Daily Archives: May 17, 2014

May 16, 2014

Today in class, we took our sentence styles quiz and had our final Winter’s Bone discussion. I passed out the prompt for our final exam essay, which we will take on Monday. To review what we discussed in class:

  • You may use that prompt page (and only that prompt page) for pre-writing, brainstorming, outlining, research, etc.
  • You may not show up with an essay already written on the page. I will check your prompt page as you are writing, and will not allow you to use one if it appears to have an essay already on it.
  • You will have only the period to write your essay.
  • Your essay will count for 50% of your final exam grade.
  • You will have one STAAR-style sheet of paper for your essay.


And a student just emailed me and asked for some clarification about what the prompt is asking, so I thought I would share my response in case anyone else is struggling with this. When it says, “Write an essay explaining to what extent family loyalty is important,” it is asking you to explain how much a person should be loyal to their family. Is it absolutely, always, 100% important to be loyalty to your family, above anything else? Are their situations in which there are values that are more important than family loyalty? Is the idea of being loyal to people just because they¬†happen to share a similar genetic identity to you foolish? You should have a lot to think about in terms of the literature we’ve been reading recently (although your examples don’t have to come from those works).

Things I’m going to be looking for while grading this:

  • A strong, clear, intellectually-sophisticated thesis
  • Interesting examples that prove that your thesis is true
  • Use of specific, high-impact words to give precision to your thoughts
  • Transitions that make your essay flow as a unified, coherent whole
  • Proper use of grammar, mechanics, spelling, and punctuation


Think back to all that we have done this year with regard to essay writing. It might be worth your time to review some of your old notes. Good luck! I want you all to do well on this – give me reasons to feel good about giving you a high score.