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I just listened to What is Literary Analysis by SWB.  In it she outlined the different types of essays she recommends as the bare minimum that every high school student should be able to do.  I'd love to have a few good examples of each to share with my dc.  They really do much better when they can see what the finished product needs to look like.

 

Here are the different types she described:

  • Formal Literary Essay - explain a literary term used in the book and why you think the author used it.
  • Biographical Literary Essay - draw a parallel between something from the writers life and something that happened in the book.
  • Historical Literary Essay - draw a parallel between something that happened in the writers lifetime (historical) and something that happened in the book. 
  • Response Papers -
  • discuss an element, character, scene, plot or character that you find interesting or annoying.
  • compare the book to something else and draw parallels between them.
  • argue that the way a central character behaves is ethically right or wrong. 

Thanks in advance. :)

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I have a lot of composition books, and I've been looking for examples of various types of essays this year.  I think I did see these somewhere recently.  If I find them I'll post.  Might take me a while though.  Really, someone needs to put out a book that is made up of sample essays.  In this book that I dream of some models by highly regarded writers would be included along with student samples with comments in the margins, also samples of an A essay, B, C, etc.  

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I just listened to What is Literary Analysis by SWB.  In it she outlined the different types of essays she recommends as the bare minimum that every high school student should be able to do.  I'd love to have a few good examples of each to share...

  • Formal Literary Essay - explain a literary term used in the book and why you think the author used it.
  • Biographical Literary Essay - draw a parallel between something from the writers life and something that happened in the book.
  • Historical Literary Essay - draw a parallel between something that happened in the writers lifetime (historical) and something that happened in the book. 
  • Response Papers -
  • discuss an element, character, scene, plot or character that you find interesting or annoying.
  • compare the book to something else and draw parallels between them.
  • argue that the way a central character behaves is ethically right or wrong

 

Aimee, I don't know of any specific "SWB approved" examples (LOL), but below are some of my blatherings in case it is of any help…Honestly, all of SWB's categories fall into the very general structure for a paper:

 

1. introductory paragraph -- overview of what you'll talk about in the paper

a. "hook" -- sentence to grab reader's attention (a quote, an arresting image or idea, an interesting/unusual fact, a brief anecdote…)

b. "thesis" -- the topic of your paper with a list of the main points (usually 3-5) that you plan to cover, and your contention (your opinion / thought) that those points lead you to

 

transition (often part of the starting sentence for the first body paragraph)

 

2. body paragraph -- fleshed out details of your paper (support and commentary)

a. support = examples from text, facts, details, objective/existing info that supports your point

b. commentary = explanation of how/why the support actually does support your point/opinion/contention

c. transition words/phrases/sentences at the start/end of paragraphs to smooth into the next point

 

transition (part of the starting sentence for the conclusion)

 

3. conclusion -- sum up what the paper was about

a. concluding statement of the thesis, major points, and your contention

b. "clincher" a little something extra related to your contention, and that helps tie back into either the paper's title or opening "hook"

 

 

Formal Literary Essay

The point of a formal literary analysis essay is looking at how literary elements (such as symbolism, foreshadowing, irony, setting, etc.) are supporting a theme, developing character, or working to some other effect.

 

As I recall, you were doing IEW's Windows to the World this past year, which walks you through how to write a formal literary analysis, with a great "fill-in-the-blank" formula to help you create your thesis statement, AND then a specific example which points out all the parts that need to go into a literary analysis essay. 

 

In the intro paragraph of the essay,

you'll have a thesis statement that is going to look something along the lines of this: "In the work ______, the author __________ uses the literary devices of _________ and ________ for the effect of __________." That last bit -- "for the effect of ______" -- is your point or opinion or contention, and the body of the paper is specific examples to prove your opinion.

 

In the body of the essay,

in each body paragraph, you'll use specific examples from the book to support the literary devices you mention in the thesis AND include a sentence or two of commentary -- explaining how or why these examples work to support your contention (which is the "for the effect of _____" part of the thesis statement).

 

In the conclusion of the essay,

you'll sum up what your thesis is, with a little "extra something" that helps "clinch" your contention (your opinion part of the thesis statement).

 

Here is a example of a (single point) analysis of a film that I used in my Film Analysis co-op class last year:

 

Playing God

     Be careful what you wish for could be the moral of the story of Frankenstein — you may end up alone, or even mad. ("hook") In the 1931 film, Dr. Frankenstein pursues his lust for power through science, but the result is not becoming god-like, but rather, moral isolation. (thesis with contention)

     This theme is foreshadowed in the scene in the laboratory when Frankenstein is about to start his final experiment to bring life to dead flesh. He tells his vision to others for becoming like God by creating life. Frankenstein looms large on the right side of the frame, with his back to the camera, while his fiancé, mentoring professor, best friend, and his assistant are huddled together farther away and facing the camera. (supporting example — just enough detail to make it clear, without being plot narration/summary) The framing shows that Frankenstein literally and morally stands alone in his ideas about science, life, and power, while "society" (all those who care about him) is grouped apart, both physically and ethically. (commentary — how the example proves the contention)

     Just as Frankenstein turns his back to the camera, he turns his back to moral convention, and by standing at the "unstable" far right edge of the frame, the director visually suggests the scientist's future prospects are bleak. (conclusion with "clincher")

 

 

 

Reader Response

The point is to express your personal thoughts and reflections on reading the book (or viewing the movie), with some supporting examples from the work (and, of course, a sentence of commentary explaining how/why the example supports what you saw in the work).

 

  • Response Papers -
  • 1. discuss an element, character, scene, plot or character that you find interesting or annoying.
  • 2. compare the book to something else and draw parallels between them.
  • 3. argue that the way a central character behaves is ethically right or wrong

 

In case it helps, SWB's three examples of types of response papers could be thought of in these terms:

1 = personal response / discussion

2 = compare/contrast essay

3 = persuasive essay

 

If those 3 types of response papers don't trigger anything, to come up with a starting point for a reader response (unless a specific idea that you really want to talk about leaped out at you while reading), questions can help trigger a train of thought about the work, and lead to a response. SWB's questions in the Reading section of her handout Academic Excellence for grades 5-8 can be very helpful. The Center Grove article on Reader Responses also has a super list of questions to prompt a reader response (the sections of Prediction, Connections, Opinion, Language, and Evaluation).

 

Reader Response COLLEGE examples:

- Seton Hall University: Ed Jones English course: example with a few instructor comments on why it's good

- Longwood University: Chris McGee 300-level English course: 25 examples of short, good student reader response papers

 

Here's an example of a student "viewer response" I found somewhere online and shortened up to give to my Film Analysis class as a simple example:

 

Golden Oldie

     "Old movies are boring and old-fashioned." That's what I always thought — until I saw Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr("hook") Filmed with techniques I did not expect to see this early in movie history, the moving camera and framing worked to make this a funny and exciting film. ("thesis" with your reader opinion)

     For example, in one scene, Buster rides a motorcycle on the handlebars and is unaware that the driver has fallen off. Much of the scene is shot with a moving camera, allowing the audience to see both Buster's expressions and the scenery whizzing by. (specific example supporting the point) The moving camera shot increased the excitement of the scene, as I felt like I was right there with Buster as he narrowly misses being hit by vehicles in intersections. (commentary explaining HOW the example supports the point)  In addition, the framing increased the humor of the scene, by giving me a close view simultaneously of the three parts of the ironic situation: the motorcycle driver is gone, Buster's unaware expression, and the out-of-control antics of the motorcycle. (commentary)

     Sherlock Jr. proves that old doesn't have to mean old-fashioned!" (conclusion)

 

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Aimee, I don't know of any specific "SWB approved" examples (LOL), but below are some of my blatherings in case it is of any help…Honestly, all of SWB's categories fall into the very general structure for a paper:

 

1. introductory paragraph -- overview of what you'll talk about in the paper

a. "hook" -- sentence to grab reader's attention (a quote, an arresting image or idea, an interesting/unusual fact, a brief anecdote…)

b. "thesis" -- the topic of your paper with a list of the main points (usually 3-5) that you plan to cover, and your contention (your opinion / thought) that those points lead you to

 

transition (often part of the starting sentence for the first body paragraph)

 

2. body paragraph -- fleshed out details of your paper (support and commentary)

a. support = examples from text, facts, details, objective/existing info that supports your point

b. commentary = explanation of how/why the support actually does support your point/opinion/contention

c. transition words/phrases/sentences at the start/end of paragraphs to smooth into the next point

 

transition (part of the starting sentence for the conclusion)

 

3. conclusion -- sum up what the paper was about

a. concluding statement of the thesis, major points, and your contention

b. "clincher" a little something extra related to your contention, and that helps tie back into either the paper's title or opening "hook"

 

 

Formal Literary Essay

The point of a formal literary analysis essay is looking at how literary elements (such as symbolism, foreshadowing, irony, setting, etc.) are supporting a theme, developing character, or working to some other effect.

 

As I recall, you were doing IEW's Windows to the World this past year, which walks you through how to write a formal literary analysis, with a great "fill-in-the-blank" formula to help you create your thesis statement, AND then a specific example which points out all the parts that need to go into a literary analysis essay. 

 

In the intro paragraph of the essay,

you'll have a thesis statement that is going to look something along the lines of this: "In the work ______, the author __________ uses the literary devices of _________ and ________ for the effect of __________." That last bit -- "for the effect of ______" -- is your point or opinion or contention, and the body of the paper is specific examples to prove your opinion.

 

In the body of the essay,

in each body paragraph, you'll use specific examples from the book to support the literary devices you mention in the thesis AND include a sentence or two of commentary -- explaining how or why these examples work to support your contention (which is the "for the effect of _____" part of the thesis statement).

 

In the conclusion of the essay,

you'll sum up what your thesis is, with a little "extra something" that helps "clinch" your contention (your opinion part of the thesis statement).

 

Here is a example of a (single point) analysis of a film that I used in my Film Analysis co-op class last year:

 

Playing God

     Be careful what you wish for could be the moral of the story of Frankenstein — you may end up alone, or even mad. ("hook") In the 1931 film, Dr. Frankenstein pursues his lust for power through science, but the result is not becoming god-like, but rather, moral isolation. (thesis with contention)

     This theme is foreshadowed in the scene in the laboratory when Frankenstein is about to start his final experiment to bring life to dead flesh. He tells his vision to others for becoming like God by creating life. Frankenstein looms large on the right side of the frame, with his back to the camera, while his fiancé, mentoring professor, best friend, and his assistant are huddled together farther away and facing the camera. (supporting example — just enough detail to make it clear, without being plot narration/summary) The framing shows that Frankenstein literally and morally stands alone in his ideas about science, life, and power, while "society" (all those who care about him) is grouped apart, both physically and ethically. (commentary — how the example proves the contention)

     Just as Frankenstein turns his back to the camera, he turns his back to moral convention, and by standing at the "unstable" far right edge of the frame, the director visually suggests the scientist's future prospects are bleak. (conclusion with "clincher")

 

 

 

Reader Response

The point is to express your personal thoughts and reflections on reading the book (or viewing the movie), with some supporting examples from the work (and, of course, a sentence of commentary explaining how/why the example supports what you saw in the work).

 

 

In case it helps, SWB's three examples of types of response papers could be thought of in these terms:

1 = personal response / discussion

2 = compare/contrast essay

3 = persuasive essay

 

If those 3 types of response papers don't trigger anything, to come up with a starting point for a reader response (unless a specific idea that you really want to talk about leaped out at you while reading), questions can help trigger a train of thought about the work, and lead to a response. SWB's questions in the Reading section of her handout Academic Excellence for grades 5-8 can be very helpful. The Center Grove article on Reader Responses also has a super list of questions to prompt a reader response (the sections of Prediction, Connections, Opinion, Language, and Evaluation).

 

Reader Response COLLEGE examples:

- Seton Hall University: Ed Jones English course: example with a few instructor comments on why it's good

- Longwood University: Chris McGee 300-level English course: 25 examples of short, good student reader response papers

 

Here's an example of a student "viewer response" I found somewhere online and shortened up to give to my Film Analysis class as a simple example:

 

Golden Oldie

     "Old movies are boring and old-fashioned." That's what I always thought — until I saw Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr("hook") Filmed with techniques I did not expect to see this early in movie history, the moving camera and framing worked to make this a funny and exciting film. ("thesis" with your reader opinion)

     For example, in one scene, Buster rides a motorcycle on the handlebars and is unaware that the driver has fallen off. Much of the scene is shot with a moving camera, allowing the audience to see both Buster's expressions and the scenery whizzing by. (specific example supporting the point) The moving camera shot increased the excitement of the scene, as I felt like I was right there with Buster as he narrowly misses being hit by vehicles in intersections. (commentary explaining HOW the example supports the point)  In addition, the framing increased the humor of the scene, by giving me a close view simultaneously of the three parts of the ironic situation: the motorcycle driver is gone, Buster's unaware expression, and the out-of-control antics of the motorcycle. (commentary)

     Sherlock Jr. proves that old doesn't have to mean old-fashioned!" (conclusion)

 

 

:001_wub:

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 but below are some of my blatherings in case it is of any help…

 

 

Your blatherings are always helpful!  Thanks. 

 

Having the example along with the notes is exactly what dd15 needs. She is whole to parts and has to have a model to shoot for.  And yes, oldest did WttW and is much better at structuring these types of papers but she is still working on tone and style.  She tends to always want to inflict the reader (me) with her sarcasm and flowery words, and I think models would help temper some of that.  I often feel as if I've been verbally abused after reading some of her papers.  :lol:

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Just got into the Center Grove reader response prompts.  These are wonderful lists!   They will be very helpful for my oldest two when helping them decide what they want to write about, but I'm also very excited to have these to use with dd11 for her literature studies this next year.  My brain is always so foggy that I always end up asking the same questions or assigning the same type of thing over and over.  

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Just got into the Center Grove reader response prompts.  These are wonderful lists!   They will be very helpful for my oldest two when helping them decide what they want to write about, but I'm also very excited to have these to use with dd11 for her literature studies this next year.  My brain is always so foggy that I always end up asking the same questions or assigning the same type of thing over and over.  

 

I know! I wish *I* had found those back when DSs were doing high school papers...

 

Okay, I posted my above blatherings (LOL) before I was finished, as I had to go run some errands and didn't want that post to get eaten by the computer before posting… Back now, and I wanted to link these helpful past threads specifically on reader response papers:

 

Reader response paper vs. literary analysis essay (post by lewelma)

Another writing option for tying together reading, discussion and composition (post by Tullia)

If you're frustrated with discussing history and literature with a high school student (post by Tullia)

More about response papers and their context (follow up to the 2nd thread above by Tullia)

 

 

And, I just wanted to comment on the Historical and Biographical Literary essays… I *think* what SWB is getting at there, is that you, the reader of the Historical or Biographical work, have an ah-ha moment or a connection with the work, and then write up a reader response based around your personal insight or contention about the work. The "draw a parallel" is really a way of saying "compare your experience/insight with that experience presented in the work of Literature". And, you would proceed to follow the standard structure (outlined in my above post), making sure to use examples from your experience and from the work and "connecting the dots" between the two with sentences of commentary. At least, that's my interpretation of what SWB is saying… ;) Warmly, Lori D.

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I know! I wish *I* had found those back when DSs were doing high school papers...

 

Okay, I posted my above blatherings (LOL) before I was finished, as I had to go run some errands and didn't want that post to get eaten by the computer before posting… Back now, and I wanted to link these helpful past threads specifically on reader response papers:

 

Reader response paper vs. literary analysis essay (post by lewelma)

Another writing option for tying together reading, discussion and composition (post by Tullia)

If you're frustrated with discussing history and literature with a high school student (post by Tullia)

More about response papers and their context (follow up to the 2nd thread above by Tullia)

 

 

And, I just wanted to comment on the Historical and Biographical Literary essays… I *think* what SWB is getting at there, is that you, the reader of the Historical or Biographical work, have an ah-ha moment or a connection with the work, and then write up a reader response based around your personal insight or contention about the work. The "draw a parallel" is really a way of saying "compare your experience/insight with that experience presented in the work of Literature". And, you would proceed to follow the standard structure (outlined in my above post), making sure to use examples from your experience and from the work and "connecting the dots" between the two with sentences of commentary. At least, that's my interpretation of what SWB is saying… ;) Warmly, Lori D.

I take those two to mean something different.  You would be writing a literary analysis paper, but either from a historical or biographical perspective.  So, when writing on The Woman In White you might discuss the laws pertaining to women being allowed to own property or to be regarded as separate from their husbands and how Collins exposes the problems with the laws existing during his time through the events in the book, the lives of the characters, and their reposes to circumstances, for example.  Or, you might write an analysis of Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" from a biographical perspective stating how Poes' own life circumstances are reflected in the story and what Poe seems to be saying about those circumstances.  (I have a student writing on this topic currently.  It's going to be a tricky essay for her.  I'm interested to see how it turns out.)

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I take those two to mean something different.  You would be writing a literary analysis paper, but either from a historical or biographical perspective.  So, when writing on The Woman In White you might discuss the laws pertaining to women being allowed to own property or to be regarded as separate from their husbands and how Collins exposes the problems with the laws existing during his time through the events in the book, the lives of the characters, and their reposes to circumstances, for example.  Or, you might write an analysis of Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" from a biographical perspective stating how Poes' own life circumstances are reflected in the story and what Poe seems to be saying about those circumstances.  (I have a student writing on this topic currently.  It's going to be a tricky essay for her.  I'm interested to see how it turns out.)

 

Thanks Shanvan! I was hoping someone who really knew what was meant by Historical Literary Essay and Biographical Literary Essay would jump in! :)

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Just got into the Center Grove reader response prompts. These are wonderful lists! They will be very helpful for my oldest two when helping them decide what they want to write about, but I'm also very excited to have these to use with dd11 for her literature studies this next year. My brain is always so foggy that I always end up asking the same questions or assigning the same type of thing over and over.

Oh wow! This is an awesome resource!

I think I may add this in for the rest of the year.......😉

Thank you.

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I spent the day compiling all this wonderful information into a little packet to present to my girls.  It isn't complete but I did get to show them some of it and we talked about what a response paper "could" consist of.  I was going to go over more of the samples tomorrow but oldest decided to go ahead and turn her assignment in. :)  We had talked about leaving out the overuse of big vocabulary and also of writing without so much sarcastic tone.  Without having more time to learn what a good response paper is and what it is not, I'm not sure how close to the mark this comes.  

 

I felt that the first paragraph was too much summary of the story but dd said she didn't feel her observations would make sense to someone who didn't know at least that much about the story line.  Thoughts on that? I also felt that there should have been some quotes in the 3rd paragraph supporting the sense of hopelessness that she is talking about, and I'm wondering if this needs a closing paragraph. Other than that I felt she did a fairly good job for her first attempt, but I'd like to know what changes, if any, to recommend to her so that we both know if this is the right track.   

 

 

 

October in the Chair, a short story written by Neil Gaiman, is a story within a story, opening first with the twelve months of the year sitting about a campfire. October, who's turn it is to tell his tale of the month, chooses to narrate the story of a little boy nicknamed Runt. Runt was mistreated by his older twin brothers and neglected by his mother and father, and so he decided to run away in hopes he would be missed by a family who cared little for him. Gathering a few sweets, comics and some water, the disheartened boy went on his way, taking the bus west to a place he's never been. He walked aimlessly along a road from noon to nearly dusk, stopped to sleep in an abandoned pasture, and  awoke to the moonlight. It was then he met a young boy by the name of Dearly, who led Runt to the nearby graveyard he called home. Runt didn't seem to mind that the new friend had passed away some years ago, and even envied him for being so free from any boundaries. Runt wanted to stay with Dearly, his meadow and the abandoned town in it. After all, no one back home would miss him. Dearly told the boy that "They" could make him stay, and directed him to an old farmhouse. Runt took his bag of sweets and comics with him as he stepped in to the darkness of the tumbledown building.  "What happened next?" was the appropriate question asked by June to October after the story was over. "Better not to think about it."  

 

In this story, Gaiman leaves it up to the imagination to decide what exactly happened to Runt. The mention of the mysterious "They" certainly helps to aid the imagination in guessing. When he also writes, "He thought he heard something move, deep in the house..." it gives an ominous yet exciting feeling that I liked since it allows my imagination to spring forth with several different outcomes ranging from the expected to the bizarre. 

 

Alongside the dark, ominous element of the story, I felt a bit of hopelessness. Runt is convinced the somber meadow and graveyard would make a better home than his own. Though he hesitates before the farmhouse, he does enter, convinced that whatever was inside it was better than the life he left outside the door. How sad is it that things were so bad in his young life that the unknown, and possibly his undoing were preferential? It left me denying my imagination the outcome that I felt the story deserved, and instead hoping that Runt was met with unexpected love and companionship behind that dark, forsaken door.

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As I recall, you were doing IEW's Windows to the World this past year, which walks you through how to write a formal literary analysis, with a great "fill-in-the-blank" formula to help you create your thesis statement, AND then a specific example which points out all the parts that need to go into a literary analysis essay. 

 

In the intro paragraph of the essay,

you'll have a thesis statement that is going to look something along the lines of this: "In the work ______, the author __________ uses the literary devices of _________ and ________ for the effect of __________." That last bit -- "for the effect of ______" -- is your point or opinion or contention, and the body of the paper is specific examples to prove your opinion.

 

I would still encourage you to seek out essays by competent adult writers and avoid student examples except perhaps some of the better ones posted on the AP board, and even then those are unpolished.

 

The part that you have in bold is really only good for beginning writers. Ds's AP English instructor discourages her students from utilizing this approach as it lacks the sophistication and maturity that theoretically would be hallmarks of good college-level writing.  Formulas sound like formulas and sometimes they keep the student from making complete connections.

 

Also, about "hooks,"  Lucille Payne writes in The Lively Art of Writing the following:

 

"NO BOMBS, PLEASE

 

One of the commonest errors of beginning writers is to attempt a "terribly clever" opening. You should remember that the demand upon you is for clarity, logic, reasonableness-never for surprise or "gag lines." Your job is to convince the reader of the reasonableness of your thesis and thereby of your reasonableness and wisdom as a human being. Never try to be "cute."

 

I think until my student could present an argument with supporting evidence, I wouldn't worry too much about the various types of essays and papers. Focus on the validity and appropriateness of the argument with regards to the assignment and then be sure they can adequately support. Only when the thinking is clear and solid, would I worry about rhetorical devices. It's like painting a wall. Start with a clean, well-prepped wall and the final paint job is solid. Slap new paint over cracks, holes, and other damage, and it eventually shows through.

 

 

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Ack! I didn't mean to sound quite so crabby. Lori gave you all some wonderful resources and it can be daunting to think that you are supposed to be doing something, yet don't have a good grasp of what that final product should look like.

 

I do believe that at times, we make high school writing a far more complicated endeavor than it needs to be. While I prefer to make all writing assignments serve a purpose for a particular class, not just to be a writing assignment on it's own, when the student is starting to work on essays, I like to have them write about something they are already passionate about. This makes the whole process of taking a stance and providing supporting evidence that much easier. If you have a student that volunteers at animal shelter, they can write why they believe spay and neuter programs are important. If they participate in rocketry programs, they could argue why the program needs more funding. If your family is trying to decide where to go on vacation, have them take a stance for their choice and they can't just say, "because it will be fun."

 

Once they get the feel for crafting an argument, it will be much easier to move into the types of writing the OP listed in her first post.

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Ack! I didn't mean to sound quite so crabby. Lori gave you all some wonderful resources and it can be daunting to think that you are supposed to be doing something, yet don't have a good grasp of what that final product should look like.

 

I do believe that at times, we make high school writing a far more complicated endeavor than it needs to be. While I prefer to make all writing assignments serve a purpose for a particular class, not just to be a writing assignment on it's own, when the student is starting to work on essays, I like to have them write about something they are already passionate about. This makes the whole process of taking a stance and providing supporting evidence that much easier. If you have a student that volunteers at animal shelter, they can write why they believe spay and neuter programs are important. If they participate in rocketry programs, they could argue why the program needs more funding. If your family is trying to decide where to go on vacation, have them take a stance for their choice and they can't just say, "because it will be fun."

 

Once they get the feel for crafting an argument, it will be much easier to move into the types of writing the OP listed in her first post.

 

This is very wise! I'm realizing the truth of this more each day.  It all goes back to SWB's advice to not make the child do two hard things at once.  When you're learning a new form, you get to write about things you care about and are interested in.  Once you've mastered the form, then you can take on different kinds of assignments.  But it's too much to have a student tackle a new hard form of writing plus new, hard, not engaging topical material at the same time.  Or, maybe it isn't too much, but you might not get the result that you want - voice and style can be lost, and writing can seem much more immature, when a student is juggling the form plus the content.  Something has to give!

 

Anyway, thanks for the reminder.  I have to remind myself that we have years to get to a goal, it's not that your kid should wake up in 9th grade and be able to automatically do "high school writing."  It's a process.

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I found the below link online (it is from an AP class).  If you use the drop down bar at the top of the page you can see a link to a variety of information.  Week 1 has information about the Historical Criticism essay, and week 2 has links to information about the Biographical Criticism essay.  Week 8 has examples of each type.  I have no idea about the quality of the information, but I thought it looked like a good place to start :001_smile: .

 

http://parkrose.orvsd.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=9033

 

Blessings!

Michelle

 

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Thanks for those further insights, swimmermom3! :) Totally agree with those comments from your DC's AP English teacher and with the Lively Art of Writing, that those are good things to bear in mind, as you said, "once they get the feel for crafting an argument".

 

I should have prefaced my comments that I was thinking of when our DSs were at the starting point and what helped them, and was assuming the OP was at a similar point in the essay-writing process with her DC.  I also should have mentioned that our DSs are not natural writers, in fact, they dislike writing, and when first starting this process, they really needed a "formula" (like the thesis statement formula, or the "outline structure formula") in order to at all get a handle on this nebulous act of writing. ;)

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I like to have them write about something they are already passionate about. This makes the whole process of taking a stance and providing supporting evidence that much easier.

 

Once they get the feel for crafting an argument, it will be much easier to move into the types of writing the OP listed in her first post.

 

I can only speak from my own experience with these two dc, but I don't think this holds true for them.  They both struggle painfully with writing argumentative essays ... we are actually in the middle of re-visiting LAoW as we speak due to them being almost paralyzed to write about any topic that they must come up with on their own.  We've tried writing about their interests, and while they can write a decent report type paper, they don't enjoy writing arguments about the things they're passionate about.  I'm not saying they don't understand the form to do so, they just lack the ability to create good, convincing arguments that don't sound childish or contrived to them. 

 

If I'm reading your posts correctly you are saying that these response type papers are more difficult than writing an argumentative essay, and I might be totally missing something due to my lack of experience with teaching at this level, but the different types of essays I outlined in my op (in their simplest forms) seem to me to be easier than writing a good argumentative essay in which you have to to come up with your own evidence to support your opinion. With these response papers the evidence is already there.  My dc have been more willing in the last few days to produce various response papers using the guidelines I've gleaned here than they have been to write about the random topics they must come up with in LAoW.  In fact, my oldest scratched a paragraph in her response paper today and started over because she said that the quotes she used were weak examples of the mood she wanted to write about.  This is big for the child who normally worries more about word count than she does about the message she's trying to convey.  More over, these written responses are helping them put pen to paper more often.  I don't like busy work, but when it comes to writing I feel, for my own dc, that they must write in order to improve.

 

I'm not sure if we are doing these response papers correctly, or if there even is a correct way of doing them but I do know that they've given us a few things.  My girls have written more in this past week than they have in the past month. They are actually enjoying the process of focusing on what drew their attention to a story or passage (versus what mom or a program tell them to focus on) and finding quotes to illustrate that, and I'm finding that they are putting more thought into thinking about their readings knowing that they will write about it versus how much thought they put into verbal responses when we just discuss literature. So, we may be skipping an important step in the writing process by jumping to literary writing before perfecting argumentative essays, but I think we are gaining something in the area of exploring literature.  I'll take it.  :D 

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I can only speak from my own experience with these two dc, but I don't think this holds true for them.  They both struggle painfully with writing argumentative essays ... we are actually in the middle of re-visiting LAoW as we speak due to them being almost paralyzed to write about any topic that they must come up with on their own.  We've tried writing about their interests, and while they can write a decent report type paper, they don't enjoy writing arguments about the things they're passionate about.  I'm not saying they don't understand the form to do so, they just lack the ability to create good, convincing arguments that don't sound childish or contrived to them. 

 

If I'm reading your posts correctly you are saying that these response type papers are more difficult than writing an argumentative essay, and I might be totally missing something due to my lack of experience with teaching at this level, but the different types of essays I outlined in my op (in their simplest forms) seem to me to be easier than writing a good argumentative essay in which you have to to come up with your own evidence to support your opinion. With these response papers the evidence is already there.  My dc have been more willing in the last few days to produce various response papers using the guidelines I've gleaned here than they have been to write about the random topics they must come up with in LAoW.  In fact, my oldest scratched a paragraph in her response paper today and started over because she said that the quotes she used were weak examples of the mood she wanted to write about.  This is big for the child who normally worries more about word count than she does about the message she's trying to convey.  More over, these written responses are helping them put pen to paper more often.  I don't like busy work, but when it comes to writing I feel, for my own dc, that they must write in order to improve.

 

I'm not sure if we are doing these response papers correctly, or if there even is a correct way of doing them but I do know that they've given us a few things.  My girls have written more in this past week than they have in the past month. They are actually enjoying the process of focusing on what drew their attention to a story or passage (versus what mom or a program tell them to focus on) and finding quotes to illustrate that, and I'm finding that they are putting more thought into thinking about their readings knowing that they will write about it versus how much thought they put into verbal responses when we just discuss literature. So, we may be skipping an important step in the writing process by jumping to literary writing before perfecting argumentative essays, but I think we are gaining something in the area of exploring literature.  I'll take it.  :D 

 

Aime, all of this is fantastic!  Forget about what I wrote. What you are doing works for you and your students and it makes perfect sense.

 

I have had this ongoing conversation with myself about high school writing for a while and I tend to drop my thoughts in without preface. We see so many threads on here about reluctant writers, especially teen boys, and I keep thinking there has to be a better way to approach the process. Sometimes I feel like we are talking about "hooks" when the student doesn't even know that an essay should be an argument.

 

Anyway, back to your original question, books like the following two will offer some good examples for you of at least a few of the formats you are looking for:

 

Webster's New World Student Writing Handbook - this is good because it has samples that go across the disciplines

Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense

 

I hope this is more helpful than my previous post. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

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I hope this is more helpful than my previous post. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

It did in the sense that it made me look more closely at what we were doing and analyze WHY it is working - something that will help as we continue to practice writing skills in all forms.  So, thank you! :)

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