Expository Essays - Mrs. Loux`s English Class

What makes an “A” paper
Understanding the Rubric
Common Mistakes
Strategy for Organization
Relevant Resources
Essay Scores
Period 2 vs. Period 7/8
Period 2
Period 7/8
Essay Scores TOTAL
Essay Scores
What constitutes an “A”
 ORIGINAL thesis outlined from the beginning
 ORIGINAL thesis reinforced throughout the paper
(within each body paragraph and subtopic)and possibly
reaches a new thesis
 Organization of body paragraphs
 The beginning of the paragraph ends with the same
idea/concept at the end of the paragraph (IE: paragraphs
come “full circle”)
 Properly infuse quotes (Follows the IQCDC Method)
 Flawless in grammar, mechanics, and MLA Format
 Follows peer review guides and editing checklist
Common Mistakes Found in YOUR
Expository Essays
Common Mistakes:
Thesis Statements
 Thesis embedded with summary
“Paul Tough the author of the article, “What if the Secret to Success is
Failure”, believes that character can be conditioned and educated, to
transform children into what they should be. However, Gladwell would
“Environment plays a role with learning, education and character
development. Gladwell’s Broken Windows Theory elaborates the
environment's effect on character and how we underestimate small details.”
 Vague thesis
“Even though Gladwell views are different than Levin and Randolph, both
are correct in their respective ways.”
“Let’s say someone is having a bad day, a simple “hello” can change their
whole mood and in a sense that’s what Tough is trying to do. Yet, it won’t
stick with someone for long.”
Examples of strong
thesis statements
 The school environment allows students to naturally
build character in a way that aids the development
of a distinct identity devoid of social conformity.
 Character is a human quality that is partly inside of
us from birth, and partly made by our surroundings,
but in no possible way can you completely control it
or change it.
Common Mistakes:
Work with assigned texts
 Unclear distinction between authors voice vs. own
 Compare/Contrast instead of analyze
The purpose of using Gladwell
and Tough in your essay is to:
 Use as support for your own idea
 Advance an ORIGINAL argument
 Support thesis statement
 Have them “speak to one another"
Common Mistakes:
Structure and Organization
 Did not follow IQCDC Method
 Introduce (minimal with author’s name)
 Quote (exactly as it appears in the text)
 Cite in MLA Format (Check O.W.L. at Purdue if you
need help)
 Discuss the meaning of the quote with attention to
some key word being used (AKA DON’T
 Connect to your thesis or the point being developed
(Always go back to your thesis)
Too much
summary/Does not
 “A main par of follow
character education
that Randolph and Levin applied
as an experiment was the Character Point Average. Levin created
this character report card to give feedback to parents on how well
their children placed in terms of good character. In the KIPP and
Riverdale schools, the students didn’t take the experiment like Levin
and Randolph had originally hope for. Randolph proceeded and
said, “I have a philosophical issue with quantifying character. With
my schools specific population at least, as soon as you set up
something like a report card, you’re going to have bunch of people
doing test prep for it” (Tough 6). This goes into whether character is
the only factor that is affecting these students. Randolph concluded
that debating over character was not the only approach to improving
students’ characters. He even said that “It went deeper to the
question of what character really meant” (Tough 6). Instead of
focusing on the character only, these two headmasters have to
analyze the context and environment that the students come from.
This approach to character is exactly what Glad goes into in his
“Power of Context” article.
Basic Organization for
Body Paragraphs
 STEP #1: Topic Sentence (State the subtopic or main idea of the
STEP #2: Explain the subtopic/main idea of the paragraph
STEP #4: QUOTE Example and CITE in MLA Format
STEP #5: DISCUSS this example and how it CONNECTS to your
[Repeat Steps 3-5 depending on the amount of support/number of
direct quotes that you include]
STEP #6: Put it all together explaining the purpose of everything you
mentioned (IE: What point are YOU trying to make?)
STEP #7: Transition sentence to wrap up your ideas and bring your
paragraph AND essay “full circle”
Common Mistakes:
Structure and Organization
 No transitions between thoughts
 “A child’s personality and the way they act are
influenced by the immediate environment that they
are in regardless of their background or past
experiences. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of “The
Power of Context” describes the “Broken Window’s
Theory” in that, if windows are broken on a building,
this will allow people living in the area to think, that
there is a sense of lawlessness since no actions have
been taken to stop the breaking of the windows.”
Examples of Strong Transitions
 Randolph demonstrates how manipulating one’s environment successfully
allows one to maintain persistent character traits. Tough describes
Randolph as a “big thinker” who is “always chasing new ideas” (Tough 1).
Clearly Randolph is motivated, intelligent and innovative, or at least he is
that way when he is at his school office. The key however, is the impact of
the environment he has created for himself. Randolph likes to keep himself
in an “open-concept work space” where the walls are “covered with
whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans” (Tough 1).
Randolph has full control of his environment and by doing so, he maintains
full control over the character traits he demonstrates in his office. Gladwell
argues convincingly that this effect is a result of his “power of context”
theory. He cites multiple psychological studies and notes that, “the reason
that most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are
really good at controlling our environment” (Gladwell 191). Randolph is
proof of Gladwell’s statement. Randolph controls his environment in order
to maintain his character traits, even though he may not be aware of it. If
this strategy of manipulating one’s own environment works for Randolph,
then there is no reason why it would not work for his or Levin’s students.
Common Mistakes:
 MLA Format
 INCORRECT: “The students who persisted in college were
not…they were the ones with exceptional character strengths.”
(Tough 4)
 INCORRECT: Goetz further goes on to says that he acted “savagely,
just like that, like a rat” (Gladwell 193) because “he was in a rat hole”
(Gladwell 193).
 INCORRECT: Tough states that when he spent a day at Riverdale in
March “messages about behavior and value permeated the day”
(Tough, page 7).
 CORRECT: In Tough’s article, he writes about developing characters
with the ability to put “an immediate crisis in perspective by
reminding yourself of the larger context” (Tough 10).
Common Mistakes:
 Switching tenses
 The severe change in setting essentially was
overwhelming, the students begin to develop a
complacent character because no one is “holding their
hands” in college.
Common Mistakes:
 Sentence Fluency
 When babies are born, infants look towards their parents or guardians
for a form of self worth so that they can live on their own one day.
 The debacle between how an individual’s character develops all
depends on where this individual grew up and how he or she was
 Some viewed him as the messed up man he was…
 In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, he argues the effect that run
down New York City of the 1980’s had on the high crime rate.
 Much like the scripted blueprints that create them, humans are
anchored by the errors from their decisions. These decisions are
based on behavior that has been influenced by the environment,
either from a “poor rate hole” or a prestigious private school.
Common Mistakes:
 Neglecting final peer review
 NO FIRST PERSON PRONOUNS: My perspective is that
Gladwell’s great understanding of situation and
context…OR In my perspective, I believe…
 DO NOT STATE THE OBVIOUS: The key words that
Gladwell touches upon in that quote is “immediate
 SPELLING/CONTRACTIONS: Just becuase one person
ignores what is going on and doesn’t do anything, it causes
us to not do anything.
 FRAGMENTS: Those who get decent grades but have the
personality, charisma, and people skills essentially needed
for a job.
Resources for you:
 Online Writing Lab at Purdue University
 Peer Review Guides #1 and #2
 Online Peer Review (Using Google Docs as a way to
communicate with teacher and peers)
 Editing Checklist (This is the last step and will separate an A
paper from a B and a C from an NP)
 Piscataway Writing Lab (Open Mon-Fri from 6:45am-7:10am
and Mon, Weds-Fri from 2:00pm-3:00pm)
 Scheduled conference with Mrs. Loux