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Basic Writing Guidelines 2014-2015 Grade 8 English Penndale Middle School.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Writing Guidelines 2014-2015 Grade 8 English Penndale Middle School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Writing Guidelines Grade 8 English Penndale Middle School

2 Mandatory: 1.Complete sentences 2.Paragraph organization with T. S., S. D., appropriate transitions, and C. S. 3.When responding to literature, TEXTUAL EVIDENCE is mandatory! 4.Your own ANALYSIS connecting the evidence to the prompt (text-based analysis) 5.Scholarly tone & style for formal assignments 6.Figurative language/ rhetorical devices/ imagery that supports style and content

3 Focus 1.The prompt is CRUCIAL. Pay close attention to it. Take the prompt apart and find the key words. Organize essay according to prompt! 2.Start writing on the prompt. Topic sentence and/or thesis statement should address all parts of the prompt. 3.Stay on the prompt. Come back to the key words or synonyms to maintain focus.

4 Introduction: The purpose of the introduction is to focus your reader on the prompt. Start with something general about the topic, if possible. Gradually narrow the focus until you transition to your– THESIS STATEMENT: the point to be proven, the analysis to be completed, the purpose of the writing. Use a TAG in the introduction ONLY. The introduction should only be 3-4 sentences. Do NOT give away evidence or specific analysis in the intro– focus, focus, focus!

5 Content Development 1.All textual evidence must be TRUE! 2.Just because it is true, doesn’t mean it supports your thesis or addresses your prompt. Evaluate your evidence before including it. 3.Assertion is NOT the same as evidence! Saying something is a certain way is not sufficient; show/prove/substantiate it with evidence from the text. 4.Make the connection between your point and the text. Don’t rely on the reader to put it together.

6 Organization 1.Use transitions appropriately – “and” means you’ve added something distinct or are emphasizing something important. – “because” refers to WHY, not HOW. 2.Use LITERARY PRESENT TENSE. Literature is ALIVE NOW– stay in the present when referring to events and characters in the novel. 3.Use chron. order (within text) when working with narratives!

7 Plan! If you do not pre-write and organize your ideas, do not expect your writing to be proficiently organized. (If you begin your second paragraph with “Another,”– the organization is DOOMED!) A Roman numeral outline is the clearest and most direct resource for organized writing.

8 Style 1.Maintain a scholarly tone. – Avoid “you, your, yours.” – Unless the prompt invites you in, stay out. Avoid first person pronouns unless otherwise notified. 2.Use precise language. Clarity trumps cleverness! – A novel isn’t the same thing as a story. 3.Avoid needless repetition, including non-essential summary in the conclusion. 4.Vary sentence beginnings, syntactical structure, and terminology. 5.NEVER, EVER use “That is why” or “As you can see…” or ANY VERSION of such as a concluding sentence. Draw a conclusion. It requires thought.

9 Conventions 1.Punctuate titles of literature appropriately: – Lengthier works like novels, full-length plays, and epic poems need a floor to stand on, so underline them. Using italics is also appropriate. – Shorter works like stories, poems, and song titles are “lighter” so they can hang gracefully from “quotation marks.” 2.Spell all words in prompt, all character names, and all titles of literary works correctly. It is literally the least you can do. 3.Capitalize proper nouns– including titles and characters. Avoid all caps! 4.“Punctuate quotations correctly, including dialogue,” our knowledgeable teacher reminded us. 5.Always include (page #) after citing textual evidence.

10 1. Have something to say. Using many words does NOT atone for saying little; many words do, however, annoy the person who has to wade through them all to discover that nothing much has been said. Get your thoughts down in your pre-writing.

11 2. Avoid the obvious! (Actually, a subheading of #1) We all know that Saki wrote a short story called “The Open Window.” Writing the obvious is one way we say very little. Avoid it.

12 3. Omit superfluous verbiage. (Also a subheading of #1) Get rid of needless repetition. Don’t let your words simply take up space on the page. Make them DO something!

13 4. Avoid narration. Use details AS you analyze. Even though Ponyboy looks like a hood, with his greasy hair and cutoff sweatshirt, he thinks like a poet, imagining what it would be like inside a burning ember. (Note that the details are not the focus but are used while describing something further about Pony.)

14 5. STAY OUT of your essay. If the prompt doesn’t invite you or your reader in, it is rude to barge in with first- and second- person pronouns. MAINTAIN A FORMAL, SCHOLARLY TONE!

15 6. Use specific words/synonyms from the prompt to maintain focus on thesis. Avoid vague references. Instead of: This quotation supports the theme because… Do this: Charles Halloway’s reflection on the self- fueled power of evil ( refers to previous quotation without repeating it needlessly or referring to it vaguely ) emphasizes the tendency to use shortcomings as an excuse for avoiding the battle and frames his own positive actions as evidence that he has fully accepted his identity.

16 7. Actually draw a conclusion from what’s been presented in the body of the essay. It isn’t easy. No: That is… or This is… These are... As you can see… These examples all show… or anything remotely like them in your conclusion or concluding sentence!

17 Conclusion Re-word thesis (not word-for-word) Compare content in body paragraphs: While the Stage Manager observes the general condition of people, Emily’s good-by speech focuses on the preciousness of her own individual life. Each quotation, though, emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the little things that are fleeting. Draw a general conclusion about the literature and life itself (why important? So what?). Emily’s experience is everyone’s experience. We all must learn from her in order to live fully, without regrets.

18 8. Use transitions wisely. Some transitions are generally better than no transitions. They help the essay’s logic and organization, as long as they are the right ones for the job. Some transitions are better than others. Be judicious in selecting them. Make sure to use AND mainly for things that are ADDITIONAL, for example. Avoid also whenever possible. Because addresses why and NOT how.

19 9. Proofread for shifts in literary present tense. Get into this habit whenever you write from literature. Start out there, and then proofread when you are finished to make sure you stayed there. Literature is ALIVE, I tell you– ALIVE! Keep it in the present!


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