REACTION ESSAY How to plan and write an effective essay READ OR VIEW PROMPT Take time to read or view the prompt that has been given to you. On a piece of paper, note the main ideas or focal points of the prompt. For a written prompt, make sure you can create a quality summary: author, title, main ideas For a visual prompt, make sure you can create a quality description: creator, title, focal points Use the main ideas you have gathered to create your introductory/hook paragraph. When writing your introductory paragraph, assume your reader has not read/viewed the prompt . BRAINSTORMING AND OUTLINING Evaluate your reaction to the prompt What are your feelings after reading/viewing the prompt Your feelings are the focus of the essay. Create a thesis statement that mentions the prompt and the main idea (your main feeling) How will you support the main idea of the essay? Think about your feelings and the elements of the prompt that created those feelings Create an outline by generating ideas/examples/ explanation that will support your feelings. Make sure you have strong topic sentences for each body paragraph. WRITE YOUR ESSAY Working from the outline, create your first draft of the essay. Review the draft Pay close attention to unity and coherence. Did you follow your outline? Check for sentence structure and grammar errors. Write your final draft to be submitted for a grade. EXAMPLE OUTLINE Topic: Firewalking Video from National Geographic http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/places/cultureplaces/festivals-celebrations/greece-firewalking-pp.html Introductory Paragraph Hook: Technique? Summary of the Prompt Ideas for Hook: Accurate discussion of the main ideas: firewalking history, different opinions on firewalking, actual ritual Thesis Statement: After viewing the Firewalking video from National Geographic, I felt impressed by the expressions of faith I saw and reminded that we should not judge others. EXAMPLE OUTLINE Body Paragraph One Topic Sentence: The faith of the villagers impressed me. Support One: Ability to maintain ancient tradition Support Two: Belief in the power of St. Constantine Detail: performing firewalk will honor and thus obtain saint’s protection Support Three: Detail: ritual generates from centuries old belief Detail_______________________________________________ Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next paragraph? _____________________ EXAMPLE OUTLINE Body Paragraph One Topic Sentence: The faith of the villagers impressed me. Support One: Belief in the power of St. Constantine Detail: performing firewalk will honor and thus obtain saint’s protection Support Two: Ability to maintain ancient tradition Detail: ritual generates from centuries old belief Support Three: Continue tradition even though it is condemned by some Detail: Main icon bearer dismisses the church’s negative belief Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next paragraph? Although the villagers’ impressive faith allows their practice to continue, some in the Greek Orthodox church do not agree with the practice. EXAMPLE OUTLINE Body Paragraph Two Topic Sentence: I was not surprised by the Greek Orthodox priest’s reaction to the tradition. Support One: Belief that it was a pagan ritual was not surprising to me Detail : many ancient rituals generate from pagan times Support Two: While I have no problem with his manner or expressions of faith, it strikes me that his own behavior, manner of dress are reflections ancient beliefs Detail: He kissed the icons, he wore a long beard Support Three: I find it funny how what is wrong to one person is a simple expression of faith to another Detail: Religions are replete with expressions of faith that are surprising. Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next paragraph? Judging others is not a good idea EXAMPLE OUTLINE Body Paragraph Three Topic Sentence: I am reminded through the video about the nature of faith and the need not to judge others. Support One: My own viewpoint about expressions of faith Detail: I know that some would not understand my faith Support Two: While I don’t firewalk, there are other traditions I follow that might surprise others Detail: Some generate from ancient beliefs: christmas trees, easter bunny/eggs. Support Three: The video reminded me that it is important not to judge Detail As long as no one gets hurt! Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next paragraph? The video showed an ancient traditional expression of faith that challenged me to review my own. EXAMPLE OUTLINE Summarize and Link to Thesis or Prediction or Opinion? Final opinion on the firewalking video – as long as no one is forced to do it, I think firewalking is a really unique expression of faith.