Writing Papers

Introductory Paragraph

An introductory paragraph is the most important paragraph of an essay.  Try to write 5 sentences minimum (about 50 words), and be sure to make clear (explicitly or implicitly) your topic sentence.  Most important:  make your reader interested!

Do not:  use the first person.  Do not:  tell the reader explicitly what you plan to write.

Structure of an Essay

(from San Diego City College) 


  • an interesting fact
  • surprising statistics
  • an anecdote (personal experience)
  • a controversial question or a somewhat rhetorical question
  • a famous quotation
  • a comparison to earlier times
  • claiming something is supposed to happen in theory–but does not happen in fact.
  • Sensory descriptions
  • Comparison of two things
  • Pointing out negative aspects of a generally popular thing (or vice versa, pointing out the silver lining on a cloud).


This  New York Times article has some EXCELLENT suggestions and links for how to write an essay.  It also has an article on “How to Teach With Current Events.”.  It also ha

Could write an essay on an animal that has recently gone extinct; on comfort foods; on the importance of recess for kids; on the ways to develop a love of learning…..

Remember, in your conclusion, do not only provide the reader with an overview of the main ideas,but also make some reference to a next step, next time, next question–show the significance of the synthesis (the whole, the complex way in which it fits together) of your information.


One element that is common to all fairy tales but distinct from modern literature is…

The most important reason why….

What makes a true friend

The joys of cooking for others.

What is the scientific method?

Eliza Hamilton, and how she changes how we view our nation’s Founding

The role of First Ladies in the United States

 How has gymnastics changed as a sport.

 Why a bit of unhappiness is essential for happiness.

Friendship isn’t truly friendship if there aren’t ups and downs.

Why do people have pets?

Simone Biles is known for her amazing gymnastics feat; what is less known are the challenges she had to overcome….

Surprising satisfaction of a rainy day….

How many of us could spend a day without electronics?

Popular and less popular baby names….

Every generation eventually complains about the younger generation’s music and dress.

The advantages of playing in the mud.

 Keeping a diary–why and why not?  “Dear Journal….today I wrote a paper about why I should keep a journal…”

How to engage students with poetry.