View Full Version : Trouble writing Essays? Try This!


ADD_Pyrate_Gurl
11-18-07, 07:35 PM
For me, writing the essay wasn't so hard, it was more about how to structure the essay and how to organize my thoughts onto paper. Once I started writing (or typing rather) the ideas just started flowing.

When I was a sophomore in High School, they introduced a new way of structuring paragraphs called 'Chunk Paragraphing'. It could be a 1 chunk, 2 chunk or 3 chunk paragraph.

1 chunk paragraph

1) Topic Sentence (TS) - Introduce the topic. Your first sentence.
2) Concrete Detail (CD) - A fact from the story, or the research you have done, like a quote.
3) Commentary (C) - Your thoughts about the CD.
4) Commentary (C) - Your thoughts about the CD.
5) Concluding Sentence (CS) - A final thought to wrap up the paragraph.

(chunk = Concrete Detail + 2 Commentaries)

1 Chunk Paragraph Example:

'Black Bart' Bartholomew Roberts was one of the most successful pirates in the Golden Age of Piracy, having captured 400 ships and thousands of pounds of treasure and cargo. Roberts created what is now known as the Pirate's Code, a list of articles, or rules, that promoted fairness and equality on board his ship. It could be said that the ideas of democracy could be traced back to the Pirate's Code. Without the Pirate's Code, America might not have become the democracy we know it as today. I believe even though pirates were blood thirsty killers, they did bring about the start of democracy and equality for all.

For a 2 or 3 chunk paragraph you simply add in more concrete details and commentaries to the paragraph.

2 chunk paragraph

1) Topic Sentence
2) Concrete Detail
3) Commentary
4) Commentary
5) Concrete Detail
6) Commentary
7) Commentary
8) Concluding Sentence

3 chunk paragraph

1) Topic Sentence
2) Concrete Detail
3) Commentary
4) Commentary
5) Concrete Detail
6) Commentary
7) Commentary
8) Concrete Detail
9) Commentary
10) Commentary
11) Concluding Sentance

When this was first introduced to me, I found it very difficult to write this way. My English teacher had to stay after school with me to help me learn it. But now that I know it, and I am faced with writing an essay, if I'm struggling, I go back to that format to help me get started. Hopefully it will help you if you're struggling.

QueensU_girl
11-19-07, 10:27 PM
Have you looked at MINDMAPS or Concept Mapping?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map

FrazzleDazzle
11-19-07, 10:35 PM
This kind of looks like the Shaffer (Sp) method my son brings home from school. IT truly does make writing a lot easier to chunk it like this and format is all outlined.

ADD_Pyrate_Gurl
11-20-07, 01:36 AM
Have you looked at MINDMAPS or Concept Mapping?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
We called them Brainstorming bubbles or something like that... I HATED it... I couldn't organize my thoughts that way. It didn't make sense to me.

amcormon
11-21-07, 02:03 PM
I'm trying to show this to my daughter, but she's resisting. She insists she doesn't need help, but she spends hours writing one paragraph (and that's not an exageration, but she does often end up chatting rather than writing).

Also, she's not willing to work on the technique, or any technique, until she actually is at the last minute for an assignment so she's too stressed out to learn or practice something new.

It's frustrating for both of us.

ADD_Pyrate_Gurl
11-21-07, 07:12 PM
I don't know if it's the same for all ADD kids, but I know for me, I was very resistant to change. If I didn't do whatever the assignment was, exactly like the teacher's example, then I thought it was wrong.

Like, I was struggling in math when I was in middle school, so my dad tried to teach me a trick for numbers that end in 0 when multiplying. Normally it looks like this:

...100
x 12
--------
....200
+1000
---------
..1200

My dad tried to show me how do to do it like this:

....100
x 12
-----------
...1200

He tried to explain if you just drop the zeros then multiply the other numbers, you get the same answer with less work, but because it wasn't the way the teacher taught it, it was wrong. Eventually I did accept his method and it does work and I use it now, but when he first tried to teach it to me I resisted.

Maybe sit down with her when you're both calm and open a discussion with her about the length of time it takes for her to do her homework, ask questions like, "How long does it normally take for you to get your homework done?" and "Wouldn't you rather get it done sooner than that so you have the time to chat with your friends?" Ask her if she'd like to be able to write a paper in half the time she normally does. Most likely she is frustrated with the amount of time it takes her to do her homework and because she struggles with writing, after an hour of struggling, she's ready to give up.

It took me three.. sometimes four hours to write one paper (usually around 7-10 paragraphs). I had to find techniques that worked for me. Before chunk paragraphing, I would talk it out with my mom. I'm much better at speaking than writing, so I'd tell my mom I needed to bounce ideas off her and once I was able to verbalize my thoughts, I was able to write them out. Once I had techniques in place that worked for me, it only took me an hour or two to write it out. The hardest part for me was getting started.

A lot of times, kids just don't want to listen to their parents even if their parents are right or have good ideas to help them succeed. If you want, I could talk with her about it. If she has an account here, or if not, let her use your's, have her send me a PM. She probably thinks "you just don't understand her" (I'm sure if you had a nickle for every time you have heard that phrase you'd be rich by now lol.) Let her know that you do understand and that there are people out in the world that struggle with the same things as she is.

amcormon
11-21-07, 10:14 PM
Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement, Pyrate. I've mentioned this forum to her, just as a casual thing, and said there were other people her age she might find interesting. I'd like her to get her own account, not because I don't want her to use mine, but just because I think she'd be more open if she was herself, so to speak.

I'll mention your offer to her - thanks.

ADD_Pyrate_Gurl
11-22-07, 07:25 AM
To quote one of my mon's favorite sayings, "Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt, then sold it on E-Bay." LoL. Writing essays was what got me bad grades in English, so I know what it's like to struggle... same with most of my classes. I'm not in school right now, but I am hoping to go back as soon as I can get the funds together, apply, get accepted and find a place to live (that allows kitties) in Utah. lol.

Kimmy
11-27-07, 05:03 AM
i would do the brainstorming bubbles but differently...
im gonna paintshop one real quick...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v92/kimmydukes/example.jpg

and you would just keep going and going and going

aloha1983
03-07-08, 11:14 PM
This is good.

I work as an English tutor and normally for essays I help them structure a plan like this:


INTRO:
State what you are going to achieve in the article, and how you are going to do it (this gives the teacher cues as to what is going to come... we love that!)

EG. The current professional women's volleyball uniforms are both unpractical and degrading to women. This essay will explore the reasons why this is so, and offer a suggestion for improvements. (This was for a student's HPE essay)

BODY

Go into each detail, eg:

PARAGRAPH 1
Topic sentence: Firstly, the uniforms are unpractical.
Supporting evidence/fact 1: They ride up all the time
SE2: They don't protect the athlete's bodies from the sun.
SE3: "
Concluding statement.

PARAGRAPH 2: Secondly, the uniforms are degrading to women.
SE1: They show a LOT of flesh.
SE2: Takes the focus off the level of sporting ability.
SE3: They make women feel self conscious (especially as cameras etc are around).

PARAGRAPH 3: Suggestions for improvement- eg. have different uniforms and players pick.
Seek player input, etc.

CONCLUSION
Summarise the above
Restate the introduction.
Finish strongly.

Hope this is of assistance!

patrickculverto
10-28-09, 06:35 AM
Thanks for your share, Pyrate. I've talked about this forum to her, just as a normal chitchat, and told her there were other people same at her age and might find interesting. I'd like her to get her own account, not because I don't want her to use mine, but just because I think she'd be more open if she was herself, so to speak.

I'll mention your offer to her - thanks.

abbymoss
04-01-11, 02:23 AM
I really hate writing essays. But very challenging.

Saito
04-01-11, 08:18 AM
I wrote an Essay debating the actual usefulness of essays in general once >_>

Did get an A+ for it though :P

PixiePlumber
04-01-11, 11:39 AM
Hopefully soon I shall have this program called Inspiration. I was shown it by the man who did my needs assessment a while ago (so should have had some contact from student finance about it... grrrr) and my mind was blown

I am a secret perfectionist. What makes me happiest is having everything laid out perfectly and I'm not very good at that. I like lists as they can just be shoved one after another and needn't be in a correct order. I also like sticky notes and white boards as it it easy to rearrange them in the places I need them. Charts and mind maps and stuff like that drive me insane, I just can't lay them out right.

But this program was way more than that. It not only allowed you to edit stages but you could add notes to each part then once you were done you could rearrange them as you like and transfer it into microsoft word!!! Then all you'd have to do is double check it fitted well then take out the titles.

I had a play around with it on the assistive technology computers (only people with learning difficulties get to use them, and unlike the regular computers there's always one free even at peak times!!) and I planned an essay

This can be encorporated even without the program though. I picked out 5 or 6 points to discuss. I used things like definitions in the question (mine being stuff like "contract law" or "what distinguishes a business from a consumer" etc) and then a few answering the question, and a conclusion. Then I split it up again and again until I had a big selection of questions that only needed short paragraphs to answer. I had about 20 in total at least, maybe up to 25. But this got me through my big coursework for a subject I dislike (I even had to cut it down as I went over the word count!)

And I'm terrible with essay structure. I'll have to give an update on my mark but essays are my main flaw with my work apart from my attention span and concentration....

abbymoss
04-04-11, 01:33 AM
Hopefully soon I shall have this program called Inspiration. I was shown it by the man who did my needs assessment a while ago (so should have had some contact from student finance about it... grrrr) and my mind was blown

I am a secret perfectionist. What makes me happiest is having everything laid out perfectly and I'm not very good at that. I like lists as they can just be shoved one after another and needn't be in a correct order. I also like sticky notes and white boards as it it easy to rearrange them in the places I need them. Charts and mind maps and stuff like that drive me insane, I just can't lay them out right.

But this program was way more than that. It not only allowed you to edit stages but you could add notes to each part then once you were done you could rearrange them as you like and transfer it into microsoft word!!! Then all you'd have to do is double check it fitted well then take out the titles.

I had a play around with it on the assistive technology computers (only people with learning difficulties get to use them, and unlike the regular computers there's always one free even at peak times!!) and I planned an essay

This can be encorporated even without the program though. I picked out 5 or 6 points to discuss. I used things like definitions in the question (mine being stuff like "contract law" or "what distinguishes a business from a consumer" etc) and then a few answering the question, and a conclusion. Then I split it up again and again until I had a big selection of questions that only needed short paragraphs to answer. I had about 20 in total at least, maybe up to 25. But this got me through my big coursework for a subject I dislike (I even had to cut it down as I went over the word count!)

And I'm terrible with essay structure. I'll have to give an update on my mark but essays are my main flaw with my work apart from my attention span and concentration....

I hope you can make it very soon!