Palos Verdes High School Writing Program



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Palos Verdes High School Writing Program

  • (I suggest using pencil rather than pen.)

What is the PVHS Writing Program?

  • The Writing Program enables you to organize your thoughts effectively by categorizing the types of sentences used in an essay, and setting up a format in which to use those sentences.
  • What is the purpose of the PVHS Writing Program?
  • The categorized sentences each have a specific purpose in your essay, and are used in a specific order and ratio to help you balance your writing between opinion and fact.
  • The PVHS Writing Program provides writers with structure, enabling them to stay on topic and to move their argument forward.
  • Using the same terminology and expectations for writing, no matter the grade level or teacher, makes writing easier for all PVHS students.
  • Have we ever used the PVHS Writing Program before?
  • Probably not.
  • Some of the terms are universal writing terms with which you will be familiar (Ex: Intro, Body, and Conclusion paragraphs, Thesis, Topic Sentence, etc.)
  • Who uses the PVHS Writing Program?
  • Every student at PVHS, in every class
  • What does the PVHS Writing Program look like?
  • Ninth Grade 1st Semester: One ¶ Essay
  • While learning the terms and the format you will write essays consisting of only one paragraph – 14 sentences
  • Ninth & Tenth Grade: Five ¶ Essay
  • After learning the terms and building familiarity with the format, you will begin to write five paragraph essays that strictly follow the format.
  • Eleventh & Twelfth Grade: Five ¶ Essay
  • After mastering the format and the five paragraph essay, you will begin to break away from the structure to discover your own pacing and style as a writer.
  • ** Remember, only when we know and have mastery over rules, can we break them for an effective purpose.
  • Thesis:
  • Body Point:
  • Concrete Detail:
  • Commentary:
  • Commentary:
  • Body Point:
  • Concrete Detail:
  • Commentary:
  • Commentary:
  • Body Point:
  • Concrete Detail:
  • Commentary:
  • Commentary:
  • Conclusion Sentence:
  • One Paragraph Essay
  • A 14 sentence essay designed to quickly and effectively prove an assertion
  • Introduction:
  • Lead-in, Transition, Thesis
  • Second Body Paragraph:
  • Topic Sentence
  • Body Point, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Commentary
  • Body Point, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Commentary
  • Body Point, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Commentary
  • Conclusion Sentence
  • Third Body Paragraph:
  • Topic Sentence
  • Body Point, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Commentary
  • Body Point, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Commentary
  • Body Point, Concrete Detail, Commentary, Commentary
  • Conclusion Sentence
  • Conclusion Paragraph:
  • Restate Thesis, Close-out, Reflection
  • Multi Paragraph Essay
  • Typically a five paragraph essay, designed to prove an assertion through in-depth analysis and elaboration of thought
  • What are the PVHS Writing Program terms?
  • THESIS
  • CHUNK
  • BODY POINT
  • CONCRETE DETAIL
  • COMMENTARY
  • BLENDING
  • WEAVING
  • CITING
  • RATIO
  • MLA
  • (Modern Language
  • Association)
  • The WRITING PROGRAM

Essay

  • A piece of writing that presents your thoughts/ideas/opinions/ (commentary) on a subject.
  • Typically you will be asserting an opinion, and then backing up and proving your argument with Concrete Details, and elaborating on and supporting those ideas with Commentary

MLA

  • Short for the Modern Language Association; it dictates how writers in the Humanities disciplines format their writing.
  • Tells us how a piece of writing should look & be formatted.
  • MLA dictates the font style, the margin size, and the formatting for the heading, in-text citations, and Works Cited page.
  • Tells us how the writing, citations, and Works Cited page should be formatted.
  • The format tells us exactly how a piece of academic writing should look and be formatted. If MLA is done properly, every paper should appear EXACTLY the same.
  • ** See the (Orange) Resource section of your grammar handbook for directions on MLA formatting.
  • Students often confuse MLA with what is meant by ‘the PVHS Writing Program”.
  • What is the difference?

Introduction Paragraph

  • Includes a “Theme Statement”, a “Transition”, and a “Thesis”
  • Theme Statement: Lead-in on the topic of your paper, designed to peak your reader’s interest. (Avoid huge generalizations)
  • Transition: Elaborate on your topic by introducing what specifically you will write about in relation to your topic. (Include title and author when appropriate)
  • Thesis: The central focus of your entire paper – the assertion that must be proved.
  • * Only found in a multi-paragraph essay, NOT a one paragraph essay

Thesis Statement

  • A Thesis statement is the central idea or argument of your essay.
  • It has two parts, a topic and an assertion (aka opinion).
  • It is the backbone of your essay – it dictates everything written in the essay.
  • It is located at the beginning of an essay
  • (the first sentence in a one paragraph essay)
  • (the last sentence in the intro paragraph of a multi-paragraph essay)

Body Paragraph

  • Develops a point you want to make in order to prove your thesis.
  • Thesis:
  • Body Point:
  • Concrete Detail:
  • Commentary:
  • Commentary:
  • Body Point:
  • Concrete Detail:
  • Commentary:
  • Commentary:
  • Body Point:
  • Concrete Detail:
  • Commentary:
  • Commentary:
  • Conclusion Sentence:
  • * Generally three per essay
  • * A one paragraph essay is the same as a Body ¶
  • TS:
  • BP:
  • CD:
  • CM:
  • CM:
  • BP:
  • CD:
  • CM:
  • CM:
  • BP:
  • CD:
  • CM:
  • CM:
  • CS:
  • * How many sentences in ¶?
  • * How many chunks in a ¶?

Chunk

  • A Chunk is a grouping of 4 specific sentences: a Body Point, a Concrete Detail, a Commentary, and a Commentary.
  • Typically there are 3 chunks in one Body Paragraph. [There may be times when you will not include a BP in a Chunk]
  • Chunk = 1 BP, 1 CD, 2 CM
  • A Chunk is NOT a paragraph, a Chunk is a PART of a paragraph.
  • Now say it like you know it, and say it like you mean it!!!
  • Students often confuse Chunks with Paragraphs.
  • What is the difference?
  • is NOT
  • a paragraph,
  • a Chunk
  • is a PART
  • of a paragraph
  • A Chunk
  • A Chunk is NOT a paragraph, a Chunk is a PART of a paragraph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ratio

  • Ratio helps to keep our writing balanced between fact and opinion.
  • There is 1 Concrete Detail to every 2 Commentary sentences.
  • 1CD :: 2+ CM
  • Weaving
  • The act of smoothly integrating the different sentences (BP, CD, CM, CM) into a Chunk to create an effective and logical sequence.
  • As a Chunk is four sentences on one subject, these sentences need to build upon one another.
  • ** Be sure to distinguish between Weaving and Blending
  • Students often confuse Weaving with another term called Blending...
  • Be aware of the difference.

Topic Sentence

  • A topic sentence must directly relate to / support the thesis
  • A topic sentence is for the entire paragraph (not the first chunk only) – EVERYTHING in the body paragraph must relate to the topic sentence
  • Topic sentences are like a mini-thesis because they too make assertions (on a smaller scale) that must be proved
  • That’s why it’s a TOPIC sentence
  • A Topic Sentence is NOT part of a chunk

Body Point

  • The first sentence of a Chunk. (There are 4 sentences per chunk)
  • The BP is generally the most natural sentence that we write –
  • we make a statement that includes both our opinion and a fact, which then needs to be backed up with a specific example [CD], and clarified with further development and explanation [CM]).
  • Body Points are just what they sound like – points that you make in a body paragraph
  • A Body Point has 2 purposes: 1. to introduce the ideas that will be covered in that Chunk 2. to transition from one Chunk to the next.
  • BPs directly support and prove your Topic Sentences.
  • [A BP acts as a mini-mini-thesis] [It is the thesis of the Chunk, giving a topic & opinion]

Concrete Detail

  • Specific details or facts that prove the assertions you make in your Body Points, Topic Sentences, and ultimately your Thesis.
  • CDs are the second sentence in a chunk.
  • Concrete Details get their name because they are facts – concrete, not debatable.
  • CDs can appear in any of the following forms: Direct Quotation, Summary, or Paraphrase.
  • CDs MUST be properly Cited.
  • Select your CDs thoughtfully and carefully – be sure that they really prove what you are arguing; effective CDs are the skeleton of your paper – essentially, they are the facts that prove your thesis.
  • There is 1 Concrete Detail to every 2 Commentary sentences.

Commentary

  • Like in math problems, Commentary sentences explain your thinking; this is where you show your reader the connection you are making between your CDs and your Body Point, Topic Sentence, and ultimately your Thesis.
  • This is the place in your writing for insightful elaboration, where you explain your analysis, responses and interpretations.
  • You MUST comment on the Concrete Details you include in your writing – you cannot expect your examples to prove your assertions for you.
  • Insightful Commentary makes a paper; do not waste these sentences by repeating yourself over and over again.
  • CMs are the third and fourth sentence in a chunk.

Concluding Sentence

Conclusion Paragraph

  • Restate the thesis (without using the same wording)
  • No statements like “In conclusion…” “As you can see…” “All in all…” etc.
  • End your essay with a final reflection on the “Bigger Picture” significance of the paper’s content – how is it relevant to the world – or what other questions / thoughts does it raise?

Transitions

  • Help writers to effectively move from one subject to another.

Blending

  • Method of effectively and clearly presenting quotations in your writing.
  • Quotations are used in writing to support and clarify a point you are making; it is important that the quotations are the most effective they can be, therefore they must fit smoothly and logically into the rest of your writing.
  • Do NOT just insert a quotation in your writing and expect your reader to make sense of it for themselves (that is called a “Dangling Quotation”); you must first introduce, and then elaborate on, the quotations you include in your writing.
  • You need to effectively incorporate the quotations into your writing by introducing them. **Be sure that the verb tenses agree**
  • Avoid starting your sentences with a quotation.
  • Avoid ending paragraphs with quotations.
  • Every quotation needs to be introduced, and then commented on.
  • Students often confuse Weaving with another term called Blending...
  • What is the difference?

Citing

  • Giving credit to the sources and people you reference in your writing, by putting the page number in parentheses.
  • If you quote a text, or even paraphrase or summarize a text, you MUST cite the author and the page number.
  • ** Otherwise it is plagiarism – Intellectual theft
  • If the ideas you express in your writing are not your own, or were influenced by another text or person, you MUST cite them.
  • Generally, ALL of your CD’s should be cited. [Refer to the MLA format for guidelines on how to properly cite a source.] Citing is a crucial part of academic writing, please see the plagiarism handout for any questions or concerns about citing.
  • * We will cover this in more detail while preparing for our first essay.

Writing Process

  • The methods necessary to develop an idea into an organized, convincing essay.
  • Steps include: Pre-writing, drafting, revising (self and peer), editing, publishing (turning in*).
  • Each of these steps is essential to the writing process as they serve you in developing your thinking and facilitate the evolution of your paper.
  • ** Remember, NO paper is perfect, or even finished, after the first draft.
  • * Remember, no essay is actually “turned in” until a hard copy is in AND it has been submitted to turnitin.com

Writing Process

  • Prewriting
  • Shaping / Outlining
  • Drafting
  • Peer Response
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • What did you just learn about the PVHS Writing Program?
  • Questions, Concerns, Comments…
  • If so, please bring them to class. If you are unsure of any of the blanks that you filled in, please be sure to ask me.
  • ~ Thank you!
  • Sentence that asserts the central idea of your essay which contains a topic and opinion
  • Quick Review
  • Facts that prove your argument (quotes, summary, etc.)
  • A group of four specific sentences that proves a point
  • Grade students start to move beyond the structure of the PVHS Writing Program
  • Purpose of PVHS Writing Program
  • The most natural sentence we tend to write – it makes a statement (which is then followed by the other sentences in a chunk)
  • Dictates 1 CD to 2 CM
  • Level at which students begin writing multi-paragraph essays
  • Difference between PVHS Writing Program & the writing process
  • This might not work on every computer (it works on my laptop, but not my desktop). If it does work, please do a quick mental review.

CD or CM?

  • Palos Verdes High School is superior to other high schools
  • PVHS offers over 31 AP classes, and raised its API score by 16 points last year
  • PVHS enjoys a cooler climate than Penn because of the ocean breezes
  • PVHS is located in a residential area, with less traffic than Penn
  • PVHS has a smaller campus and student body, which makes it easier to feel at home, and to not get lost in the crowd
  • PVHS has elite programs such as the award winning drama department and bi-weekly television show Live from 205, as well as athletic teams that are CIF champions, and the PIVOT and the former DARPA programs that compete on national levels.
  • The block schedule teaches students responsibility and time management, while also allowing students more flexibility with their time outside of school.
  • This might not work on every computer (it works on my laptop, but not my desktop). If it does work, please do a quick mental review.


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