Essay Writing in #ENG3U #ENG4C #ENG4U

We have spent the last week reviewing parts of essay writing, including different types, strengthening arguments, and organizing information. Students have completed, (or should have completed) two writing assignments by now where they applied their knowledge so that I know they are on the right track. This is all a bit of a process – a process where students submit drafts, I provide descriptive feedback and suggestions for improvements, and the student does a rewrite. Yes, it’s a lot of work and yes, it can be tedious, but the skills of organizing information and constructing a well-supported piece of writing are invaluable.

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The marriage of blue ink and blue highlighter makes each essay an art project.

There are a few things that have stood out from all three classes as we review essays:

  • Comma Splices remain the most common of all grammatical errors. Why are they so difficult to master? Hopefully highlighting them on essays and discussing them in class will give them they attention they deserve
  • Description and Detail are strong in most student’s writing. All of those years spent drilling the importance of “reasons, examples, and explanations” have paid off!
  • Edit Your Work! I was a little disappointed with some of the spelling, grammar, and mechanical errors in submissions. This is frustrating when spell-check is so readily available.

So, this week, we will continue exploring some of the finer points of essays as each class begins a larger unit culminating task and prepares for an Essay Unit Test. Practice makes better!

ENG3U: We will explore the argumentative and expository essay this week. You will examine persuasive techniques and fallacious arguments. Your unit test is scheduled for Thursday, February 11. Also, remember to keep reading Frankenstein. We are starting that unit next!

ENG4C: This week, we will work on the “Important Issues Essay” as a way to put essay skills, (such as organizing, supporting, editing, and revising) to use. You will also have a unit test on Thursday, February 11. Have you started reading Crow Lake yet? It’s coming up!

ENG4U: Our class will examine a number of essay examples from Echoes 12, especially expository essays, as they seem to be more unfamiliar with students. You will also be responsible for a larger argumentative essay this week. Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 11 as a test is scheduled. Finally, I recommend beginning The Great Gatsby, as that unit will begin very soon.

Yes, it’s busy, but busy is good – and students who commit to the work and take advantage of the feedback process will undoubtedly improve their language skills, making them much gooder and awesomer better readers and writers.

 

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