College Writing Tips

College Writing Tip: Thesis Statement- What? How? Why? (Part One)

Thesis Statements can be tricky, but they are not impossible! Therefore, I am going to do a mini-series of post all about the thesis statement (can you tell I’m a nerd?). This mini-series will contain three separate posts about how to craft a thesis statement for your main three essays (Evaluation, Literary, and Argument) in composition courses. Indeed, regardless of the type of essay, I have three questions that you can (and should) ask whenever you start formulating your thesis statement.

What? How? Why?

Today we are going to look at the Evaluation Essay Thesis Statement and how my three questions apply to its development.

Evaluation Essay

The Evaluation Essay is (you guessed it) where you evaluate something. To evaluate really means to judge something based on a certain set of credentials. The easiest example of this is using a movie because we all evaluate movies the moment we finish watching them. Either we loved it, hated it, or we are somewhere in between.

I encourage you to do this exercise with me! Think about a movie that is your absolute favorite or a movie that you completely hate. Have one in mind?

Now, ask yourself: WHAT is the movie that you have chosen and what is your opinion?

  • For example, I will choose Love Never Dies. My opinion is that the movie fails as a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

Next, ask yourself: HOW can I support my opinion? (It’s usually crucial to choose at least three criteria to support your opinion)

  • Love Never Dies fails as a sequel because 1) it strays from realistic characterization, 2) there are plot holes between the two movies 3) the ending is unsatisfactory
  • BONUS! Add in a counter-argument that you will either concede to (agree with) or rebut (disagree with). My counter-argument: The music was fantastic!

Lastly, ask yourself: WHY is this important? Why should someone care? Why are you writing this essay? (and no the answer cannot be because your horrible, mean teacher forced you to). This question often verges on the “so-what,” which is one of the most difficult things to address so don’t feel to bad if this seems weird to you.

  • This evaluation should influence how people view the movie if they have already seen it and perhaps challenge their own opinions.
  • In some essays the so-what is more obvious, but in others its more of a motivating factor to keep in the back of your mind.

Finally, it is time to craft the thesis! We have answered all our questions now it is time to put it all together, be sure to include the what, the how, and (try to hint) at the why.

Here is my finished Evaluative Thesis Statement:

While the music within Love Never Dies is undeniably impeccable, the sequel for The Phantom of the Opera is ultimately a failure as it strays from realistic and consistent characterization, there are multiple plot holes between the two films, and the open-ended nature of the resolution is unsatisfactory at best.

There you have it folks, a clear, arguable Evaluative Thesis Statement that clearly demonstrates the layout for my essay.

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Pick a movie, any movie and show me what you got! I’m a nerd, remember? I would love to read your Thesis Statements and see how you answer: HOW, WHAT, and WHY.

Happy Writing!


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Blogs / Life

First Semester of Teaching – Told Through GIFS

Whelp, that is it! After turning in my grades, I have successfully completed teaching my first semester at the college, undergraduate level!

And let me tell you, it was quite the roller coaster ride, filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and even one startling loop-de-loop! I think the only way I can adequately describe what it was like is through GIFs, so enjoy my journey as told through GIFs.

Week One is filled with excitement for both the teacher and the students. Students are well-behaved and the teacher is ready to go!

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That First Month is really all about finding your groove. Who are you as a teacher and what do your students need from you? Some days you go home thinking “I totally nailed it!” Other days, you kinda feel like this:

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By the time you hit the Second Month, you finally feel like you’ve got it all figured out and things are going pretty well!

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However, it’s about that Third Month where you start to hit bumps in the roller coaster as students just kind of stop showing up.

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Thanking God that there is a Spring Break in the Spring Semester!

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Lastly there’s that Final Fourth Month which is pretty rough, you’ve got students who missed the first half of the semester and they keep asking about material that you covered weeks ago. . .

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Finals Week

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That’s pretty much how the semester goes, but regardless of the hardships I love teaching! My favorite moment this year was when a student came up to me after the last class and said,

I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed this class a lot better than the one I took last semester. You’re a great teacher and actually made the class interesting.

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Seriously though, I will never forget that.

Oh and just for fun because I also did some substituting at a local high school and really, all I need is one gif to explain how those days go.

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Blogs / Life

Teaching – Told Through Gifs

I have been going to school my entire life. In December, I graduated with my Master’s degree and in January I began teaching College-level English! Well, I’ve been teaching for a full month now so let me tell you how it feels:

A Month in Teaching – Gif-Style

The morning of your first class, you feel giddy inside! Everything you’ve worked for is finally here.

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Then, all of the sudden, you’re there, they’re there, and you realize that you are the adult. Even if some of your students are older than you (like 10 years older than you), you are the adult and it’s time to do adulting things, like oh I don’t know, teaching!

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So you finally spit out your own name which you’re not even sure if you spelled it right and then…

Your student’s have hard names and let’s be honest, you’re not all that great with names to begin with (remember, you nearly forgot how to spell yours)

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But you do it, you get through your first day, and before you know it, you even get through your first week! And maybe you’re not the cool, calm, collected professor you set out to be (it’s hard to be that when you’re phone goes off in class and you can’t get it to stop ringing), but maybe you’re the approachable professor that will actually make a difference in your student’s lives.

And even though no one is an English major, you still want them to understand the beauty of writing!

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So you keep at it and you totally light up when that one student who was really struggling just gets it!

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But let’s be honest, there will always be those students who come to class, who haven’t done the reading, who haven’t asked questions, and are still texting on their phone. So you just look at them like:

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Oh, and don’t forget! When you get that first big assignment in from your students and then realize that you will be spending your entire weekend grading.

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And that’s all folks, I’ll have to do a new one of these once I finish my first semester!


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