Essay #2: The Secret to Academic Success
Rationale for Assignment: An important college skill is being able to read and understand other people’s ideas. When you write about what you read, you are basically explaining to the reader, “This is what I read and learned; this is what I understand about the topic.”
This paper assignment asks you to explain an important idea in one of the articles we have read, and to illustrate that idea with examples (either from your own experiences or from one of the course readings or videos we studied together in class such as The Bad Kids documentary, Junot Diaz’ “Becoming a Writer” or Sherman Alexie’s “Superman and Me,” depending on which prompt you select). You may also include examples from other sources we reviewed in class to show the author’s ideas. Be sure to properly cite all paraphrases and quotations from the readings.
This assignment also asks you to present your own thinking about the author’s ideas. You might agree with the author and give new evidence to support the ideas in the reading; you might disagree with the author and give examples to show why the ideas in the reading are not always correct; or you might have different ideas from the author that are supported by examples or evidence.
Assignment: Pick one (1) of the following prompts to write about:
Option 1-Text-to-Self: In what ways do your own life experiences support and/or refute one or more theories we’ve learned this week about student learning, motivation, and success? Make an argument and present a specific point of view.
- Your first paragraph (called an introduction) should include a thesis—a concise statement where you answer the questions above and let your reader know what to expect as the paper unfolds.
- Your body paragraphs should provide evidence for your argument, focusing on specific personal educational experiences.
- Stronger papers will also include details—quotes—from Dweck or Koval and Thaller’s essay as support.
- 3-4 pages in length
- MLA format (1 inch margins, double-spaced, typed in Times New Roman or Calibre font)
Grading: This essay is worth 100 points. Your essay should meet the following goals:
- The essay addresses the assignment topic (student learning, motivation and success).
- The essay has a main point (or thesis) about the topic (How does your or Sherman/Junot/Joey/Jennifer/Lee’s experiences support and/or refute one or more theories we’ve learned this week about student learning, motivation, and success?)
- The essay begins with an introduction that presents the thesis and main ideas
- The essay has a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the paper and explains why they are important.
- Each paragraph is organized around a central idea. (The paragraph should stay on one single topic, not stray to multiple topics).
- Paragraphs include concrete details to support the thesis and paragraph topic sentence. (These details could include personal experience or quotations, paraphrases or examples from any of the course readings or videos we reviewed in class.
- At least one body paragraph needs to include a quote (that is placed in your essay using the “quote sandwich method” and includes an in-text citation)
- Sentences are generally clear and early to follow. Student is beginning to apply principles of sentence combining.
- The essay has a title that reflects the specific topic and main point of your essay, not the generic topic for the assignment (NOT “Student Motivation”)
- The essay reflects proofreading (lacks typos, missing words, etc.)
- The essay includes a works cited page