A few years ago I started worrying because my kids had never really written an essay. I immediately began a massive research project of my own, to find the best way to teach them all they needed to know.
The only thing I knew I didn't want them to do was to take notes on note cards, the way I was forced to do in elementary school. Didn't make sense then, really doesn't make sense now -- when it's so easy to copy and past notes from online sources and move them around on a computer.
However, I discovered that since my time in school, a new art form had been invented: the Five Paragraph Essay. I admit I tried it out with my kids as a start. But the limitations of this format quickly became clear.
I've got a new article laying out my thoughts on essay writing, complete with links and resources. And I'll be continuing my series about teaching writing soon with a piece about my method for getting kids to do in-depth research projects.
Feel free to share your opinions about essay-writing in general, and the Five Paragraph Essay in particular!
Image: Creative Commons/Flickr user Alexandratx