A Note From Miss Loock’s Desk: Essays and Book Chats

We made it– you can shout a “Wahoo” if you would like– no one is watching?!

Essay #1 and Book Chats are all available for you to view. All your quiz scores will be available on Monday. Take a moment and make sure that you read the rest of this post before go and look. And, before you do that… I want you to raise your right hand and make me a promise. Ready? Raise your right hand. “I promise to not freak out, when I see my summer assignment grades.” Good. I hope you made your promise. Now, here is what I want to tell you. The assignments are graded as if you were already a sophomore in Honors World Literature, I want you to have an accurate assessment of where you are in your writing. The essay has a some extra padding on it due to the MLA format score being 40 points, take off 10 points to assess your actual score, during the school year. But, here is the good news…. I am super proud of you. I have seen a ton of potential in these assignments and I cannot wait to see how much you will grow in your writing during the school year. Also, make sure you make it to the end of this post so you can see a way to earn some extra points.

So, take a look below and do a quick assessment of yourself and see where you fall in the midst of the class. Then, log into Turn It In and look over all my notes, if you have questions feel free to stop by the office or send me an email. But, then, the most important part is put those changes into your Essay #2– I want to see your scores improve and I know they can.

And, just as we will do in class in September, I want to go over the class averages, some major areas of improvement that were seen in a majority of the essays and a round of kudos on certain jobs well done.

Class Averages on Book Chats:

I grades these pieces of work, as though you were already in my class. I want you to see where you are starting from. I know that we have never spent time in the classroom together, so, all you have to go on, is what I have written on the pages of the summer assignment. But, how well, do you follow directions? And, remember, all the summer assignment grades are placed into the homework section of the gradebook (in a few months, you won’t even notice they are there).

Class Average on Book Chats: 70%

Now, assess yourself. Look over your grades, if your grades fall within five points of the class average, you are right on track. If your grades don’t, ask youself, “Why?”. Was it a lazy mistake: MLA formating, proofreading, etc. Or, was it content related? Assess your individual situations, look over my notes, and see how you can improve for the next assignment.

A Round of Kudos

  1. Most of you have a great written “voice”. Make sure as we go through this year, you never lose that aspect of your writing, it is the most important tool you have.
  2. The insights in the Forums are wonderful, and I can tell that some of you used them in your book chats, nice work.  I cannot wait to see what else you have in store of the rest of the class this year. Keep working hard… it is paying off.

Helpful Hints:

Here are some helpful hints for your next assignments.

Book Chats:

  1. Make sure to answer the entire questions. For example, if it asks… Why did the author choose this location for the setting? Make sure you answer it. And, answer it with something other than: Because knights lived in England.
  2. Folio pieces are 25 points. Make sure they count as one. And, if you chose the Point of View questions, remember that writing from someone’s point of view, means that you write in First Person.
  3. Always ask “Why?” I will write a blog post on WHY , so check back and read it.

Class Averages on Essays:

Remember: I grade these pieces of work, as though you were already in my class. I want you to see where you are starting from. I know that we have never spent time in the classroom together, so, all you have to go on, is what I have written on the pages of the summer assignment. But, how well, do you follow directions? And, remember, all the summer assignment grades are placed into the homework section of the gradebook (in a few months, you won’t even notice they are there).

Class Average on the essays: 72%

Now, assess yourself. Look over your grades, if your grades fall within five points of the class average, you are right on track.

Major Areas of Improvement Needed in Almost all Essays:

  1. Underline or Italicize all book titles. For example, The Once and Future King, etc. 
  2. When we, as authors, write about literature, it needs to be written in the present tense. Why? Well, remember a book is always there, it can always be open.  King Arthur can send his knights out on a quest, and if you turn a few pages back, they are right  back in the area of Camelot. He lives each moment of his life, all the time. So, write about him in the present tense.
  3. Careful of the ambiguous “We” or “You”. Why? #1. it is technically first person, and there should be no first person in your essays. But, since we are Honors English students, we know that those pronouns can also be Third Person Limited Narrative. So, sometimes they are okay… but, #2. Who are you talking about? For example, “We know that everyone believes that God is real.” Who is we? Who is everyone? Explain yourselves. Use Word Choice.
  4. Make sure the details in your essay are correct.
  5. There are famous authors all over the world that don’t know this one… but, what is the difference between effect and affect? The answer is simple. Here is a way you will never forget. Think of the acronym RAVEN:  Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun. RAVEN. You will never get it wrong again.
  6. I know it is a personal problem, but I hate exclamation points!!!!!!. There is no need to use them!!!! Use your word choice!!! Show me… .don’t tell me. Got it? Good.
  7. I know you were taught to use transitions, but, “WOW”. Let’s make a vow that we will all cut back on our use of transitional words. Don’t cut them out all together, use transitional phrases instead. And, never, I mean never, say “lastly” or “finally” or “in conclusion” if it is not your LAST sentence of the ENTIRE paper.
  8. Him or her. His or hers. He or she. Men or Women. Just choose. Or use the word “they”. I promise, I won’t be offended.
  9. Work on Answer the Prompt in it’s entirety and then getting it into your thesis statements. I looked at some many theses statements and wrote that you didn’t answer the prompt and then read the rest of the essay, and saw that you did. Remember a thesis is a road map, the thesis should lay out the three thesis points.
  10. We need to push away from summary and use analysis. I will write a whole post for you about WHY? Check back here later today to see how you can springboard into analysis.

A Round of Kudos

  1. Most of you have a great written “voice”. Make sure as we go through this year, you never lose that aspect of your writing, it is the most important tool you have.
  2. You have some great insights into the characters, that’s been nice to read.
  3. Most of you spelled my name right. Thanks. For those of you that didn’t it’s Miss Loock. Not Mrs. And there is no “e” on the end.
  4. Introductions were overall really well written– it was refreshing.

Bonus Section:

Here are some helpful hints for your next assignment. These are some comments that I wrote on essays… If it pertains to you… great. If it doesn’t… great too.

Essays:

  1. Answer the prompt. Make sure you don’t leave it behind. For example, if you answer the question about setting, make sure that you don’t forget to talk about the setting. And, as much as rules, structure, etc. are part of the story line. They are not part of the setting. The flatness, no snow, etc. That is setting.
  2. Proofread.
  3. Check format. It is 7 points off your essay. You start your essay with a 93, if you don’t get the MLA format right. It’s not worth it. So, check it.
  4. Check your similarity report. We are trying to keep it under 20%
  5. Keep it up… you can do this. I am seeing a lot of great thought processes and insights into the novel.

Extra Points:

There are extra points available on both the Book Chat and Essay One. A reflection assignment has been posted on Turn It In. If you complete the assignments, you can will receive an automatic 10 points for that assignment. The extra points are due  on August 12th along with the final essay. Details for each reflection are in posted in the assignment details on Turn It In.

And, one last helpful hint. I post a lot of useful material on the blog. Make sure you are reading it. I can tell who did and who didn’t. But, then again, if you are not reading it… than you are probably not reading this. So, for those of you who read this… Kudos to you, your grade will reflect it. I hope this helps.  If you want to chat about your comments, which I would be more than happy to do, I am in the office, so stop by anytime.

Written by:

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply