Essays about a personal experience and what it meant to the writer.
The personal experience Thoughts/Feelings/Observations/Connecti ons to the experience The lesson learned
Written in first person Describe an important experience in your life or the life of someone you know well Use figurative language, dialogue, sensory details, etc. to re- create the experience for the reader Explain the significance of the event Make an observation about life based on the experience Encourage readers to think about the significance of the experience in light of their own lives Read Example essay and analyze based on the above criteria.
What words in the first three sentences make it clear that the student is writing in first person? My, me, I What setting and experience does the student recall in the flashback? Muddy creek behind writer’s house catching crawdads What two “missions” does the student connect to make the transition? Catching crawdads as a child and fishing bait when older What specific details does the student use? Step, rocky bank; cloudy water; Jacob untangling the broom handles
What observation does the writer make about how her feelings changed? Notes she’d become careful, preoccupied with worries How does the student imply that readers should relate the experience to their own lives? Readers can ask themselves whether they too had wisdom as children that they no longer have. What observation does the student make about life? Achieving one’s goals requires “wholehearted effort and total concentration.”
Write a reflective essay about an experience from which you learned an important lesson. Purpose: to express what the experience means to you
Lessons I’ve learned in life Example: Live each moment to its fullest Big important experiences in my life Being in the hospital Moving to Korea Little important experiences in my life Picking turnips with Papaw Driving down the block with Mamaw when I was 10
Think about your experience: Why do you remember it? What details do you remember most clearly? What emotions did you go through at the time? Explore the Significance: Does the experience hold one obvious meaning for you? What else did your experience teach you? Try to uncover as many levels of meaning in it as you can. Consider your audience: What parts of the experience do you need to re-create for your readers? How can you encourage them to apply the lessons from your experience to their own lives?
Write a discovery draft of your paper (handwritten or typed) and bring it with you to class tomorrow.
Read your essay to a partner The partner should Say at least one thing positive about the writing Ask at least one question about the writing Suggest at least one way the writer could polish the writing.
What sights do you associate with your event? Describe them. Example: autumn leaves turning crimson and orange What sounds do you associate with your event? Describe them. Example: crackle of dry leaves, moaning whistle of the wind through barren branches What tastes do you associate with your event? Describe them. Salty tears What touch do you associate with your event? Describe them. Scratchy wool sweater, pricking of brambles and thorns What smells do you associate with your event? Describe them. Musty rotting leaves, fresh clean smell of crisp, cool air
Was there anyone talking in your event? If so, jot down the conversation as you remember it. Were there thoughts running through your head in your event? If so, jot them down as you remember it.
Think about what your pair share partner suggested. Make changes based on those ideas. Look at the sensory details you wrote. Which of those belong in your essay? Add them now. Look at the dialogue you wrote. Does it fit in your essay? If so, put it in. Look at the thought shots you wrote. Do any of them fit in your essay? If so, put them in.
Write in blue or black ink Write on one side of the paper Stay inside the margins. Make corrections with a single line through the mistook mistake Make your writing neat.
Create a revised/polished draft of your paper—handwritten or typed. Bring it with you to turn in when you come to class on Wednesday, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit it through Mrs. Martin’s webpage.
Topic Brainstorming/Prewriting from Monday—not in your WN. Discovery/Rough/1 st Draft from Tues. Sensory details & Dialogue brainstorm from Tues. Final Draft (handwritten or typed)