Memory Pre-Draft: Developing Thesis Statements

Lesson Plan on Developing Sound Thesis Statements

Lesson objective(s): Designing successful thesis statements with which a reasonable person may reasonably disagree.

Total estimated time: 50 – 75 minutes

Additional outcome(s): Fostering feelings of confidence in positioning oneself in relation to a given topic of debate.

Course work or assignment underway: First Essay (Critique – Conference Presentation); ideally, this would be the first or close to the first in-class lesson of the semester.

Work and/or reading completed before class:

Sequence of Classroom Activities

  • Step one: Divide students into their workshop groups and distribute mock thesis statements (one per group) in relation to which students can agree, disagree, or argue some element of.
  • Step two: Group members will designate whether they agree, disagree, or agree-in-part with the statement and list at least three reasons for their choice. (10 – 15 min.)
  • Step three: Students will then share their positions with the group and discuss their rationale behind their reasons for the designation while identifying the strengths and weakness of those same reasons. (10 – 15 min.)
  • Step four: The group will identify which position they find most reasonable and, together, will design a compelling thesis statement based on the supporting elements identified by the group as a whole. (10 – 15 min.)
  • Step five: Each group will present its thesis statement and we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each as a class. (20 – 30 min.)

Reflection on the lesson’s success or alternative approaches:

  • Using the course wiki, students will compile a list of attributes of a good, compelling, reasonable thesis statement.

Download: Developing Thesis Statements (doc)

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