Writing your 1st seventh grade quality essay (and beyond)
Why write? DOL• Write for 5 minutes about why we write? What is its purpose? Who do we write for? What does it help us with? What do we learn from it? Etc.
Why do we write? It’s a good question, but it’s also an easy one for me. I believe that we write because as humans we have the capacity to think. Oftentimes we cannot express those words out loud out of fear or anger or even joy. Growing up, I fought with my brother ALL of the time. My outlet was writing. I had a journal and just wrote in anger all of the time. Of course I physically fought with him, but my writing helped me process my feelings and prevented me from fighting with him even more. Another example of writing being therapeutic was when my parents were going through a divorce. I took a writing class with my mom and my professor gave me feedback on the different styles of writing that I chose, and most of my topics centered on the pain I was feeling for the loss of my family.Writing also allows me to write about things that I know. I enjoy teaching others and learning, and then teaching others what I learned. And it’s sad for me to see people who don’t like to write. What, you don’t like to talk? To me, writing is a lot of talking.
Your TopicThe major theme of Hatchet is based on survival.Survival can be broken down into survival of aparents’ divorce, survival in thewilderness, survival in isolation, and many, manymore.What have you had to survive? What advice couldyou offer someone else about how to survive that?
Surviving… or How to Survive…For this essay, you are to think of something thatyou could give advice on, in order to survive. Forexample, How to Survive 6th Grade; or How toSurvive a Skateboard Accident; or How toSurvive an Annoying Brother/Sister; or How toSurvive Writing an Essay.
Brainstorm• Why is brainstorming important?• What happens when you don’t brainstorm?• Example of a paragraph w/o brainstorming• Example of a paragraph w/ brainstorming• Let’s Brainstorm
No Brainstorm• Dogs and cats are good pets. I like when they meet you at the door. Dogs usually wag their tails and have their tongues out. Cats don’t really greet you at the door, but they can be friendly still. Dogs are better than cats. Wandering Brain
All gears are working Yes Brainstorm!• Dogs and cats are the best kind of domestic animals, but dogs are much more friendly than cats. Cats are often the kind of animal that is self- sustaining; it can fend for itself and provide food for itself. Dogs do not have the ability to be self- sustaining, at least not the domestic dog. Dogs require a companion, a person that they can depend on, and someone to give their endless love to. In terms of self-sustaining and friendship, dogs exceed in quality over cats.
Let’s Brainstorm• What do you know a lot about? Make a list of 5- 10 items of things you consider yourself an expert on.• Narrow that list down to your top 2-3.• With those, create another list of 2-3 points needed to survive that scenario.• For example, if I wrote an essay about How to Survive Dog-sitting, I would note that it required the knowledge of 1. Have a safe place for the dog, 2. Establish dominance early on, and 3. Know the dog’s dietary & exercise requirements.
Outline for Dog-Sitting Essay body paragraph #11. Body Paragraph #1: Safe Place a. Have a kennel or blanket the dog knows 1) Gives him something to know he’s home 2) Allows him a place to go to when scared/nervous b. House and yard free from anything dangerous 1) Nothing out that you’d want eaten or choking hazard 2) No holes in fence and tall enough to keep him from jumping over c. Conclusion sentence: have a safe place means kennel or blanket and house/yard free from dangerous things
Topic Sentence vs. Thesis Statement• Topic Sentence (Lead): a hook, opens up your paragraph, makes your reader want to read the whole thing – Question – asks general question about topic – Fact – interesting info about topic – Statistic – detail based on data – Controversial statement – takes a stand – Anecdote – provides real-life scenario or nonfiction story – Description – explains setting, characters, or factual events – Direct address – addresses reader using second person “you”
Thesis – the point you are proving!• Thesis statement Formula = T + P + A1 + A2 + A3TOPIC+ POSITION(a specific condition, feeling, or stand)an effective thesis statementWriting Assignment: Essay about surviving dog-sittingSpecific Subject: Safe place, dominance, dietary & exercise requirementsThesis statement: Surviving dog-sitting / requires knowledge of having a safe place for the dog, establishing dominance early on, and knowing the dog’s dietary and exercise requirements.
Example Introduction In the spring of 2011, I had just returned home fromparent/teacher conferences to find my dad’s dog missing. Wehad been watching him for several days and had allowed himto go in and out with the doggy door because we knew wewould be gone all day, and did not want him going pee in ourhouse. It was 8:00 PM and roughly 25 degrees outside. Wespent the whole night out walking, calling for him, drivingaround the neighborhood, and hanging missing dog signs. Thisexperience prompted me to want others to be aware of therequirements necessary when dog-sitting. In order to survivedog-sitting, one must have a safe place for the dog, establishdominance over the pet early on, and understand the dietand exercise requirements of the pet. Last sentence is the Thesis statement!!! (what you’re going to prove!)
Traffic Signal Paragraph Writing• For non-creative writing pieces (poetry, stories, etc.)• Provides you with an outline of how to form your paragraphs with your point, details & examples – then closes up with a conclusion• Great foundation for building larger paragraphs as you get older and have bigger essays to write
Paragraph Writing1. Go! Write a topic sentence2. Slow Down! Give a reason, detail, or fact. Use a transition.3. Stop! Explain. Give an example. (REPEAT YELLOW & RED AT LEAST ONE MORE TIME)4. Go Back! Remind the reader of your topic.
Outline for Dog-Sitting Essay – color coded to fit traffic signal paragraph format1. Body Paragraph #1: Safe Place a. Have a kennel or blanket the dog knows 1) Gives him something to know he’s home 2) Allows him a place to go to when scared/nervous b. House and yard free from anything dangerous 1) Nothing out that you’d want eaten or choking hazard 2) No holes in fence and tall enough to keep him from jumping over c. Conclusion sentence: have a safe place means kennel or blanket and house/yard free from dangerous things
Example paragraph color-coded The first step to surviving dog-sitting is to have a safe placefor the dog. It is important that the dog knows where he can relaxand find comfort when in trouble; a kennel or a blanket that thedog had from his own home is necessary when dog-sitting. Ask theowner of the dog before coming over what the dog usually has athome for his safe place. If the dog does not have a kennel, wheredoes he sleep; ask for that. If a dog has a favorite toy, ask for that tocome with him as well. Another way to help the dog have a safeplace is to make sure your house is dog-proof. Any toys orknickknacks that can present a choking hazard, or that you wouldnot want ruined if the dog got it should be put away or up high outof the dog’s reach. If you have a back yard, also make sure thatthere are no holes in the fence for him to get through and that it istall enough to avoid him jumping over. If the dog can feelcomfortable and safe in a house when away from his home, thatwill help you survive the whole experience.
Transitions & Sequence Words• Words that connect ideas so the reader sails through the text• Think: Do you show how ideas connect from one sentence to the next?• It’s missing transitions…sooooooo….
Transitions & Sequence Words• To continue a line of • To change a line of thinking: thinking: – Also – However – Clearly – On the other hand – Furthermore – But – Because – Yet – Besides – Nevertheless – Since • To restate a point within a – As well as paragraph: – It is easy to see that – In other words – That is to say – In short
• To begin a paragraph or • To show sequence or line of thinking: time: – Certainly – After – Granted – As soon as – No doubt – At first – Obviously – At last – Of course – Before – True – Earlier – Unquestionably – In the first place – In general – In the meantime• To signal the wrap-up: – Later – Indeed – Meanwhile – In the final analysis – Next – In conclusion – Soon – Therefore – Then – All in all
Can you find the transitions?It was summer break, and my friends and I werelooking for something to do. Not so surprisingly, wedidn’t feel like doing any of the chores my mom leftfor us when she went to work. After a while, wedecided to plant a tree in the backyard that wouldgive us shade on hot, late summer days. Luckily, therewas a nursery only a few blocks from my house. Weate lunch, then we left to pick out the perfect tree.After we paid for it, we carried it home. The tree washeavier and bigger than we expected. • Taken from Traits of Writing by Ruth Culham (p. 121)
AnswersIt was summer break, and my friends and I werelooking for something to do. Not sosurprisingly, we didn’t feel like doing any of thechores my mom left for us when she went towork. After a while, we decided to plant a treein the backyard that would give us shade onhot, late summer days. Luckily, there was anursery only a few blocks from my house. Weate lunch, then we left to pick out the perfecttree. After we paid for it, we carried it home.The tree was heavier and bigger than weexpected.
Conclusions• Does one of the following in 5-7 sentences – Summarize your essay – Convince the reader of your position – Challenges the reader to think about the issue – Encourages the reader to take action
Example conclusion After the ordeal that I went through withwatching my dad’s dog, I learned the importance ofknowing some essential items to survive the nexttime. Yes, we found him the next day; he hadalmost been hit, saved by a guy, jumped that guy’sfence, and later caught by animal control. Nowwhen we watch him, I remember the importance ofhaving a safe place for him, establishing dominancewhen he walks in the door and rewarding him forgood behavior, and knowing his diet and exerciseneeds. We have not had an incident yet, and I’mkeeping my fingers crossed that we never do again.
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