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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

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Aug 012011
 

Brock from California's Second Draft of the Inventions Essay

Brock,

Sorry for the delay.
Things You Did Well:
  • You created 3 questions as your hook for an essay.  Good job.  The “Hi, Brock McMillen here!” should not be used.
  • “This invention is the best thing since sliced bread!” is a good sentence.  It may be a bit cliche, but it gives your writing more personality.  Try not to use common sayings though . . . Maybe something like this is the best thing since the I Phone 4 . . . just an idea.
  • Good attempt at re-writing your thesis.
Needs Improvement:
  • Your thesis sentence needs to be very clear and direct.  You do label what you will be talking about in your three body paragraphs which is good, but the first part of your thesis sentence is unclear.  For example, a better thesis might have been . . . “The PS360 is important, has a wide variety of uses and can work with all types of games.”  See how it is very clearly talking about the PS360?
  • Not much changed from your first essay to your second essay.  Make sure you go over every comment and try and improve your essay as a result.  The changes you did make were really good, I would like to see more of that.
  • Avoid exclamation points.  I understand that you were trying to encourage people to get interested in your product, but exclamation points should rarely be used in essay writing for school.
Great job Brock, your next assignment is attached to this email.
Thanks,
Zeb
Jul 312011
 

Brock from California's Feedback Sample for the Invention Assignment

Brock,

Great job on the last assignment.  Here are my comments.
Things You Did Well:
  • Although your thesis wasn’t perfect you made it very clear what your essay and your paragraphs would be about.  One way to improve your thesis is to make sure that your thesis sentence is as clear and direct as it could possibly be.
  • In your conclusion you re-stated your thesis in a very clear manner.  That is a great way to reinforce what it is your essay was about.  Good job!
  • I like the ending to your essay.  “Go and challenge your friends today!” could be a good one too.
Needs Improvement:
  • Throughout this program, I try to teach you different techniques to improve the tools that you have to write a good essay.  For this assignment, try starting with a question “hook.” Start your essay by immediately stating three questions . . . maybe something like . . . “Are Xbox gamers really better than PS3 gamers?  Who would win the ultimate challenge?  How would we find out who was better?”  Just a suggestion, feel free to write your own questions.
  • Try to include more information in your body paragraphs and be sure to clearly state everything that can support your answer.  For example, your first paragraph would be written about why it’s important.  Then you should think of every way that this invention could be important and include that information in your body paragraphs.  Continue that for each body paragraph.
  • Don’t use things like “in conclusion” . . . it’s not necessary and detracts from your writing.
Overall, great job Brock, I look forward to your re-write.
Thanks again,
Zeb
Jul 302011
 

Brock's Second Feedback Sample for the Autobiography

Brock,

Thank you for re-writing the assignment.
Thing You Did Well: 

  • You used some advanced vocabulary during your writing sample.  Surreal is a great vocabulary word and you demonstrated it’s meaning well.
  • Great job at restating your thesis in your conclusion.  The only sentence you used in the conclusion is what I like to call restating your thesis.  Basically, you are rewriting your thesis, but using different words than you used earlier.  However, your conclusion should be longer.  Try using a “link” and a “clever ending” to make your essay stronger.
  • Very nice story, it sounds like you had a great time helping your team win the Championships.

Needs Improvement:

  • In every essay you write, you should start by including a “hook.” A hook is something you use to get a reader interested in what you have to say.  I have given specific directions in your next essay for how to write one example of a hook.  Be sure to follow those directions.
  • Your thesis sentence should be very specific.  The last sentence of your essay would have been much better to use in place of “It was awesome for three reasons.”  In the last sentence you explained why this was a proud moment and that’s really what your essay is all about.
  • Try not to say things like “this moment,” or “in conclusion.” They are unnecessary in your writing. If it’s your last paragraph, I know it is your conclusion.  You don’t need to say it.  Like I said before, be sure to “show and not tell.”
Outstanding job!  Your next assignment is attached to this email.
Thanks again,
Zeb
Jul 282011
 

The thesis is the most important part to your essay.  It tells the reader what exactly your essay will be about and provides a basic structure for your essay that provides a strong foundation for your writing.  The best way I can explain a thesis statement is that it is usually a one sentence statement that directly states what your essay is about.

In order to write a strong thesis statement you have to have a firm grasp of what your essay is about in order to condense it down into one sentence.  A great way to do this is to think of your essay as an answer to a question.  In some cases an essay is directly answering a question posed by a teacher or professor, but other times you write an essay that does not have a question directly associated with it.  If that’s the case, imagine that your essay is answering a question.  Write that question down.  Then, answer that question, as completely as possible in one sentence.   If you can do that you will be able to write a strong thesis.

In order to write a strong thesis, pretend that your entire essay is answering a question and then answer that question in one sentence.

Jul 252011
 

A large mistake beginning writers make is that they switch between tenses.  Sometimes they will write in the present tense and other times it will be in the past tense.  To make it easy on yourself, always try to write in one tense.  The tense you write in will depend on the topic of your essay, but typically, your writing should all be in the same tense.

A great way to check this is to underline all of your verbs and then go through each one, making sure that they are all in the same tense.

To improve your writing, make sure that you write in the same tense throughout your essay.

Jul 232011
 

If a teacher or someone gives feedback on your writing, take those comments and criticisms into consideration when you re-write your essay.  Ultimately, what you choose to write and put into your essay is up to you; however, if someone give you advice on ways to improve your writing, it typically means that the message you are trying to get across is not as clear as it could be.

Never be afraid to ask for advice or help in your writing and when you do get help, make sure you thank those who are trying to improve your writing and then really think about why they made the critiques they did.  Then, come up with ways to improve your writing as a result.

To improve your writing ability ask for writing advice and re-write your essay taking those criticisms to heart.  Attempt to fix the writing that caused confusion in your readers.

Jul 222011
 

Facts are critical when writing an essay.  Facts are things that can not be disputed.  In your writing, it’s important to have at least one fact per paragraph.  Facts can take a variety of different forms, but basically a fact is some concrete detail that provides evidence for a point you are trying to make in your essay.

An essay that lacks facts will never be complete because facts demonstrate the conclusions and opinions that you are trying to make.  Without facts, essays lack substance and your opinion does not sway people to believe what you think, but opinions with facts that support it can sway people to your side of the story.

In order to write a persuasive essay well, you must use facts to support your opinions.  Use facts and become a stronger writer.

Jul 162011
 

One of the biggest problems that beginning writers have is developing strong, consistent body paragraphs.  A body paragraph needs to address a specific topic.  Many young writers will put many different ideas in the same paragraph, or will stray from writing about what the paragraph is intended to be about.

To correct this common error in writing, go back when you’re done and break each paragraph down.  Does your paragraph address the same topic throughout?  If it doesn’t try adding another paragraph to separate you ideas into separate paragraphs.