Timed Essays


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Timed Essays

  1. 1. Timed Essays (A Visual Approach)
  2. 2. Note : Before you open the Timed Writing topic choices and instructions under Quizzes, be sure you have printed out and carefully read the assigned reading, located in the Assignment Dropbox. It’s also most efficient to set up your MS Word document ready to respond before you open Quizzes and start the “timer” for your 75 minute response. Put your ID info at top left, get your MLA Works Cited set up at the end, and if you like, even prepare a nice opening sentence. Student #1 English 111-060 (061) February 15, 2008 Timed Essay Topic 1 Student #1 1 In John Smith’s article “Less Homework for College Students,” the author argues that college teachers are unrealistic about the amount of work they assign to full-time working students (92). Too Much Homework Opening sentence that introduces the reading, the author, and a one-sentence summary of the main thesis . Give your essays an original title Proper header, 1” margins all around, everything double-spaced Running header <ul><li>Please note the bold words. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you start with “In the article,” you need to follow up with a phrase that says what happens IN the article: In the article … the author argues… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you start with “The article…” then you can follow up with “…is about…” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You CAN’T combine “IN the article … IS ABOUT” in one sentence -- read aloud what you’ve got to check that the sentence works. </li></ul></ul>You will receive your student # before the portfolio date
  3. 3. Be sure to 1) respond directly to the assigned reading (located in the Dropbox), and 2) respond to the topic choice you’ve selected (located in Quizzes) in your essay. Without making these connections, your response will not pass. English 111 Midterm In-class Writing on a Common Reading Summer 2006 Read the attached essay “Live-in Myths” by Ellen Goodman, and then select one of the following topics to write your essay. You will have 75 minutes for the in-class writing on a common reading. You may use ideas from Goodman’s essay and / or your own personal experiences, observations or even information from other sources (such as media or other classes) to support your points. You should begin with some pre-writing (you can use the back of this sheet if you want) and then you should develop your ideas into a well-organized essay with an introduction—body—conclusion. Remember to support your thesis with specific evidence. You should use MLA documentation and citation if you quote from Goodman’s essay. Topic #1 Ellen Goodman’s essay describes the relationship of a couple that she has known and has observed for many years. Describe a relationship that you know (whether it is similar or different from the one in the reading) and analyze how the relationship has developed as it has. Topic #2 Ellen Goodman describes a friend who seems to be in denial about what her husband is really like. Describe a person you know who lives in denial about some aspect of his or her life (personal relationships or something else). Topic #3 Some people might say that we over-analyze relationships in our talk-show / reality show society. Write an essay to state your position on whether we should just let relationships be or we whether we should strive to make changes in relationships . Example of a previous timed essay prompt sheet
  4. 4. Topic #1 Ellen Goodman’s essay describes the relationship of a couple that she has known and has observed for many years. Describe a relationship that you know (whether it is similar or different from the one in the reading) and analyze how the relationship has developed as it has. This prompt is asking you to evaluate a relationship from your personal experience But also asks you to reflect on its development After selecting the prompt you wish to write about, be sure you understand all the components it is asking you to address .
  5. 5. Just as in your Think Pieces, you need to strengthen your response by incorporating references periodically to the reading. Be sure to review the “Student Samples: Timed Essay”. Here are excerpts: Topic 2 “ I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path” (229). These words were spoken by Mrs. Annie Johnson, in the essay “New Directions,” by Maya Angelou. No more than two months ago, I too was searching for the right path. I could stay at my dead end job where the only raise we got was a small yearly cost of living increase, or I could return to my prior job where the money was better, but the work was very dangerous. After a few weeks of pondering my future goals, I decided to “cut a new path” (228). I quit my current job and decided to become a full time student.   topic choice here or at top left great job with this opening as well as relating to topic and stating thesis this line at end of 1st paragraph connects with reading and topic choice (moving in a new direction), creating a thesis for readers to follow
  6. 6. Besides introducing the reading as seen in the opening paragraph, sometimes incorporating the reading to support your ideas shows your synthesis and analytical skills. Look how this writer incorporates the reading in the body of her essay: It was very hard to seek other employment. I had to worry about money, if the new employer would let me pursue my education and if they could offer me a benefit package. Most of the jobs that I had applied for would accommodate only a couple of expectations that I had. I had found myself once again at a “crossroad.” I decided to take a job that I liked above the rest, it still didn’t have everything that I wanted, but I had to make due until I found something that I liked. I went to work for a travel agency and worked there for two years with no benefits and long hours. I spent most of the time away from my family and even though the pay was decent, it was precious time that I lost with my family. I, once again, had to make a choice. Angelou put it best when she stated that her grandmother “wasn’t satisfied” (229), and she decided to be different and venture out into the unknown; to make her a new way by making meat pies and selling them to the men that worked at the sawmills. She was very strong willed and she reminded me of myself when I had to finally decide to make my own way and leave the travel agency. Note: the page number where the quote or paraphrase came from should be in parenthesis at the end
  7. 7. The next day I hurried to the college and switched out most of my regular classes for the hybrid classes. I now get to attain my goal of getting my degree, and I also get the pleasure of spending a lot of quality time with my children. I feel that this new path I have created will have nice rewards for me. And if not, I will have to follow the advice given in the conclusion of the essay, “New Directions” which states; “If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”   And this writer uses the reading to present a strong conclusion: What’s missing, here?
  8. 8. In a timed setting, it is very important to try to do several things at once: select the prompt you feel you can respond most strongly to and formulate a thesis organize your thoughts and find strong connections to the reading write the essay and double check the final draft for grammar and spelling all in 75 minutes!
  9. 9. <ul><li>Use the checklist below for your final editing : </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that your ideas are well organized and grouped together -- not jumping around, back and forth. </li></ul><ul><li>READ to yourself, to check that what you have on the page is what you meant. (If you read aloud, a low murmur or whisper will work.) This really works! Try it and see! </li></ul><ul><li>READ EXACTLY what’s on the page, and LISTEN TO /LOOK AT each word as you read – you can catch a lot of typos this way. </li></ul><ul><li>READ sentence by sentence , stopping (for periods) or pausing (for commas) everywhere you have punctuation , and only where you have punctuation. Be sure to listen to yourself/look at each pattern on the page, as you read, breathe, pause -- and make sure the punctuation on the page matches what happens in your voice/in the patterns as you read. If you have time and if you find this helpful, read each sentence, starting from the end of your essay going back to the beginning , sentence by sentence. (But read each sentence forward : from capital letter to period.) This can help you to focus on the actual wording rather than being distracted by your ideas. --If working backwards makes you dizzy, try reading (forward) line by line, covering up everything except the one line you are focusing on. </li></ul><ul><li>Double-check Spell Check – if you use Spell Check, don’t just choose the top spelling in the list without being sure it’s the right one! Look it up quickly and make sure it’s the word you mean! Some of the funniest errors in papers are those wrong choices... It is just so distracting to read about someone passing testes easily in school... (On newer computers, if you right-click on a word, you’ll get a “Look Up” option that will lead you straight to an online dictionary definition.) </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure you have your name (or student number, if for portfolio), ENGL 111-061 (062), date spelled out, and “Common Essay” at top left. </li></ul><ul><li>Include the number of your topic choice as a subhead at the start of your essay (for example, Topic #1). </li></ul><ul><li>If you go on to a second page , add a header if you have time, with your name, a few spaces, and then the page number. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>And finally: </li></ul><ul><li>Remember to breathe! The rest will follow. If you feel at all anxious during a timed writing assignment, try closing your eyes for a few moments, clearing your mind, and taking a few deep breaths. </li></ul><ul><li>And most important, remember that each of these exercises is a practice designed to improve your skills – try to enjoy the process and have fun with the assignment! (Plus, when you’re relaxed, the results are always better anyway! Good luck!) </li></ul>If you begin feeling anxious, imagine yourself here