The Writing Process • Prewriting /Brainstorming • Drafting • Revising and Editing • REMEMBER: The AIMS writing exam is not a timed test, so you should have ample time to go through each step carefully.
Pre-Writing • This does not just mean drawing some circles and writing down two words. Be sure to follow all steps before writing to help make your life easier later. • The process a writer goes through before he/she begins drafting a composition. • Understanding the Task (Attack the Prompt) • Brainstorming (webs, free-writing, etc.) • Choosing a Topic • Organizing Ideas
Pre-Writing • First Attack the Prompt – underline format, circle the verbs, draw arrows, etc. • You must understand what the prompt is asking you before you start the rest. • The prompt may have multiple parts, be sure you address all of them in your pre-writing.
Pre-WritingAttack the Prompt • Underline the type of writing: in what format are you being asked to write? • Is it a letter, an essay, an editorial? • Circle the verbs: What are you writing? • Is the prompt asking you to convince, explain, describe, inform? • Connect verbs with specifics: What are the verbs asking you to write about? • Be sure you understand exactly what the prompt is asking you to do and if there are multiple parts of the prompt. • Brainstorm: Web, freewrite, list, do something!!!! • This will help you decide what ideas are valuable and to organize your thoughts.
Pre-WritingAttack the Prompt • PRACTICE • In an essay, describe a person from history you would most like to meet, and explain why you would like to meet him/her. Be specific in your explanation.
Pre-Writing • I know you hate this part…I get it…but investing some time here will make the writing easier for you later. • The process a writer goes through before he/she begins drafting a composition. • Attack the Prompt and then… • Free-write • Web • List • Outline • Any other ideas?
Pre-writing Practice • Choose two different pre-writing strategies for the following prompt. You will have 5 minutes for each. • PRACTICE: • In an essay, describe a person from history you would most like to meet, and explain why you would like to meet him/her. Be specific in your explanation.
Choosing a Topic • Narrowing it down • Choose a topic that: • You care about • You can cover completely within the given space limit (2 pages) • Clearly related to the prompt • Appropriate for the audience and purpose/nature of the assignment
Choosing a Topic (con’t) • Establish a thesis • Choose a few important points • What will best support your thesis? • What do your readers really need/want to know about the topic? • Stay focused on what the prompt asked for – what points are most effective? • Use brainstorming/freewriting as support in choosing the best points
Choosing a Topic (con’t) • Keep your subject, audience, purpose, and form in mind when choosing supporting details. • Ex. You are writing a personal narrative about learning to play the guitar. Which ONE of the following details would be most appropriate to include in the story? • Where and when the guitar was invented • A description of the parts of a guitar • Information about the person who taught you to play the guitar • A list of guitar brand names
Supporting Details • Good supporting details are: • Relevant to the topic • Precise and significant • Appropriate for the audience • Might include: • Anecdotes, specific examples, reasons, facts/statistics, definitions, events, descriptions, actions, etc.
Organizing Ideas Moving from a page full of unorganized ideas to an organized plan for a composition is one of the most important steps in the writing process.
Writing a Thesis • Your thesis MUST: • ANSWER the topic from your attack the prompt • Use key words from the prompt • Be one sentence and no longer • MAY NOT BE THREE PRONG • Be at the end of your introduction • Be specific and simple • Be debatable (in persuasive)
Examples:Thesis Writing • Prompt: Describe a time in your life that you experienced an injustice. • Ex. A specific injustice that I’ve experienced and never forgotten occurred when a friend I trusted betrayed me. • Ex. An injustice that I’ve experienced personally has been the way that my parents have constantly put me in the middle of their disputes. • Ex. When I was in the first grade, I suffered a horrible injustice: my opportunity to be line leader was unfairly taken away from me. • Ex. Though I’ve experienced many injustices, the most painful one occurred when I was falsely accused by my parents and punished for something that I never did. • Check each thesis statement for the rules from the previous slide. Are these considered acceptable thesis statements? Why? Explain in the space provided on your notes.
Four Modes of Writing • Narrative • Descriptive/Expository • Persuasive • Letters
Narrative Writing • Tells a story using details • Plot, character(s), setting, point of view, story development • Has a plot with a climax and resolution • Beginning • Middle • End
Examples:Narrative Prompts • Describe a time in your life that you experienced an injustice. • Write about a time when you and a person or pet spent an enjoyable day together.
Descriptive/Expository Writing • Explains something to the reader using details/description • Tell/explain/describe • May include directions or “how to” information • May explain a “why” or “how” • Descriptive = 5 Senses • Taste, smell, sight, sound, touch
Descriptive/Expository Prompts • Expository • What kinds of things do you do to relax? Identify your favorite way to relax, and explain why it is your favorite. • Explain what steps a teenager can take to promote academic success during his or her years as a high school student. • Descriptive • Describe a home that would be an appropriate place for a clown to live. • Describe a place where you would want to spend eternity. • Describe a way you could help others in your town.
Persuasive Writing • Persuades the reader to do something/believe a certain way • Ex. Commercials & political speeches • Letters to government officials or businesses may be persuasive writing
Persuasive Prompts • Persuade members of your community that vandalism could be decreased by adopting your proposed solution. • Choose one aspect of your school that you believe could be improved. Write an essay to persuade your classmates to agree with your suggested change. • Technology is advancing rapidly. Do you agree or disagree that technology has improved your life? Write a persuasive essay in which you convince the reader of your position.
Letters • Requires professional writing style and letter format • Ex. business letters, job applications, letters to the editor • States purpose, provides background/context, addresses the needs of the audience • Clear, efficient, formal language • Appropriate technical terms
Ex. Letter Prompts • Write a letter to the school paper in which you argue for or against the proposal. • Write a letter to your parents in which you explain why you would benefit from a new computer.
Types of Prompts • You must be able to recognize what mode of writing a writing prompt requires • Verbs are useful clues • Ie. ‘persuade’ ‘explain’ ‘describe’
Quick Check Quiz • 1. List the four modes of writing. • Narrative, persuasive, expository/descriptive, letters • 2. Give an example of persuasive writing. • Commercials and political speeches • 3. List a “clue word” for expository writing. • Explain
Three Main Parts • Introduction • Presents the topic clearly/briefly, gets audience interested • Body • Each major idea in one paragraph • Longest section, includes details • Topic sentences, transitions, and specific details in each paragraph to support the central idea of that paragraph • Conclusion • Briefly summarizes, extends/elaborates • DO NOT simply repeat what you’ve said – provide a final bit of insight on your topic • DO NOT introduce new ideas not discussed in essay
Organizational Structures • Choose your structure in a way that best suits the prompt, thesis, and main points. • Examples: • Cause and effect • Chronological order • Comparison and contrast • Detailed description • Opinion and supporting arguments • Stages of a process • Definition and examples • Problems and solutions
Outlines • Briefly describes what you will include in each part • After deconstructing the prompt, brainstorming, and free-writing, develop your outline • May or may not include complete sentences – but should have a complete thesis • Don’t be afraid to revise – make changes as needed and let it serve as a guide
Example: Outline • Prompt: In a letter to students on a U.S. airbase in Germany, describe what life is like for students at your school. • Introduction: Tell the students that I’m describing what life is like for students at my high school. Tell them that, for me, the three most important things about Chandler High School are the following: the good teachers, helpful staff, and friendly students; the intramural and varsity sports programs; and the performing arts programs. • Thesis: At Chandler High School, positive relationships and diverse extracurricular opportunities enrich students’ lives on a daily basis. • REMEMBER: Where should the thesis go?? What should be described before? • Idea #1: Teachers and students. Describe the many excellent and dedicated teachers, coaches, counselors, and other staff members. Describe the friendly students and interesting class discussions. • Idea #2: Sports programs. Describe the varsity sport teams: football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, golf, track and field. Let them know that a new swimming pool is being built. • Idea #3: Performing Arts programs. Describe the opportunities that students have to participate in orchestra, band, and smaller musical and vocal groups. Describe the opportunities to participate in dramas, musicals, and debate programs. • Conclusion: Sum up the three main ideas and close with a positive statement about my school and what life is like for students here.
Organization • Present ideas in a way that your readers will find understandable & compelling. • Remember your audience and purpose. • Organizing will provide you with a plan to more effectively communicate your ideas. • Other options: • Graphic Organizers • Venn Diagrams (compare/contrast) • See provided handouts!
Practice Time • PROMPT: Many students in your high school have part-time jobs. School board members have expressed concern that students’ school performance suffers when they have jobs during the school year. Write an essay to your district’s school board members convincing them to agree with your position on whether or not students are negatively affected by jobs during the school year. • Deconstruct the Prompt. • Brainstorm. Free-write. Thesis. Outline.
Drafting • One voice – hundreds of ways to use it. • Friends? The principal? Police officer? • Voice, word choice, and sentence structure… appropriate for the situation and audience.
Voice & Word Choice • Voice [ie. serious/formal, personal/informal] • Casual or formal language? • Informal: I was totally wired after three cups of coffee. • Formal: I was extremely tense after three cups of coffee. • Informal: I crashed after that exam. • Formal: I was exhausted after that exam.
Practice • Rewrite the following sentences from casual language into formal language. • Theresa thought the essay was a snap. • Rosa is all hyped up about the party. • The movie was awesome. • Martin really blew it on his history exam. • Bill inhaled his sandwich at lunch.
Using Resources • Dictionary and Thesaurus • Dictionary: spelling, synonyms, examples, definitions • Thesaurus: find words that can be used as substitutes • These are available to you – USE THEM!
Being Specific • General words and phrases describe a class/category – ex. dog • Specific words and phrases describe a member of a class/category – ex. beagle, Jim’s beagle, Sebastion • Use general words for summing up, specific words for supporting your ideas • Specific words, vivid images, and familiar examples bring your writing to life
Create a Picture • General Writing: • There was this guy. He went somewhere and met another guy. They talked, and then they did some other stuff. Then they went home. The end. • But… Who were they? What did they say? What did they do? General = vague. • INSTEAD: Provide descriptive details, use specific words and phrases, make it interesting
Word Choice Tips • Use a mature vocabulary, but don’t go overboard trying to impress readers • Avoid repetition, or using two words together that mean the same thing (ex. plentiful and abundance) • Don’t use a word unless you’re sure of its meaning – look it up! • Use words correctly, and watch out for commonly mistaken words (ex. their, there, they’re) • Go back and look for words you’ve used frequently, then use a thesaurus to find stronger synonyms • Go back and look for words that lack interest or originality (ie. good, bad, pretty, ugly) and use a thesaurus to find stronger synonyms
Practice Time • Replace each general phrase with a more specific word or phrase. • Earring • Car • Shoes • Flower • Store
Spice it up:Similes and Metaphors • Comparisons between two things • Simile: uses like or as (Mark runs like a deer) • Metaphor: states/implies one thing is another (Mark is a deer when he runs) • BE CAREFUL: Avoid cliches, or commonly use and worn out similes/metaphors – ie. “Derek is as skinny as a toothpick” vs. “Derek could hide behind a broomstick”
Sentences • #1: Grabber – carefully designed first sentence to create a certain effect, in hopes of grabbing the attention of the audience • Simple, compound, complex sentences – use variety
Simple Sentences • Expresses one complete thought. • Subject: person, place, thing, or idea that the rest of the sentence is about • Predicate: describes what the subject is or does • Ex. [Christy][blurs with speed.]
Fragments • Incomplete sentences, missing subject or predicate • Be sure to go back and check for/revise fragments during revision • Examples • Blazed past three defenders. • Because the score was tied at the end.
Compound Sentences • Two or more simple sentences joined in one sentence, expressing two or more complete thoughts. • Each complete thought = independent clause • Ex. The final buzzer sounded, and the game was over. • Ex. Everyone cheered loudly; the girls’ team had just beaten the boys’. • Ex. There is only one reason why she would behave so strangely: she has a crush on him.
Coordinating Conjunctions • To make a compound sentence, one option is to use a comma and a coordinating conjunction. • Remember that both clauses must be independent (can stand alone) • Examples • Christy smiled, but she did not speak.
Semicolons • Another option is to combine two independent clauses into a compound sentence using a semicolon. • Examples • Christy smiled; she did not speak.
Colon • One might also create a compound sentence using a colon between two independent clauses when one answers something about the clause before it. • Example • There was only one explanation: the train arrived late.
Complex Sentence • Contains an independent clause and a dependent clause. • Some may use a subordinating conjunction, which joins two clauses and makes one less important than the other. • Example: • Before the game had begun, Christy had made a speech to her team. • She told them to be good sportsso the boys wouldn’t feel bad about losing.
Subordinating Conjunctions • Examples: • After, before, although, because, how, except that, even though, if, once, provided that, so, so that, than, while, which, where, when, until, unless, though, etc.