Melcon Essay Format

Today's direct instruction and modeling focuses on how to take the factual information on the students' outlines, connect it to the main idea of each paragraph, and transition between ideas: in short, actually "writing" the essay.

Much of what we are covering in class today is review. I have chosen to spend one day recapping this material to both refresh it for the students and to close any gaps that may exist in their memory. 

We begin by addressing attention getters/hooks. I ask students--without looking at the handout--what ways can they remember for grabbing the reader's attention. I list whatever examples they come up with, and then direct their attention to the first entry on the Persuasive Paper Step 6: Rough Draft directions. I explain the transition between the attention getter and thesis is up to them, but should explain or elaborate on the idea in the attention getter, and show how it connects to the thesis. 

I then ask students to read the rest of handout while I provide them with copies of the Persuasive Paper Step 6.4: MEL-Con Sample and a packet that has MEL-Con in an template form students can simple plug their information into and begin writing. (This template is available for classroom use from many websites; I use Wheeling High School's.) While students are reading, I project the MEL-Con Sample onto the board. 

Once students have had a chance to read the directions, I ask them to look at the MEL-Con Sample, we discuss and review how I organized my information on the sample outline, and I physically demonstrate how to transfer information; copying, pasting, and retyping from my own models as I go. I address each of the "Things to Identify" on the MEL-Con Sample, calling on students to come to the board and mark, circle, or underline each.   

We end class with a quick recap of writing a conclusion as I provided, and if there is any time remaining, students will be able to use the template to begin working on their draft. 

By modeling the transition from outline to paragraph, I demonstrate how to create cohesion in the paper and clarify the relationships between their argumentative claim and the evidence students have researched (W.9-10.1c). Modeling allows students to actually see the process in practice, not as an arbitrary checklist or "to do" on directions. In addition, by calling on students to come to the board or help write portions of the paper, I can ensure they are attentive and increase buy-in/student ownership. As far as paper format, MEL-Con also provides a way for students to create cohesion in their writing.


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MEL-Con Multi-Paragraph Essay

MEL-Con works for writing the traditional five paragraph essay as well. After teaching students how to write good introductions to a multi-paragraph essay, instruct them how to use MEL-Con for their body paragraphs.

Suggestions for writing multi-paragraph essays:

Day 1

Show examples of how to write a good intro to an essay have students write theirs

Day 2

Show examples of body paragraphs using MEL-Con

Day 3

Have students work on their other two body paragraph outlines while you go around and check their first one

Day 4/5

Have students work on typing their essays

Day 6

Show students how to write a good conclusion

Day 7

Students complete their essays.

 The 5 Paragraph Essay

A Graphic Organizer to help you write the best essays possible

Paragraph #1 The Introduction
  • Use one of the five methods of writing an introduction (background info, your thoughts on the topic, real life example, creative example, personal experience)
  • Last sentence should be your thesis statement (this is what you're going to talk about in the rest of the essay)
  • Give a preview of your body paragraphs (set up the essay)
  • Sample introductions
Paragraph #2 First Body Paragraph
  • Use MEL-Con format
  • Use your weakest point in this paragraph
  • Use the MEL-Con paragraph organizer
  • Sample body
Paragraph #3 Second Body Paragraph
  • Use MEL-Con format
  • Use your weakest point in this paragraph
  • Use the MEL-Con paragraph organizer
Paragraph #4 Third Body Paragraph
  • Use MEL-Con format
  • Use your best or strongest point in this paragraph
  • Use the MEL-Con paragraph organizer
Paragraph #5 The Conclusion
  • Use a transition: AVOID using "IN CONCLUSION" OR "ALL IN ALL"
  • Summarize your three points from body paragraphs
  • Restate your thesis in a different way --- a "final" conclusion
  • Tie back to your introduction!!! (Make references to what you talked about in the intro)

Student Samples

Prompt: The local newspaper is awarding one teacher in the area as 'Teacher of the Year." Write a persuasive essay which explains why your teacher should win.

Prompt: Should you be required to take and pass a test in order to graduate from high school?

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