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I am teaching some students how to write a 5-paragraph essay. Their writing is coming together, but when it comes to conclusions, they get lost. They have difficulty assembling the ideas for a conclusion. I can show them a list of ideal features, show them sample conclusions, and give them a list of types of conclusions, but I'd really like to give them a process or some steps that they can follow to help them to construct their ideas.

  • Nearly all of the student's essays are persuasive, e.g.: "The school should build a new recreational center"; "More money should be spent on improving roads"; or "Hiking is a great activity."

Are there any steps my students can follow which will help them to think through what they could possibly say in the conclusion?

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3 Answers 3

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Conclusions wrap up what you have been saying in your paper. They tie up any loose ends, briefly summarize the focal point of the paper, and ultimately end the paper with any relevant last words.

Conclusions

As per the linked resource from Purdue's Online Writing Lab:

  • Restate your topic and why it is important,
  • Restate your thesis/claim,
  • Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
  • Call for action or overview future research possibilities.
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Different schools have different methods (for example, some insist that the last line of the introduction must be the thesis statement), but I learned that a "conclusion" is essentially reiterating the essay. So they summarize each paragraph in one or two sentences, and that's the conclusion.

From the old saw about speeches with introductions and conclusions: "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em, tell 'em, and then tell 'em what you told 'em."

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That was how I learned it too. In a 5-paragraph essay, the conclusion has one (or two) sentence summaries of the first four paragraphs, then a one (or two) sentence 'and that's why we should blahblah'. –  KitFox Oct 16 '13 at 16:03

In the concluding paragraph you should include the following:

  1. An allusion to the pattern used in the introductory paragraph.

  2. A restatement of the thesis statement, using some of the original language or language that "echoes" the original language. (The restatement, however, must not be a duplicate thesis statement.)

  3. A summary of the three main points from the body of the paper.

  4. A final statement that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. (This final statement may be a "call to action" in an persuasive paper.)

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To this I would add: thinking through what to say in your conclusion is really just an extension of thinking through what to say in the essay. Plan the major points before writing, and the conclusion will fall out more easily. –  Monica Cellio Oct 25 '13 at 0:50

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