Essays in the fifth grade should be concise, clear and flow easily. Students need to be able to express their ideas with proper and effective word choice and use a variety of different sentence structures. Logical sequencing of main ideas should be evident throughout the essay. In the fifth grade, students learn to expand and elaborate on their ideas. They are describing and going more in-depth in their writing than in previous grades. Fifth-grade students are exposed to different styles and genres of writing, so their writing will begin to reflect the varied structures and purposes of writing.
Decide on an essay topic. Your teacher may provide an essay topic to explore or you may be able to come up with an idea of your own. Either way, you can decide from what angle you want to approach the topic. Keep the topic focused and narrow. The essay's information should fit easily within the length of the essay assigned by your teacher. Write down various ideas that occur to you as you prepare to write the essay. You can use a graphic organizer such as a cluster map of your thoughts or brainstorming to help you organize your ideas.
Write a thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main idea of the essay and it expresses what you want to tell the reader in one or two sentences.
Research the topic. Keep research within the bounds of the essay's topic so you don't waste time searching for and reading unnecessary material. Take notes of what is important and supports the thesis statement. Also keep track of where each piece of information is found so you can easily cite your sources if the teacher requires it.
Plan the essay. Write an outline that lists each section of the essay, including an introduction, middle and a conclusion. Paragraphs that support the thesis will be in the middle of the essay.
Write a first draft of the essay. The introduction should catch the readers' attention and contain the thesis statement. The middle will contain the information you found and your ideas about it. The conclusion should summarize your main points and tell readers why the topic is important. For example, if you're writing about the history of the Sputnik satellite launch in 1957, you could state in the conclusion that Sputnik helped to begin the space race between the former Soviet Union and the United States and it helped pave the way for the building of the International Space Station that is shared between the two countries today.
Look over your essay and make sure there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes. Also pay close attention to how the essay is structured. Each paragraph should contain sentences that express the main idea of the paragraph. The paragraphs in the body should be arranged in a logical order, such as from least to most important or in a step-by-step order if you're writing a how-to essay. Make any changes you think are needed to make your essay clearer and then write out your final version when you are satisfied with it.
Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.