Abydos Expository Writing

Resources to support best-practices in literacy instruction

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“A muddled thesis makes for muddled writing.” ~ Dr. JAC

BISD Secondary ELA Teachers!

Your task:


1. Read through these resources.


2. Click to go to a virtual sharing wall (via Padlet) to post a response to one question. Check back to this wall at the end of the week in PLCs to see what other teachers in district are sharing about thesis statement instruction.


3. Submit your thoughtful reflections on the Google Form after the information. Your responses will go straight to Ann-Marie and that is how you will receive credit for "attending" this session.

Abydos Thesis Statements

Your thesis statement is your promise to the reader.

It focuses and controls the essay.


ABCs of an Effective Thesis Statement

A- The thesis statement ASSERTS. It makes a point.

B- The writer of the thesis statement must BE an insider. Writers should make a point about an aspect of the topic that they have personal insight on.

C- The thesis statement must be CLEAR. Strong thesis statements are usually simple and straightforward.


Your Thesis Statement Must Include

your topic and the point you want to make about your topic


-Dr. Joyce Carroll Armstrong

Thesis Statement Nuts & Bolts

How many different ways have you described a thesis statement to your students?


The backbone of the essay.

A roadmap of where you are going.

Your promise to the reader.

A controlling idea that is now called thesis.

WTS (aka. working thesis statement)


Thesis statements are essential for good expository writing, but learning how to write them often becomes an arduous quest that only a few students complete. Without this skill, students flounder through expository writing tasks, grazing the topic (if they are lucky) and slapping down examples (if they remember).


Look at the ABCs above. For most students, the "Be an insider" part is difficult because they often need practice identifying HOW they are an "insider" for the topics that are thrown at them. Helping students understand what they have to write about is crucial for them to be able to write strong thesis statements that can truly anchor their expository writing.


When you look at expository prompts together, model for students how to find something that they can be an expert about that relates to the prompt. Basically , you are showing students how to find their personal angle for their thesis statements. That personal angle brings in the relevance and then they can easily pull in real examples and details to support their thesis.

Thesis Statement Lessons

Quotes on the Wall


  • Post thoughtful quotes on the wall and have kids gallery walk with Post-it notes.
  • Tell students to jot down things from their lives that come to mind with each quote and stick under the quote.
  • When all students have responded to all of the quotes (with your modeling and facilitation), then have them go look at all of them again to see what other students wrote.
  • Next (possibly a different class day,) have students re-visit their Post-its and the quotes to write working thesis statements for each quote based on what they could connect to personally (as an insider).
  • Partners or small-groups could work together on the WTS and then rough drafts could be written with the different WTS that the students chose was strongest for them.


WTS Tri-Fold Activity

  • Give each student a standard sentence strip and show them how to fold it into three equal sections.
  • Then, have them label (above the top line, in marker) each section: TOPIC, POINT, WTS.
  • Have the students choose an expository prompt from a few options and then guide them through writing a working thesis statement on the sentence strip tri-fold.
  • Make sure to spend time on the middle part, POINT, or assertion.
  • After students complete all three sections, have them find a peer for pair-share and discuss the three parts on their strip.

Click here to go to SHARING WALL to post response.

What strategy have you found to be effective to teach students to write thoughtful thesis statements?

Extra Resources

How To Write A Killer Thesis Statement by Shmoop

Ann-Marie Trammell

Birdville ISD Secondary English Language Arts Coordinator