UNIT 3: The Dreaded 5 Paragraph Essay (Opinion Piece)

You’ve all spent some time getting to know the 5 paragraph essay at this stage in the game. You probably hate it, which is understandable. HOWEVER, it’s pretty useful. Consider it a necessary evil: the 5 paragraph essay is the universal format for essay writing. On the provincial exam that you are required to write for any English 12 course you will be expected to answer all essay questions in this format. Not to mention college or university… The good news is, it’s super easy! So in short, accept it, learn it, get good at it, and then master it.

Here are two helpful guides. This first one is a very short, simple introduction to the 5 paragraph essay format: Intro to 5 Paragraph Essay.  For more detail & some examples check out this link: 5 Paragraph Essay (more detail)

David Garneau - 'Not to Confuse Politeness with Agreement'

David Garneau “Not to Confuse Politeness with Agreement”

There are different styles of essays – narrative, persuasive, descriptive, opinion, and so on. We’re going to start with an opinion piece. Your first task is to find a piece of art by a contemporary Indigenous artist. You don’t need to be an art historian to have opinions about a piece of art, and generally it’s pretty natural to have reactions to art. Here are some AMAZING contemporary Indigenous artists. For some guidance finding an art piece, you can walk through the school and take in some of the amazing art on the walls, go through this website for more art, or do a google image search and check out these artists (your own ideas are welcome):

Sonny Assu
Bunky Echo-Hawk
KC Adams
Christi Belcourt
Steven Paul Judd
Henry Roy Vickers
Ursula Johnson
Andy Everson (local!)
Jane Ash Poitras
George Littlechild (local!)
Lee Claremont
David Garneau
John Powell (local!)
Brian Jungen
Jolene Yazzi
Kent Monkman
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun

Steven Paul Judd 'TMNT'

Steven Paul Judd “TMNT”

Activity 1: Opinion Essay – Outline
Once you’ve found your art piece, your first job is to create an outline using the 5 Paragraph format. You are, very simply, writing an opinion piece about the artwork you chose. This includes:
1) Intro
– ‘hook’ that you start your essay with
– thesis statement (where you tell the reader what your paper is about)
2) Body Paragraph 1
– intro sentence
– point form what your main points are
3) Body Paragraph 2
– intro sentence
– point form what your main points are
4) Body Paragraph 3
– intro sentence
– point form what your main points are
5) Conclusion
– intro sentence
– how you’re ending your essay

*** I always recommend starting by thinking of your 3 MAIN POINTS. What are the 3 central points you’re going to write about? Those will be your 3 body paragraphs. That helps you organize the essay and things tend to fall in place naturally. Before starting to write your essay PLEASE have Rory or Margo look at your outline and give you the okay. A good outline is key to a good essay!

George Littlechild - 'First Nations Cowboy Jim and his horse Spectrum'

George Littlechild “First Nations Cowboy Jim & His Horse Spectrum”

Activity 2: 5 Paragraph Essay
Wow, guess what, you’ve already done most of the work! Aren’t outlines amazing??? Now you just fill in the gaps and complete the essay. Make sure to go over the guidelines for 5 paragraph essays and to proofread before submitting. I am happy to give your essay a quick look-through with some suggestions.

Another unit down, that wasn’t too painful!