Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thesis and Outline

Today we will:

Don't be like Calvin! Use facts from your research
to support your thesis.

  • Write your thesis
  • Begin outlining your paper
Due at the end of this class period:
Outline your paper using the worksheet example. You may type the assignment or write it out by hand. A hard copy is due on your desk at the start of Monday's class (20 points).

Rules for Writing a Thesis
A good thesis statement should:
  • Directly answer the question asked. Our basic question is "How can I compare Russia to the United States?" Or, "How can I compare Russia's government under the Soviet Union to Russia's current government?"
  • Provide a road map for the paper
  • Usually be one sentence in length
  • Tell the reader how you are interpreting your subject
A Basic Compare/Contrast Thesis
Complete the following example thesis in your notebook, filling in the blanks using information from your research:
I can compare ______________ to ______________ by examining ______________, ______________ and ______________.
This is a VERY basic three-part thesis. It simply answers our question and ensures that the reader knows exactly what he/she will read in each paragraph.

An Improved Thesis
This thesis breaks a basic writing rule, however: AVOID USING THE PRONOUNS "YOU" AND "I."

In order to write an effective thesis, you must find a way to remove these pronouns. Here's an example:

  • Basic Thesis: I can compare China and India by looking at their large populations, governments, and environments.
  • Improved Thesis: While China and India both face environmental concerns due to large populations and heavy industrial growth, each country's government reacts to problems very differently.
Write your improved thesis paper in your notebook.

Outlining Your Paper
We are writing a 5-paragraph paper. Here's a basic outline:
  1. Paragraph 1: Introduction, ending with your thesis
  2. Paragraph 2: First body paragraph, including the first topic from your thesis
  3. Paragraph 3: Second body paragraph, including the second topic from your thesis
  4. Paragraph 4: Third body paragraph, including the third topic from your thesis
  5. Paragraph 5: Conclusion paragraph, including re-stated thesis
In order to get ready to write, you must outline your paper using this worksheet. You may do one of the following:
  • Print out the worksheet and fill it in by hand *recommended*
  • Write the information on the worksheet out on loose leaf paper
  • Type in your information and print it out
Whichever you choose, the outline is due on your desk at the start of Monday's class period.

Next week:
  • Classroom Monday, Wednesday and Friday to start looking at Africa
  • Computer Lab Tuesday and Thursday to write our paper
  • Quiz Friday over introduction to Africa
Africa Map Game
Want to get a head-start on studying the map of Africa? Play this map game.

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