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Writing Effective Conclusions

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1 Writing Effective Conclusions
Goal: To understand the essential elements of a conclusion.

2 BACK TO THE FUTURE! Writers must look to the future….and know where to find BOTH the front and the back of the train! Option: teacher stands in front of the class with his/her hand on her forehead, as though looking for an approaching subway train. The teacher asks, “What am I doing?” After students comment, teacher tells them he/she is demonstrating one of the essential elements of a strong conclusion; the writer must look to THE FUTURE!

3 Four Ways to Conclude Touch back Look to the future Go to the heart
End with a zinger! Page 40 in “30 Days to FCAT Writing Success” describes each of these.

4 The “Touch back” conclusion
Physical representation: Reach your hand over your shoulder, pat your back. DEFINITION: Touching back to the main idea of the essay as stated in the thesis paragraph.

5 “Look to the Future” conclusion
Physical Representation: Hold your hand up to your forehead to demonstrate the importance of looking to the future.

6 Go to the Heart of the Matter Conclusion
Physical representation: hit your heart with your fist to signify the importance of going to the heart of the matter. Think: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT ALL MAKE? WHY SHOULD THE READER CARE?

7 End with a Zinger Conclusion
Physical Representation: Pull back your arm like you are about to let go of a sling shot. This is the “zinger” or final statement that leaves the reader thinking, “WOW!” Think: how can I surprise my reader?

8 Let’s Have Some Fun Join in now and gesture with your teachers as they shout, “Touch back; look to the future; go to the heart and end with a zinger.” Come up in groups of 4 and let’s see how fast you can touch back, look to the future, go to the heart and end with a zinger.

9 Your conclusion is very important.
It gives you a chance to: remind your reader of your main idea or opinion. give the essay a sense of completeness. leave a lasting impression with the reader.


11 Trent Lorcher Examples continued….
Drawstring: I glanced over and noticed Franklin had a smirk on his face. He had done the same thing during a shark attack in New Zealand. We have held a secret respect for each other ever since. Surprise: I opened the newspaper and read "Mass murderer eaten by shark." I couldn't believe that 12-year-old was a mass murderer. It looks like I'm a hero.

12 Examples from Trent Lorcher
End with a Quotation: Remember, "You don't have to be faster than the shark; you just have to be faster than the person your swimming with." Examples from Trent Lorcher A lesson learned: I guess I should have listened to my Mom when she said, "don't smear blood on your legs and swim with sharks" Action: As the shark came closer, I corralled the obese adolescent, shoved him in the predator's path, and swam like heck to safety! Dialogue: The angry parent cornered me and yelled, "You killed my son." I responded, "no ma'am, that shark killed your son." Emotion: The horrified parents looked on as the shark chewed their son's knee cartilage. I drove away, relieved that it wasn't me.

13 Tips on Writing Conclusions
Last movie lines provide great ideas of how to end without leaving the audience hanging. “Do I still have to sleep in the cupboard?” Chip, Beauty and the Beast “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future - Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m spider-man.” Peter Parker, Spiderman

14 Synthesize, don't summarize
Include a brief summary of the paper's main points, but don't simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.

15 One of the first things a reader remembers after having read a piece of writing is the last words the writer uses. Effective conclusions are particularly important in persuasive essays since they are the last chance the writer has to convince the reader. The following is a collection of suggestions for writing effective conclusions.

16 Use a summary statement rather than phrases like the following: "In summary...," "To conclude...," "To summarize...," or "In closing...." These are too obvious and vague to be effective. Use a transitional phrase which summarizes a point in your essay instead. A sample summary statement is as follows: "As we have seen, poverty is a known contributor to crime; therefore, it should not be discounted when considering ways to prevent crime. 2. Use a quotation, such as "As a man thinks, so is he," when your paper has just explained how negative thinking has created problems for someone. 3. Refer to the story or character used in the introduction, such as "So don't be like Sally, be informed."

17 Continued 4. Use a cleverly crafted generalization, such as "Poverty is not a great issue, if everyone is poor." 5. Express your hopes as you look to the future. "We can only hope that people in our society will become less self-centered, and become more involved in helping others." Or "We have some poverty programs, which are of great value, but in ten years the problem will still remain, unless we change our attitudes."

18 Persuasive essays should include one of the following:
Issue a call for action, such as "Now that we have seen how poverty contributes to crime, give the local representatives a call to learn how to help combat poverty." Use a question and a call for action together. Example: "Why do we continue to ignore the poverty situation in America? One can help, so get involved."

19 So What? Answer the question "So What?" Show your readers why this paper was important. Show them that your paper was meaningful and useful.

20 Redirect your readers Give your reader something to think about, perhaps a way to use your paper in the "real" world. If your introduction went from general to specific, make your conclusion go from specific to general. Think globally.

21 Create a new meaning You don't have to give new information to create a new meaning. By demonstrating how your ideas work together, you can create a new picture. Often the sum of the paper is worth more than its parts.

22 Echoing the introduction:
Echoing your introduction can be a good strategy if it is meant to bring the reader full-circle. If you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay was helpful in creating a new understanding. Introduction From the parking lot, I could see the towers of the castle of the Magic Kingdom standing stately against the blue sky. To the right, the tall peak of The Matterhorn rose even higher. From the left, I could hear the jungle sounds of Adventureland. As I entered the gate, Main Street stretched before me with its quaint shops evoking an old-fashioned small town so charming it could never have existed. I was entranced. Disneyland may have been built for children, but it brings out the child in adults. Conclusion I thought I would spend a few hours at Disneyland, but here I was at 1:00 A.M., closing time, leaving the front gates with the now dark towers of the Magic Kingdom behind me. I could see tired children, toddling along and struggling to keep their eyes open as best they could. Others slept in their parents' arms as we waited for the parking lot tram that would take us to our cars. My forty-year-old feet ached, and I felt a bit sad to think that in a couple of days I would be leaving California, my vacation over, to go back to my desk. But then I smiled to think that for at least a day I felt ten years old again.

23 Looking to the Future… Looking to the future: Looking to the future can emphasize the importance of your paper or redirect the readers' thought process. It may help them apply the new information to their lives or see things more globally. Example Without well-qualified teachers, schools are little more than buildings and equipment. If higher-paying careers continue to attract the best and the brightest students, there will not only be a shortage of teachers, but the teachers available may not have the best qualifications. Our youth will suffer. And when youth suffers, the future suffers.

24 Thesis Statement: San Francisco is a stimulating place to visit because of its magnificent location, its theaters and art galleries, and its many fine restaurants. Summary Statement: If you love beautiful surroundings, world class theater and art, and an exquisite meal, then San Francisco is the place for you.

25 The Clincher The clincher, also referred to as the closer, is your last opportunity to connect with the reader. One way to make the most of this moment is to return to the technique you used for your grabber.

26 Clincher: Make a recommendation.
People of all ages can learn about nature, cooking, health, history and science, to just name a few subjects, from the comfort of their own homes while watching television. Instead of automatically turning off the “boob tube”, it might be worth your while to occasionally sit down with your family and watch some of the fascinating and educational programming currently available on your television set.

27 Clincher: Asking the rhetorical question
It is amazing to consider how much we rely on underground aquifers to supply our drinking water. Knowing this, can we possibly justify the continued pollution of our main source of fresh water?

28 Clincher: rhetorical question
“These three important information tools of communication – the cell phone, the personal computer, and the U.S. mail, are an ever present force in our lives. Many people can not imagine life before they arrived. Even with their various drawbacks, can you imagine your life without them? “

29 Clincher: end with a quotation.
INTRODUCTION: H. L. Mencken defined “Puritanism” as “the haunting fear that someone somewhere, may be happy.” The clerks at the Department of Motor Vehicles must be Puritans. They seem to do their best to see that each person who comes in to get a license or registration, has to wind through a confusing maze of lines, must wait an eternity for help, and has to remain standing the entire time. CONCLUSION: I have learned to never go to the DMV without a book, a comfortable pair of shoes, and a lot of patience. Maybe I will become a better person as I navigate the labyrinth that is the Department of Motor Vehicles. After all, as the philosopher Johann von Schiller once said, “ Only those who have the patience to do the simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.”

30 Clincher: end with a quotation.
INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: Never do yourself what you can afford to pay someone else to do."  That is a motto my brother lives by.  Had I lived by it, too, I could have saved myself a large expense, much griminess, and a painful injury to my hand the last time I tried to fix a leaking toilet. CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: There was one important lesson that I did learn as I tried unsuccessfully to repair our leaky toilet. As a wise homeowner once said, “Knowing your limitations is the first step in overcoming them.”

31 Clincher: end with a quotation.
INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: Writer Dave Gentry once said, "True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable."  I know exactly what Mr. Gentry means.  My best friend, Elizabeth Reynolds, and I, can talk on the phone for hours or we can sit together in the mountains or at the beach and just enjoy the silence.  Since she's been my best friend for twenty-five years, we're able to connect in many ways.  CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: I feel very fortunate to have been friends with Elizabeth all these years; no one knows me or understands me as well as she does. So I try to keep it in my heart what Thomas Fuller said: “If you have one true friend , you have more than your share comes to.”

32 Clincher: end with a quotation.
Here's an example of a concluding paragraph for the "favorite pet" essay that uses a quotation as the clincher: “Nothing can compare to a dog’s dedication, intelligence, and friendship. Because a dog offers all these wonderful qualities, and more, I realize once again why people say that, “a dog is man’s best friend.” I would feel fortunate to have a dog as an animal companion.”

33 Clincher: End with a personal anecdote.
The young man with the hammer hoisted himself onto the top of the wall.  All around him on the wall and on the ground, people chanted and cheered.  The young man knelt down, with his hammer, and began to chip at the cold, gray concrete.  Little by little, the wall began to crumble.  As I watched in amazement, it was hard to comprehend the fact that I was watching the Berlin Wall coming down.

34 Clincher – using description to end.
INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH : For anyone fortunate enough to have a wood-burning fireplace, sitting in front of a healthy fire on a frosty winter afternoon provides a sense of comfort and luxury.  Unfortunately, many fireplace owners do not understand the three essential steps for achieving a successful fire. Everyone should learn the basics of preparing the fireplace, arranging the materials before igniting, and tending the fire. CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: It is easy to take the three simple steps to safe and successful fire preparation. And then, when you are finished, you can pull up that easy chair, read your favorite book, and feel the warmth and satisfaction that comes from sitting in front of a well-tended fire. This introduction and conclusion continue the original description of the character, setting or object.

35 Clincher – using description to end.
INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: Its left ear is partially detached. One of its black plastic eyes is gone. Parts of its fur is worn and matted from being hugged and tugged around the house. Food and juice stains dapple its tan coat in places. Some people might think this little stuffed bunny should be thrown into the junk heap. But this old bunny is one of my favorite childhood possessions, and we've been through a lot together. CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: Even though people might think I am crazy for being so attached to an old toy, I can’t imagine what I would do without Mr. Softie. Every torn stitch, every missing piece, every worn spot brings back a childhood memory that I will cherish forever.

36 Immature Endings to Avoid!
Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as "in conclusion," "in summary," or "in closing." Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.

37 Immature Endings to Avoid!
“That’s all folks!” Do not write, “The End.” Do not just repeat your main idea and three reasons. The reader has already read your paper. Show them how your reasons fit together to prove your main point. Do not just leave the reader hanging. Have you ever watched a movie or T.V. show that just suddenly ended? You want the reader to have a sense of closure at the end.

38 Let’s Fix It Up! The next few slides have conclusions clearly lacking one or more of the elements. Work with a partner to identify the weaknesses and rewrite the conclusions.

39 Fix Me Up “I think athletes should get paid for playing sports at any school. They work too hard to not get paid. College athletes get paid, why can’t high school athletes? Schools that have sports should pay their athletes. You can get more and have more if you pay. Nothing is always free. I want to know why high school athletes do not get paid. You will have a great team if you are willing to work and be a good team together. High school sports is for training for the real world and in the real world athletes are paid for playing sports. I believe that if school athletes are paid, they will do a better job. I mean they will be trying harder. If they are getting paid, they won’t have to get an extra job to pay for things they need; and they will have more time to practice their sport. Well that’s my story about high school sports.

40 Fix Me Up “Good work habits make people get jobs easier and keep their jobs. If you have good work habits there is a low possibility of you being fired.”

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