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  • 1. THE WRITER’S LUNCHBOX A Complete MEAL (paragraph)
  • 2. What is the Writer’s Lunchbox    Writing well is one of the most difficult and rewarding skills that you can acquire. It will open doors, create opportunities, and allow you to give voice to your ideas and opinions, reaching out to a wider audience of people. The Writer’s Lunchbox will provide you with the necessary “nutrition” to write clear, focused compositions.
  • 3. Today’s Menu Appetizer: EMPOWER-ed Writing Main Course: MEAL paragraph
  • 4. For Healthy Writing: EMPOWER!  The EMPOWER approach should help you to write better, more persuasive papers for any class. It is an acronym of the steps you need to create a complete well-written paper.
  • 5. For Healthy Writing: EMPOWER! Step 1: Evaluate – What is this assignment asking me to do? How many parts will my paper need to have? Circle action words and underline key words that tell you what to write about. Step 2: Make a Plan – What kind of organization am I going to use? Choices include: graphic organizers, outlines, lists, diagrams, etc. Step 3: Organize – Put my plan (graphic organizer, outline, list, or diagram) into action. Reread the assignment and make sure I’ve answered each part of the question.
  • 6. For Healthy Writing: EMPOWER! Step 4: Work – Write your thesis statement and topic sentences. Follow the MEAL paragraph format to write your body paragraphs. Step 5: Edit – Use the rubric to evaluate your paper. Get feedback from a friend, teacher or parent. Step 6: Rework – Make changes to your paper and rewrite if necessary.
  • 7. The Main MEAL  Body paragraphs of any composition should be written using the MEAL paragraph format. This format will help you to write and think in an organized manner. All writing, including persuasive writing requires both ample evidence and convincing analysis.
  • 8. M – Main Idea / Make a Claim    The main idea is the paragraph’s central thrust. Often the main idea appears in the paragraph’s first sentence, where it is sometimes called the “topic sentence.” This is where you make the claim you will defend in this paragraph! Your reader should come away from each paragraph with a clear understanding of its main idea. He or she shouldn’t have to stop and reread the paragraph, trying to figure out what it’s saying. A paragraph should usually focus on a single idea—paragraphs are, after all, the bite­ sized chunks into which you break your argument so
  • 9. E– Evidence   Evidence is the first part of your paragraphs main course. Your evidence could be:       information from journal articles you’ve found in the library data from research or interviews you’ve conducted yourself a quotation or paraphrase from a work of literature an image a chain of logical reasoning you have developed, OR an anecdote or personal experience
  • 10. A– Analysis    Evidence shouldn’t be plopped down in a paragraph and left to “speak for itself.” If you leave your evidence unexplained, your reader may interpret it differently than you intended, and if that happens, your main idea doesn’t get the support it needs. Your paragraph should carefully analyze the evidence it provides; it should, in other words, explain exactly how the evidence you’ve cited proves what you think it proves. Do NOT simply restate or summarize the evidence.
  • 11. L– Link to Thesis    A paragraph’s link back to the larger claim is often implicit—it can be awkward to wrap up a paragraph with a really heavy­handed, obvious link (“This idea is important to my claim because of X, Y, and Z”). Nevertheless your reader should get a good sense of how your paragraph fits into the larger scheme of your paper’s argument. He or she shouldn’t finish reading the paragraph and think, “Why did the writer put this paragraph in this paper? I don’t see how this idea is relevant !” An effective paragraph will clarify its own place in the essay’s (or section’s) larger claim.
  • 12. Sample MEAL Paragraph Ethnocentrism played a major role in the forced migration experiences of  Native Americans (main idea ). Many of the European settlers who came to North America believed in  the superiority of their cultures.  Thus,  when they encountered Native Americans, they labeled them and their cultures as  inferior.  For instance, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Andrew Jackson saying “the government…must advise the Indians to sell their “useless” forests and become farmers” (Takaki 84). (evidence from text with in-text citation)  By calling the Native American forests "useless" Jefferson clearly shows that he thinks the Native American way of using land is wasteful and primitive compared to the English way of farming. (analysis) This policy of inducing Native Americans to become farmers was considered a helpful gesture by  the government, but in fact was jarring to Native Americans.   Some Native Americans did voluntarily sell their lands. However,  many others were forced into doing so.  Thus, the result of this ethnocentric process left most Native Americans without  land and in  poverty. (link back to thesis)