January 25, 2017
By Byron Delcomb

Lesson plan

Developing Theses

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Students will develop several theses about fiction through discussion.

(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud an engaging 32-page picture book, mentor text (an example of which is Fox, a text that provides strong examples of writer’s craft). A mentor text is often revisited throughout successive lessons on writing development.
  • Have the class turn to a neighbour and share any strong feelings or ideas they may have about the story.
  • Explain an author’s main goal is leave the reader with strong feelings or ideas about their story. Such ideas can be thought of as a thesis, an opinion or statement that serves as a main idea to be proved in opinion essays.
(10 minutes)
  • Read the first idea from the Thesis Discussion Activity sheet with your class.
  • Have them imagine their sentence frame thesis, then turn and share it with a neighbour, along with their "how" and "why" details.
  • Let several volunteers share their thesis and explanations to the whole class.
(5 minutes)
  • Have your class repeat the process with number two on the What’s Your Thesis? Activity sheet with a different partner with an added focus on listening well and repeating their partner’s views.
  • Circulate the class, providing support with encouraging comments and probing questions, as needed.
  • Allow volunteer presentations of partner’s thesis and detail explanations whole class.
  • Evaluate best practices with your students from partner presentations.
(15 minutes)
  • Students complete the What’s Your Thesis? Activity sheet with partners of their choice.
  • Check-in and coach students with guiding questions, as needed.


  • Have students work in small heterogeneous groups, sharing the activities among them.
  • Have students take on a limited number of theses and/or activities.


  • Allow students to act as coaches to students who need more support.
  • Allow students to create and explain new thesis frames that promote deep mentor text connections.
(5 minutes)
  • Review student responses as you circulate the room during independent work time, noting strong and emergent understandings.
  • Collect finished work and review for comprehension.
(10 minutes)
  • Select thesis exercises and take volunteer student responses.
  • Have students provide strengths and appreciations for shared presentations.
  • Assign an exit ticket for a 2-3 sentence response stating which thesis they’d choose and why.

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