Teachers at all levels often begin the year having students write “a personal essay” in which they are expected to describe some aspect of their character brought out by personal experience. Others ask student to reflect on an influential person or perhaps a significant event from the summer and explain its meaning. Part argument/analysis, informative/explanatory, and creative/narrative it cuts across all genres. For high school seniors, they write even more of these as part of their college applications. Here are some considerations from teachers we have known that we applaud.

Focus on audience to improve voice.

Who is the expected reader of this essay? The nameless, faceless, college admission’s officer? The teacher who has known the student for 5 days? When we focus the assignment on naming an audience, we improve the questions we can ask students about their writing? “Why would [audience] need to know this fact?” “Why is [audience] likely to be persuaded by this information?” “How is this essay’s organization going to help [audience] understand your idea?” 


Student writers’ understand expectations and possibilities when they have models to read first. Students who see professional writers using the pronoun “I” recognize how the context dictates the conventions. They see how a writer extrapolates ideas from experience. Models should not be used as a bar to exceed, but rather a writer’s singular expression that can inspire. Good follow up questions to reading models include: What other examples could this writer have chosen? Is that the only interpretation of the events possible? Are the people mentioned who may have experienced this event differently? These are examples of critical reading questions that show a model is just a model other ideas and views are possible on a topic. 

Peer Review

Students as writers students as readers. When students are expected to engage with each other as readers to a writer, we need to teach and they need to see -themselves in the audience perspective. Using the ideas of the other two considerations (above,) teachers who emphasize the audience and the questions they use with the models find peer review to be more successful. In many ways, the readers become an actor playing the role of the target audience.

Views: 26


You need to be a member of Culver City Times to add comments!

Join Culver City Times

The Culver City Times is the news and social network for Culver City.  Stay informed.  Join now!

      • Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.

For daily updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Latest Activity

Lucy Pollak posted an event

Ashes to Ashes at Odyssey Theatre

December 7, 2017 at 8pm to January 14, 2018 at 2pm
26 minutes ago
Donald Shapiro posted a photo
38 minutes ago
Donald Shapiro posted a photo
James Klein posted a blog post
DojO- posted an event

STIX HOOPER and Viewpoint @ Moss Theater Fri., Nov. 17th, 7:30PM ~ at Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at the Herb Alpert Educational Village at New Roads School

November 17, 2017 from 7:30pm to 10pm
DojO- posted a blog post
Donald Shapiro posted a photo
Nov 11
Lucy Pollak posted an event

The Latina Christmas Special at Los Angeles Theatre Center

November 30, 2017 at 8pm to January 7, 2018 at 3pm
Nov 10

© 2017   Created by Culver City Times.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service