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Topic Sentences and Showing and Telling

Topic Sentences and Showing and Telling

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Topic Sentences and Showing and Telling

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  1. Topic Sentences and Showing and Telling Kim Mahoney

  2. Point of View • Which one of the three points of view should you avoid in this course? Explain. • First person (using “I”) • Second person (addressing reader as “you”) • Third person (using “he/she/they”) Kim Mahoney

  3. Answer: Second person • Second person point of view is great for sales brochures and “how-to” pamphlets, but in essays, when writers use it, they often make assumptions about their readers. • Example: When you are pregnant and in high school, it’s scary. • What is the writer really trying to say? Kim Mahoney

  4. Making an Outline • What is an outline and how do I make one? • How is an outline different from an idea map? • How do I turn my cluster map into an outline? Kim Mahoney

  5. Idea Map vs. Outline • How is an outline different from the idea map you completed in the Phase 1 IP? Kim Mahoney

  6. Idea Map vs. Outline • Idea Map • Several ideas • Disorganized • Everything has equal weight • No sequence • Outline • More detail • Sequence of ideas • Add/subtract subtopics • Continue to plan Phase 5 IP (essay) Kim Mahoney

  7. Example • Let’s look at an example. Kim Mahoney

  8. Body Paragraphs • 5-7 Sentences: • Topic Sentence • Supporting Details and Examples • Concluding Sentence (with transition to next paragraph) Kim Mahoney

  9. 1. Topic Sentence • topic + controlling idea = topic sentence Kim Mahoney

  10. Examples: topic sentence? • Parenting has forced me to rethink my spiritual beliefs. • Next, I will discuss the location of my garden. • Dogs are superior to cats as pets because of their loyalty. Kim Mahoney

  11. 1. Parenting has forced me to rethink my spiritual beliefs. • Topic: Parenting • Controlling idea: forced me to rethink spiritual beliefs 2. Next, I will discuss the location of my garden. • Topic: location of garden • Controlling idea: none Kim Mahoney

  12. 2. Supporting Details • Past experiences • Describe something using sensory language • Tell a story (one time . . .) • Use past and present to make meaning Kim Mahoney

  13. Toolbox Technique: Showing and Telling in Body Paragraphs • Remember in kindergarten when we had “show and tell”? My son gets excited every time he gets the purple pillow case at school, because it means that he gets to bring a favorite object, show it to his classmates, and talk about it. Kim Mahoney

  14. Telling • Draws conclusions about event/experience • Tells “what happens” • Topic sentence (telling) = topic + controlling idea. • “My roommate is a slob” tells. It’s a conclusion drawn by the writer that captures “what happens” often, but it doesn’t contain any details that show the reader why the roommate is a slob (what happened). Kim Mahoney

  15. Showing • Specific, sensory details; never cliché • One time/what happened • Take the reader with you/paint a picture • Support/evidence to prove/illustrate the “telling” portion Kim Mahoney

  16. Practice • The cuts I’ve suffered while cooking were often particularly unexpected. • This sentence tells. It could be a topic sentence because it contains a topic (cuts while cooking) and a controlling idea (are particularly unexpected). • The writer needs to “show” the reader how these cuts are particularly unexpected, with evidence. The writer can share one or two specific experiences about what happened in order to show what happens (unexpected cuts while cooking.) Kim Mahoney

  17. Fresh Perspective • Reader is curious about ? Kim Mahoney

  18. Reader is Curious About . . . • What was she/he cooking? • What part of the body was cut? • Describe the feeling. • What happened next? • What are they unexpected? Kim Mahoney

  19. Sensory Details/Imagery • Appeals to the senses: Describe smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound, as appropriate to the topic. • Do not include every sense as a “check list.” Kim Mahoney

  20. Putting it together • The cuts I’ve suffered while cooking were often particularly unexpected. The other night, I was cutting onions for potato soup and I lost focus. I jumped when the knife hit my forefinger and slid through my flesh, as easily as it cut the onion. The initial contact was electrical, like touching the edge of a light bulb while groping for the switch or clenching my jaw after realizing that my tooth is not completely numbed up under an eager drill. I pulled my finger back and squeezed it, hoping to stop the blood but knowing it was there, waiting to emerge. The burn set in seconds later, then the dull throbbing pulse that kept my mind focused on the wound for the rest of the night. The next day, the loose flap of skin reminded me to be cautious next time. But I forget, and two days later, while peeling zucchini, I recoil as the vegetable peeler slices off a delicate piece of knuckle skin. Kim Mahoney

  21. Paragraph Analysis • Telling (what happens often): The cuts I suffer while cooking are often particularly unexpected. • Showing:specific, sensory details about one time I cut myself Kim Mahoney

  22. Practice • On a piece of paper or in a Word document, add the “showing” details to one of the following: • Remember to tell “what happened” to prove “what happens.” Kim Mahoney

  23. More Practice: Choose one • On a piece of paper or in a Word document, add the “showing” details to one of the following: • My roommate is a slob. • My neighbor’s dog is obnoxious. • My husband is obsessive-compulsive. 4. My latest vacation resulted in disaster. Think about the reader’s expectations. Avoid cliché. Include sensory details. Kim Mahoney

  24. Telling without Showing • Without “showing” details, the paper is boring and lacks evidence. • For many, telling is the easy part because we are a society of “summarizers.” Kim Mahoney

  25. Showing without Telling • Have you ever had a friend who told story after story, to which you replied, “Okay, so what’s the point?” • That friend was leaving out the telling portion– the purpose of the story, the lesson learned, the controlling idea. Kim Mahoney

  26. The Ultimate Telling • The purpose for your essay is the “telling” portion of this assignment. So, if I decide to explore parenting and reach the conclusion that parenting is the ultimate lesson in humility, that is the purpose for my essay and also the “what happens.” Throughout my essay, I will show the reader that my conclusion is true, at least in my experience, based on what happened to me (experiential learning!). Kim Mahoney

  27. Showing and Telling in Writing • The beauty of this technique is that you can use it for any writing occasion. In a research essay, the telling is your thesis and the showing is the evidence from your outside sources. In an evaluation of an employee, the score/grade is the telling and the observations of performance are the showing details. Kim Mahoney

  28. Show and Tell • Observe Conclude • What happened What happens • Experience Reflect Kim Mahoney

  29. Applying today’s technique: body paragraphs • When you write your body paragraphs, you will want to show and tell in each paragraph • Topic sentence: tells • Details: show Kim Mahoney