Week Two Guidance Planning, Writing Introductions, and Using Quotes in a College Level Writing Class

Overview of the week

In Week Two, we build on the insights gained from the foundation of Week One. Reflecting on the lessons from the first assignments and from interacting with peers, we will develop strategies for improvement. This week, we will work through the process of moving the personal essay to the next stage.

  •  First, everyone will develop a comprehensive outline. See Section 4.4 in your etext: “Writing in Action: Producing a Formal Outline”
  •  Next, everyone will write an introductory paragraph.See Section 5.1 in your etext: “Writing in Action: Strategies for Hooking the Reader”

APA Journal AssignmentAnother important element of Week Two is the APA journal assignment which focuses on academic writing. The style of the APA journal assignment contrasts with the writing of a personal essay. The emphasis for this week’s APA journal assignment is effectively integrating a quote into a paragraph, a key component of academic writing.

  • Academic writing almost always requires writing from sources, so this skill is essential to your academic success!
  • Students will not be able to access some of the activities until certain tasks are completed. For example, students must have completed the Writing Center Acknowledgement located in Week One to move forward to the Week Two discussion questions or assignments this week.
  • Students should not confuse the APA journal assignment with a personal journal. The APA journal requires organization, effective style and grammar, and proper integration of your source. It is not an area for freewriting or reflective writing.


“Whatever is begun with planning, ends in a victory.” ― Amit Kalantri

Most of us would not consider taking a trip, building a house, moving to a new location, organizing a wedding, or changing jobs without first putting some time into a planning stage. Certainly, taking a trip to Europe for a month would take more planning than a weekend visit to a friend, still each takes some effort in planning to make the trip successful. Organizations and businesses, too, need planning to be successful. For example, the first step recommended by the U. S. Small Business Administration (2014) when starting a business is “Creating a Business Plan.” The Board of Directors for non-profit organizations, colleges, and universities, too, participate in extensive Strategic Planning for their success, taking into account their missions, finances, public relations, and purpose. Fortunately, planning a college essay, like the one you will write for this class, involves less planning than starting a business, but the process is based on some of the same principles. As we learned in Week 1, part of the planning process is to analyze the purpose, audience, and persona of your writing. Another consideration is the context for the writing—a concept that is closely related to the audience. Below is a checklist for assessing the context for your writing assignment:

  • Consider the circumstances under which you are writing this essay.
  • Consier the circumstances under which your essay will be read.
  • How has your response to this assignment been influenced by what is going on in your life?
  • What length essay is assigned and what is your document design? (Hodges, Webb, Miller, & Horner, 2001, p. 399)

After assessing context and analyzing audience, purpose, and persona, you may have a better understanding of how you want to approach your chosen topic.


  • Hodges, J.C., Webb, S. S., Miller, R.K., & Horner, W.B. (2001). Harbrace Handbook (14th ed). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
  • Quotes on planning. (2014). Retrieved from www.goodreads.com
  • Creating a Business Plan. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.sba.gov/

Overview of Assignments

Reading assignments for Week Two include Chapters 5 & 6 in your etext, Essentials of College Writing. Also, on the Week 2 Assignment tab, you will find links to required resources—in this case, sample personal essays by professional writers, such as Maya Angelou’s “Sister Flowers.”

Discussion 1: Strengths and Weaknesses in Writing

As always, use plenty of specific examples as you respond to the prompts. For this forum, please discuss your strengths and weaknesses as well as how you will use your strengths and resolve your weaknesses. The Week One feedback on your practice essay and quizzes as well as what you already know about your writing skills should give you material for your response. Finally, ask a question that you have about this week’s reading assignment. Of course, more details about all of your assignments are found on the weekly overview page.

Discussion 2: Outlining and Planning the Personal Essay

After reviewing the required documents, use the provided resources and handouts to create the following for your personal essay:

  •  A comprehensive outline;
  •  Statement of purpose;
  • An introductory paragraph

Engage with your peers in a discussion of their posts.

APA Journal Assignment

The APA journal assignment focuses on academic writing, contrasting with the writing of a personal essay. The emphasis for this week’s APA journal assignment is effectively integrating a quote into a paragraph, a key component of academic writing. To complete the assignment, write about one of this week’s assigned essays and answer the questions in the prompt. The assignment should:

  •  State the purpose of the essay
  •  Describe one literary element used in the essay (refer to Chapter 6, sections 3 and 4)
  • Explain why the writer used the literary element
  •  Incorporate a quote from the essay.
  • Cite the essay in APA style.
  •  Explain how you plan to use the literary element in your personal essay.


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