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Rubric, Focus Paper

10 Dec

As I discussed in class today, the final writing you submit for the semester IMG_9869will be evaluated in ten areas.  All of which I went over in class today, and are enumerated and explained below.  Above anything, and everything, just write from your convictions, from where you feel comfortable, and don’t second-guess yourself.  When you start to doubt yourself, and let yourself tire and give up, you’re infecting your writing.  Let it go too far, and the writing will be terminally compromised.  So write well, and enjoy…..  -Mike

(each dimension below is worth 5 points)

1 –  Title:  A creative, relevant, engaging, and non-cliché title that serves as the first words of your essay, and an orientation as to what we’re about to read.

2 – Introductory Paragraph:  The first paragraph of the essay which contains the thesis, yes (a thesis written out, not just lazily inferred or hinted), but equally as crucial provides a context for the argument, and adequate lead-in to your idea’s body.  This paragraph is where you station yourself in your idea and clearly let the readers know where you’re going to take them.

3 – Body Paragraphs/Paragraph Balance:  These body paragraphs not only support your thesis with strong examples and explanation of the examples, but should read smoothly, with a compliment to each other and provide strong structure for your position.  No paragraph should be underdeveloped, nor excessive in length.  I know, that doesn’t help.  Use your best judgement.  There should be a fluidity and a musical sense when reading though these body paragraphs before reaching the conclusion.  Think of the body paragraphs and the balance they’re to demonstrate as a foundation, a core, a heart.  Keep that heart in the healthiest of conditions!

4 – Voice:  Confident, authoritative, with definite language.  Don’t qualify yourself!  But, don’t come across arrogantly, either.  Assertiveness balanced with civility and humility is what I, and your future “professors”, are looking for (and if they’re not, they should be).

5 – Transitions:  Logical and untroubled connectedness, paragraph to paragraph.  Nothing random, or unexpected, or removed from paper’s principle and guiding intent.

6 – Mechanics:  Oh, the fun stuff!  Yes, it’s exhaustive, but truly, colleagues and friends, it makes you a stronger, more lethal, writer.  So.. punctuation, capitals, grammar, syntax, verb tense, spelling (as spellcheck doesn’t find it all!), indenting…  Give the paper several reads and examine every word, sentence and paragraph.  You have to be especially stringent with your paper and yourself to find mechanical inequities.  And when you do, you’ll be a stronger and more versatile writer.

7 – Conclusion:  Closure.  No loose ends.  Introduce nothing new.  And, no provocative or antagonistic rhetorical questions.  Everything should have been answered by now.  By the conclusion, we as readers should have a clear and uncompromised understanding of your position.

8 – MLA:  In-text citations, quoting, bla bla bla…

9 – Works Cited Page:  2-4 outside sources, MLA format (all information), numbered and in alphabetical order.

10 – Word Choice/Variety:  Play with words, use different words, make language your own.  Use synonyms, yes, but don’t be disingenuous with your language–  In other words, don’t sound like you’re reciting from a thesaurus.  Make your words reflect and convey mood, passion, authority and confidence from you as the scholar, the writer, the investigative journalist.  Display a mastery with language and you’ll pocket the 5 points for this dimension.

(Total – 50 points)      

And that’s the semester.  Time moves quicker than we want it to.  But all we can do is appreciate each moment as its own standalone piece.  There’s more to be written and more to be said, expressed and lived.  More to be read from us as writers.

Enjoy your writing and editing till final submission, and we’ll soon speak, and write just a bit more next week, together.

À La Tienne, votre instructeur,


Back into our written skips…

20 Mar

PROMPT (5 point opportunity, awarded on richness of writing, expressiveness, and overall creativity): Write a letter to someone from history, dead or living; express some concern or admiration or indignation.. communicate honestly, and fiercely if you have to!

See you all on Tuesday! Please have your rough drafts of the Hemingway paper ready for reading and workshopping…..