Wonder "You can't blend in when you were born to stand out."

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  • I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

Essay Questions

  • 1. Many characters change and redeem themselves throughout the book. Which character changes the most? Explain 3 ways he/she changes and redeems himself/herself from the beginning of the book to the end of the book.
  • 2. According to Mr. Tushman, “The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average-though these things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success” (299). Using this definition and specific examples from the text, explain which 3 characters demonstrated the most success during the school year.
  • 3. Choose one of Mr. Browne’s precepts, and explain what it means. Using specific details from the text, explain which character best exemplifies this precept.

Essay Structure

  • Introduction – begin broad – get more specific
  • Body – The “meat” of the essay. Goes into depth about your three main reasons listed in your thesis statement. One reason per paragraph
  • Conclusion – begin by restating your thesis, then get more broad
  • It does look like a piece of candy – the substance is inside (body), but we need to be enticed to eat it (introduction), and we certainly don’t just leave the wrapper out and open on the table or ground. We have to wrap it up and truly finish it (conclusion).

Five Paragraph Persuasive Essay

  • Paragraph 1 – Introduction (and thesis with 3 reasons)
  • Paragraph 2 – 1st reason with support
  • Paragraph 3 – 2nd reason with support
  • Paragraph 4 – 3rd reason with support
  • Paragraph 5 – Conclusion

Structure of Your Introduction

  • Thesis Statement
  • Hook
  • Background information/
  • Lead-in to your specific
  • topic and argument
  • Don’t leave your reader guessing your argument and reasons for it!

Writing a Hook

  • An unusual or challenging statement:
  • What is it like to be singled out for a difference you can't control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd?
  • A quote
  • "You can't blend in when you were born to stand out" ( )
  • A question
  • “How can a boy with a rare craniofacial abnormality serve as a mirror to those around him?”
  • An analogy
  • When August enters 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he is like a fish out of water – only this fish is surrounded by sharks who quickly begin to circle.
  • An interesting mood that captures a moment in time.
  • “They were big kids, some of them. Some of the them had crazy haircuts. Some of them had earrings in their noses. Some of them had pimples. None of them looked like me” (62).


  • Your answer to the question in a persuasive essay is your argument.

Writing a Solid Thesis

  • All thesis statements are SPECIFIC and ARGUABLE!
  • Argument + Reasons = Thesis Statement
  • Example: Jack Will is the character who redeems himself the most by asking for forgiveness, standing up for his friend, and modeling tolerance for other students at Beecher Prep.

Writing a Thesis is NOT…

  • A fact or observation – August is a 5th grade boy who starts a new school and has many problems.
  • An announcement – In this paper I will explain how Jack Will redeems himself when he asks Auggie for forgiveness.
  • Too broad – Many of the characters demonstrated redemption so it is difficult to choose just one.
  • A universal truth or theme – To err is human but the real test of character is the act of redemption or atoning for a mistake.

Sample Introduction

    • One can only imagine what goes through the mind of a soldier as he falls from the sky watching the wreckage of his plane burn a break away. In the book The Last Mission by Harry Mazer, the reader can have an idea of what it is like to take that terrible plunge. In this book, the reader can watch the story of Jack Raab unfold as a crew member of a bomber during the last years of WWII. The reader can follow Jack from his home in New York City to the site of his crash in Slovakia. Young teens should read The Last Mission because it is informative, exciting and interesting.

Structure of a Body Paragraph

  • Topic Sentence: Should be specific and arguable
  • Evidence: Use specific examples from the text – especially quotes – to support your argument. (Remember page numbers!)
  • Analysis: Explain your evidence. How does this evidence prove your thesis? (This should be 2-3 sentences)
  • Different Ways to Support Your Argument:
  • Facts - A powerful means of convincing, facts can come from your reading, observation, or personal experience.
  • Note: Do not confuse facts with truths. A "truth" is an idea believed by many people, but it cannot be proven.
  • Statistics - These can provide excellent support. Be sure your statistics come from responsible sources. Always cite your sources.
  • Quotes - Direct quotes from leading experts that support your position are invaluable.
  • Examples - Examples enhance your meaning and make your ideas concrete. They are the proof.

Writing a Strong Conclusion

  • An effective conclusion will:
      • Summarize your main points clearly for your reader.
      • Restate your main idea.
      • Tie together both sides of the comparison and contrast.
      • Leave the reader with a strong impression (convinced).
  • Parts of a conclusion:
  • 1. Transition/Lead-in:
  • In conclusion As a result Clearly
  • Unquestionably Finally Therefore
  • It is clear that Consequently
  • 2. Restated thesis statement using different words:
  • 3. Restate each main idea.

Conclusions: Do Not…

  • Give specific details
  • Repeat words exactly from your paper (vary your word choice)
  • Ask questions
  • Use personal pronouns
  • Write your opinion of the poem/novel/drama.

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