Don't freak out, but you will be responsible for writing a short formal essay (300 words minimum) independently. This essay may be narrative (telling a story), expository (explaining something), or persuasive in mode.
Why an independent essay?
Most essays we write in class are prescribed—I tell you what to write about and how to write about it. With this essay, the topic and the mode are entirely up to you. It’s important for you to have some freedom in what you write about. Of course, you also have some freedom to write on the blog. However, blog entries are not graded formally; it’s mostly a completion grade.
I want to find out how well you can write a proper essay independently, without teacher help, as a measure of what your level best is as a writer. Additionally, I want you to complete this exercise two times over the course of the year so that I can assess your development as a writer.
What should I write about?
Again, you’ll choose the topic and mode (narrative, expository, or persuasive) of the essay. It’s worth noting that many essays end up mixing these three main modes of writing to accomplish their purpose. If you are writing a narrative, it should be non-fiction (something that actually happened) rather than fiction. I make this stipulation because fiction is difficult to formally grade. Expository papers might explain a process, a person, a plant, or an animal. They may delve into subjects such as history, science, technology, fashion, music, sports, food, politics, religion, education, literature... the possibilities are endless. In a persuasive essay, you will try to convince the reader to agree with a certain position or take a specific action. The issue you argue may be local (something that just pertains to you or your friends), national, or international. If you use outside sources of information, please note them in your essay.
Because this is an independent assignment, I will not be providing you with much guidance. However, you will be able to rely on your classmates for assistance. Two weeks before the final copy is due, I’ll ask you to bring a rough draft of your essay to class. A classmate will help you review your draft according a checklist I'll provide.
How will this assignment be graded?
This assignment will count for 100 points. Below is an itemized breakdown of how points will be earned.
Rough Draft: 10 points (completion grade)
Peer Edit: 5 points (completion grade)
Revision Notes: 5 points (completion grade)
Final Copy: 80 points.