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Conquering the Essay!

What's the easiest way to make your students groan? Assign them an essay to write, of course! Students far and wide would almost rather do ANYTHING than to have to write an essay; and, truthfully speaking, I felt the very same way for many, many years. However, something changed for me as a young college student. I was introduced to a book that contained many samples of good essays that were written over a variety of short stories. I voraciously read, and reread, the essays over and over again. And then the "light bulb" moment came to me.

I began to pick up on a "formula" that was used in each and every essay. Mind you, this "formula" was not taught in the book, but it was modeled. So, I began to practice my formula theory on the next few papers and essays I had to write. I was an English major, so writing assignments were a MAJOR part of my homework. One by one, the essays came back graded and the grades were good; I'd even say, if I can be honest, the grades were excellent. I was ecstatic!

I was also disillusioned. I spent my time in high school in Honors English classes. I made straight A's in English. I was salutatorian of my graduating class. I was college bound. And yet, not one teacher really taught me HOW to write an essay. I vowed to myself that if I ever had the chance to teach writing that I would be sure to share the secret to my success--the formula!

I am very pleased to say that this "formula" was first taught to freshman. They, like me, picked it up quickly, and before you knew it they were writing excellent, PAIN-FREE essays! Then, I tried the formula on sixth graders. Then sophomores to seniors. Then, most recently to SECOND through FOURTH graders. Yes, you read that right! Using my formula, I taught SECOND graders how to write PAIN-FREE 3-5 paragraph essays!

In my experience as a teacher, I have found that the problem is not that students do not have anything to say; rather, the problem is they don't know HOW to say it. The formula takes care of that pretty much. And the best part is that anyone could use the formula--even you!