Class, I’m going to give you a writing prompt. I want you to read it carefully so that you will respond to all parts of the prompt. You will have 55 minutes to write. Be sure to plan your writing, develop your ideas fully with vivid details, organize your ideas coherently, use good word choice and sentence variety, and edit your grammar and mechanics.
Your family has just won a one-week trip. Write about where you choose to go and what happens there. Develop your writing with details. OK. I’ll brainstorm, and then I’ll make a 4-Square outline. Then I’ll write my essay.
Places I’ve been: Six Flags, San Antonio (last summer), Orlando (two years ago) Places I’ve read about, studied, or seen on TV that I might be able to write about: Paris, London I’ll write about San Antonio, Texas.
BrainstormingYour family has just won a one-week trip. Write about where you choose to go and what happens there. Develop your writing with details.San Antonio, Texas Wow!
Don’t forget to use The Writing Center as a resource for teachers, students, and parents.
I use it all of the time. Information is organized by writing traits. There is a whole section on 4-Square. Any time I am having trouble writing something, I click on The Writing Center, and I can find something to help me.
Nice commercials, people. Now, I’ve forgotten the prompt. Your family has just won a one-week trip. Write about where you choose to go and what happens there. Develop your writing with details.
Hey, Ma’am… Teacher… Miss… um…Teacher! I have a question. I don’t know how to organize this. Is this a narrative essay (you know, a story) like…
HOW MY FAMILY WON THE LOTTERY AND SPENT A WEEK IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
See, Ma’am. Now, that would be a narrative essay. A narrative essay is like a little story.
OR is it a descriptive essay like…
See what I mean? In a descriptive essay, I would be just describing what San Antonio is like…you know, telling what goes on there.
See my problem, Teacher? A narrative essay (story) should be written like this…
…but a descriptive essay should be written like this.
See? They’re really different… SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, THE BEST VACATION SPOT IN THE WORLD! HOW MY FAMILY WON THE LOTTERY AND SPENT A WEEK IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
This is the prompt: Your family has just won a one-week trip. Write about where you choose to go and what happens there. Develop your writing with details. “…where you choose to go…” means the destination of your trip. “…what happens there” can mean either (1.) what happens once you and your family arrive (narrative) or (2.) what kinds of things happen there (descriptive).
Either narrative or descriptive will be fine for this prompt. You decide based on which one you like better and which one you think will work better. I choose descriptive! Now I can start my 4-Square organizer.
This is the 4-Square Organizer. (Box 1)Thesis Statement – Develop into Introductory Paragraph
Write your thesis statement in the middle box (Box 1). Your thesis statement is just a sentence stating what you are going to claim, assert, declare, insist, suggest, proclaim, affirm, or say. OK, I’m going to make a statement about a place.
Later, when you begin to write, you will start with this (1.) topic sentence. Then, you will add (2.) a “wrap up” sentence that tells your 3 examples and (3.) a personal/reflective sentence. San Antonio, Texas, is an excellent vacation spot. Huh?
Like this… San Antonio, Texas, is an excellent vacation spot. Strolling on the River Walk, wandering through Ripley’s, and exploring the Alamo fulfill any traveler’s dreams. If one is looking for a beautiful, exciting, meaningful place for relaxation, San Antonio is the place. San Antonio, Texas, is an excellent vacation spot.
Now you have to choose 3 examples to describe WHY it is a good vacation spot. San Antonio, Texas, is an excellent vacation spot. Easy.
San Antonio, Texas, is an excellent vacation spot. Save room for some connecting words.
Are those the only connecting words we can use? Dude, those transition words are so “second grade.” Let me get my writing book. It has a lesson on transition, or “connecting” words.
Use these color-coded connecting words as transitions between paragraphs. Don’t you have any more words?
Paragraph links! Instead of a connecting “word,” you can use a connecting “phrase.” It’s a more grown-up way to write. We call it a “paragraph link.” All you do is this. Instead of using one of the connecting words, just mention the “example” from the previous paragraph before you start writing about the “example” in your current paragraph. Like this: It is true that the River Walk is an exciting part of San Antonio, but nothing can top Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and its Wax Museum for unbelievable entertainment.
Great! We get the idea! Yeah! This is OK: Another example of an interesting place in San Antonio is the Alamo. This is much better: Although Ripley’s Museum will leave tourists entertained, the Alamo will certainly satisfy anyone’s hunger for history. Wow! That’s better!
San Antonio, Texas, is an excellent vacation spot. Now we add three details to describe each of our examples.
Sure, you can add details to your examples, but if your details are not VIVID, you are just using words, not mind pictures. Yeah. You have to follow each detail with a “vivid.” That is a sentence that answers this question: “LIKE WHAT?” Your vivid should bring a picture to the mind of the reader. It should be a taste, a smell, a sound, a touch, or a sight.
LIKE WHAT? SEE SMELL TASTE HEAR TOUCH Use a vivid description to “extend” the development of your detail.
Have you ever been there? No, but I want to go! It sounds cool!
Concluding Paragraph: (1.)Connecting word(s); (2.)Wrap up sentence (includes your 3 examples); and (3.)Personal/reflective sentence, question, or exclamation.
Dude, you are really good with this 4-Square thing. However, my teacher gave us some tips on writing better introductions and conclusions. You know, you can “narrow down,” use quotations, use future predictions, and things like that. You can find those tips at www.edmondschools.net Click Curriculum Click The Writing Center
Traits are the characteristics of writing. Traits are how we describe writing. Like this: (1.) How did you develop your thesis? (2.) How did you organize your ideas? (3.) What kind of word choice did you use? (4.) Did you use a variety of sentence structures? (5.) Did you edit for grammar, usage, and mechanics? What about these “traits” I keep hearing about?
Score Ideas and Development - 30% 4 The content is well suited for the audience and purpose; main idea or thesis is clear; ideas are fully developed and elaborated using details, examples, reasons, or evidence; writer expresses an insightful perspective towards the topic 3 The content is adequate for audience and purpose; main idea is evident but may lack clarity; ideas are developed using some details, examples, reasons, and/or evidence; writer sustains his/her perspective toward the topic throughout most of the composition 2 The content is inconsistent with audience and purpose; main idea is not focused and leaves the reader with questions; must infer to understand; ideas are minimally developed with few details; may simply be a list of ideas; writer has difficulty expressing his/her perspective toward topic 1 The content is irrelevant to the audience and purpose; lacks a central idea; ideas lack development or may be repetitive; writer has little or no perspective on topic 4-Excellent 3-Acceptable 2-Below Average 1-Unsatisfactory
Score Organization, Unity, and Coherence - 25% 4 Introduction engages the reader; sustained or consistent focus on the topic; logical and appropriate sequencing and balanced with smooth, effective transitions; order and structure are strong and move the reader through the text; conclusion is satisfying 3 Evident introduction to the topic; adequate focus; adequate sequencing; stays on topic with little digression; uses limited but effective transitions; order and structure are present; conclusion is appropriate 2 May lack a clear organizational structure; weak evidence of unity; little or limited sequencing and/or transitions; details may be randomly placed 1 Lacks logical direction; no evidence of organizational structure 4-Excellent 3-Acceptable 2-Below Average 1-Unsatisfactory
Score Word Choice - 15% 4-Excellent 3-Acceptable 2-Below Average 1-Unsatisfactory 4 Appropriate word choice which conveys the correct meaning and appeals to the audience in an interesting, precise, and natural way; the writing may be characterized by, but not limited to lively verbs, vivid nouns, imaginative adjectives, figurative language, dialogue; no vague, overused, repetitive languageis used (a lot, great, very, really); ordinary words used in an unusual way 3 Words generally convey the intended message; the writer uses a variety of words that are appropriate but do not necessarily energize the writing; the writing may be characterized by attempts at figurative language and dialogue, some use of lively verbs, vivid nouns, and imaginative adjectives, few vague, overused, and repetitive words are used 2 Word choice lacks precision and variety or may be inappropriate to the audience and purpose; may be simplistic and/or vague; relies on overused or vague language (a lot, great, very, really); few attempts at figurative language and dialogue; word choice is unimaginative and colorless with images that are unclear or absent 1 Word choice indicates an extremely limited or inaccurate vocabulary; no attempts at figurative language; general, vague words that fail to communicate meaning; text may be too short to demonstrate variety
Score Sentences and Paragraphs - 15% 4 Writing clearly demonstrates appropriate sentence structure; writing has few or no run-on or fragment errors; writing has a rich variety of sentence structure, types, and lengths; ideas are organized into paragraphs that blend into larger text; evidence of appropriate paragraphing 3 Writing adequately demonstrates appropriate sentence structure; writing may contain a small number of run-on or fragment errors that do not interfere with fluency; writing has adequate variety of sentence structure; ideas may be organized into paragraphs 2 Writing demonstrates lack of control in sentence structure; writing contains errors such as run-ons and fragments that interfere with fluency; writing has limited variety of sentence structure; writing may show little or no attempt at paragraphing 1 Inappropriate sentence structure; many errors in structure (run-ons, fragments); no variety in structure; no attempt at paragraphing 4-Excellent 3-Acceptable 2-Below Average 1-Unsatisfactory
Score Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics - 15% 4-Excellent 3-Acceptable 2-Below Average 1-Unsatisfactory 4 The writer demonstrates appropriate use of correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage; errors are minor and do not affect readability 3 The writer demonstrates adequate use of correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage; errors may be more noticeable but do not significantly affect readability 2 The writer demonstrates minimal use of correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage; errors may be distracting and interfere with readability 1 The writer demonstrates very limited use of correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage; errors are numerous and severely impede readability
(Yawn) Oh boy! Today we’re going to learn how to grade our essays just like the graders for the state writing test.
Analytic Traits Weight Trait Score Weighted Trait Score Ideas and Development .30 x = Organization, Unity, and Coherence .25 x = Sentences and Paragraphs .15 x = Word Choice .15 x = Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics .15 x = Sum = _____ Students, test your score against the state formula: To calculate, multiply the weights by the trait scores. Sum up all of the weighted trait scores. Multiply 15 by the sum of the weighted trait scores. Then round to the nearest whole number. Composite Scale - 15-60 - Standard-Setting Committees will determine the cut scores. Unsatisfactory ___ to ___, Limited Knowledge ___ to ___, Satisfactory ___ to ___, Advanced ___ to ___ _____(Sum) x 15 = _____ (Composite [Final] Score) SDE Reading/Language Arts Consortium 3-10-06
Ideas and Development is 30% of the score. Graders look for each paragraph to be fully developed with a topic sentence that gives your reason, example, or support; a second sentence that gives a “detail” describing the example; a third sentence giving a “vivid” describing the detail; and a concluding sentence reminding us of the topic. How should I try to improve in Ideas and Development?