Power Point Slaying the Essay Dragon

Information about Power Point Slaying the Essay Dragon

Published on February 28, 2008

Author: Minerva

Source: authorstream.com

Content

Slaying The Essay Dragon:  Slaying The Essay Dragon Learning How to Conquer Common Writing Problems and Become Better Writers! Key Objectives:  Key Objectives Confront and Overcome: How can we confront our writing fears and overcome some of the common essay writing errors? Identify the errors: What are the ‘consensus’ or common errors that continually confront college writers? Implement some ‘best practice’ approaches so we can begin to overcome problems and improve. Slay the Essay Dragon! Part I: Identifying & Learning (“Understanding the Dragon”):  Part I: Identifying & Learning (“Understanding the Dragon”) What are some of the basic common errors writers make? What solutions tend to be the most effective? What solutions should we try to avoid? What do all good college writing teachers have in common? What makes a college writing teacher feel ‘good’ about your essay from the very first time he or she reads the introduction? Part I: Identifying & Learning (“Understanding the Dragon”):  Part I: Identifying & Learning (“Understanding the Dragon”) What are some of the basic common errors writers make? Topic or main idea not clearly and specifically focused. Major downfall: vagueness and generalization: starts in the thesis and only becomes worse since the writer is actually ‘supporting’ vagueness throughout the body and conclusion of the essay Show me an example of this common error. Common Problem #1: Main idea not specifically focused in thesis statement.:  Common Problem #1: Main idea not specifically focused in thesis statement. Example: Writing Prompt: Develop an essay on some important aspect of your relationship with your (spouse, boy/girlfriend) Attempted thesis statement: My husband is always nice to me and is kind. What is wrong with this thesis statement . . . ? How can we improve it to meet the requirements of the writing prompt, as well as specificity, clarity and focus? (INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION) Three Universal Elements of an Effective Thesis Statement (FACS):  Three Universal Elements of an Effective Thesis Statement (FACS) FOCUS: must focus some aspect of an idea so it is easily recognized APPEAL: must create appeal and interest immediately; no one likes to read boring stuff! CLARITY: must state your main idea clearly and simple: enough said! SPECIFICITY: the more specific your thesis, the better: it prevents your essay from suffering from the dreaded maladies of vagueness and generalization. Applying the Three Universal Elements:  Applying the Three Universal Elements Building your thesis: My husband shows his love and kindness to me by ______________, ______________, and _____________. Wizard question: At least, how many support paragraphs will this essay require? My husband reveals his love and kindness to me by rising early each morning and cooking breakfast, assuring my car is always mechanically safe and filled with gas, and doing things without being asked which make my life less hectic. Common Problem #2: No Attention Step or Interest-builder in Your Introduction:  Common Problem #2: No Attention Step or Interest-builder in Your Introduction How can you build interest between your main idea and your reader? What are some of the ways that you can ‘connect’ right away with your reader? What happens if you do not obtain your reader’s attention in your introduction? Common Problem #2: Topic Sentences Not Linked to Thesis--OFFTOPICITIS:  Common Problem #2: Topic Sentences Not Linked to Thesis--OFFTOPICITIS THESIS: My husband reveals his love and kindness to me by rising early each morning and cooking breakfast, assuring my car is always mechanically safe and filled with gas, and doing things without being asked which make my life less hectic. TOPIC SENTENCE #1: My husband sometimes goes fishing on Saturday mornings, but he stills has time for me and the kids. TOPIC SENTENCE #2: My husband likes to play golf all day on Saturday, even though he tries to include me in his weekends. TOPIC SENTENCE #3: While busy at the office, my husband calls me every day and stops by the grocery store on the way home to purchase my favorite foods. Wizard Tip: Use Outline feature in MS Word to build your essays so you visualize the linkage of thesis statement to topic sentences! Common Problem #3: Conclusion Does Not Summarize Adequately:  Common Problem #3: Conclusion Does Not Summarize Adequately The 3 universal laws of an essay’s conclusion: Restate/Reaffirm thesis statement Summarize key ideas in essay Provide concluding statement to ‘tie’ summary & thesis together Wizard Tip: NEVER introduce new ideas or concepts in conclusion not previously mentioned in the essay. Common Problem #4: No Steppingstones in Essay:  Common Problem #4: No Steppingstones in Essay How do you ‘bridge’ ideas between sentences and paragraphs? What words should you use to ‘transition’ your sentences? How should you use these Example of what happens to an essay with no or ineffective transitions (handout) Some Effective Transitions: Use Them to Impart Smooth Flow of Ideas:  Some Effective Transitions: Use Them to Impart Smooth Flow of Ideas Common Problem #5: Being Chased by the Grammar Dragon!:  Common Problem #5: Being Chased by the Grammar Dragon! Before we start this section of ‘common’ problems, please take two aspirins and a sip of water (5 min. break) Now . . . Ready! Fasten your syntax (seat belt) Secret: The most common grammar errors college teachers look for . . . and often find. SENTENCE FRAGMENTS COMMA SPLICES RUN ON & FUSED SENTENCES PRONOUN REFERENCE ERRORS Common Problem #5: Being Chased by the Grammar Dragon!:  Common Problem #5: Being Chased by the Grammar Dragon! DICTION: WORD CHOICES MISPLACED MODIFIERS & PHRASES PUNCTUATION: commas, semicolons, nside & outside “ “ marks, colons and dashes and hyphens (what is the difference, anyway?!) PRONOUNS Pronouns as subjects or objects Pronouns as objects of prepositions Indefinite Pronouns Pronoun-Noun Agreement Pronouns in Compound Subjects Who or Which? That or Which? Pronoun reference problems Some Wizard Tips about Pronoun Usage Common Problem #6: We Don’t Proofread Correctly!:  Common Problem #6: We Don’t Proofread Correctly! Read Aloud: first and foremost Catch missplaced words and phrases Incorrect word choices: slang, contractions, and too much informality Long-winded (run-on) sentences Sounds clear or not Have someone else read it aloud Common Problem #6: We Don’t Proofread Correctly!:  Common Problem #6: We Don’t Proofread Correctly! Commas after introductory phrases and clauses Capitalize proper nouns (person, places, names, things, titles) Spell check and grammar check Circle topic sentences: do they all relate to and develop your thesis statement? Peer critique Format: see Purdue OWL for example for page and MLA documentation requirements Writing Center Tutorial Exploring the Mind of a College Writing Instructor:  Exploring the Mind of a College Writing Instructor What Will an English instructor first respond to in an essay (either positively or negatively?) How you motivate your reader (connect to your read via attention step) Thesis statement Topic Sentences Adequate Support Conclusion Sentence clarity Awkward or Muddled Sentences Word choices Punctuation Style Spelling Formatting Subject-verb-object order of sentences Connection between thesis and writing prompt (assignment or topic area) Avoid too much subjective views (One pronoun instead of “I” pronoun) What Do All Good Composition Teachers Have in Common?:  What Do All Good Composition Teachers Have in Common? They want your writing to improve—writing is how you are evaluated 80% of the time in college They want you to consider that writing is an ongoing process—not just a finished product They want you to develop your writing voice and style They want you to be able to compose an essay quickly and effectively in the same time you would have during an in-class essay test What Do All Good Composition Teachers Have in Common?:  What Do All Good Composition Teachers Have in Common? They want you to consider that writing is a collaborative experience: peer reviews and cooperative learning will help improve your writing over time. They want you to prewrite (outline your key ideas) before you begin any writing assignment They want you to use the excellent tutorial assistance available at one of the campus Writing Centers (either onsite or online) They want to develop the ability focus any topic or writing prompt with a clear and focused thesis statement Revise! As Ernest Hemingway once said, “the best writers are often the best editors.” Writing is an ongoing process. Don’t be afraid to revise and edit for clarity. Use the electronic tools and electronic text management tools in MS Word to format and organize your essays. Slaying the Dragon:  Slaying the Dragon

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