The Thesis Statement The Roadmap of Your Essay Introduction



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The Thesis Statement

  • The Roadmap of Your Essay

Introduction

  • By the end of our lesson today, you will:
  • Have a better understanding of a thesis statement
  • Know how to identify a thesis statement
  • Know how to identify a good thesis statement
  • Write a thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

  • I’m glad you asked.

Definition Thesis Statement

  • The thesis statement is one sentence that tells the main idea of an essay. It tells the argument that you are going to defend. It states a claim and takes a position. In the essay you will defend your position using examples and/or facts to support your argument. Can you find the thesis statement in the following examples?

Definition Thesis Statement

  • Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a teacher. Being the oldest made me the teacher and the student of many lessons that I would later have to teach my younger siblings. Teaching requires a person’s full attention. It also demands an extreme amount of patience. Being a teacher warrants a full commitment from the teacher. Teaching is a demanding, yet rewarding job.
  • Thesis Statement: This last sentence states the main idea of the essay.

Thesis Statement Another Example

  • Studies show that teenagers would benefit from a later school start. A later school start could mean more time for students and teachers to rest. This could also mean that teachers are more productive and could plan better lessons to engage their students in learning. Finally, a later start in school gives parents more time in the morning with their children. Middle and high schools should begin later in the morning to allow greater success in the school system.
  • Thesis Statement: The main idea of the essay is school should begin later.

Key Features Thesis Statement

Key Features Answers the Prompt

  • Prompt
  • Student Responses
  • Writing Situation: There has been a problem in local schools with discipline and violence. Your school board has decided to institute a school uniform policy in order to cut down on these problems, based on the positive examples that they have seen at other schools.
  • Consider the issue of school uniforms. What is your position on this issue?
  • Directions for Writing: Write a persuasive essay to giving reasons for our position on the school uniform issue.
  • School uniforms are not connected to violence.
  • The introduction of school uniforms may decrease violence, however, there may be other detrimental effects as a result of this new policy.
  • Does not answer the prompt completely
  • Answers the prompt

Since the thesis statement is the main

  • Key Features
  • Main Idea in a Complete Sentence
  • Since the thesis statement is the main
  • statement for the entire essay, it should express
  • a complete thought and be a complete sentence.
  • The thesis statement is asserting an opinion or
  • idea, so it should not be a question. Look at the
  • examples below to see how they can be made
  • into thesis statements.

Key Features The Main Idea is a Complete Sentence

  • The sport of basketball.
  • Why is writing the best subject?
  • The sport of basketball is an engaging sport that everyone should learn to play.
  • Writing is a very challenging subject, yet rewarding because one can express himself on paper to convince others.
  • THIS IS NOT A SENTENCE.
  • THIS IS A QUESTION, NOT A STATEMENT.
  • THESIS STATEMENT

A COMPLETE SENTENCE Another Example

  • Marcus Garvey and the Harlem Renaissance.
  • What is the problem with big cities?
  • Marcus Garvey’s ability to rally people behind a cause, to make speeches, and to defend civil rights makes him arguably the most important figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • The problem of pollution in major cities can be alleviated by limiting the number of cars allowed to drive on city streets and creating more efficient public transportation systems.
  • THIS IS NOT A SENTENCE.
  • THESIS STATEMENT
  • THESIS STATEMENT

Key Features- Location

  • Your reader likes to know what the essay is going to be about early on in the essay rather than the end of the essay. Because of this, the thesis statement is usually found at the end of the introductory paragraph.

KEY FEATURES LOCATION

    • In America, freedom of expression is a right that our forefathers fought foe. Lunch is a social time for students where they can express themselves with their friends. It is also a time when students don’t have to talk about school. Finally, allowing students to express themselves in lunch allows for less off-topic discussion during classes. Silent lunch is a violation of students’ first amendment rights and is not an acceptable solution the loud noise in the cafeteria.
  • THESIS STATEMENT

Key Features Location

  • Maya Angelou is an accomplished African-American author in the United States. While growing up, she suffered tremendous hardship. Some of her most difficult life events are portrayed in novels and poems such as, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and, Still I Rise. Her written works often include strong themes such as perseverance through trials, love for family, and passionate optimism.

Key Features States an Opinion or Attitude

  • A thesis statement states an opinion or attitude about a particular topic, making the thesis more specific. The writer must defend or explain this opinion in the essay. Look at the following slides to see examples.

Key Features States an Opinion or Attitude

  • I learned to play many musical instruments when I was young.
  • Learning to play many musical instruments when I was young helped me to become a more intelligent and well-rounded person.
  • This would not be considered a good thesis statement because it is only expressing a fact. It doesn’t give the writer’s opinion or attitude on playing musical instruments. This thesis statement doesn’t give the writer very much to explain or prove in his/her essay.
  • This thesis statement is much better because it expresses how the writer feels about the experience of learning to play musical instruments. This thesis statement requires the writer to explain how and why playing a musical instrument made him/her a better person.

An Opinion or Attitude Another Example

  • Cancun is a popular vacation spot in Mexico.
  • This would not be considered a good thesis statement, because it is only expressing a fact. It doesn’t reflect the writer’s opinion or attitude on Cancun. This thesis statement doesn’t give the writer very much to explain or prove in his/her essay.
  • Cancun is one of the best vacation spots in Mexico because of its comfortable climate and proximity to some well-known archeological sites.
  • This thesis statement is much better because it expresses how the writer feels about Cancun. This thesis statement requires the writer to explain how and why going to Cancun is a good choice for visitors.

Key Features Don’t State the Obvious

  • At all costs, you should avoid using “I’m going to write about…” or “This essay will discuss…” in your thesis statements. Try to write the thesis statement in a way that will capture your reader’s attention, but does not state the obvious.

Don’t State the Obvious

  • In this essay, I’m going to talk about why students shouldn’t have to wear uniforms.

Don’t State the Obvious

  • This essay will discuss why teachers should not be permitted to assign homework to students.
  • Homework is a nuisance that causes headaches for teachers, students, and parents and should not be assigned.

Key Features Review

  • Answers the prompt
  • States the main idea in a complete sentence, not a question
  • Usually at the end of an introduction
  • States an opinion or attitude on a topic
  • Does not directly announce your main topic

Practice Exercises

  • Now it’s your turn. With your partner, complete the practice exercises on the thesis statement.
  • Use the following subjects and write a solid thesis statement for each.

References



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