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Responding to Essay Questions


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A Learning Object designed to assist students in their understanding of essay questions and how to construct a response.

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Responding to Essay Questions

  1. 1. Responding to Essay Questions English Standard Michelle Merritt
  2. 2. The following slides have a list of terms commonly used in BOS questions and some examples for your own study.
  3. 3. Analyse Compare Contrast Describe Discuss Evaluate Explain Identify TERMS
  4. 4. •Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and relate implications Analyse Analyse how a poet uses language techniques to convey a concept/topic
  5. 5. •Show how things are similar or differentCompare Compare the way in which two writers communicate a concept to the reader.
  6. 6. •Show how things are different or oppositeContrast Contrast the way in which two texts convey a concept, message or theme.
  7. 7. •Provide characteristics and featuresDescribe Describe how a concept, message or theme is represented in a particular text.
  8. 8. •Identify issues and provide points for and/or against Discuss Discuss how language features are used in a particular text to convey a concept, message or theme.
  9. 9. •Make a judgment based on criteria; determine the value of Evaluate Evaluate the ways in which a particular text uses language forms, features and structures to communicate a concept, message or theme.
  10. 10. •Relate cause and effect; make the relationships between things evident; provide why and/or how Explain Explain how the composer of a text uses language features to represent a concept, message or theme.
  11. 11. •Recognise and name Identify Identify how structural features/layout are used to communicate a concept, message or theme.
  12. 12. Essay Writing Basics Writing structure and what to include in your essay.
  13. 13. Introduction Main Body Conclusion Basic Essay Structure
  14. 14. Introduction •Essays usually begin with one introductory paragraph. The first section of this paragraph "eases the reader in". Use your introduction to let readers know what you are writing about, and get them interested.
  15. 15. Introduction: The Hook • Find a quotation that reflects your ideas, or sums up what you want to say in an interesting way.Use a Quote • Start with the general and move to the specific--but not too general. Avoid the "society today" and "most people" kind of generalization. General Statement • What does the reader need to know about your topic, not only to get interested, but as a basis for what you intend to say? Give Some Background • Why is your topic important? What is at stake? Explain an Issue
  16. 16. Introduction: The Hook • Integrate your definition You could use a dictionary source or come up with your own. Offer a Definition • This gets readers involved, inviting them to answer your question mentally. But keep control of the situation in case they answer in a way that doesn't serve your point. Ask a Question • Can you make a comparison or use a metaphor that could grab the attention of your reader and begin your argument? Make a Comparison • Tell a little story or anecdote related to your topic r essay question. Use an Anecdote
  17. 17. Introduction: Thesis Statement •A thesis statement is the key to writing a good essay. It is usually one sentence and is placed at the very end of your introduction. It is the main thing you are trying to say or argue in your essay, and all of your body paragraphs will go to prove, support and elaborate on it.
  18. 18. Introduction: Thesis Statement • When writing your thesis statement make sure your thesis makes a claim. Don’t just say "there are many similarities and differences" or "this essay will address the characteristics of...", or “the composer uses a range of literary techniques to …” be more specific. What similarities and differences? What characteristics? What literary techniques and for what purpose?
  19. 19. Introduction: Thesis Statement •The thesis is like a preview of your essay. When will write your main body and develop your argument in the order that you mention the points in your Introduction and thesis statement.
  20. 20. Main Body: Topic Sentence •Every body paragraph must have a topic sentence which is like a mini- thesis, that is usually placed at or near the beginning of the paragraph (indicating what you are going to prove). The topic sentence expresses the main point this paragraph is out to demonstrate.
  21. 21. Main Body: Paragraphs •Include evidence from the text (such as quotes) along with logical argument and explanation of your interpretation. •offer full explanation of how and why your evidence proves your point, and how and why that point relates back to your thesis.
  22. 22. Conclusion • The conclusion of an essay wraps things up. It reiterates the main idea/argument you are trying to make in different words, and looks back over how the thesis was proven. • This is not just repetition: it gives you an opportunity to show how you have developed your argument.