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The Essay Tree The Essay Tree’s purpose is to help you understand and produce the best essays possible! Much like a real tree, the Essay Tree is divided.

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Presentation on theme: "The Essay Tree The Essay Tree’s purpose is to help you understand and produce the best essays possible! Much like a real tree, the Essay Tree is divided."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Essay Tree The Essay Tree’s purpose is to help you understand and produce the best essays possible! Much like a real tree, the Essay Tree is divided into 6 inter- related parts. Now, lets begin “planting” ideas.

2 Preface Before you can grow anything you need soil to plant your seed in. Your text / topic is the soil, while your question is the seed.

3 Part 1: The Roots A tree needs roots before it can even emerge from the ground. So too does your essay require RESEARCH before it can emerge from your pen. Of course, without strong roots a tree may wither or die… And so will your essay if your research is not bountiful, relevant and (you guessed it) nurtured!

4 Part 1: Roots (cont’d) Wait a minute! Nurturing research?? That’s right! Without the proper organization, research can quickly get out of hand. After all, if a tree’s roots were allowed to spread unimpeded then they could become tangled, stuck or even choke the life out of each other! Well your essay’s research is no different. However, by adopting the next slide’s simple symbol system (SSS) you can avoid these hardships.

5 Organizing Your Research

6 Smart Surfin’ You would you buy a surfboard without checking out more than one shop, so why research an essay using only one site? Google may be popular, but it’s reach is less than 1% of all of the internet’s web pages…and since money talks, the paid sites come first.

7 Part 1: Roots (cont’d) Pay Heed! Although you want a lot of research remember two things: 1. Know when to stop! Do not waste your time. 2. Be willing to dump! You cannot keep it all… Now lets more on to Part 2!

8 Part 2: Trunk Once a tree can support itself it’s time to burst forth from its soil-filled depths! A tree’s trunk is the foundation upon which everything else rests. Not surprisingly, your THESIS provides the foundation for your entire essay. Without a strong trunk or thesis both your tree or your essay would collapse! As such, you must first ensure that your essay as strong as possible!!

9 Part 2: Trunk (cont’d) So how do you make a thesis strong? First, you re-read your topic or question. What is the assignment asking for? Of course, like a trunk, you must make sure there is a firm foundation…is your research comprehensive and clear? Do you have enough? Well, now it’s time to review YOUR IDEAS (  ) for a possible starting point. Do you see any connections, commonalities or constructions that relate to your topic? Remember: A thesis reflects your argument/position in the essay. For example, an argumentative thesis would be a position you support (or at least, something your research agrees with!) and could be argued from the opposing side.

10 Part 2: Trunk (cont’d) Like a bonsai, your thesis should be constantly trimmed and directed in order to get the best single sentence possible. Basically, your first thesis should never be your final thesis! You should constantly revise and review. Like a tree, your thesis will evolve as your research, perspective and requirements grow. Always ask yourself, how can I make this better? clearer? more focused? shorter? A thesis should be clear, concise and coherent. Your thesis should tell the reader what your a) essay will be about and b) what your position is.

11 The Bad Theses Topic: Teen Smoking BT #1: Teen smoking sucks! Tip: Never use slang or colloquial language in a thesis. Ever. Never ever! Try to avoid overtly showing your emotions. Let your argument and evidence speak for you. BT #2: Perhaps teen smoking might stop if something positive occurs. Tip: Avoid ‘weak’ words such as perhaps and might; the reader will question your authority. Also, avoid using overly generic words such as something for the same reason. BT #3: Puffing away, dying each day, shall we allow teens to throw their lives away? Tip: Follow Gertrude’s advice to Polonius: “More matter with less art.”

12 The Good Thesis Topic: Teen Smoking GT: Teenage smoking adversely affects societal development. Now ask yourself, what makes this thesis good? Now, ask yourself what could YOU do to make it better?

13 Part 2: Trunk (cont’d) What does tree planting and thesis writing have in common? LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!! For most formal essays, your thesis should be the second to last or last sentence in the introductory paragraph.

14 The Quantum Mechanics of Essay Manipulation However, this will not always be the case. Like moving from Newton Physics (Grade 9-10 science) to Quantum Physics (Grade science), all of the “known rules” become infinitely more complex, flexible and, well, weird. (More on this later…)

15 Part 3: Branches After a tree (and your essay) is established with a firm foundation it is time to “branch out”. Branches add endless variety but always remember, they stem from the trunk. Indeed, a branch lives by the trunk and dies by the trunk. So too does an essay’s criteria (aka subtopics). So lets take a closer look at the best way to expand your essay’s size and scope.

16 Part 3: Branches (cont’d) Criteria are the focal headings under which you place your proof, evidence and explanations. Criteria work to expand your thesis’ scope by using relevant headings to funnel specific information into paragraphs or groups of related paragraphs. Basically, criteria broaden your essay.

17 Part 3: Branches (cont’d) Here we are again with the importance of location. Location #1: The criteria should be listed as a sentence immediately after the thesis. Location #2: Each CRITERION SENTENCE (aka Topic Sentence) should be located at the beginning of your new body paragraph(s).

18 Part 3: Branches (cont’d) Healthcare Costs Legal Issues Media Representation Peer Pressure Social Exclusion Changing Societal Expectations Monetary Cost Physical/ Aesthetic Effects Quit Smoking Programs Teen Smoking Criteria Examples

19 Part 4: Leaves Of course, what use is a branch without leaves? Leaves flesh out the branch, adding colour, depth and variety. So too do the Point, Proof and Explanations (PPE) fill out the criteria, support the thesis and work to complete the essay Again, remember, everything in an essay grows from, and thus is connected to, everything else

20 Part 4: Leaves (cont’d) So how to the 3 work together? PointPoint: A statement that introduces your specific argument/opinion related to the criterion, related to the thesis. ProofProof: The evidence (facts, stats, quotes, etc) that supports your claim. ExplanationExplanation: Your personal analysis that further explores the connection between your point and the evidence and goes on to explain what this connection means.

21 Fertilizing Explanations These 2 questions are like fertilizer for plants…they keep your explanations healthy and full: –SO WHAT? –WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE? Answer and include the answer to these questions in your explanation sentences

22 Part 4: Leaves (cont’d) Point: The tobacco industry supports teen smoking. Proof: This can be seen by the fact that there is only “a 10% likelihood that someone will start smoking after 18”(Ontario Health). Explanation: As such, the tobacco industry subtly targets teens knowing they represent the most malleable target audience.

23 Note the transition words and phrases in the preceding slide. These words not only improve your essay’s flow, but also help connect each sentence, thereby creating a stronger bond and thus a firmer authoritative stance.

24 Part 5: Fruit Now is not a tree more enticing when it is laden with fresh fruit? (Note the rhetorical device above. What use does it serve?) Well so too will you have a more enticing essay if you add literary flair to your work. So what is literary flair? Well, let’s find out!!!!!  multiple exclamation points are NOT flair

25 Part 5: Fruit (cont’d) Flair is anything that makes your essay more enjoyable or engaging to read. Mainly, flair can be found in the introduction and conclusion since these two paragraphs hook and release the reader. Examples of flair are: relevant quotations, shocking statistics, opening anecdotes, poignant poems, interesting narratives, innovative images and much more. Can you think of other forms of literary flair?

26 Part 5: Fruit (cont’d) Remember! When writing, literary flair can mean the When writing, literary flair can mean the difference between getting the A+, the scholarship or the job!

27 Part 6: The Hole Now even if you have grown a great tree, you still must be wary of pests and diseases. So too must you be wary of errors and omissions in your essay. Proof reading is an essential aspect in writing an essay. And, be prepared to re-write, re-word or re-organize anything that does not work. Finally, try to write your paper over time, finish it earlier and review it after 3-4 days has passed. This will give you a fresh new perspective.

28 Part 6: The Hole (cont’d) When proof reading, follow these easy steps and watch your writing improve! 1: Run a spell check 2: Put your essay away for 2+ days. Make changes. 3: Print out a hard copy and read it over for errors – grammatical, syntax and spelling. Your eyes will catch on paper what they overlook on a monitor. 3: Now make your corrections and print out another hard copy and examine it for thesis-based improvements: accuracy, organization and argument changes. Does your essay reflect and support your thesis? Make these changes. 4: Finally, print out a final hard copy and give it to a trusted proof reader. Discuss any changes they might suggest.

29 THE END Now that you know what to do, put it into practice! There is a whole word of writing out there for you to explore. Good Luck!


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