Welcome to HIT—How I Teach….In this episode, I teach one of my favorites (okay, just about all writing projects are my favorites!)—the Five Paragraph Essay. Five paragraph essays have gotten a little bit of a bum rap in my opinion. Students dread them, and teachers often think they are difficult to teach (especially when they move into more persuasive types). I think just the opposite! I think five paragraph essays are super fun—and actually easy to teach because of their formulaic nature. (Sort of like—give me a list of exactly what tasks you want me to do, and I’m on it! 😉)

So in this episode, I want to put you at ease about teaching this type of writing by giving YOU all the tools that you need in order to teach it, which will, in turn, give your students all the tools that they need in order to write it.

(Grab your Teacher’s Notebook for this episode, so you can follow along easily in your free lesson as I teach!)

Sort of like a shopping list, we are going to go right down the list and check the things off. Once we know how to teach all of those things on the “list,” we are ready to teach the five paragraph essay.

Here is our list:


  • P’s o B: paragraphs of body
  • Topic of each PoB (Paragraph of Body)
  • Thesis statement
  • Opening paragraph
  • Thesis statement reloaded
  • Closing paragraph
  • Three points
  • Quote inclusion
  • Transitions/topic sentences


Boom! We are ready to teach!


There are a few other things scattered in this lesson for you, mostly “teaching theory,” such as:

  • Using expectation explanations for writing projects
  • Decreasing and increasing difficulty of any writing project for multi-level teaching
  • Differences between research reports and essays
  • The essay writing spectrum—going from single paragraph essays to the five paragraph essay
  • Using familiarity with topic before moving into unfamiliar topics
  • The basis of persuasive essays even before students realize they are writing persuasively
  • Giving students tools that are needed for each project
  • And my weekly rant about the importance of using samples well in teaching writing 😊


We can have the tools that we need in order to teach well. This, in turn, will help us give our students the tools they need in order to write well. Win-win!

Of course, just like every lesson in my one-month downloadable books and my one-semester Meaningful Composition books, this one also has the invaluable sample essay (of Three Ways Fairy Tales Help Kids).  

Note: This lesson came from Write On, Fairy Tales IV, a month-long downloadable book! It is also available as a stand-alone writing project from my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Find everything you need here!

Weekly broadcast episodes with Teacher’s Notebook downloads (and links to listen or watch!) at the Language Arts Lady blog

Master (continually updated) Teacher’s Notebook downloadable booklet

Free writing books and videos of me teaching your students for you for a couple of weeks!

All of my digital books

How I Teach YouTube Channel

How I Teach Podcast