When I ask students to write an essay on a new genre, I model one first, and then I assign the essay in groups. Student groups are to create a strong thesis statement and then an outline of their essay finding examples from the text. This helps them practice the process, which is just as important as the product. Since eventually students will only have 35 minutes to write an essay, a daunting idea to many of them, these types of exercises prepare them for that.
A. Students will break into groups of three. Together they will read Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.”
B. Students will create a thesis statement and an outline of their essay, including examples from the text, answering the following question: Prompt: Write an essay in which you describe how the speaker's attitude toward loss in lines 16-19 is related to her attitude toward loss in lines 1-15. Using specific references to the text, show how verse form and language contribute to the reader's understanding of these attitudes. (1980 exam question)
C. Students will then read their theses and outlines to the class. I’ll copy on the overhead the thesis statements.
D. As a class, we will strengthen the thesis statements together.