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How to Plan Your Writing. T.A.P.E. It. Use the T.A.P.E. method to dissect the prompt so that you are clear as to the topic, audience, purpose, and essay format. . Writing Situation

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t a p e it
T.A.P.E. It

Use the T.A.P.E. method to dissect the prompt so that you are clear as to the topic, audience, purpose, and essay format.

Writing Situation

The arts curriculum in high school often includes visual art, music, dance, and theater. Some educators, concerned about the academic progress of students, have suggested eliminating arts education in high school. They argue that not having these classes would allow more time for students to study the basics: English, Math, Science, and History.

Directions for Writing

Reflect on what should be taught in high school. Think about how it affects students now and later in life. Write an essay to the school board and argue whether the arts should be included or eliminated from the high school curriculum. Discuss the advantages/disadvantages of having an arts program from a student’s point of view.






pros cons
  • All issues have two (or more) sides. Even ones that seem clear. A pros/cons list is an easy way to get ideas together.
  • The best way to accomplish this is to divide a section of your prewriting page into two sides.
  • Pros are the arguments for the idea
  • Cons are the arguments against the idea
  • You do not have to agree with anything you write
  • This should only take you five to seven minutes

Students need a hook to learn. The arts helps them see the relevance of what they learn (direction)

Students learn how to think through arts instruction, which can only help in other subjects

More students would drop out without the arts in schools

Students in the Arts usually score higher on tests


Test scores need to increase and focusing on the core will help this happen

Money used in the arts can help with programs for the SAT or other tests

Students can always stay after school if they want arts

The Arts won’t help you get a job

Students need to know the basics more because test scores keep dropping.

now choose the side you can convincingly argue
Now Choose the Side You Can Convincingly Argue

Choose the side that has the most evidence, even if you do not personally agree with the opinion.

No one is going to hunt you down and ridicule you for arguing a controversial opinion.

And no one outside of the test graders is going to know what you argued.

Based on the previous list, I would argue based on my con list, with which I do not personally agree.

create a pro con list
Create a Pro/Con List

Writing Situation

The mayor of your city is considering a 7:00PM curfew for children under the age of 18. Some people think that this curfew is too strict. Other people think that the curfew should apply to everyone under the age of 14. Many young people think the curfew is not necessary at all.

Directions for Writing

Write a letter to mayor in which you either defend the teen curfew or oppose the teen curfew. Clearly state your position and support it with reasons and examples. Try to convince the mayor to agree with your position.

practice pro con
Practice Pro/Con
  • Using the homework prompt from the homework, write a pro/con list.
quick list
Quick List
  • Some prompts do not ask you to choose a side, but instead ask you to create a solution to a problem or support an opinion-based open ended prompt.
  • In 2010, the topic asked something along the lines of “If you could go back in history, when and where would you go and why would you go there?”
  • Look at the prompt that asks you to determine a solution to the graffiti problem at school.
quick list1
Quick List
  • In these cases, quick list your reasons.
  • Ex:
    • Time Period: mid-1920s America
      • Experience the rise of the Female Flapper
      • Experience the decadence of the decade of Jazz Music, Art, and Dance
      • Experience America when it seemed to have promise
      • Meet Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Parker, and other authors
      • See America before it was polluted horribly.
create a thesis statement
Create a Thesis Statement
  • Now that you have your pro/con list and have decided on the side you want to argue or have listed your argument, write one sentence stating your opinion.

Ex: The Arts should be eliminated in high schools so that student test scores will increase.

Ex: The best solution for decreasing paper waste and pollution in schools is to require that lesson plans and homework be sent digitally.

Using your homework prompts, write a thesis statement for the first two ant the one for graffiti.

support your support
Each piece of support (item on your pro/con list or list list) must be developed.

Because of the length of the test, you cannot fully develop every thought, but you should at least give the grader two solid developed ideas in support of your thesis.

Support Your Support
support your support3
Support Your Support
  • For any one of your topics, support one support item on your list.
  • Homework:
    • Choose two topics.
    • For each:
    • Create a Pro/Con List or Quick List
    • Write a Thesis Statement.
    • Support Your Support with two to three ideas.