Posted in Education, essay, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing, Writing Tools

Elements of an Essay: Thesis Statement Workshop

One of the most challenging aspects of school life is writing an essay.

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It can be a daunting task, staring down a five-page paper that you have yet to begin.

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Where do you even start?  How do you pick a topic? And what is this elusive thesis statement that I keep hearing so much about?

Well, breathe easy, because Oxford Tutoring is here to help.  We have broken down the essay into tangible sections that you can tackle one at a time so you can feel confident in the papers you write.

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We have even provided practice material so you can check to make sure you  obtaining all the information.

If at any point you feel overwhelmed or have identified a certain concept that just is not making sense, feel free to reach out to us through anyone of our social media sites or by giving us a call at (949) 681-0388.


Elements of an Essay System


We have identified the six major components of an essay and given them metaphors to give you a picture of each of these elements. They are the following:

The introduction paragraph is the HEART.



The thesis statement is the GLUE.


The body paragraphs are the MEAT.


The details are the KEY.


The commentary is the TREASURE.


The conclusion paragraph is the BOW.



Understanding the Elements of an Essay System


As a writer, I can use the “elements of an essay” system in order to make sure that I have everything I need to write an effective essay.

First, the introduction paragraph is the heart of the paper meant to catch my reader’s attention.

Second, the thesis statement is the glue that holds my entire essay together and is placed at the end of my introduction paragraph.

Third, the body paragraphs are the meat; they are the largest portion of my essay.

Fourth, the details of my body paragraphs are the key to unlocking my argument.

Next, my commentary is the treasure that makes my paper shine.

Lastly, my conclusion paragraph is the bow that ties my essay together.

Using this system will aid me in remembering that I, as the writer, can use the “elements of the essay” system to include all the necessary components of a successful essay.


Let’s Start with the Thesis Statement.

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Remember the thesis statement is the glue of your essay.  With that in mind, here is your first activity.

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Directions: Choose one of the following topics and write on sentence expressing your opinions about it.

– Football vs. Basketball

– Summer

– Cats vs. Dogs

– Choose your own topic.


So, What is a Thesis Statement?

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A thesis statement, to put it simply, is an opinion that can be proven and is worth proving to others.  Ideally, your thesis statement should only be one sentence.   This keeps from overwhelming and confusing your reader, and not to mention, yourself.


But, How do I Use a Thesis Statement?

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A thesis statement if meant so that your essays should be built around your thesis statement.  You will use your body paragraphs to argue or defend your thesis statement.


Okay, Then Why do I Need a Thesis Statement?

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A thesis statement can help you do many things.  It can tell the reader what you will be talking about in your essay.  Since your readers will probably have a short attention span, a thesis statement lets them know ahead of time what will be discussed in your essay.

When writing a thesis statement ask yourself the following question: “Why would others care about my thesis statement.  If you cannot answer this question, you need to rewrite your thesis.


Think of the thesis statement as a map.  It lets the reader know where you are going.  And, it gives you, the writer, direction.



Yeah, But How do I Write a Thesis Statement?


A thesis statement if declarative, short, concise, and can be defended with evidence.   You can write a thesis statement like this…


Subject + What You Think + 2-3 Points of Support/Contention


Check out this example

Deciding which college to attend was a complicated process that required researching the college, applying to the college, and enrolling in my chosen classes.

Subject = Deciding which college to attend.

What You Think = It was a complicated process.

Points of support = researching the college, applying to the college, and enrolling in my chosen classes.


Activity #2


Directions: Look back at the opinion you wrote in Activity #1.  Write a thesis statement supporting your opinion.


Then, How does My Thesis Statement Work in My Essay?


In the Introduction Paragraph


In the introduction paragraph, your thesis statement is one sentence (usually the last), while the rest of your introduction paragraph sets the reader up for your thesis statement.


In the Body Paragraphs

The points of support in your thesis statement become the topics of your body paragraphs.  Look at the point of support in the last example:

Point of Support #1: 

Research the College

= Body Paragraph #1 Topic

Point of Support #2:

Apply to the College

= Body Paragraph #2 Topic

Point of Support #3:

Enroll in Chosen Classes

= Body Paragraph #3 Topic


In the Concluding Paragraph


In the concluding paragraph, you will restate your thesis statement.

It is that simple.

See? Your thesis statement really is the glue because it holds your whole paper together!


Activity #3

Directions: Identify the thesis statement components in the following thesis statements – the subject, what the author thinks, and the points of support.

1) Sodas should remain an option in our lunchrooms because of their fund-raising importance and because they allow students to begin exercising responsibility and good decision-making.
2) Students should be allowed to carry cell phones at school because they provide students more security, they can be used in emergencies, and they keep parents involved in their children’s school lives.
3) Cell phones should not be allowed at school because of their potential to distract students, to lead to thefts, and to be used for cheating.

Now you know how to write an awesome thesis statement!


We hope this helped you understand thesis statements and how to use them.  Being that your entire paper is centered around your thesis statement, it is vital that you write a solid thesis before tackling your paper.  For any questions of tutoring help, give us a call at (949) 681-0388.


Or check out our SlideShare presentation!



Oxford Tutoring specializes in K-12 tutoring in English, mathematics, science and test preparation. We provide skill building and homework help in private, one-on-one sessions coordinated with our student’s classroom programs, but focused on the way in which each student learns. Working to better each student’s academic success, Oxford Tutoring personalizes our tutoring approach to best meet the education needs of our students.

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