My daughter, who is in the eighth grade, had to practice writing thesis statements for her language arts class. The method her teacher was using was different from mine, but a good starting point if you are a beginner. She gave her students a list of topics and they had to write a thesis statement for each one, then choose three and write a paragraph for each one.
The method she used was Fact + Opinion = Thesis Statement. For example, if the topic was ice cream, then the thesis statement could be:
Ice cream can be a healthy treat, but too much ice cream can make you fat.
Now, I’m not sure I could write a paragraph using this thesis statement, much less an entire essay. Most basic essays are comprised of 5 paragraphs: the introduction, 3 informative paragraphs, and a conclusion.
The method I use is a little different and calls for finding a topic, writing down 3 facts about that topic, and your opinion on the topic. For example, using the ice cream topic above, the thesis statement could be:
Ice cream can be a healthy treat because it is delicious, it comes in many flavors, and it can be
eaten in many ways; but, eating too much ice cream can make you fat.
Now with this formula, you automatically know what your three informative paragraphs will be about! Your introductory paragraph will discuss the health benefits and the problem of eating too much ice cream. The first informative paragraph will be about how delicious ice cream is and possibly how it affects the taste buds. The second informative paragraph will be about the different flavors of ice cream and flavor trends. The third paragraph will be about the different ways to eat ice cream (as a cone, as a sundae, and as a topping to other desserts. The concluding paragraph will restate the thesis statement in a different way, discuss what you’ve already written about, and have a concluding statement that reinforces your information and opinion.
This formula may seem complicated but I look at it like making a hamburger. The top bun is the introduction and the conclusion is the bottom bun. In between the buns you have the lettuce (the first informative paragraph), the tomato(the second informative paragraph), and the hamburger (the third informative paragraph). This gives the students a visual image to not only make them hungry, but to use as a guide to creating their essay.