"the cahsee writing prompt051106"
THE CAHSEE WRITING PROMPT When you take the English Language Arts section of the CAHSEE, you will be asked to write an essay. You may be asked to write in response to a work of literature or a work of non-fiction; you may be asked to write an expository or persuasive essay or a business letter. Your writing task will be presented to you in the form of a prompt. The purpose of this prompt is to provide you with a topic, and to stimulate your thinking about that topic. The prompt also lets you know what is expected of your essay: a clear thesis or main idea, supported with specific examples, details, and reasons. When you read a prompt, you should be able to identify four parts: Part 1: SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT The prompt may make a statement or describe a situation or conflict between characters in a story. It may simply lay out two sides of an argument. Part 2: RESPOND The prompt tells you what to respond to in your writing and asks questions. You must make sure you respond to these questions in your essay. Part 3: DIRECTIONS The prompt tells you how to answer the questions. It may instruct you to use details and examples or it may tell you what points to cover. Part 4: CHECKLIST The checklist gives you a list of basics to keep in mind as you write your essay: understand what you read answer the questions as directed and observe appropriate sentence, paragraph and essay structure. 1 After reading “The Hiking Trip”, consider the following CAHSEE prompt: CAHSEE Sample Writing Task: Response to Literature Part 1: The prompt makes a statement: In the story “The Hiking Trip” the reader learns The purpose of this part of the prompt is to stimulate about the main character, Jeff. Jeff’s personality your thinking about what you learned about Jeff’s and emotions are revealed through the actions personality from what he says and what he does. and dialog presented in the story. Write an essay in which you describe the personality and emotions of Jeff, the main Part 2: The prompt tells you what to respond to in character. How do his personal characteristics your essay: add to the events of the story? How does the This part of the prompt tells you that your essay is going to be about Jeff’s personality and emotions. author reveal the information about Jeff in the You will accomplish this by answering the two story? questions. You cannot write an acceptable essay until you answer these questions. Part 3: The prompt directs us on how to go about Use details and examples from the story to answering these questions: The purpose of this part of the prompt is to stimulate support your ideas. your thinking about what you learned about Jeff’s personality from what he says and what he does. Checklist for Your Writing Prompt: The following checklist will help you do your best work. Make sure you: • Carefully read the passage and the description of the task • Organize your writing with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion • Use specific details and examples from the passage to demonstrate your understanding Part 4: You will have a checklist to help you remember of the main ideas and the author’s purpose. all the basics of a good essay. • Use precise language that is appropriate for you audience and purpose. • Vary your sentences to make your writing interesting to read. • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation. 2 TIPS FOR ATTACKING THE CAHSEE PROMPT 1. Use your pencil. Underline the most important parts of the prompt: the part that tells you what to respond to, and how to do it. 2. If you are responding to a story, go back over the text. Use your pencil to underline dialog and details to support your response. 3. Use the ideas you have underlined to brainstorm and cluster ideas for your essay. JEFF’S PERSONALITY How does it add to the story? How does the author show us? He’s scared “Can’t stop…Mark’s in big trouble.” He finds the courage to climb the mountain He didn’t want to go on the trip 3