Writing Workshop • An Overview to Great Writing Using PEARLS • Attacking the Prompt • Creating a Strong Thesis • Outlining Using PEARLS • Getting Off to a Strong Start
Writing With PEARLS A systematic approach to writing Mr. Edom
Points Examples Analysis Relationships Language/Length Style/Substance
Points THESIS • Is it debatable? Defendable? • Does it address the prompt? TOPIC SENTENCES • Do they directly address the thesis? • Are the verbs active?
Examples TEXTUAL EVIDENCE • Is the evidence introduced? • Does the evidence directly support the topic sentence? • Are they brief? • Are there 1-2 examples from the text for each topic sentence? • Is the citation in MLA format?
Analysis OFFER AN EXPLANATION • What does the example mean? • Why does the example matter? • Are there at least two sentences of analysis per example?
Relationships • How does the topic sentence serve the thesis? • Is there a relationship drawn at the end of every body paragraph that explains how the examples support the thesis? • Is there a transition to the next topic sentence (first, second, finally, accordingly, as a result, consequently, likewise)?
Language/LengthIs the language and length just right? Formal Language Informal Language Narrative essays Reflective essays Personal correspondence Email, texting • Scholarly writing • Literary analysis essays • Business writing Don’t use “I” in scholarly writing!
Style & Substance • WHAT you say is more important than HOW you say it. • Substance serves style. • Everything serves the thesis.
What an AP Grader Looks For • Points • Thesis hints/outlines structure of argument • Structure is evident immediately though paragraphs • Topic sentences introduce ideas (not evidence) • Examples • 1-2 quotes from the text, per paragraph at minimum • Analysis • 2 sentence minimum per example • Explanation of evidence is substantive, original, insightful • Relationships • Topic sentences relate back to thesis • Language/length • No use of “I” or “me” • Language is neutral and academic in tone • Includes intro, body, conclusion in 4-5 well developed paragraphs of 8-10 sentences (or more) • Style/substance • Timed writing gets to the point without fluff
Understanding Feedback Short Answer Rubric Grade Conversion 5/A 4/B 3/C 2/D 1/F NS/NOT SCORE Notes: A 3 on the AP exam is a passing score The exam is scored on a curve, so how you perform in relation to your peers matters • 5s include a skillful introduction/hook; responsive to prompt without being formulaic; ample textual evidence; extended and insightful analysis; analysis provides clear relationship to the prompt, thesis, and overall meaning of text; sophisticated use of language and appropriate style • 4s responsive to prompt; textual evidence; competent analysis; analysis provides clear relationship to the prompt, thesis, and overall meaning of text; less mature use of language; minor lapses in style • 3s responsive to prompt; fewer textual examples; less thorough analysis; minor lapses in language and style • 2sstudent misreads prompt or misinterprets text; analysis is grossly underdeveloped; language or style renders the argument unintelligible • 1soffbase and underdeveloped
The Nine Point Rubric Grade Conversion …and Other Markings PEARLS are used to quickly evaluate the content of your paper P+ signifies “good point, while a P- signifies a poor thesis or weak topic sentence Turnitin.com will give you comprehensive grammar feedback, with an option to review grammar rules • 9/A • 8/A- • 7/B • 6/B- • 5/C • 4/C • 3/D • 2/D- • 1/F
Strategizing for Improvement • Read your paper aloud to yourself; you will catch mistakes by “hearing” them • Interpret your score and teacher feedback • Ask questions if you cannot read the teacher’s handwriting • Be aware that your early writing scores are our baseline for the year, and represents your starting point; it takes time to develop into a great writer • Make a plan for improvement • Note your score and create a list of three goals you have for improving your writing • List questions you have about writing • Keep in mind that clear thinking is reflected in clear writing • Keep a positive attitude and open your mind to suggestions • Pursue tutoring in writing for extra attention
Attacking the Prompt I have to do WHAT? Mrs. Taser
Deconstructing the Prompt • Look up any unfamiliar words in the prompt • Determine what the prompt is asking by underlining key words or phrases • Draft a structured thesis statement that addresses the prompt • Provide a clear “map” so that the reader understands the order of your argument • Let’s practice with some AP style prompts
Deconstructing the Prompt • Look up any unfamiliar words in the prompt • Fist person minor: narrator is a minor character, relating the story from his/her perspective • Omniscient is all-knowing • Determine what the prompt is asking by underlining key words/verbs or phrases; this will help you formulate your thesis • Look for a possible way to structure your response into body paragraphs AynRand wrote Anthem in epistolary (diary) diary form, using first person major point-of-view, where the main character simply tells his own story. Discuss the merits of this form and point of view for this particular novella. You response may consider one of the following questions: Why is the diary form crucial to plot and character development in Anthem? How does it help to reveal the setting and establish the nature of this society? How does it contribute to the mystery surrounding the Unspeakable Word? How would using first person minor or third person omniscient point of view weaken the novel?
Deconstructing the Prompt • Look up any unfamiliar words in the prompt • Tyrannical- total domination • Determine what the prompt is asking by underlining key words/verbs or phrases; this will help you formulate your thesis • Look for a possible way to structure your response into body paragraphs • To fully control a man, dictators must not only enslave his body, but also destroy his mind. Discuss how the leaders in Anthem seek to accomplish this tyrannical end.
Deconstructing the Prompt • Look up any unfamiliar words in the prompt • Determine what the prompt is asking by underlining key words/verbs or phrases; this will help you formulate your thesis • Look for a possible way to structure your response into body paragraphs • In an essay, explore the heroism of courage it takes to be an individual in a collectivist society, by compare the hero as we see him in an early scene with the hero as we see him in a scene near the end of the novel. 2) Describe the techniques that the author uses to reveal the new understanding and awareness that the hero has achieved.
Deconstructing the Prompt • Look up any unfamiliar words in the prompt • Determine what the prompt is asking by underlining key words/verbs or phrases; this will help you formulate your thesis • Look for a possible way to structure your response into body paragraphs • An individual's struggle toward understanding and awareness is the traditional subject for the novelist. In an essay, apply this statement to Ayn Rand’s “Anthem.” Organize your essay according to the following plan: 1) Compare the hero as we see him in an early scene with the hero as we see him in a scene near the end of the novel. 2) Describe the techniques that the author uses to reveal the new understanding and awareness that the hero has achieved.
Tonight’s Challenge • Select the prompt you wish to work on for your process essay • Evaluate what the prompt is asking • Consider reviewing the PEARLS power point • Study the teacher feedback: make a plan for improving your writing strategies • Create a list of questions about writing
Crafting a Thesis Make It Debatable Make It Defendable
What is a Strong Thesis? • A strong thesis takes a stand • A string thesis is an assertion • A strong thesis justifies the discussion • A strong thesis expresses one main idea • A strong thesis is specific • It MUST be DEBATABLE AND DEFENDABLE. Facts do not make good thesis statements.
Example WEAK STRONG Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, posing a potential danger to customers. • There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.
Example WEAK STRONG Jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable, causing persistent hunger in Glandelinia. • World hunger has many causes and effects.
Example WEAK STRONG Half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar; therefore, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives. • More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.
Refining Student Examples WEAK STRONG The use of epistolary form for Anthem allows the reader to identify individually with the narrator: this identification with the protagonist is necessary to recognize the relevance of his philosophical ideals. The author’s utilization of first person point of view diary format is effective in helping the reader understand the motives and feelings of Equality. The first person point of view in Ayn Rand’s Anthem is an effective way of providing readers with first-hand information and an insightful view into society. (Be specific- what make it effective?) First person point of view is a useful way to understand Anthem because you get the information first hand, like you were there when the event happened, you also have a sense of directness. (Be specific- what make its useful, and what are the merits of POV?)
Refining Student Examples WEAK STRONG Anthem demonstrates that the ultimate control of man is accomplished by controlling his thoughts, emotions, and knowledge. The leaders in Anthem achieve total domination over the minds of the population by not allowing them to make their own decisions. • To fully control a man, the leaders in Anthem not only enslave the bodies of the citizens but also destroy their mind. (Do more than restate the prompt.) • In order to control a man’s actions you have to go beyond the body and first enslave the mind. (This id debatable, but does not say how the leaders enslave…) • Leaders controlled and got what they wanted from society by destroying minds and crushing identities that had not yet been born into lifelong beings. (Vague.) • The leaders in Anthem enslave the minds of the population by not allowing them to make their own decisions. (Almost…)
Refining Student Examples WEAK STRONG In order to fully self-actualize, a person must turn his back on everything he knows: the protagonist in Anthem embodies the courage and heroism involved in following one’s own path. Throughout the many conflicts that Equality encounters, he manages to reach understanding and awareness. (Vague.) Equality achieves understanding and awareness of himself and how a society should actually be by, becoming an individual and he stops following what the society is saying that is right which is collectivism. (Stringy thesis, imprecise language)
Generating a Thesis Statement • Distill the prompt into a specific question For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question. Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth- grade class are . . .”OR A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .” • The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.
Creating Thesis Statements for Anthem • Distill the prompts into a specific question: 1: What are the pros and cons of using first person point of view and how does this impact our understanding of Anthem? 2: How do the leaders in Anthem achieve total control over the population? 3: How does the main character in Anthem achieve understanding and awareness? • The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay. Try it!
Strength Test Your Thesis • Is it DEBATABLE AND DEFENDABLE? • Can you argue one side? Good. • Now, can you come up with the counter-argument? Ex. Dogs are better than cats. Cats are better than dogs. Yup. Good thesis in the works here!
What About Mapping Sentences? • Mapping sentences create a structure for your argument • Ex. Cats are better than dogs because they are not as noisy, require no walks, and they are more independent.
When Do I Use Mapping Sentences? • Young writers need the structure mapping sentences provide • Mapping is helpful for first drafts • Mapping can assist a reader with papers over 5 pages in length • As you mature as a writer, remove the mapping sentence to help leave a bit of mystery for your reader
PEARLS Outline Creating a Plan for Your Writing
General Tips for an Outline • Craft your thesis statement based on the prompt. • Plan three topic sentences that support your thesis. • Locate 2-3 pieces of textual evidence that support each of your topic sentences. • Complete the PEARLS Outline to help you sketch out a basic structure for your paper, which will assist you in thinking through analysis and relationships as well. Note: Your introduction and conclusion are easier to craft once you know the basic structure of your paper.
Today’s Challenge • Complete the PEARLS Outline and have it ready to share for tomorrow’s lesson
Tackling the Introduction Hooks and Introductions
Hooking the Reader Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. • Opening with a compelling anecdote (story) • Fascinating quotation • A stirring example from the text that can get your readers to see why this topic matters • An example of relevance to the reader (It’s OK to write the introduction last!)
A Simple, Effective Hook • The slug from a .22 can bounce around the human skull a total of 29 times. (Of Mice and Men) • All kids growing up have thrown rocks: very rarely is it a skull-splitting experience. (Lord of the Flies)
General Tips for an Introduction • An introduction is not the place to introduce background or factual information. A common impulse is to start a paper with the story of when a person was born, or with some historical background. However, unless some brief information is necessary to understand the terms within or significance of the thesis, save the background for your next paragraph. • An introduction should not be too long.An introduction should be a single paragraph, at least for the length of papers for this class. A page-long intro is usually too long -- half a page or less is good. If your opening anecdote is a long one, you don't have to finish it in the introduction -- just introduce enough of it to get the reader's attention and establish the significance of your thesis. You can finish it in the body of the paper. (In fact, such a "teaser" is a common device of newspaper feature writers.) • Don't start your introduction with a dictionary definition.We're not interested in how Webster's defines "Postmodernism." We are interested in YOUR take on it. • Don't start out with a grand generalization. The cliche of the "pyramid form" introduction often leads to uninteresting sentences that begin with "Since the beginning of time..." or "Throughout history...". Showing the significance of your thesis does not mean that you have to demonstrate its importance in the history of art or tie it to some universal observation.
Introductions to Avoid Don’t be formulaic • Avoid rhetorical questions • Avoid book report introductions that state merely the author, title, and a brief summary • Avoid starting with a dictionary definition • Avoid restating the question • Avoid the overly grandiose or general introduction • Avoid the “dawn of man” introductions
Example One Here the author grabs the reader's attention.Though citations are not typically used in an introduction, the author here uses it to establish a controversy and hence the significance of the thesis.Here the author states the thesis in an unambiguous way. Here the author gives a preview of the three points he will make to support his thesis. • The explosion of fist fights, police, jeers, and cheers that greeted the notorious 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is now famous as the screaming birth of musical modernism.Stuckenschmidt says that the dissonance percussiveness, and savagery of the score were unlike anything the public had heard to that time (67), and this premiere became a symbol of the uncompromising new musical language that refused to pander to prettiness or sentimentality. However, contrary to Stuckenschmidt's and other conventional interpretations, The Rite of Spring was a last gasp of Romanticism rather than the birth of modernism, as shown in its unreserved drama and spectacle, its heritage of Russian nationalism, and its idealization of "primitive" man.
Example Two • In 1901, Pablo Picasso's closest friend, Carlos Casagemas, committed suicide, an event which shocked the young artist and drove him into a deep, guilt-laden depression. Indeed, in the aftermath of this tragedy, Picasso became superstitious in his fear of anything associated with death, an obsession which was reflected not just in his subsequent "blue period" paintings, but throughout his life. The painting Picasso executed in response to Casagemas' death, paradoxically titled La Vie [Life] (1903), develops several of the distinctive motives that would become important to his later paintings, including his ambivalent view of women, a close connection between sex and death, and an intensely subjective viewpoint. • Here is an interesting anecdote to capture the reader's attention. The details of the story can wait until the next paragraph.Here the author makes clear the significance of the story. The reader should be interested in this event not just because of an idle curiosity about Picasso's life, but because of how it shaped his art.Now the author clearly states the thesis...and gives a preview of the points that will support the thesis.
Crafting the Conclusion Wrapping up
Conclusions Specifically, your conclusion should accomplish three major goals: •Restate the main idea of your essay, or your thesis statement •Summarize the three sub-points of your essay •Leave the reader with an interesting final impression
Anthem Essay Winner (2006) Thesis Conclusion Equality has experienced firsthand the discontent that breeds when men are deprived from these humanizing pursuits. He has been forbidden to learn; he has seen his best friend forbidden to draw. He has heard young men cry out in the night, and no one can explain or stop their fits. Equality wants to rescue man from this fate and help him realize his potential: to spread ideas and learning, to live a full and happy life, and to be, first and foremost, loyal to himself. Therefore, he will do away with all vestiges of the old society, from the names and numbers that are issued to the strict regulations, because they are counterproductive to his plan. While these rules and regulations tear man down and subjugate him to the will of the collective, Equality wants to build man up. He will teach his followers about humor, love, and joy—about a life they never knew existed. • Ostensibly, these rules are set in place to help the society function as a unit; in reality, they serve only to subjugate its members, to keep them downtrodden and unable to resist their circumstances. • Notice how the conclusion summarizes the main points of the essay.
Anthem Essay Winner (2009) Thesis Conclusion Although it certainly takes place during a very dark time for humanity, Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem is a story of hope for a better future; through hard work and determination, Equality 7-2521 is able to ensure that his family will have a chance at freedom and individuality. We see the indomitable nature of the independent spirit in the fact that there are still those who refuse to be conquered by repression. Equality 7-2521′s discovery of electricity also shows that technological improvements can still be made, and the knowledge of previous generations is not completely lost to those willing to look for it. Finally, the future for Equality 7-2521 looks brighter once he is able to break free from the oppressive city and establish a place of learning and technology. Each of these examples shows that, if one is willing to work hard, one can, like Equality 7-2521, leave the world a little better than it was when one entered it, and provide lasting hope for the betterment of generations to come. • Rand’s novel is a story of liberation, not despair, because by the end of the novel, possibilities for the return to a more free society have been created by one man determined to give his descendants a fighting chance. • Notice how the conclusion summarizes the main points of the essay.
Anthem Essay Winner (2011) Thesis Conclusion It is staggering to realize that Rand first envisioned the basic concept of Anthem while still a teen in Soviet Russia (Peikoff viii). However, Rand’s thoughts did not coalesce into the novel Anthem until she came to the United States, leading one to wonder whether Rand would have even written this revolutionary work if she had not left Russia. Analyzing the events in Anthem, one might ask a similar question about Prometheus: would he have achieved individualist freedom had he not fled from the City? Thus, the Uncharted Forest, where Prometheus finally discovers the true meaning of man’s ego, can in many ways be seen as Rand’s America. There, Prometheus becomes a fictional embodiment of Rand’s philosophy, igniting the spark of her individualism flame that shines brightly even today. • His search becomes, unknown to him at the time, one for the meaning of man’s ego, the central inspiration of the story’s—and man’s—existence • Notice how the conclusion broadens out, relating the novel to bigger ideas (her philosophical influence).
Anthem Essay Winner (2012) Thesis Conclusion Through the incredible strengths of Equality and Liberty, mankind is redeemed from its suffering under the “noble” ideal of communism. Their sacrifices and virtues overcame the indoctrination of their corrupt society and led them to the discovery of the most important part of the human spirit, individualism. The Prometheus and Gaea of legend revolutionized the world for mankind and founded a new kind of world with prosperity and advancement; Equality and Liberty will found a society that, potentially, revolutionizes the world for mankind by celebrating the nobility of the individual human spirit, a thing to be set free, not restrained and crushed out of fear. Their discoveries put to rest the corrupt preachings of selflessness and humility in favor of the truly moral philosophies of freedom and, in fact, selfishness. • By uncovering this lost word, Equality rediscovers the idea of the individual, and the worth of the individual outside of the collective group of “we.” In recognition of his discovery, Equality renames himself Prometheus and his love, Liberty 5-3000, Gaea, after the epic Greek myths that the two characters so strongly imitate. • Notice how the conclusion leaves the reader with an interesting final impression.
Integrating Evidence Getting the “E” in your PEA!