Thesis Statement Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson plan to help teach students about thesis statements. Define the uses of thesis statements and explore the types of writing they're used in, then use topic cards to practice writing thesis statements.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the purpose of a thesis statement
  • discuss types of writing that use a thesis statement
  • create thesis statements


1 hour


  • Index cards with topics printed on them, such as 'Baseball' or 'Homework'; at least one for each student
  • Index cards labeled with the writing styles 'Analytical', 'Argumentative', 'Expository'; 5-8 sets
  • Chart paper

Key Vocabulary

  • Thesis
  • Analytical
  • Argumentative
  • Expository
  • Narrative

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.1

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.


  • Activate prior knowledge and connect students to learning by asking them to define the term 'thesis.' Have students write up a flash draft and share answers. Don't yet correct misunderstandings.
  • Tell students they will be working on creating quality thesis statements.
  • Show our video lesson What is a Thesis Statement?. Ask students to take notes on a 3-column chart labeled 'Analytical', 'Argumentative & Expository,' and 'Narrative.'
  • Pause the video at 1:01. Discuss the definition of 'thesis' and write it on the board. Compare and contrast to student answers. Have students record the correct definition.
  • Continue watching the video lesson. After it's finished, review information in the students' 3-column charts.
  • Discuss:
    • Why does an analytical essay require a thesis statement?
    • Compare and contrast argumentative and expository essays. How are thesis statements used in these types of essays?
    • Why don't narrative essays always require a thesis?
    • How can readers identify the thesis?


  • Have students work in groups, pairs, or individually, depending on your students' needs.
  • Give each grouping a set of topic index cards, a set of writing style index cards, and chart paper.
  • Demonstrate the activity.
    • On chart paper, write: 'Thesis Statement Menu' on top. Underneath, write 'Topic,' 'Question,' 'Opinion,' and 'Thesis,' all on different lines.
    • Choose a topic card and write what it says on the 'Topic' line. Let's say the topic is 'Baseball.' Then choose a writing style card, like 'Argumentative.'
    • Model creating a question related to baseball that could be used in an argumentative essay, such as 'Should baseball use instant replay?'
    • Next, show students how to write their opinions--'Major League Baseball should not use instant replay.'
    • Finally, show how you can expand the opinion into a thesis--'Though many believe instant replay enhances Major League Baseball, using it would distract viewers and make the games too long.'
  • Allow students to work through a few sets of cards. Record on notebook and chart paper.
  • Circulate the room to support and help students.
  • Share answers. Encourage students to evaluate and critique work.
  • For an exit slip, ask students to write an example of a thesis statement and an example of a simple sentence that is not a thesis statement.


  • For homework, ask students to choose one topic. Interview parents, siblings, or friends on the topic and create new thesis statements using their input.
  • Give students articles and essays. Have them find thesis statements in the texts.
  • Use the student-created thesis statements and simple sentences (from the exit slips). Ask students to identify the true thesis statements and the fake thesis statements (the simple sentences).

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