Lesson Plan: How to Write an Effective Conclusion

By Trent Lorcher

Tired of being let down by lame endings? So am I. Instead of complaining, I wrote this lesson plan to stamp out lame endings forever.

After teaching students how to hook the reader with masterful leads and revise the middle for clarity and focus, I felt good about myself once again. I bragged to the student teachers at my school and invited them to my room to watch greatness in action. Then I read the conclusion of my students' essays.

In shock, I ran back to each student teacher and begged them not to come near my room, apologized to the university they attended and cancelled my weekend golf trip to British Columbia.

I had work to do. I had to devise a lesson plan that taught students how to write a conclusion. Here's what I came up with.

Techniques for an Effective Conclusion, with Examples

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Quotation: Remember, "You don't have to be faster than the shark; you just have to be faster than the person you're swimming with."

Additional Tips

  • When I was in high school (and college), I would write just long enough to fulfill the assignment requirements, even if it meant adding an unnecessary page or two. Is it any wonder I didn't know how to teach when to conclude an essay? Luckily, I learned: Read the rough draft. Find where it ends, Stop. Anything after it is unnecessary.
  • Before writing the conclusion, reread the introduction. Often an effective conclusion brings the reader full circle by tying together the beginning and the end.
  • For revising a rough draft, have students analyze which method they used for concluding and determine if another method might be more successful.
  • Have students write two different conclusions using two different methods. In groups of 3-4, have them analyze which is better.