October 11 through 15

WEEK EIGHT: Days Four and Five

WEEK NINE: Day One (PSAT), Days Two through Five

Unit Skill:

Analyzing and synthesizing information from reading specific short story selections, the student will prepare a critical essay that is (1) based on a given prompt/question and (2) is focused, organized, and polished.

Unit Essential Questions:

How can I develop personal interpretations in a persuasive analysis?

How can I develop my thesis to reflect my purpose?

How can I determine if I have enough information?

How do writing to learn strategies help me develop strong interpretations of texts?

What do I need to know to write a well-crafted persuasive analysis?


A. The teacher and class will review the steps in the critical analysis:

  1. Read the prompt question carefully.
  2. Underline key words in the prompt or question.
  3. Break the question/prompt into components.
  4. Restate the prompt/question in your own words.
  5. Your essay begins with a title indicating your subject: do not underline your title; however, do underline or include in quotation marks those words that are a part of a published title you may be addressing.
  6. The first paragraph presents your thesis (argument) and reveals the direction your essay will take. This paragraph contains more than forty words in three or more sentences.
  7. The first paragraph includes the following:
    The title(s) and the author to be discussed
    The main idea of the prompt/question
    A thesis statement which will be developed into your essay
  8. The body of the essay contains the bulk of your interpretation.
    Each paragraph develops an aspect of your main thesis and works out the details of the argument. (on the average, eleven sentences of 125 or more words)
  9. List main points relating to the thesis statement.
    Each paragraph goes through these steps:
    State each point in a topic sentence.
    Explain in your own words what it means.
    Give an example of the point from the text.
    Give at least one quote from the text.
    Explain the relevance of the implication of the example and/or quote.
    Summarize your point.
  10. Each paragraph contains a topic sentence relating to your thesis.
    Each topic sentence is explained, illustrated, discussed, and related to the thesis. Ideas are clearly developed and lead to a logical conclusion.
  11. Quotations from the text establish your view and give you a chance for interpretive commentary.
  12. Sources, either quoted or alluded to, may back up your position and allow you opportunity for interpretation and further commentary.
  13. Transitions are clearly signaled.

    To show additional ideas: again, moreover, and, not, and the, too, besides, equally important, first, second (etc.), finally, lastly, further, furthermore

    To show time: at length, later, immediately, thereafter, previously, soon, formerly, next, first, second (etc.), afterwards, next

    Cues that make the reader stop and compare: but, notwithstanding, although, yet, on the other hand, and yet, on the contrary, however, after all, conversely, still, simultaneously, nevertheless, in contrast, meanwhile, nonetheless, at the same time, in the meantime

    To summarize: in brief, on the whole, to conclude, in conclusion

    To give examples: for instance, for example, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration

    To emphasize: obviously, in fact, as a matter of fact, indeed, in any case

    To introduce conclusions: hence, therefore, accordingly, consequently, thus, as a result

14. Your last paragraph is your conclusion and shows insight. Draw your argument to a close and sum up or restate your position without repeating. On the average, this paragraph is three or more sentences of forty or more words.

15. Edit: List the first four words per sentence. Look for repetitious sentence beginnings such as The and Then. Rewrite these sentences for improvement.

16. Edit: Look for potential fragments.

17. Edit: Are there any capitalization errors.

18. Edit: Improve the sentence flow with a variety of sentence forms and structures.

19. Edit: Avoid "dead" words - nice, It is, stuff, There is, Thing, This is, a lot, They are, awesome, There are.

20. Edit: Avoid contractions.

21. Edit: Be concise, not wordy. Avoid redundancy.

22. Edit: Use only third person point of view.

23. Edit: Use appropriate vocabulary words.

24. Edit: Avoid idioms.

25. Edit: Use appropriate figurative language.

26. Edit: Beware the overuse of the same weak verbs – e.g., is, are, was, were, got.

27. Edit: Avoid tense inconsistency. If appropriate, stay in the present tense.

28. Edit: Use active voice.

29. Edit: Use variety in sentence lengths. Use short sentences for emphasis.

30. Edit: Avoid short, choppy sentences that need to be combined or rearranged.

31. Edit: Avoid extremely long sentences which may increase the potential for run-ons.

32. Edit: How do your sentences begin? If more than half of your sentences begin with the subject, rewrite them in a way that varies the beginning.

33. Edit: Find all which clauses and rewrite them to eliminate which. Eliminate as many of, in, to, and by’s as you can.

34. Edit: What forms are your sentences? Count simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Rewrite for variety.

35. Edit: Do you have an inverted sentences? Try rewriting a sentence to do so.

36. Edit: Is your diction appropriate to your audience? Check for slang, trite expressions, garbage/empty words. Eliminate as necessary.

37. Edit: Avoid idioms!

38. Edit: Find all instances of it with no antecedent and eliminate.

39. Edit: Find all instances of this or that used without a noun. Add a noun or rewrite.

40. Check your comma use by applying four rules: Use a comma before and, but, for, or, not, so, yet, and still when those words join independent clauses. Use a comma between all terms in a series. Use commas to set off parenthetical openers and afterthoughts. Use a comma after introductory clauses or phrases.

41. Have you used any semicolons? If not, find a sentence or a pair of sentences that would be better punctuated with a semicolon and rewrite.

42. Have you used any dashes? If not, find a sentence or a pair of sentences that would be better punctuated with a dash and rewrite.

43. Have you used apostrophes or colons? Do you need them?

44. Have you used quotation marks? Check for correctness.

45. Presentation: Be sure that the paper uses correct MLA format.

B. Each student will continue to write and edit his/her paper.