Hero Essay: Conclusion (Mini-lesson)

Writing a parent essay for my daughter’s application for high school…I had to write a conclusion. The essays were limited in word count. Consequently, I had to be careful that what I wrote meant something…but then I started thinking, “Isn’t that the way it should always be? Why write anything that doesn’t add something meaningful to what you are trying to say? We need to be respectful of our reader. We should not waste their time, right?” Forget word counts: words should always count.

So conclusions should add something meaningful. They should not just repeat what has already been said. However, it should not introduce a new idea that would need additional explanation or argument.

There are many ways to handle this. Three ideas I use are:

1. Making a connection to something like a movie, book, high profile social issue or event (election, cultural event, topical news item) Nobel Peace Prize

2. Explain why this is important. Why is what you have written about an important idea? Why should your reader care? This is where the writer can explore this. Looking at how Greg was able to make a difference in the world makes me wonder how I can make a difference.

3. Use of an echo…similar to circular structure we looked at when we wrote our narratives. But just as in the narrative, the repeated theme is a little altered, a little changed the second time around. It is just a way of tipping your hat to where you started and signaling to your reader that you are wrapping things up. Greg is a hero, not a sports hero, or a pop singer, but a normal person with a big heart (Will Asycue)

4. Ask a question. Greg’s story may make you wonder what can you do to make the world a better place?

My conclusion for Lena…

Lena’s determination and work ethic were distinguishing qualities that revealed themselves in the play. Her ability to risk humiliation so she could achieve something she wanted was also highlighted. But most of all, I learned that she could accomplish something quite extraordinary without much bravado or need for acclaim. She has since quietly moved on to her next goal and potential humiliation.

This was part of the introduction I was tipping hat to:

However, I was curious if her first rejection would sour the potential for future theatrical ambitions: Would she persevere, or would she retreat to other things that she did with ease and success? It was a huge relief to hear that she wanted to tryout again this year, and this time she warned, she was going for the lead role. I learned a lot about my daughter in that decision, but what I didn’t know at the time was that I was about to learn a lot more.

Now turn and talk to someone nearby about how you plan to start your conclusion. What technique do you want to try.

Share some ideas.

Send them back to desks to do in writer’s notebooks. Try some different ideas. These are just some drafts.