Teaching Writing Ideas

Beginning the writing process

Instead of throwing young writers immediately into the
process of writing longer papers,
a more piece-meal approach
may have better results in the long run.
In order to construct a
quality essay, students must master the following components:

Analysis/Use of Evidence
Interpretation of sources/bias
Brevity/Word usage

Some work/activities:

* Condensing a longer written piece into a one-sentence
topic/argument or statement
of the author's purpose.
* Evaluating a shorter piece by locating the author's argument
and discussing it.

* Evaluating sample student essays.  What is the thesis?
Was it proven?

* Work with primary sources.  Examine documents included with
dbqs.  Who said it?
When/Where was it said? What was the intended
audience? What position was taken?
What is the author's argument?
Bias?  Accuracy?  Look to use conclusions in
answering a larger

  * Using evidence.  Write one-paragraph arguments about anything.
Have students include
specific, detailed evidence to support their
generalizations.  Have they supported their
* Interpretation of the use of various sources.
* Examine the TV guide.  Which explanations of shows represent an
"analysis" or
"interpretation" and which represent simple "description"
of a show?

* Summarize or condense a much larger work or collection of works
* Write a precis ("If you were to make a movie on this topic, 
what would be on the back
of the video box?")

* Break down a sample essay into "parts"
* Create a basic 5 paragraph essay on a simple topic
(perhaps with only 1-2 sentences per paragraph.

* Topic sentence work. For each paragraph, make generalizations.
End paragraph with recap.
(practice paraphrasing/concluding)
* Conclusion/Introductory paragraphs.  Practice "setting the stage"
for a thesis.

* Annotated bibliographies
* Find 6? sources that would help you write a paper on a given topic.
* Hand out 6-7 sources in class.  Have students read and evaluate
them. Primary or secondary?
What kind of paper would it be useful
in writing?  How would you create the bibliographic
reference for that

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