Expository Writing Steps to writing an essay for the FCAT
Step 1 – Understanding the Prompt • Read the prompt (the writing situation and the directions for writing) • Establish the P.A.C. • Purpose (Expository essays have four purposes: To Give Information, To Define a Concept, To Explain Why or How, or To Clarify a Process) • Audience (Who is reading the essay?) • Context (Format – letter, essay, etc.)
Step 1 - Give it a Try… Topic Writing Situation Directions for Writing Everyone enjoys some type of music. Think about the different kinds of music you hear each day. Decide which type you like best. Explain to an adult reader why you prefer one type of music. Tell how that music makes you feel or what it does for you. Purpose
Step 2 – Prewriting for ideas (Brainstorm) • Create a circle map to Brainstorm your ideas: REASON REASON TOPIC REASON REASON
Step 2 - Give it a Try… Brainstorm: [Reason]: Tells a story [Reason]: Soothing to the soul [Topic]: Acoustic Guitar Music [Reason]: Natural and raw [Reason]: Nostalgic [Other Reason]
Step 3 – Choosing Your Best Reasons & Constructing the Main Idea • Based on the Brainstorm, decide your topic and choose your best 3 reasons. • Construct the main idea of the essay by stating your answer to the prompt and listing your reasons [This statement goes in the Introductory paragraph of the essay].
Step 3 - Give it a Try… Main idea: The type of music that I prefer the most is acoustic guitar because it soothes my soul, creates a story in my mind, and reminds me of great moments from my past.
Step 4 – Organizing your essay (You need to organize your ideas into a chart like this one): Introduction Reason #1 (Evidence #1) Reason #2 (Evidence #2) Reason #3 (Evidence #3) Explanation Explanation Explanation Example Example Example Elaboration Elaboration Elaboration Conclusion = Transitions
Step 4a. – Organizing cont’d. (Listing Your Main Reasons) • You may select and organize your reasons from most to least important or least to most important. • Write the reasons on the map (i.e. from least to most important). Each point becomes the main idea in each body paragraph. Most or least important reason Other important reason Least or most important reason Reason #1 (Evidence #1) Reason #2 (Evidence #2) Reason #3 (Evidence #3)
Step 4b. – Organizing cont’d. (Supporting each reason in the body paragraph) • Write the support and elaboration for each reason Reason #1 (Evidence #1) Reason #2 (Evidence #2) Reason #3 (Evidence #3) Explanation – “What do you mean by…[reason #1]?” Explanation Explanation Example – “An example of this …” Example Example Elaboration – An explanation of the importance of the example or… Elaboration Elaboration
Step 4 - Give it a Try… Soothes the soul Tells a story Reminds me of the past Makes me mellow [Explanation] [Explanation] i.e. Stressed by deadlines …took away the anxiety [Example] [Example] Like a cool breeze, it takes away the heat of my anger … [Elaboration] [Elaboration]
Step 5 - Writing out the transitions on the top of the reason boxes and closing paragraph.
Step 5 - Give it a Try… To begin with, Additionally, Most importantly, Soothes the soul Tells a story Reminds me of the past Makes me mellow [Explanation] [Explanation] For example, stressed by deadlines …took away the anxiety [Example] [Example] Like a cool breeze, it takes away the heat of my anger … [Elaboration] [Elaboration]
Step 6 – Writing the Introduction Your introduction should accomplish four things: • It should introduce the subject. • It should capture the reader’s attention. • It should clearly state your main idea. • It should prepare the reader for what follows.
Step 6 - Introduction cont’d. • An Introduction has three parts: a general statement, additional statements, and a main idea or thesis statement. • Imagine the introduction as an upside-down triangle: 1. Big General Statement (that introduces the topic and captures the reader’s attention) 2. Additional statements (Interesting facts, ideas or information leading to the main idea) 3. Main Idea (thesis) statement
Step 6 - Give it a Try… Sitting in nature and listening to its sounds arouse feelings of peace and tranquility in my soul. I love hearing the natural rhythms and beats produced by Mother Earth. If I’m not able to listen to these sounds, due to the noise of civilization, then I like to listen to the next best thing: the acoustic guitar. The acoustic sound is the type of music I prefer the most because it soothes my soul, creates a story in my mind, and reminds me of great moments from my past. General statement Additional Statements Main Idea
Step 7 - Writing body paragraphs • In a timed essay, you should have about three developed body paragraphs. [If you write two body paragraphs then they need to be long and detailed.] • Body paragraphs are the most important part of the paper. They provide the support and elaboration necessary to achieve a high score on the FCAT.
Step 7 - Body paragraphs cont’d. (try framing them like this): [Topic sentence]: _____________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ [Explanation]: I mean that_______________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ [Example]: For example, ________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ [Additional Example]: Another time that_____________________________ ___________________________________________________________ [Elaboration]: ________________________________________________ [Concluding sentence]: __________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
Step 7 – Give it a try… To begin with, acoustic sound soothes my soul. it makes me mellow, especially when [Topic sentence]: _____________________________________________ [Explanation]: I mean that_______________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ [Example]: For example, ________________________________________ [Additional Example]: Another time that_____________________________ [Further elaboration]: [Concluding sentence]: ___________________________________________________________ I’m stressed or angry. when I had all this pressure to meet my deadlines at work, I picked up my guitar and listened to the soothing sounds in order to calm my anxieties. acoustic alleviated my stress and anger was when I came home from a difficult day, so I listened to James Taylor on guitar. Like a cool breeze, the music cooled me down as I chilled out on the couch and listened to the plucking of the strings.. Indeed, listening to the strumming of the strings soothes my stressful soul.
Here are some suggestions for elaborating (providing more support/details) in your paragraphs: Step 7 - Body paragraphs cont’d. (Elaborations) Explanation: What do you mean by… Example: For example, For instance, Description: Concrete nouns, strong verbs, vivid adjectives Description (using figurative language): Similes, metaphors, imagery Personal experience: “I remember when” Cause / effect: Because… Since… If…then… Compare / Contrast Like or unlike Similarly… Another’s Experience ‘My friend once had…”
Step 7 – Practice Elaborating. Based on the picture, write a topic sentence. Then make a tree map and write a description under each category based on the topic sentence.
Step 7 - Body paragraphs cont’d. • Be sure to include TRANSITIONS between paragraphs. • Transitions are words and ideas that connect one thought/paragraph to the other. • In the above paragraph frame, transition words like “for example” and “another” were used to connect one sentence to the next. It keeps the essay flowing smoothly. • I recommend using the following transitional devices between one paragraph and another: • In addition ▪ Moreover • Furthermore ▪ Besides • Equally important ▪ Additionally
Step 8 – Writing the Closing Paragraph • The closing paragraph completes the essay and reinforces the main idea. It has three parts: a reworded main idea statement, statements that revisit the main points of the essay, and a clinching statement. • Imagine the concluding paragraph as a right-side-up triangle: Main idea (reworded) Statements that revisit the main points of the essay. Clinching statement (leave an impression the reader with an interesting observation or concluding remark)
Step 8 - Give it a Try… Listening to the sound of acoustic guitar is what I enjoy most about music. I have discovered that it soothes my soul and creates nostalgic narratives in my mind. Whenever I find a need to escape the harsh realities of this world, I require only the satisfying strums that set my soul straight. If you need to plug into life then I recommend that you listen to guitar, unplugged. Reworded Main Idea Revisit the main points Clincher
Step 9 – Reread the essay to edit and proofread • If you have time at the end of the essay, then you should edit and proofread it. • Editing means to change words, phrases, or sentences to make your ideas clear. If you change a word or phrase, then cross it out once and write the new word or phrase directly above it. To move a word or phrase, circle it and draw an arrow to its new location. • Proofreading means to check for errors in grammar, capitalization, or punctuation.
Final Thoughts… • You need an introduction, about three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. • A good essay will have a minimum of 20 sentences. • Think in 3’s: • 3 sentences in the introduction, 3 body paragraphs, 3 examples or elaborations in each body paragraph, 3 sentences in the concluding paragraph. • Be sure to include transitions in order to connect your ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. • Do your best; don’t worry!!!
Persuasive Writing Steps to writing an essay
Step 1 • Read the prompt • Establish the P.A.C. • Purpose • Overall: To convince; to take a stance; to assert a point of view • Specific: To change a rule or policy; to change a person’s attitude or behavior; to change a situation; to ask for money; to ask for people’s votes; to ask for a privilege; to ask for a support of a cause. • Audience • A specific person (i.e. a legislator, parent, principal, etc.) • Context (Format) • Essays, speech writing, editorials, personal letters, letters to the editor, advice columns.
You give it a try… • What is the P.A.C. for the following prompt? • Writing Situation: • The principal of your school has suggested that watching TV causes students’ grades to drop. • Directions for Writing: • Think about the effect watching TV has on your grades and your friends’ grades. Now write to convince your principal whether watching TV causes students’ grades to drop. Topic Purpose Context Audience
Step 2: Consider the pros and cons of both positions. Topic: _____________ Pluses Minuses
Step 3 • Decide on a position and choose reasons. • Select your three most convincing reasons to support your position. • Do NOT take both positions!
Step 4 • Create a FLEE map OR a Tree map to organize your arguments and reasons. • A Tree map would look like this…
Step 5 • Write the reasons on FLEE map (least to most important)
Step 6 • Write the support and elaboration for these reasons • Consult the list of 9 strategies for Expository writing. • Here are 6 more strategies…
Step 7 • Write the argumentative or persuasive transitions on the top of the reason boxes and closing paragraph
Step 7 • Write the argumentative or persuasive transitions on the top of the reason boxes and closing paragraph
Step 8 – Counter-argument • Consider the opposing point of view. • Sometimes people with an opposing p.o.v. have a good point. If so, admit it. Then explain why you disagree. • Conceding, or admitting the truth of another viewpoint, strengthens your own point. • Keep your concession brief.
Step 9 • Write body paragraphs
Step 10 • Write closing paragraph
Step 11 • Orally rehearse
Step 12 • Write, proofread, and edit the final draft.