Over the next 10 months… • We will work step-by-step at developing clear, interesting, and innovative expository and persuasive essays. • We will focus on strategies you can use to make your essays stand out. • By the end of the year, you will all possess the tools needed to score a perfect 6 on the FCAT Writes!
But Today’s Task… • Today’s focus is on the MAJOR mistakes I saw over and over again on last week’s essay. • Without further adieu… here’s WHAT NOT TO WRITE!
Rule #1: KEEP YOURSELF OUT OF THE ESSAY! • Unless you are providing a specific anecdote or example that involves yourself, keep “I” out of your essay! • This includes, but is not limited to: I think/believe/feel, in my opinion, my personal opinion, personally I…., my reason is, my name is, my opinion is, I am going to tell you, I have told you… • Is your name on the top of the paper? If so, then I know that everything you write is your opinion. Your writing has much more authority without all of these “I”s!
Rule #2:Indent your paragraphs! • This may sound simple, but to indicate that you are changing paragraphs, you should indent ½ to 1 inch. • Skipping lines is unnecessary, wasteful, and not indicative of a paragraph change.
Rule #3:Don’t copy the prompt! • Copying the prompt is not the same as answering it. Recopying the prompt as your introductory paragraph is not a good idea. It shows that you are unimaginative and lack the critical thinking skills to write your own introduction.
Rule #4:Don’t start your essay with a question. • Your introduction should hook your reader. (Don’t worry, our next writing lesson will focus solely on sophisticated hooks.) • Beginning with a question is generally quite childish. Rarely are the questions I have seen from students considered thought-provoking or sophisticated. Photo of The Thinker from my trip to the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia this summer
Rule #5:Don’t repeat yourself. • Once is enough! Be sure not to repeat ideas, phrases, or vocabulary words. • No babbling!
Rule #6:Know your audience. • Address your audience carefully. • Use a formal tone when addressing those in power or greater in age than you are. • Be sure to address the correct audience!
Rule #7: Proofread! • If you finish before time is called, PROOFREAD! • It is easy to catch common mistakes if you simply re-read your work. This shows that you care about your essay. • Don’t misspell the words from the writing prompt!
Rule #8:Remember basic grammar rules. • If nothing else, make sure you CAPITALIZE the first letter in each sentence and any proper nouns, and put the correct punctuation (period, question mark, exclamation mark) at the end of each sentence.
Rule #9:Stay on the topic! • Be sure to fully answer the prompt, but nothing more!
Rule #10:Don’t rant! • Essays are not the time nor the place for your off-topic, over the top rants! Save those for your Facebook statuses.