Teaching How to Write a Conclusion
Tired of being let down by lame endings? So was I. Instead of complaining, I wrote this how to write a conclusion lesson plan to stamp out lame endings forever.
A Sobering Conclusion
After teaching students how to hook the reader with masterful introductions and revise an essay for clarity and focus, I felt good about myself once again. I bragged to the student teachers at my school and invited them to my room to watch greatness in action. Then I read the conclusion of my students’ essays.
In shock, I ran back to each student teacher and begged them not to come near my room, apologized to the university they attended, and cancelled my weekend golf trip to British Columbia.
I had work to do. I had to devise a lesson plan that taught students how to write a conclusion.
Here’s what I came up with.
Common Core Standards
Teaching essay conclusions satisfies the following common core standards. Use this list to impress your administrator. Use actual English to let your students know what you’re doing.
W.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of L.9-10.1-3.)
Methods for Ending an Essay
This list of methods for ending an essay will serve the basis for teaching how to write a conclusion. I included some examples for a narrative essay. Feel free to use them.
- A lesson learned: I guess I should have listened to my Mom when she said, “don’t smear blood on your legs and swim with sharks”
- Action: As the shark came closer, I corralled the obese adolescent, shoved him in the predator’s path, and swam like heck to safety!
- Dialogue: The angry parent cornered me and yelled, “You killed my son.” I responded, “no ma’am, that shark killed your son.”
- Emotion: The horrified parents looked on as the shark chewed their son’s knee cartilage. I drove away, relieved that it wasn’t me.
- Drawstring: I glanced over and noticed Franklin had a smirk on his face. He had done the same thing during a shark attack in New Zealand. We have held a secret respect for each other ever since.
- Surprise: I opened the newspaper and read “Mass murderer eaten by shark.” I couldn’t believe that 12-year-old was a mass murderer. It looks like I’m a hero.
- Quotation: Remember, “You don’t have to be faster than the shark; you just have to be faster than the person you’re swimming with.”
Persuasive Essay Examples
This list of methods for ending an essay will serve the basis for teaching how to write a conclusion. I included some examples for a persuasive essay. Feel free to use them.
- A lesson learned: If anything is to be learned from the shark attacks, it’s that these beaches need to be closed.
- Action: Juan Pablo Winters will never swim again, but if these beaches are closed, other children will be able to swim in their own pools.
- Dialogue: Mr and Mrs Winters said it best, “The shark attacks must end now!”
- Emotion: Think about Juan Pablo’s mutilated corpse with his parents hovering over it, sobbing, the next time you decide to get in the ocean.
- Drawstring: The day began with the hope and joy of a day surfing. It ended with the despair of a day of weeping.
- Surprise: Despite recent shark attacks and a call for safer beaches, millions risk their lives daily.
- Quotation: Remember, “The shark doesn’t care whether or not you have a family when it takes a chunk out of your side.”
Need more essay writing lessons for the common core. This guide includes the following:
- How to Write a Persuasive Essay
- How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay
- How to Write a Problem/Solution Essay
- How to Write a Comparison Essay
- How to Write a Definition Essay
Each lesson contains instructions for writing each type of essay (for your students), a list of common core objectives covered (for your administrator), one or more graphic organizers (for your students), and a rubric to make grading easy (for your sanity).
Additional Tips for the Conclusion
Here are some additional tips for ending an essay.
- When I was in high school (and college), I would write just long enough to fulfill the assignment requirements, even if it meant adding an unnecessary page or two. Is it any wonder I didn’t know how to teach when to conclude an essay? Luckily, I learned: Read the rough draft. Find where it ends, Stop. Anything after it is unnecessary.
- Before writing the conclusion, reread the introduction. Often an effective conclusion brings the reader full circle by tying together the beginning and the end.
- For revising a rough draft, have students analyze which method they used for concluding and determine if another method might be more successful.
- Have students write two different conclusions using two different methods. In groups of 3-4, have them analyze which is better.
The introduction is the first thing readers read. It's the part that needs to capture their attention and make them want to keep reading. It also helps them focus on what they will be expected to understand or agree with at the end of the writing. Writing and introduction and conclusion can be one of the hardest part of writing and therefore, it comes at the end of the process, when writers have developed their draft and have a stronger sense of what they want their readers to understand.
In order to write a strong introduction, a writer might use one of these techniques:
- Tell a story about one person who benefited from this information in the essay. You can use the words, “What (that person) and others need to know is that…”
- “Many people (don’t know, don’t think, don’t realize) but I’ve (now realize, think its important)…”
- “Did you know…? Have you ever (wondered/wanted to know)…? I have found…”
- Raise a question that people ask…and show that this essay will answer it. “Many people wonder … You will learn…”
I then ask students to share with a partner, one way they might write their introduction. They can use one of these ideas to try out.
Students need to also think deeply about the type of conclusion they will write. The writer wants the reader to know that they have been effected by the essay and that they now think or understand something in a different way. Writers do this by using one of the examples below:
- (My thesis) is true. If my thesis is true than so is…
- I understand that…
- This makes me think…
- I believe that when I …, I feel…
- Other people should care about this because …
- This is important because…
I also ask students to pick one and try it out with a partner before returning to their own independent work.
When they return to work on their essay, I suggest they try a few different examples. They never know which one will work the best. Just like before, they need to practice a few different introductions and conclusions, asking themselves what way is most clear and convincing.