In general I tell my students that there are 2 types of essays that they need to know how to write



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  • Brad Geary

In general I tell my students that there are 2 types of essays that they need to know how to write.

  • In general I tell my students that there are 2 types of essays that they need to know how to write.
  • Academic Essay
  • Original Composition

In order to teach how to write a quality essay response, teach them how to write a WAQ

  • In order to teach how to write a quality essay response, teach them how to write a WAQ
  • Step 1 – Access Prior Knowledge – Give a question (Describe the character of Atticus Finch) and let them write – Don’t mark it – Stamp it!!!!
  • Step 2 – Make fun of their answers without using their names
  • Step 3 – Throw some snowballs (We’ve all done a great job teaching them! They just forget OR hope that your standards may be lower.
  • Step 4 – Give them the standards! ( See #1 and#2) Thanks to Dave Bortolussi!

Give them a similar question. If the first one was describe the character of Atticus Finch, then this one should be describe the character of Boo Radley.

  • Give them a similar question. If the first one was describe the character of Atticus Finch, then this one should be describe the character of Boo Radley.
  • Double stamps (motivator) – Resources out!
  • Don’t mark it!!!!!
  • Peer Edit it – See #3 & #4
  • Take Volunteers for bonus points
  • Who’s not ready to write a WAQ for marks? 20%

1. Everything is in-class! Confidence!

  • 1. Everything is in-class! Confidence!
  • 2. Resources Out! Calmness
  • 3. Question – Discuss which characters could symbolize the Mockingbird in the novel. Reminder to address and support both sides of the question! You can use former quotes.
  • 4. Mark it (only if it meets the Bortolussi standard!)
  • 5. Pick a “cool guy” and read his to the class.

1. There are no hand-outs. Put a question on the board and tell them that they know exactly how to write an essay response to this.

  • 1. There are no hand-outs. Put a question on the board and tell them that they know exactly how to write an essay response to this.
      • -WAQ – 3 paragraphs
      • -Literary Essay – 5 paragraphs
      • Do a TIE plan and follow WAQ resource for body
      • Collect at end of class or start of next class
      • Don’t mark it…..Stamp it!

Peer Edit – See #6 & #7 * (There was no #5)

      • Peer Edit – See #6 & #7 * (There was no #5)
      • Hear volunteers
      • “Who’s not ready to write for marks?”

Pick a question which synthesizes two texts (High school – In Grade 10, it is a WAQ). One text is something you did during the unit. One is new.

  • Pick a question which synthesizes two texts (High school – In Grade 10, it is a WAQ). One text is something you did during the unit. One is new.
  • Resources Out.
  • Do a “TIE” Plan reminder
  • Mark it. (Only if it meets the criteria)

Essayer – To try

  • Essayer – To try
  • Let them pick their own persuasive topic
  • The middle school teachers do the heavy lifting here (as usual!) And elementary teachers.
  • See #8 #9 – Thanks to Joscelyn McAulay and Sharon Mulder
  • High school teachers remind them of their great teachers and build on the foundation
  • See #10, 11, and 12
  • They come back to school with a topic and optional point form notes for practice essay
  • Announce they can use it for marks later

1. Resources out (including optional point form notes)

  • 1. Resources out (including optional point form notes)
  • 2. Must be finished during time. Essay doesn’t leave the room if they want to use it later.
  • 3. Don’t mark it! Double stamp it if it meets the criteria
  • See #13 and #14
  • Take some volunteers for bonus points
  • Anyone not ready to write for marks
  • Collect all essays before they leave, with peer edit sheet stapled to them

1. Resources Out

  • 1. Resources Out
  • 2. Hand-back double stamped rough copy
  • 3. Collect final copy at the end of the period and mark it

Suggestions for Original Composition Writing from a Prompt (ie. A Provincial Exam) - Refer to #15

  • Suggestions for Original Composition Writing from a Prompt (ie. A Provincial Exam) - Refer to #15
  • 1. Predict what everyone else will write and don’t!
  • 2. Pick an approach which lends itself well to an anecdotal introduction
  • 3. Play on words
  • 4. Do the opposite
  • 5. Write from a non-human perspective
  • 6. Have a twist in the anecdote or conclusion
  • 7. Make literary references
  • 8. Do not use the whole prompt as your thesis statement unless you are doing one of the suggestions above
  • 9. If you’re good, write a narrative essay. Use the prompt as your title

How do we improve how they say it?

  • How do we improve how they say it?
  • 1. Focus on 3 things to improve their style:

1. Alphabet Essays – See #16

  • 1. Alphabet Essays – See #16
    • -do one the day before any essay
  • 2. Changing descriptive paragraphs of famous literature to their opposites – See #17
  • 3. Circular Group Writes
    • 4. Individual Writes From Famous Literature
    • *Do these the day before without letting on.
    • a) “The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon.”
    • b) “A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green.”
    • c) “Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below.”
  • 5. Use the 5 senses – See #18.
      • a) Switch it up using any of the above


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