I like to focus on the following 4 points in my classes for effective essays. Effective essays:
- Have Focus: are cohesive
- Flow: logical organization
- Support and Elaborate on the thesis: show, don’t tell
- Have Style: sentence variety and purposeful vocabulary
Of course, grammar, spelling, technical correctness, and basic formatting are included as mechanical points, rather than content points.
I also like to teach a formulaic body paragraph. This formula is by no means binding, and mastery of it typically ends in manipulating it, but it is a great place to start. A well-written body paragraph should look something like this:
Sentence 1: topic sentence
Sentence 2: concrete detail (fact, example, illustration)
Sentences 3-4: commentary (elaborate on or explain CD)
Sentence 5: more CD
sentences 6-7: CM specific to sentence 5
Following this for 3 body paragraphs and adding an effective 3-4 sentence introduction and conclusion will in approximately 25-27 sentences for the entire essay.