Writing an Essay

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by mopar, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2010

    So we had our vertical alignment meetings today in English. When meeting with the 6-8 team we were told one way to write a paper. Then, those of us who went to the 6-12 meeting where told another way.

    So, I'm asking...

    When writing an introduction: Hook, sum up main points, thesis (3-5 sentences) or should your thesis go first and then sum up main points, or should you sum up the main points in your thesis.

    EX: Thesis statement: My brother is a nuisance to society or My brother is a nuisance to society because (then give your three-four reasons why).

    Transitions: Should they be included to start every paragraph or are we looking for a transition sentence to flow between paragraphs.

    Conclusion: Thesis sentence should or should not be repeated as the first sentence of this paragraph.

    It was so frustrating hearing we should write one way and then having the high school tell us that we are teaching them incorrectly and need to teach another way! So, I'm not sure what is the correct way anymore. I thought writing was more subjective!
     
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  3. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Nov 18, 2010

    When writing an introduction: Hook, overview of the essay topic, thesis statement at the end.

    EX: Thesis statement: I always give my kids the formula I believe_______________________ because____________________________. You could potentially just state your thesis with no supporting ideas, but a stronger thesis will usually have supporting ideas.

    Transitions: I'm not sure I understand the question here. A transition sentence should probably be at the beginning of each paragraph, to link one idea to the next.

    Conclusion: I say repeat, but not word for word. Re-state the ideas.
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Nov 18, 2010

    I agree--while a thesis can actually appear anywhere in an essay, it's usual to teach kids to place it at the end of the introduction and to enumerate the points they'll be making in the body paragraphs. Transitions, both obvious ("For example") and subtle (using words that link back to a previous sentence or paragraph) should be used to create a smooth flow of ideas. I teach my seniors that the conclusion of an essay should "talk back" to the introduction and answer the question, "So what?"
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 19, 2010

    Our middle school team wants a transition word (not subtle transitions) to start every paragraph. So, basically I get first, second, additionally, etc in every paper. The high school team asked that we stop doing this as it makes their job harder.

    Then the middle school team asked that we have the students write a thesis as: I believe that teachers should not give homework because it is frustrating, takes away family, and does not help students learn. The body paragraphs would be on frustrating, family time, and learning.
    The high school then asked that we teach students to write these as two sentences. (I believe that teachers should not give homework. Homework is frustrating, takes away family, and does not help students learn.) The high school stated that a thesis is just a defensible statement without their reasons. The reasons should be a second sentence.

    I don't even know what to tell me students anymore. I thought I was teaching them the correct mechanics of writing and the process....but the vertical alignment was a mess! I think each group just said what they prefer to see in a paper. It was only a few teachers from the middle and high school...
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 19, 2010

    I agree with Mrs. K. This is the way I was taught when I was in school and this is how they told us to teach our students.
     
  7. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2010

    I think you are dealing with 2 different levels of student ability. For example, transitions. Level 1 writers (grades K-maybe 2 or 3) would use transitions like first, second, and third. That is what they are developmentally capable of. So those transitions might look like:

    First, homework is frustrating.
    Second, homework takes away family time.
    Third, homework does not help students learn.

    Beginning Level 2 writers (grades 3-maybe 6) can use other words or phrases that mean first, second, and third, at the beginning of the sentence. Words like:

    First: to begin, initially, one example, to start with, in the beginning
    Second: In addition, Equally important, At the same time, A worse/a better, On the other hand, On the contrary, Another example
    Third: Finally, Last, The worst/best, A final, After that, Furthermore, A final example

    (I have a big chart of transition words that go together well. We create this together in class.)

    So a beginning Level 2 writer's transitions might be:
    To start with, homework is frustrating to some students.
    Another reason homework shouldn't be given is it takes away family time.
    Finally, homework does not help students learn.

    A level 3 writer's (grade 6ish and beyond) transitions should be embedded in the sentence. They might still use those words, but in a more subtle way...

    Homework is a frustrating activity for many students.
    Taking away family time is just another example of why homework has more of a negative than positive effect on students.
    Furthermore, the benefit of homework is increasingly unclear.

    I don't think there should be established rules, rather I think writers should be looked at based on their levels. A high school junior might not be beyond Level 2 yet, while a fifth grader might be approaching Level 3.

    The same is true for all aspects of writing...thesis statements, body paragraphs (length and development of details), conclusion paragraphs, etc...

    Check out <www.thewritetools.net> Excellent source of writing materials and tips.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 19, 2010

    Thank you for that link. I appreciate everyone's comments.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2010

    Ever since my school started using Write Tools, writing has become one of my favorite subjects to teach!
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Nov 19, 2010

    :yeahthat:
     

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