After decades of steady decline, the nation’s 7th grade teachers confessed Monday that the five-paragraph essay is a dying medium, predicting the “legacy format” will soon go the way of the stone tablet, becoming all but obsolete. With the rise of newer, progressive alternatives to the five-paragraph format, a growing number of teachers are discontinuing support of the five-paragraph essay altogether in favor of cheaper, more efficient formats such as class presentations, reading responses and even blog posts.
“Back in the 90s, I was able to keep teaching [the five-paragraph essay] alongside other formats, like interview-a-grandparent and the all-about-me,” reported Maplewood Middle School teacher Sally Haswell. “But now, the demand just isn’t there—and I can’t justify the space in my lessons plans any longer.”
Reportedly, the class blog format has been “the final nail in the coffin” for the five-paragraph essay, doing away with the antiquated prohibition on the use of the first person in favor of more personal, open-ended narratives.
“For years, we’ve watched the five-paragraph essay struggle to adapt to a changing seventh grade curriculum environment,” Haswell explained. “Frankly, the five-paragraph essay is about as useful as teaching kids how to use a slide rule. Sentimentality makes it tough, but I think it’s time to let go.”
Ridgewood Junior High School teacher Meredith Kunstler was initially slow to the change, but is now coming to terms with the five-paragraph essay passing into irrelevance.
“Sure, there are days when I look back at that beautiful 1-3-1 structure and just marvel at the simplicity of how the world used to work,” Kunstler said. “But times have changed, nobody has a milkman, kids don’t read newspapers, and videos come from cyberspace instead of Blockbuster. Seventh grade teachers need to let go of this fantasy that the ‘intro, three body paragraphs, conclusion’ format is going to be around for our great grandkids. It won’t be.”
At press time, a majority of the nation’s enterprising seventh grade teachers were considering whether to have their students curate their class’s very own Twitter feed.