I’ve returned the persuasive common assessments to students. For this writing assignment, we used a rubric we created meshing standards with the Georgia Writing Assessment Rubric. These scores may be lower than some students are used to getting, but I’ve done my best to grade consistently with how I think the GWA raters will score.
ALL students *should* submit a re-take. 🙂 This is one way they can improve. Consider my comments, make some changes, and email me your freshly revised essay. Here were the most common challenges:
1. Gimme a clear role and audience—Your essay will be so much more *interesting* if you have a clear role and audience. If you can’t tell me who you’re writing AS or who, exactly, you’re writing TO, then odds are, your writing is bland. Spice it up! Instead of writing about why we should be responsible with the environment and recycle (that is a pretty common message), write AS the Earth to a chronic litterbug, and tell him to change his dirty ways! Already, you’re on a great path.
2. Gimme a counterargument—People who are good at convincing always consider the other side. At the beginning of the unit, we compared debating to boxing. There’s always another side to the story. If you can’t show that you have considered it, your argument seems very one-sided . . . like you just *don’t know* there’s another point-of-view. So, who would be the “naysayer” or “enemy” to the recycling idea? Who would lose money if more people recycled? Pick up their argument and drop it. Show that you’ve thought about their views, and you’ve decided they’re wrong.
3. Gimme a variety of sentence structures, punctuated correctly— Now is the time to show off your semi-colon. Now is the time to throw in a compound sentence and use that comma before the conjunction, just because you can! Give me a complex sentence that begins with a adverb clause; then, give me a complex sentence that ends with one. It’s all about variety. Mix it up. Use a dash, use a colon, use them well.
4. Gimme juicy words and figurative language— Why say run if you can say sprint? Why say I’m tired when you can say The day was like an endless treadmill I couldn’t stop. When you revise your writing, consider how you can make your writing juicier. Word choice and figurative language pump up your style and make your writing more fun to read. Just do it. 🙂
You can do it.