Do/What Chart organize your essay

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CAHSEE: The Writing Task The Essay Overview



  • PROMPT will be 1 of 5 types
  • Do NOT Rush to Finish – Take Your Time
  • Worth 18 of the 90 Points on the test or 20%
  • FOLLOW THE PROMPT – Create a Do/What? Chart and PLAN YOUR ESSAY
  • WRITE an INTRODUCTION, BODY, CONCLUSION in Paragraphs and Complete Sentences
  • USE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES that support your statements – and that ANSWER THE PROMPT!


  • 4.5 Points = 1 - Write something that addresses the prompt
  • 9 Points = 2 - Write a basic introduction body - conclusion
  • 13.5 Points = 3 – Write basic + specific examples that are clear and concise
  • 18 Points = 4 - Write a well developed essay with specific examples, that you’ve proofread (USE THE EXTRA TIME TO DO THIS!!)

Honor the Prompt

  • Read the Essay Prompt Carefully
  • Circle the Verbs and number them
  • Create a Do/What Chart
  • ORGANIZE YOUR ESSAY - (Introduction, Body, Conclusion) Plan what you are going to say (then check and make sure you’ve said it)
  • Use the language of the Prompt
  • Write neatly and legibly
  • Proofread your work
  • In the Extra Time – re-read the prompt and make sure you’ve answered it.
  • Relax – be Clear and Specific – but it’s a 1st Draft

Essay: Plan Your Answer

  • Write a short outline
    • Introduction: Your thesis statement (use the language of the prompt to introduce it)
      • HOOK (story, anecdote, rhetorical question)
    • Body: USE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES that support your thesis and statements that ANSWER THE PROMPT
      • EVIDENCE: Use several paragraphs to organize your examples
      • TOPIC SENTENCES: Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence
    • Conclusion: A phrase or two that summarizes or concludes your answer

Writing Assignment: Essay

  • 1 of 5 types
  • Persuasion (Business Letter)
  • Expository: Presents information or explains something (most of class essays)
    • Tell stories (use personal experiences)
    • Use sensory concrete details (how things look, sound, smell, feel to make your descriptions realistic) Make a movie in your head and write it down.
    • Use specific examples to demonstrate your point
    • Remember to support your thesis (your main point) and make sure that the reader will understand how each example relates and supports your thesis.
  • Literary Response,
  • Understand the Assignment (the Question you MUST answer)

Essay: Biographical Narrative

  • Identify a person and give details about his or her life in order to support a main point
  • These essays ask you to write about a person
  • Use FACTUAL EVIDENCE (not broad generalizations)
  • Write with conviction – state your point and then support it with examples

Biographical Narrative

  • Throughout your years in school, you have studied about many different people. Think about one of those people you’ve studied during your time in school. What makes this person special enough to study?
  • Write an essay in which you discuss a person you have studied in school Explain what is special about this person. Use details and examples to support your ideas.

Biographical Narrative: Do? What?

  • Write
  • Discuss
  • Explain
  • Use
  • an Essay
  • A person you’ve studied in school
  • What is special about this person
  • Details and examples to support your ideas

Outline Your Answer

  • Introduction: Use the prompt language
  • “Throughout my years at school, I have studied about many different people. Some of these people have been very special, but the most important person I’ve studied about is ____________.
  • Why? [Give examples]

Persuasive Essay

  • Requires you to persuade (or convince) your reader about your opinion on an issue
  • An expository essay just explains the issue by presenting information; the persuasive essay requires you to persuade your audience you are right

Persuasive Essay

  • Strong clear thesis which states your point of view
  • State Your Reasons – include 2 or 3 separate arguments that support your point (each one in a separate paragraph)
  • Stories (anecdotes) can be very persuasive [this happened to me]
  • Factual evidence adds credibility to an opinion
  • Address your reader’s concerns: what is the counter-argument? Why is your opinion better?

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