From Thesis Statement to Outline

Gifted, advanced and talented students learn to apply a thesis statement to create a detailed outline in this final article in the Process-Writing series.

In this article, students will learn the final steps in creating their custom-made thesis statements and discover how to fit everything together in an outline.

In this article, innovative brain-based ideas will be explored that can help bright, advanced or gifted and talented students gain some fresh perspectives by using higher-order thinking skills and abstract thinking on how to write in multiple styles and genres – including expository essays, narratives, creative, poetry, persuasive, literary analysis, cause and effect and many others.

Step Five: No-Fuss Thesis Statements…

Show the students how remarkably simple this next step is. By duplicating the following template, students can now “plug-in” the Items from their webs to create a preliminary thesis statement, which could be positioned near the end of their essays’ introductions:

“This paper will (choose one: explore, explain, discuss, demonstrate, review, etc.) HUB by examining ITEM 1, ITEM 2, and ITEM 3.”

Please note this issue: some teachers prefer that the thesis appear at the beginning of the introduction, which will work with this model as well. Also, some schools do not teach the five-paragraph essay or use a thesis statement, which is fine – students can still use the web as a focus for their thoughts and use the following outline as a backbone for their paper’s development!

Once the students have developed this preliminary thesis statement, they can then develop an outline. Usually, the thesis statement appears at the bottom of the introduction. (Warriner, 1977) Next, Item 1 becomes the subject of the topic sentence for the first group of paragraphs, using the “other items” that are attached to it on the web as supporting information according to how the arrows indicate usage. The process then repeats for Item 2 and Item 3 as they provide the subjects for the topic sentences and supporting issues for subsequent paragraphs using a typical “five-paragraph essay” model.

After the students have their outlines, they can begin filling in facts, details, quotes, statistics, or whatever else they need to support the topic sentences of the paragraphs.

As noted above, as the first draft of the essay begins to take form, students will most likely realize that they need to change some of the wording of the thesis, which is fine. In fact, students should be encouraged to find more apropos wordings than, “This paper will,” or “by examining…” The true function of the preliminary thesis statement is to provide direction during the early going; however, the order of Items and the Hub should be preserved. As the actual essay is developed in the process-writing model, it is expected that the students will tinker with the thesis statement until they have reached the final draft form of the essay, and the final or definitive thesis statement.


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