Once upon a time, teachers ALWAYS required students to PREWRITE. Some students thought having to prove they were actually thinking about the essay they were going to write before they wrote anything was a stupid idea. They wanted to just start writing something that sounded good. It took them forever to figure out what their thesis statement was going to be and the end result was disappointing indeed.
Prewriting Because the AP testers require a reading and planning time, AP students in this class will show something that resembles PREWRITING for EVERY WRITING ASSIGNMENT. PREWRITE!!! Or it goes in the F STACK!
THESIS Part I: a limited topic A limited topic targets something SPECIFIC to argue
THESIS Part I: a limited topic What’s wrong with this thesis? “Biographies of all types can teach us many things about the past. What was the culture? What was the language like? And what did the people say? One such book is Black Elk Speaks, which tells the story of a Sioux warrior in the late 1800s. How accurate is this book? This paper will investigate the cultural details, the language and what Black Elk actually said, in order to determine the answer.”
THESIS Part I: a limited topic A limited topic targets something SPECIFIC to argue EX: “Black Elk Speaks accurately represents Indian lifestyle through its attention to cultural detail, its use of Indian words and its direct quotes from Black Elk.”
THESIS Part I: a limited topic A limited topic targets something SPECIFIC to argue Tip/Strategy: –Cut out the crap –Get specific –Pick a side……
THESIS Part II: a Precise Opinion Your precise opinion is what actually answers the prompt and hopefully reflects your understanding of the complexity of that prompt
THESIS Part II: a Precise Opinion To demonstrate college-level thinking, your opinion should NOT BE OBVIOUS Your opinion can NOT have “I” in it A question is NOT an opinion TIP/Strategy: If you write ANY question, Anywhere in your short paper, I will put your paper in the F stack.
THESIS Part II: a Precise Opinion Is there anything wrong with this thesis statement? EX: “Black Elk Speaks fails to represent Indian lifestyle by its lack of attention to cultural detail, its misunderstanding of Indian words and its lack of quotes from Black Elk himself.” Answer: NO, there is nothing wrong with this thesis. Actually, this is a good thesis because it is NOT what most students will write. It is “daring.”
FORMULA for a Thesis “Because (REASON/S), (SOMETHING) (DOES SOMETHING). ” A.Start with a dependent clause using one of these: BECAUSE, SINCE, WHEN, WHILE, AFTER + B.COMMA + C.INDEPENDENT CLAUSE D.PERIOD
FORMULA for a Thesis ALTHOUGH (opposing evidence), (reasons) SHOW (SOMETHING) (DOES SOMETHING). A. dependent clause using: (Even though, Although, While + reasons…) here you can show that you acknowledge the complexity of the prompt B. COMMA + C. Independent clause D. PERIOD
FORMULA for a Thesis (SOMETHING) (does something) because (REASONS). A. Independent clause + B. (because, since, when, while, although, after, even though..) C. REASONS
Content Problems Weak knowledge of the material Weak use of facts OR over-reliance on re- telling history Weak use of outside information Over reliance on “filler” and “fluff” writing ….aka “BS” –Generalizations about ideas, feelings and trends –Grand statements tying the essay to current events
Keep looking back to your thesis to make sure EVERYTHING YOU WRITE SUPPORTS IT and IN THE ORDER you put it in the thesis (PARALLELISM) write one solid paragraph for each part of your plan and another for a conclusion to make a relevant POINT about your thesis Each sentence in your paragraph will support/prove ONLY the subject you introduce in the TOPIC SENTENCE
Writing the Paper Tip/Strategy: Learn to compose smooth transitions between paragraphs –“echo” the thesis in every topic sentence of your paper –Every sentence proves the topic sentence –The next paragraph should have a “HOOK” that links the two paragraphs together (REMIND the reader your thesis is CORRECT) Remain COHERENT and FOCUSED on proving your thesis
Writing the Paper EDIT for spelling errors, undotted or uncrossed letters, grammar issues…. EDIT for the cardinal writing SINS: “I, me, my, our, ?, Because of these reasons, “Etc.”, SUCKY writing is painful to read, but if it has a GREAT THESIS, well-structured paragraphs that PROVE the thesis, and FEW mechanical errors, it should get a “C- B”
Avoiding “BS” Here is a quote: “students are so worried about filling up the page that they just open up the valve and let the BS flow. Remember, your instructor will READ your essay, not weigh it.” Tip/Strategy: –Commit to doing your best to seriously respond to every prompt –Failure to put forth an honest effort will immediately result in “FAILURE”
Strive for Improvement Everyone can become a BETTER writer Take suggestions and constructive criticism maturely and do not make the same mistakes in a future essay The rubric is the same for everyone KEEP READING and LEARNING VOCABULARY!
Punctuation Colon : “Use the colon to call attention to what follows, generally an explanation, a summary, a series or a quotation.” EX: Claire Safran points out two things that cannot be explained: “One of them is poltergeists. Another is teenagers.” (A quoted sentence after a colon begins with a capital). Do not use a colon when you do not have to use it –The winners were Joe, Tom, and Jerry.