I am OBSESSED with color. No specific color, just all of them. So logically my classroom looks like a rainbow blew up in it. I am not teaching kindergarten or even elementary where this would be most appropriate. I think the kids are supposed to be maturing, but I’m sure my classroom will bring back nostalgic feelings of years long ago. I’ll have to get my “smart” replies ready. I am moving from a school that had TONS of storage! Now I just have 1 cabinet. Project Runway started tonight! I had to buy that little table in the middle of my room. Who doesn’t mount projectors to the ceiling? I had to be able to face my class. ONE cabinet. But did you know what you can do with a shoe rack organizer? Now all my Vistaprint creations are easily organized and accessible. How can I forget where the homework passes are now?

Here are a couple more shots of what it looked like to begin with. The one bulletin board at the back behind my desk is made from a sheet of Styrofoam board. I didn’t have any boards. And check out this double door closet. Be careful when you “walk in”! The fortunate thing about this “closet” is that it happens to be the most perfect size for holding all my poster boxes. I guess that’s what they were thinking when they installed it. I don’t have bulletin boards but I turned this nasty ugly, half concrete, half sheet rock wall into one. Did I tell you that Hot Glue is my BFF? I am leaving the open space for my Science Word Wall. Here is my Math bulletin board made on a concrete wall. Don’t you just love how the AC thermostat breaks up the space? Gotta look on the bright side! I still don’t know what I am going to post on this board. Hot Glued of course. Now it is really hidden. Absent work holder on left. I have a door to my teaching partner’s room. The kids never have to line up in the hall! I puffy heart Garfield. Brainiac Challenges posted on the poster holder closet door. Bulletin Board made from Styrofoam and nailed to the wall. Thank goodness that one wasn’t concrete! I should be completely done.

Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should (ideally) also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together. For example, if you used “first” in the first body paragraph then you should used “secondly” in the second or “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” accordingly. Examples should be relevant to the thesis and so should the explanatory details you provide for them. It can be hard to summarize the full richness of a given example in just a few lines so make them count. If you are trying to explain why George Washington is a great example of a strong leader, for instance, his childhood adventure with the cherry tree (though interesting in another essay) should probably be skipped over. You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: the first few words. These words are example of a transitional phrase – others include “furthermore,” “moreover,” but also “by contrast” and “on the other hand” – and are the hallmark of good writing.

Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another. Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them. Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format. One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features.

While it does not need to be too long – four well-crafted sentence should be enough – it can make or break and essay. Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition (“in conclusion,” “in the end,” etc.) and an allusion to the “hook” used in the introductory paragraph. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement. Having done all of that, the final element – and final sentence in your essay – should be a “global statement” or “call to action” that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. The conclusion paragraph can be a difficult paragraph to write effectively but, as it is your last chance to convince or otherwise impress the reader, it is worth investing some time in. Take this opportunity to restate your thesis with confidence; if you present your argument as “obvious” then the reader might just do the same.

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