Writing for prompts


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Writing for prompts

  1. 1. Writing for Prompts Writing “On Demand”
  2. 2. What is a prompt? O A prompt is the term used for the question you are being asked to answer or the writing assignment you are given. O There are usually three different categories: O Narrative O Expository O Persuasive
  3. 3. Types of Prompts O Narrative-asks you tell a story or give examples from your own experience clue words—tell, time, event O Persuasive-asks you to persuade or convince the reader of something(can require research) clue words---convince, persuade O Expository-asks you to give instructions or explain something clue words—explain,describe
  4. 4. Formal Prompt Assignments O in-class writing sessions, either formal essays or informal journaling and free- writing O homework assignments O standardized essay tests, including grade- level exit exams
  5. 5. Informal Writing O writing letters, including thank-you notes O answering questionnaires O filling out forms O constructing your Facebook page O texting your friends
  6. 6. Analyzing your Prompt O The first part of your planning time should be used to analyze carefully the intent of the prompt. O What is it asking you to do? O Is it open-ended or complex? O Do I need to respond in a certain way? O Must I present a certain opinion? O Does it need to be a certain length?
  7. 7. Sample Essay Topic What is one important goal you would like to achieve in the next few years? In a two paragraph essay, identify that one goal and explain how you plan to achieve it. Use your personal observations, experience, and knowledge to support your essay.
  8. 8. Step 1: Reading the prompt carefully This sample essay topic is structured in three sentences. This is relatively typical of standardized test essay prompts. Take advantage of the fact that you do not have to read a lot by making sure that you read thoroughly. Most people find it useful to read the prompt a few times.
  9. 9. Step 2: Underlining key words Essay topics contain important words that provide clues about what you should write about and how you should write. A few key words from the sample essay topic are underlined below. What is one important goal you would like to achieve in the next few years? In a 2 paragraph essay, identify that one goal and explain how you plan to achieve it. Use your personal observations, experience, and knowledge to support your essay.
  10. 10. One and Few Notice the words one and few. These are two very important key words. A common mistake would be to write about many goals, when the prompt tells you to focus on only one goal. Another common mistake would be to discuss goals you have for much later, when the prompt clearly tells you to focus on only the next few years of your life.
  11. 11. Personal Notice the words personal observations, experience, and knowledge. These are all subjects that you can talk about in your essay. The word personal is also extremely important here. You’re not being asked to do outside research or reading, but instead, to talk about observations, experience, and knowledge that are personal to you.
  12. 12. Identify and Explain Notice the action verbs identify and explain. These two words tell you how you should write about your topic. Make sure to do both. The essay prompt is asking you to identify and explain your topic.
  13. 13. Step 3: Restating the prompt in your words After reading the essay carefully a few times and thinking about the key words, how would you restate the prompt? Imagine that you are explaining it to someone else, perhaps someone who does not have the essay prompt in front of them. How would you explain it?
  14. 14. Step 4: Brainstorm for the Essay Brainstorming Method 1: Idea Map Drawing a map of your ideas is helpful in many ways. First, people find that seeing a visual version of their thoughts helps them to add and sort through more ideas. A map might help you see how your thoughts connect to one another, which will help you when you begin organizing your essay.
  15. 15. I d e a W e b
  16. 16. Brainstorming Method 2: Idea List At the top of your list, write your topic. Writing out your topic helps you focus on it. Then, list the ideas you think of in the order that they come to you. You can use many lists to find supporting points for each of your ideas. The lists below use the sample essay topic above to show you what idea lists might look like.
  17. 17. What is an important goal I have for the next few years? •finishing school •getting a better job •keeping in touch with my friends and family •learning a new language How can I achieve my goal? •to finish school, I can figure out what my goals are for school, find a school that fits my goals, and apply to schools and for financial aid •to get a better job, I can finish school, learn a new language, search for jobs, prepare my applications, and make a list of people who will give me a good reference •to keep in touch with my friends and family, I can make a list of everyone’s contact information, like addresses, phone numbers, and email •to learn a new language, I can pick what language I want to learn, get a dictionary, and find a class I D E A L I S T
  18. 18. Step 5: Choosing Your Main Idea O One you have brainstormed, you should select the idea that: 1. Answers the prompt best. 2. That you feel most strongly about. 3. That you have the most to speak about. ***See which ideas are linked and could be included together.
  19. 19. After you are finished with these steps, ask yourself the following: What is the purpose of this assignment? Is my purpose to provide information without forming an argument, to construct an argument based on research, or analyze a piece of writing? Who is my audience? Is my teacher my only audience? Who else might read this? What are my readers' needs and expectations? What resources do I need to begin work? Do I need to conduct research, or will I use my own knowledge or feelings, or conduct a survey or an observation? How many sources are required?
  20. 20. Our Prompt O What did you do over the summer? Tell your reader about something scary or exciting that you did over the summer. Write two paragraphs that describe the event and why it was exciting or frightening to you. O Follow the 5 Steps to begin writing and then write your answer to the prompt.