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MARCH 2001
Volume 2 Number 3

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Reform Demands on Educators
Bullies: Advice for Teachers
Around the Block With...
Are Black Children Treated Differently?
The Cherub
Brain Awareness Week
Celebrating Dr. Seuss
The Issue of Violence in Our Schools
Rethinking How We Raise Teenagers
Contextual Clarity Before Curricular Concept
Early Mainstreaming for Visually Impaired
How Do You Stop a Bully?
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Is Distance Learning For You?
Short Fiction Paradigm Shift
The Unsinkable Sub
Things I Learned From My Daughter
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Lesson #2133. Plan an Essay

Posted by Kerry LeBlanc, Argyll Home Education Services Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Literature, level: Middle;
Concepts Taught: essay outline, diagramming, mind mapping, planning

This assignment asks you to write the outline of a literary essay which relates a famous quotation to one of the themes from To Kill A Mockingbird.

EVALUATION: This assignment will be marked holistically out of 10. If you wish to receive full marks for your essay outline, make sure you submit responses that:

-follow all steps of the outline/diagram process.
-include discussion of a famour quotation and how it relates to a major theme of the novel.
-include a well thought out thesis statement.
-are edited carefully for logic, spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Total: /10

1) Pretend you have been asked to write a literary essay which relates a famous quotation to one of the themes from To Kill A Mockingbird. To get started, visit these searchable sites to find quotations about the themes below.

Search using the topics given until you find a quote about one of these themes that you agree with and that relates well to the novel.
Themes Sites to Search

2) Make an outline or diagram in order to put your ideas about the topic on paper, in a fairly organized format. Whether you choose to use a cut-and-dried structure of an outline or a more flowing structure, you can always switch later if you see it isn't working for you.

Note: Ordinarily, this outline would lead to the writing of an actual essay, but in this case, you are only expected to do the outline according to the directions given. If you were to write the essay, these are the idea you would need to keep in mind when writing your outline.

-State what you think the quotation means.
-Give your own reasons why the quotation has some truth behind it (use examples/quotatins from the novel to support/exemplify).
-Draw comparisons between specific incidents in the novel and broader themes that illustrate the writer's important beliefs or generalizations about life.
-Look for ideas the author is giving you to think about. Talk about how those ideas could apply to anyone at all. The themes in this book are universal, meaning they are important and relevant to all mankind.

Diagram Method (Flowing)

1. Begin your diagram with a circle (or other shape) or a horizontal line in the middle of the page.

2. Inside the shape or on the line, write your theme and the famous quotation you have found.

3. From your centre shape or line, draw three or four lines out into the page. Be sure to spread them out.

4. At the end of each of these lines, draw another circle (or other shape) or horizontal line.

5. In each shape or on each line, write the main ideas that you have about your topic, or the main points that you want to make. You are trying to persuade, so write your best arguments.

6. From each of your main ideas, draw three or four lines out into the page.

7. At the end of each of these lines, draw another circle (or other shape) or horizontal line.

8. In each shape or on each line, write the facts or information from the story and from your own experience that support that main idea.

Outline Method (Cut-and-Dried)

1. Begin your outline by writing your topic and the famous quotation you have found at the top of the page.

2. Next, write the Roman numerals I, II, and III, spread apart down the left side of the page.

3. Next to each Roman numeral, write the main ideas that you have about your topic, or the main points that you want to make. You are trying to persuade, so you want to write your best arguments.

4. Under each Roman numeral, write A, B, and C down the left side of the page.

5. Next to each letter, write the facts or information from the story and from your own experience that support that main idea.

3) Now that you have decided, at least tentatively, what information you plan to present in your essay, you are ready to write your thesis statement.

A thesis statement is your opinion supported by your essay, which gives fact, example, illustration, etc. from the literature.

The thesis statement tells the reader what the essay will be about, and what point you, the author, will be making. You know what the essay will be about. That was your topic. Now you must look at your outline or diagram and decide what point you will be making. Ask yourself: What can I say about this theme and quotation that I can back up with information and examples from the novel? What do the main ideas and supporting ideas that I listed say about this topic?

A thesis should control the content and the organization of what you write. It gives your view and how you will support that view.
Remember: An essay without a thesis is pointless. You need to have your thesis clearly in your mind before you begin to write.

4) Type the thesis statement that you think you would use as the focus of your essay.


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2154. Six Spectacular Simple Machines (Middle,Science)
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2150. The Bean Trees - Planning an Essay (Senior,Literature)
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2130. Mean, Median, Mode, & Range- The MMMR Rap (Elementary,Mathematics)
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2115. The Mitten, Jan Bret (Elementary,Literature)
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