5 Resources for Thesis Writing

10:54 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

Even my senior students struggle with thesis writing; my AP Literature and Composition class has been working on writing introductions to past AP exam questions as part of my AP Literature Redesign I started second quarter.  The students are communicating to me that the thesis (although some aren't using that word) is part of the struggle they face when approaching a questions.

My students can write a formula thesis, but that is not enough for the kinds of writing they are being asked to do on state and national exams like the AP Lit and Comp exam they will be taking in May.  In an effort to improve my teaching and my students' writing, I know I need to find other ways to address their paper topic that will lead to more sophisticated essays and less formulaic writing.

Here are five resources I've added to my tool box:

1) David Wright video on Writing an Effective Thesis Statement

We are going to start with this 13-minute video that takes students through many examples and non-examples of claim writing.  Any time I can have someone else talk to my students about a topic, I do because then it become less about me and more about making them better writers- it doesn't hurt that in the video he talks about Star Wars.

2) Gretchen Bernabie's Reviving the Essay

This book and others by Discover Writing Company can be helpful in directing students towards authentic writing like "read" writers do.  There are also resources on the site for teachers and students. 

Image Source:  the article by Ray Salazar.

This five part article not only makes a case for moving away from the 5 paragraph essay, but it also provides strategies to open students to greater thinking.

4)  Thesis Speed Dating

Speed Dating is an activity teachers use in many different contexts; I have used it when previewing texts for students to select their independent novel.

Speed dating thesis statements works as follows:
*Divide students into 2 groups-those that stay and those that move.
*Place the students in pairs in a circle.  Inside student is those that move during each round.
*Run a three minute round
*Have each student quickly share their thesis statement with their partner.  Then each person offers the other a suggestion or asks a question.
*Move to the next person and repeate

This activity allows students to share and revise their thesis statements while helping and learning from each other.

A two minute rap video about writing a thesis; I personally love that Flocabulary also provides an interactive of the lyrics for students (and teachers) to follow along and click open deeper explanations of the lyrics.


I am hoping to get two or three writers to speak to my students (either virtually or in person) about the process specifically focusing on claim/topic selection and revision.    The Michigan Library has a catalog of authors in Michigan and resources on author visits, and many other states have these databases too, but a search for authors in your area would lead you to some contacts for you.

 I have received no compensation for endorsing these resources; the opinions here are 100% mine!  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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