Writing a Thesis Statement

Free Lesson on Writing a Thesis StatementWriting a thesis statement is an extremely difficult skill for some students. This post provides step-by-step instructions. Student-friendly language helps students understand the concepts. To learn the rules, students watch a Google Slide presentation. While watching, they complete organizers. The printable organizers may be placed in an interactive notebook. Digital organizers are also provided. They may be housed on Google Drive. Students may use these organizers as reference tools any time they write essays.

So where to begin…

The Teaching Standards

Common Core State Standards do not include the words thesis statements. CCSS state essays should introduce the topic and state an opinion. (Sounds like a thesis statement to me?!?!) Before Common Core, this skill was included in the 6th grade Tennessee Standards. Depending on the level of your students, I recommend including thesis statements beginning in 5th or 6th grades. Find more information on Why Thesis Statements are Important for Kids here. 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1.A
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1.A
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1.A
Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.

Thesis Statement Google Slides

This lesson includes a Google Slide Presentation that goes over rules and examples. The presentation also includes a section with examples for students to evaluate. Students rate examples as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and discuss why.  All the text in these presentations is editable. Therefore, you can change sentences to topics that interest your students. 

Download these free resources to use with your students.

Foldable Organizers

Grab this free thesis statement mini lesson.
Grab this free thesis statement mini lesson.

To make learning the information a little easier, three foldable graphic organizers go over the information. These organizers need no cutting. Just print and fold.

For Organizers #1 and #2, check out these 3 versions:

  • Version 1 contains blanks for students to write their own definitions.
  • The next version contains sentences with blank spaces for students to write in keywords.
  • Version 3 is fully completed.

The third version of the organizer may be used as an answer key. Use different versions to differentiate instruction. Give absent students the completed organizer to use as a guide to complete their organizer.

For Organizer #3, students write example thesis statements. Because of this, only one version of the organizer is provided.

Free Lesson on Writing a Thesis Statement

Download these free resources to use with your students.

The Content

Organizer 1 – What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is the main idea of an essay.

It is often a point you want to argue or support in an essay.

SO

The thesis statement explains to a reader the main idea of the essay and the writer’s opinion on that idea.

 A thesis statement is usually one sentence.

 It is often placed in the introductory paragraph of an essay.

A thesis statement is a claim that could be argued.

The essay will contain evidence and opinions that support the argument.

Organizer 2 – Things Thesis Statements Should Include and Should Avoid

A thesis statement should:

  • contain a topic (main idea of what you are writing about)
  • contain an opinion about the topic (what your attitude is toward the topic)

Subject + Attitude = Thesis

A thesis statement should avoid:

  • the first person (I believe, In my opinion, etc.)
  • unclear language (It seems, etc.)
  • attempting two topics at once – even if they seem related. Pick one and stick with it.
  • just stating a fact – A thesis is something you plan to make an argument about. Facts can’t be argued.
Free Lesson on Writing a Thesis Statement
Free Lesson on Writing a Thesis Statement

Organizer 3 – Thesis Statement Examples

  1. A thesis statement should not be too broad.

Mountain City is a great place to live.

Better – One reason to live in Mountain City is access to many wonderful places to fish.

2. A thesis statement should not be too wordy.

Some problems with Mountain City Elementary School is that it needs a larger playground, an air-conditioned gym, an auditorium, restrooms connected to each classroom, running water in the classrooms, and a number of other physical changes to the building.

Better – Mountain City Elementary needs several changes to its facility to make it a better school.

3. A thesis statement should not be a title.

Cost of Living

Better – The cost of living in Mountain City is lower than in most other cities in the United States.

4. A thesis statement should not be too general.

Music makes people happy.

Better – Music therapy is useful in relieving stress and other conditions.  

5. A thesis statement should not be a fact.

The average temperature for Mountain City in winter is 34 and in summer is 75 degrees.

Better – The climate in Mountain City is ideal for outdoor sports.

Important Update

If you are looking for the original organizers, don’t worry. They’re still here. I know how frustrating it can be to follow a link from Pinterest, only to not find what you are looking for. Because of this, I included the original organizers in the download.

These organizers contain the exact same information as the new. The difference is they require more time to assemble. A link to the original PowerPoint is also included in the download.

Download these free resources to use with your students.

Original Thesis Statement Organizers

More Activities

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10 comments

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    • Theresa on January 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    BRILLIANT! I will use this for my freshmen who have a tendency to “forget” what the thesis IS and IS NOT!

    • anis on June 16, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    nice blog

    • sarah egger on September 9, 2015 at 9:02 am

    This is wonderful, thanks so much for sharing. I gave it to my fellow English teachers and we all use it and we are raving about how much the students enjoy it and learn from it.

    • Beverly on September 9, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Thank you so much.

    • Louise on October 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    This is so helpful. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • ENRIQUE GUZMÁN CH on November 22, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Hi. I´m from Colombia. Thanks a lot for everything.

    • Pat on September 26, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Thanks for sharing!

    • student on September 29, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Everything is very open with a really clear description.

    It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  1. Most thesis statements are one sentence (Unless you have a really long paper) but if you need to add more info use a semi colon or a coordinating conjunction to add more.

    • Homeschool Teacher/Mom on March 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you so much! This was very helpful!!

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