Jane Schaffer Essay Format

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Jane Schaffer Essay Format

Please use the following directions to write your essays for English. Keep this handout in the front of your English binder for easy reference.


  • Essay is on one page, NO EXCEPTIONS

  • Times New Roman, 10-12pt. font

  • 1.5 paragraph spacing

  • .5” (half-inch) margins

  • Include your name on the upper left hand corner and the word count in the upper right hand corner

Use the Jane Schaffer format to write five (5) paragraph essays. Remember, the following word counts are minimums. Your essay should be structured like this:

Introduction ¶-40 words

Minimum 380 words
ody ¶ #1-100 words

Body ¶ #2-100 words

Body ¶ #3-100 words

Concluding ¶-40 words

Introduction: Your introduction must include the title and author of the book as well as the subject you will be writing on. Your introduction must have a thesis statement. A thesis statement presents your argument to the reader, it tells the reader what the paper will be about. Very simply, a thesis is a fact + an opinion. Your thesis should be the very last sentence in your introductory paragraph.

Fact + Opinion = Thesis

FOR EXAMPLE: Willows High School’s colors are purple and gold. (Fact)

Those colors suck. (Opinion)

Thesis: Willows High School’s colors, purple and gold, suck.

Body Paragraphs: Your body paragraphs will have the following components:

TS= Topic Sentence = First sentence of a body paragraph = fact + opinion, it’s like another thesis for that ¶

CD = Concrete Detail = Factual Statement-a quote from the book. Introduce the speaker and identify the situation

CM = Commentary = Opinion Statement: Explain what the quote means and how it supports your argument

CS = Concluding Sentence = Final sentence of a body paragraph = A) summary; B) restatement of thesis

The formula for a body paragraph is as follows:

Each body paragraph should be at least 100 words in length.

The more words you use well, the better your writing will get.

Quality NOT Quantity
opic Sentence (TS)

Concrete Detail (CD)

Minimum 8 Sentences
ommentary (CM)

Commentary (CM+)

Concrete Detail (CD)

Commentary (CM)

Commentary (CM+)

Concluding Sentence (CS)

The key idea is that for each CD (Factual Statement) you need to explain it with at least 2 CMs (Commentaries or Opinions). But the ratio or the key thing really is that you always “say” or “explain” more than you “state.” 1CD : 2+CMs. You can start these sentences with ‘This means that…” and “This also means that…” to begin with you so you get your main ideas down. You can always change the wording later.
You can have more than two CM sentences for each CD. Important: all of your CDs and CMs must support your topic sentence for that paragraph, as well as the thesis for your essay.

Concluding Paragraph: Your concluding paragraph should sum up the main points of your essay and restate your thesis. No new information should be introduced and it should be entirely commentary.

*Do not use “I” statements in your essay

**Write about the book in present tense

Do: George kills Lennie.

Do not: George killed Lennie

***Avoid contractions in your essay

For example: “Do not” instead of “don’t”
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