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The Write Kitchen

Getting Ready for the State Test

Hello, writers,

In preparation for the state's writing assessment, we will review the expository essay by analyzing a five-paragraph essay model and then taking a fun quiz on ordering the parts of an essay. 

Essay Components (quiz) (PDF — 189 KB)

On Taking the Test:

You will be given approximately 45 minutes for planning and writing a rough draft. You should spend no more than 15 minutes on planning your paper. Your planning should be short and to the point. All you need to do is 

a) identify the topic, 

b) select three main ideas, and 

c) brainstorm at least three supporting details for each main idea. 

Once you have your plan, start composing the rough draft. (Don't forget to skip lines - it will make the revision process much easier.) Let your ideas flow, and be generous with your words. Make sure to elaborate on your details. Give examples, include anecdotes, and share opinions and feelings. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or word choice at this point. Instead, focus on content, organization, and voice (write to the specified audience). You will have about 30 minutes to write your rough draft, so make sure to budget your time.

The next 45 minutes will be spent revising and writing your final copy. This is your chance to show off as a writer. Apply the following five-step revision process or one similar to it:

1- Revise for organization. Make sure the components of your essay are in order (review the essay checklist document above). You should have
a) an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, 

b) three body paragraphs, each with a transition, a main idea, and elaborate supporting details, and 

c) a concluding paragraph that includes a restatement of your thesis. 

Don't forget that your paragraphs (all five of them) need to be indented.

2- Revise for quality and logic of content. Take out what doesn't belong or doesn't make sense. Add missing supporting details where necessary. 

3- Revise for word choice. Replace dull verbs with vivid verbs. Replace generic nouns with precise nouns. Add artful adjectives and smart adverbs.

4- Revise for style by adding special effects (rhetorical devices) such as dialogue and figurative language. Keep your audience in mind while doing this.

5- Revise/Edit for sentence fluency and language usage. Fix sentence problems such as sentence fragments and run-on or rambling sentences. Check that your sentences vary in length and that your ideas flow smoothly and logically. Correct mistakes in verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, pronoun antecedents, and capitalization/punctuation.

Once you're done revising, you'll be ready to write a neat final copy. Start by writing a catchy title, and don't forget to indent your paragraphs. When you finish, edit your paper for spelling mistakes and such. Finally, BE PROUD OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!

The Five-Step Revision Process: 
1- Organization 2- Content 3- Word Choice 4- Style 5- Fluency/Usage

Mnemonic Device: Olive Comet Wears Sci-Fi Underwear     

Next time we'll take a look at the persuasive essay.

Talk to you soon,

Write Cook    

P.S. February 5th was World Nutella Day. Do you like Nutella? If so, try this scrumptious and healthy snack: spread Nutella on a plain graham cracker (or on your favorite toast) and add a few banana slices on top. Yummy!

Chocolate is awesome!

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