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The Multi-Paragraph Essay Arp I.S.D. English Language Arts Dept. Prepared by Melissa Freeman
Essay • A piece of writing that gives your thoughts (commentary) about a subject. • All essays you will write in this unit will have at least four paragraphs: an introductoryparagraph, two body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
Introduction • Also called the introductory paragraph. • The first paragraph in an essay. • It includes the thesis, most often at the end of the paragraph.
Body Paragraph • A middle paragraph in an essay. • It develops a point you want to make that supports your thesis.
Conclusion • Also called the concluding paragraph. • The last paragraph in your essay. • It may sum up your ideas, • …reflect on what you said in your essay, • …give more commentary about your subject, • …or give a personal statement about the subject.
Conclusion (cont.) • Your conclusion is ALL commentary and does NOT include concrete detail. • It does NOT repeat key words from your paper and especially NOT from your thesis and introductory paragraphs. • It gives a finished feeling to your whole essay.
Thesis • A sentence with a subject and opinion. • (opinion = commentary) • This comes somewhere in you introductory paragraph and most often at the end.
Pre-Writing • The process of getting your concrete details down on paper before you organize your essay into paragraphs. • You can use any or all of the following: bubble clusters, spider diagrams, outlines, line clustering, or columns.
Concrete Details ~ CD • Specific details that form the backbone, skeleton, framework, or core of your body paragraphs. • Synonyms for concrete detail include facts, specifics, examples, descriptions, illustrations, support, proof, supporting evidence, quotations, paraphrasing, or plot references.
Commentary ~ CM • Your opinion or comment about something; NOT concrete detail. • Synonyms for commentary include opinion, insight, analysis, interpretation, inference, personal response, feelings, evaluation, explication, and reflection.
Topic Sentence ~ TS • The first sentence in the body paragraph. • This must have a subject and opinion (commentary) for the paragraph. • It does the same thing for a body paragraph that the thesis does for the whole essay.
Concluding Sentence ~ CS • The last sentence in the body paragraph. • It is ALL commentary, • …does not repeat key words, • …and gives a finished feeling to the paragraph.
Shaping the Essay • The step that is done afterpre-writing… • …and before the first draft of an essay. • It is an outline of your thesis, • …topic sentences, • …concrete details, • …and commentary ideas.
First Draft • The first version of your essay. • Also called the rough draft ~ RD.
Final Draft • The final version of your essay. • The last step before “publishing.”
Peer Response • Written responses and reactions to a partner’s paper.
Chunk • One sentence of concrete detail (CD)… • …and two sentences of commentary (CM). • It is the smallest unified group of thoughts that you can write.
Weaving • Blending concrete details (CD) and commentary (CM) in a body paragraph. • You can do this AFTER you master the format.
Ratio • The ratio of one part concrete detail (CD) to two parts commentary (CM). • At least two points of commentary for every point of concrete detail in a body paragraph. • CD:CM • 1 : 2+
Ratio • If a body paragraph has a 1:1 ratio, teachers say that the student got off to a good start but did not elaborate enough on the commentary. • If a literature paper has a 1:0 ratio, we call that a book report… • …or an “and then” paper. • “And then I went to the mall, and then I bought a pair of jeans. Then I went out with my friends.”
Ratio • “And then” papers are the dullest kinds of narratives to read. • As soon as students use a 1:2+ ratio, teachers are happier with the results. And Then
Word Counts • The minimum length per paragraph to earn a “C.”
CD vs. CM • The same as FACT vs. OPINION
Commentary • Writing commentary means giving your opinion, interpretation, insight, analysis, explication, personal reaction, feelings, evaluation, or reflection about a topic. • Commentary is the higher level of thinking that makes an essay interesting to read.
Restrictions of Literature Commentary • Students may not use I, me, my, we, us would, should, could, may or might in their essays. • These words encourage them to leave the story and become “preachy.” • Example: “I hope I have a friend like George some day.” • Or, “They should have just gone on their separate ways.” • Such commentary does not strengthen student writing.
This shows that… • Need help producing commentary? • Start your commentary with: • “This shows that _________________.” • The result is always commentary. • You can always change your phrasing during revision!
This shows that… • “In Of Mice and Men, George Milton looks out for Lennie’s welfare. For example, he tells Lennie not to say anything to Curley in the ranch house. This shows that he understands how easily Lennie gets into trouble without realizing it. This shows that he wants to keep Lennie out of harm’s way by shielding him from contact with strangers.”
Writing a Thesis • A thesis is a general sentence with a subject and an opinion (commentary). • Example: Australia is the best country of all for a vacation. • In this sentence, Australia is the subject. • The rest of the sentence tells the writer’s opinion, or commentary, about it—that it’s the best country for a vacation.
Writing a Thesis ~ Practice • For each of the following sentences, underline the subject once and the opinion (commentary) twice. • Fishing is fun to do when I’m with my dad. • English is my favorite class. • It’s exciting going to a new school. • Tacos are my favorite food. • I like radio station Q106 the most.
Writing a Thesis ~ Practice • Fishingis fun to do when I’m with my dad. • Englishis my favorite class. • It’s exciting going to a new school. • Tacosare my favorite food. • I likeradio station Q106the most.
Writing a Thesis ~ Practice • Write a thesis sentence of your own. • First you need to think of some subjects you know something about. • --getting braces • --bicycling • --homework
Writing a Thesis ~ Practice • The next step is to write a thesis for your subject. • Getting braceswas one of the best things that could have happened to me.