressed out and busy. Many people
want to be able to own their own day,
instead of it owning them. It gives
people the sense of being in control
and being able to “make it through” the
week or weeks ahead. Others may
think a day with a celebrity, or
shopping with a no-limits Visa makes a
day perfect, but I would just look for a
quiet, relaxed comfortable day that I
could spend doing my own thing. What
more could I ask for?
I wanted to expand my relationship
with my reader in my conclusion. I
took my idea and applied it to the
larger world. I showed my reader that
I am not the only person who feels like
they just want a day off. Since I think
my reader wants a day off too, I am
committing to understanding how
THEY feel. This creates a two-way
street relationship since they had the
good manners to hang out with me
during my essay.
I also managed to tie in my thesis
statement all over again right at the
end to remind them of what it was I
wanted in MY perfect day.

File - Cooper`s English site