The ACT Aspire essay-- 40 minutes
Strategies that we can practice in the classroom:
- We want a HOOK, to get the reader's attention
- CSRQ the prompt for the introductory paragraph.
- End the introduction with the thesis statement/claim/assertion.
- Write the thesis statement/claim/assertion with a list of reasons that will be used in the BODY paragraphs. This will be a mini-plan and give the writer direction.
Using a "formulaic" thesis statement will give the students direction and plan. Advanced students may not need this, but it is a nice way to begin writing for a timed essay.
- Body paragraph (study French in college)
- Body paragraph (use French for a job translating)
- Body paragraph (travel or live in France)
- Counter-Claim (Some may say...On the other hand,...) This COULD be your last body paragraph.
Our writers need to use transitions between ideas, but "First," "Second," and "Third" will not do.
Want to score a 6/6 for organization? Connect the previous paragraphs topic to the next one. The transitions need to be between and withing paragraphs. See below:
Ex-Body paragraph 1--use/take French in college
Body paragraph 2-- Not only could Kim take advanced classes in French in college, but she could also garner a special job or take a trip to Europe that will allow her to use this second language. Working for an embassy or government organization would be an amazing opportunity for a bilingual person. Perhaps Kim could be a translator for an embassy, the pentagon, or the United Nations. Those jobs would be incredible experiences. If she gets the opportunity to travel to France, the language barrier will not be a problem for her, and the trip would be more fun. Who knows, perhaps a trip to France could lead to a career opportunity, too. The possibilities are endless.
A strong argument will contain Logos or Logical appeals such as facts, common sense, or Compare/Contrast.
The evidence must come from the writer's knowledge. You should not make something up.
In the argument essay (8th grade) the OTHER SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT (COUNTER-CLAIM) MUST be addressed. Most exemplar papers have it written after the final body paragraph.
A good sentence starter for the "counter-claim" could be... "Some may say..." or "On the other hand...."
Some may say that Kim should not take the extra French lessons, and should focus on being a well-rounded student. If Kim has a gift and passion for a second language, she should get the opportunity to take the extra lessons. Many students supplement their favorite activities with private lessons or teams outside of the school day. Another language just happens to be her "thing."
- One sentence will not score well.
- Students need to pull all of their thoughts together, restate but reword their thesis statement, and find the words to connect to their HOOK.
- (Remember "Bonjour?" How about ending with "Parlez-vous Français?")
Write in paragraphs and to write a complete essay.
- Aspire doesn't allow indenting with the TAB key.
- Students can use the space bar to move over 5 spaces or add an extra space BETWEEN paragraphs.
- This is not MLA format, but it's okay.
- The more that we practice, revise, and rewrite, the easier it will be on assessment day.