12th Grade Exploration 2
Here is the Common Core standard for which you are seeking to aim (from
Standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2):
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2b Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the
most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details,
quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s
knowledge of the topic.
Organize your thoughts in a comparison/contrast framework, choosing relevant facts,
concrete details and appropriate quotations to explore the rise, fall and impact of two
leaders. Create a thesis which includes your perspective on leadership and legacy.
Learn it
Comparison/Contrast Essays
1. Watch this helpful slideshow on how to structure a comparison/contrast
essay (paying special attention to slides 12-18 on the three different ways to
structure a comparison/contrast essay):
Describe the three strategies to organize a comparison/contrast essay:
List the 14 suggested transition words that can be used to compare:
List the 14 suggested transition words that can be used to contrast:
Writing a Thesis
2. In your own words, what is a thesis and what function does it have in an
essay? Where would you normally find the thesis in an essay? Why?
If you don’t know the answer to the above questions, check out this fabulous
resource which will introduce you to the idea of creating a thesis, which is a
statement (1-2 sentences), usually found at the end of your introduction paragraph
that clearly reveals your argument to your reader:
Read the following link about how to write your thesis:
Take notes on either or both of the above two sites. What did you learn about
writing a strong thesis statement?
Adding Quotations to your Essay
3. Read the instruction on the following link as well as watch the slide show
and, if desired, watch one or both of the instruction videos.
Write down 5 important tips (what to do as well as what to avoid) about including
quotations in your essay:
Discover it
Now, you have an opportunity to examine pieces of student writing which illustrate
the concepts of comparison/contrast, thesis and effective use of quotations.
1. Read the introduction paragraph to “Marching to His Own Beat” on Page 70
of the following link:
This introductory paragraph is well-structured, concise and clearly lays out a roadmap for the essay.
Study the thesis (last sentence of the introduction). Think about what you have
learned about writing a good thesis statement. What about this thesis is effective?
From the thesis, list the three reasons that pride has a positive influence on Wright’s
life (according to this student). Note: These three reasons form the body of the
essay, although they are not in the order specified in the thesis.
2. Read the informative paragraph on Page 64 of the following link:
How did this student’s use of quotations help develop the topic? Why are they
effective in this paragraph? (Keep in mind that you do not want to insert quotations
just to have quotations, but to enhance your communication. Choose your quotes
wisely and avoid inserting too many quotes.)
3. Read the comparison/contrast essay titled “Lives on Mango, Rides the
Whale” on Page 60-61 of the following link:
First, study the introduction and find the thesis. Write down the thesis here: (Hint—it
is actually two sentences. Notice how the thesis directly addresses the prompt,
includes both items of comparison/contrast (Esperanza and Pai) and makes a
claim related to the topic):
Now, study the body of the essay to determine the structure. Click through the
slideshow you already watched to find the three types of comparison/contrast
essays: whole-to-whole, similarities to differences, and point-to-point (on slides
In what structure is this essay written? (whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences,
or point-to-point?) Give details from the essay to support your answer.
Employ it
Compare and Contrast Your Chosen Ruler with Ozymandias
Now that you have researched your chosen ruler, think about ways in which your
ruler is similar and different from Ozymandias. Click on the following link and fill in
the boxes to compare/contrast Ozymandias and your chosen ruler/leader/tyrant.
(You’ll need to pick one of the three ways to structure your essay: whole-towhole, similarities to differences, or point-to-point. When finished, print your
Create Your Thesis Statement
Take time now to think about what you learned about your ruler/leader/tyrant and
how you compared/contrasted him/her to Ozymandias. What message would you
like to communicate to your reader about these two people and the topic of
leadership and legacy? With that in mind, write a thesis for your essay (while
looking at the essay prompt to make sure you are addressing it)
Essay Prompt: After studying and researching the background/potential meaning
of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem, “Ozymandias” and formulating your own
interpretation of the poem, choose a leader/ruler/tyrant from history and research
the rise and fall of this leader and the legacy he/she left behind. Compare and
contrast this leader to the one in Shelley’s poem, using specific examples from
both, and draw your own conclusions about leadership and legacy.
My thesis is the following:
Now that you have written your thesis and organized your thoughts, it is time to
spend the next week writing the first draft of the body of your essay. Keep in mind
that the body of your paper should not only compare and contrast Ozymandias and
the leader you researched, but should communicate your perspective on leadership
and legacy. You do not need to write in the first person point-of-view to
accomplish this—simply state your conclusions as if they are fact (as long as you
back them up with evidence). Your reader will know that this is your perspective as
it is your essay!