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Writing your 1 st seventh grade quality essay (and beyond)

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  1. Writing your 1st seventh grade quality essay (and beyond)

  2. Why write? DOL • Write for 5 minutes about why we write? What is its purpose? Who do we write for? What does it help us with? What do we learn from it? Etc.

  3. Why do we write? It’s a good question, but it’s also an easy one for me. I believe that we write because as humans we have the capacity to think. Oftentimes we cannot express those words out loud out of fear or anger or even joy. Growing up, I fought with my brother ALL of the time. My outlet was writing. I had a journal and just wrote in anger all of the time. Of course I physically fought with him, but my writing helped me process my feelings and prevented me from fighting with him even more. Another example of writing being therapeutic was when my parents were going through a divorce. I took a writing class with my mom and my professor gave me feedback on the different styles of writing that I chose, and most of my topics centered on the pain I was feeling for the loss of my family. Writing also allows me to write about things that I know. I enjoy teaching others and learning, and then teaching others what I learned. And it’s sad for me to see people who don’t like to write. What, you don’t like to talk? To me, writing is a lot of talking.

  4. Your Topic The major theme of Hatchet is based on survival. Survival can be broken down into survival of a parents’ divorce, survival in the wilderness, survival in isolation, and many, many more. What have you had to survive? What advice could you offer someone else about how to survive that?

  5. Surviving… or How to Survive… For this essay, you are to think of something that you could give advice on, in order to survive. For example, How to Survive 6th Grade; or How to Survive a Skateboard Accident; or How to Survive an Annoying Brother/Sister; or How to Survive Writing an Essay.

  6. Brainstorm • Why is brainstorming important? • What happens when you don’t brainstorm? • Example of a paragraph w/o brainstorming • Example of a paragraph w/ brainstorming • Let’s Brainstorm

  7. No Brainstorm • Dogs and cats are good pets. I like when they meet you at the door. Dogs usually wag their tails and have their tongues out. Cats don’t really greet you at the door, but they can be friendly still. Dogs are better than cats. Wandering Brain

  8. All gears are working Yes Brainstorm! • Dogs and cats are the best kind of domestic animals, but dogs are much more friendly than cats. Cats are often the kind of animal that is self-sustaining; it can fend for itself and provide food for itself. Dogs do not have the ability to be self-sustaining, at least not the domestic dog. Dogs require a companion, a person that they can depend on, and someone to give their endless love to. In terms of self-sustaining and friendship, dogs exceed in quality over cats.

  9. Let’s Brainstorm • What do you know a lot about? Make a list of 5-10 items of things you consider yourself an expert on. • Narrow that list down to your top 2-3. • With those, create another list of 2-3 points needed to survive that scenario. • For example, if I wrote an essay about How to Survive Dog-sitting, I would note that it required the knowledge of 1. Have a safe place for the dog, 2. Establish dominance early on, and 3. Know the dog’s dietary & exercise requirements.

  10. Outline for Dog-Sitting Essay body paragraph #1 • Body Paragraph #1: Safe Place • Have a kennel or blanket the dog knows • Gives him something to know he’s home • Allows him a place to go to when scared/nervous • House and yard free from anything dangerous • Nothing out that you’d want eaten or choking hazard • No holes in fence and tall enough to keep him from jumping over • Conclusion sentence: have a safe place means kennel or blanket and house/yard free from dangerous things

  11. Topic Sentence vs. Thesis Statement • Topic Sentence (Lead): a hook, opens up your paragraph, makes your reader want to read the whole thing • Question – asks general question about topic • Fact – interesting info about topic • Statistic – detail based on data • Controversial statement – takes a stand • Anecdote – provides real-life scenario or nonfiction story • Description – explains setting, characters, or factual events • Direct address – addresses reader using second person “you”

  12. Thesis – the point you are proving! • Thesis statement Formula = T + P + A1 + A2 + A3 TOPIC + POSITION(a specific condition, feeling, or stand) an effective thesis statement Writing Assignment:Essay about surviving dog-sitting Specific Subject:Safe place, dominance, dietary & exercise requirements Thesis statement: Surviving dog-sitting / requires knowledge of having a safe place for the dog, establishing dominance early on, and knowing the dog’s dietary and exercise requirements.

  13. Example Introduction In the spring of 2011, I had just returned home from parent/teacher conferences to find my dad’s dog missing. We had been watching him for several days and had allowed him to go in and out with the doggy door because we knew we would be gone all day, and did not want him going pee in our house. It was 8:00 PM and roughly 25 degrees outside. We spent the whole night out walking, calling for him, driving around the neighborhood, and hanging missing dog signs. This experience prompted me to want others to be aware of the requirements necessary when dog-sitting. In order to survive dog-sitting, one must have a safe place for the dog, establish dominance over the pet early on, and understand the diet and exercise requirements of the pet. Last sentence is the Thesis statement!!! (what you’re going to prove!)

  14. Traffic Signal Paragraph Writing • For non-creative writing pieces (poetry, stories, etc.) • Provides you with an outline of how to form your paragraphs with your point, details & examples – then closes up with a conclusion • Great foundation for building larger paragraphs as you get older and have bigger essays to write

  15. Paragraph Writing • Go! Write a topic sentence • Slow Down! Give a reason, detail, or fact. Use a transition. • Stop! Explain. Give an example. (REPEAT YELLOW & RED AT LEAST ONE MORE TIME) • Go Back! Remind the reader of your topic.

  16. Outline for Dog-Sitting Essay – color coded to fit traffic signal paragraph format • Body Paragraph #1: Safe Place • Have a kennel or blanket the dog knows • Gives him something to know he’s home • Allows him a place to go to when scared/nervous • House and yard free from anything dangerous • Nothing out that you’d want eaten or choking hazard • No holes in fence and tall enough to keep him from jumping over • Conclusion sentence: have a safe place means kennel or blanket and house/yard free from dangerous things

  17. Example paragraph color-coded The first step to surviving dog-sitting is to have a safe place for the dog. It is important that the dog knows where he can relax and find comfort when in trouble; a kennel or a blanket that the dog had from his own home is necessary when dog-sitting.Ask the owner of the dog before coming over what the dog usually has at home for his safe place. If the dog does not have a kennel, where does he sleep; ask for that. If a dog has a favorite toy, ask for that to come with him as well. Another way to help the dog have a safe place is to make sure your house is dog-proof. Any toys or knickknacks that can present a choking hazard, or that you would not want ruined if the dog got it should be put away or up high out of the dog’s reach. If you have a back yard, also make sure that there are no holes in the fence for him to get through and that it is tall enough to avoid him jumping over. If the dog can feel comfortable and safe in a house when away from his home, that will help you survive the whole experience.

  18. Transitions & Sequence Words • Words that connect ideas so the reader sails through the text • Think: Do you show how ideas connect from one sentence to the next? • It’s missing transitions…sooooooo….

  19. Transitions & Sequence Words • To continue a line of thinking: • Also • Clearly • Furthermore • Because • Besides • Since • As well as • It is easy to see that • To change a line of thinking: • However • On the other hand • But • Yet • Nevertheless • To restate a point within a paragraph: • In other words • That is to say • In short

  20. To begin a paragraph or line of thinking: • Certainly • Granted • No doubt • Obviously • Of course • True • Unquestionably • In general • To signal the wrap-up: • Indeed • In the final analysis • In conclusion • Therefore • All in all • To show sequence or time: • After • As soon as • At first • At last • Before • Earlier • In the first place • In the meantime • Later • Meanwhile • Next • Soon • Then

  21. Can you find the transitions? It was summer break, and my friends and I were looking for something to do. Not so surprisingly, we didn’t feel like doing any of the chores my mom left for us when she went to work. After a while, we decided to plant a tree in the backyard that would give us shade on hot, late summer days. Luckily, there was a nursery only a few blocks from my house. We ate lunch, then we left to pick out the perfect tree. After we paid for it, we carried it home. The tree was heavier and bigger than we expected. • Taken from Traits of Writing by Ruth Culham (p. 121)

  22. Answers It was summer break, and my friends and I were looking for something to do. Not so surprisingly, we didn’t feel like doing any of the chores my mom left for us when she went to work. After a while, we decided to plant a tree in the backyard that would give us shade on hot, late summer days. Luckily, there was a nursery only a few blocks from my house. We ate lunch, then we left to pick out the perfect tree. After we paid for it, we carried it home. The tree was heavier and bigger than we expected.

  23. Conclusions • Does one of the following in 5-7 sentences • Summarize your essay • Convince the reader of your position • Challenges the reader to think about the issue • Encourages the reader to take action

  24. Example conclusion After the ordeal that I went through with watching my dad’s dog, I learned the importance of knowing some essential items to survive the next time. Yes, we found him the next day; he had almost been hit, saved by a guy, jumped that guy’s fence, and later caught by animal control. Now when we watch him, I remember the importance of having a safe place for him, establishing dominance when he walks in the door and rewarding him for good behavior, and knowing his diet and exercise needs. We have not had an incident yet, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we never do again.