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									ESSAY MINI-LESSON
Content Standards:
Communication G4S1.a.1,
G4S1.b.1-2
ESSAY MINI-LESSON
Students will learn what is required of them to
pass the GED essay. They will learn how to plan
and organize an essay and look over a sample
essay. They will discuss different types of essays,
and learn transitional words to use when writing
an essay. They will also view the scoring guide
that is used by the essay graders.
FACTS ABOUT THE GED ESSAY:

1.   THE GED ESSAY IS PART OF THE LANGUAGE
     ARTS WRITING TEST. PART 1 IS 50 MULTIPLE
     CHOICE QUESTIONS (75 MINUTES). PART 2 IS
     THE ESSAY (45 MINUTES).
2.    If you complete the essay in less than 45 minutes, you
     will have extra time to complete the multiple choice
     section.
3. The essay is about an issue or a subject of general
   interest. The essay topic will require you to present
   your opinion or explain your views about the assigned
   topic.
4. You have 45 minutes to plan, write, and revise your
   essay. You will be given scratch paper on which you
   may jot notes, outline, and first draft. The answer
   booklet has 2 pages of lined paper on which you will
   write your final essay.
FACTS ABOUT THE GED ESSAY: (CONT’D)
5.   Two trained readers will score your essay on the
     basis of the following features: well-focused main
     points, clear organization, specific development of
     your ideas, and control of sentence structure,
     punctuation, grammar, word choice, and spelling.
6.   Each reader will score your essay on a 4-point scale,
     and the scores will be averaged to find your final
     score. If you earn a final score of less than 2 on the
     essay, you must retake both parts I and II of the
     Language Arts, Writing Test. Also, you must
     write only on the assigned topic; if you don’t, your
     essay will not receive a score. Remember, all
     writers make mistakes. But good writers take the
     time to go over what they have written and correct
     mistakes. Your writing will show your best skills if
     you take the time to plan what you want to say and
     review it to make any needed corrections.
STEPS TO TAKE WHEN WRITING A
GED ESSAY
1. Read the question carefully until you are sure
   that you know what the question asks.
2. Decide what your answer will be.
3. Use your scratch paper to jot down notes, ideas,
   a basic outline, or any other tools that might
   help you plan and organization and content of
   your essay.
4. Check your notes/ideas. Scratch out anything
   that is off topic. To be on topic, everything must
   answer, explain, or support your answer to the
   essay
5. Now organize your notes and ideas. Your essay
   should state your response and then explain
   why you answered the way you did. If you can,
   organize your writing into a five-paragraph
   plan.
STEPS CONT’D.
6. Once you like the look of your plan, expand it
   into an actual essay. Expand it by using
   complete sentences and by adding complete
   explanations that include specific details and
   examples. Be sure that all the details and
   examples you provide in your essay are directly
   relevant to your response to the essay topic. In
   other words, stay on topic!
7. Once you have finished your essay, check for
   errors and make corrections by crossing out
   with a single line and writing the correction
   above the line.
CHECK FOR THE FOLLOWING:
   Is the entire essay on topic?
   Did you write in complete sentences? Every
    sentence should have a subject and verb.
   Make sure your essay is about a page to two
    pages in length. Although there is not a
    mandatory length, too short or way to long is not
    a good thing.
   Check for errors in spelling, punctuation,
    capitalization, and everything else you have
    studied in class.
THE FIVE PARAGRAPH ESSAY
1. First paragraph (Introduction): This
   introductory paragraph must include your
   ANSWER to the question. It’s a great idea to
   include the essay topic/question in your answer.
   For example, if the essay question asks you if
   you prefer to live in the city or the country, you
   could start your essay by writing the following:
   If I had to choose between living in the city or
   the country, I would choose the
   country………..Now add three supporting ideas.
   Again, just list them briefly. This paragraph
   does not have to be too lengthy. Three to four
   sentences would be fine.
2. Second paragraph (body): This paragraph is all
   about the first supporting detail that you
   mentioned in paragraph one. It should be, at
   least 4-5 sentences in length.
THE FIVE PARAGRAPH ESSAY (CONT’D)
1. Third paragraph (body): This paragraph is all
   about the second supporting detail that you
   mentioned in paragraph one. Again, it should
   be, at least, 4-5 sentences in length.
2. Fourth paragraph (body): This paragraph is all
   about the third supporting detail that you
   mentioned in paragraph one. Try to write 4-5
   sentences.
3. Fifth paragraph (conclusion): Your concluding
   paragraph will be very similar to your
   introductory paragraph. Include your answer
   to the question and your 3 supporting ideas.
   This paragraph can be very short.
ESSAY EXAMPLE
Looking for an easy way to figure out the structure
 of an effective essay? Take a look at this.
Essay Topic: Tell about a hobby that you have and
 why it is important to you. Use your personal
 observations, experience, and knowledge to
 support your essay.
               I started collecting teddy bears when I was a
Blue = topic
               little girl. My grandfather bought my first
sentence
               bear for me. Each one reminds me of a
Pink = 1st
               different part of my life. I have passed my
subtopic
               collection on to my daughter. Collecting
Green = 2nd
               teddy bears has really brought out a lot of
subtopic
               joy to my life.
Purple = 3rd
subtopic       My grandfather started my teddy bear
Orange =       collection. He had just returned from Italy
conclusion     with a big red box for me. Inside was a
Black =        beautiful Mohair bear with a pink bow
supporting     around its neck. Since that day, I've added
details        many bears to my collection.
               Each time I look at one, it reminds me of different times in
Blue = topic   my life. I remember a time that my dad spent forty dollars
sentence
               at the fair trying to win me a bear worth about two dollars.
Pink = 1st
subtopic       Every Christmas there was always a teddy bear sitting
Green = 2nd
               under the tree. Collecting bears has also helped to collect
subtopic
Purple = 3rd   memories.
subtopic
Orange =       I have passed my teddy bear collection on to my daughter.
conclusion
               I've also added a few since she was born. I hope they bring
Black =
supporting     her the same happiness they've brought me. When she gets
details
               older, collecting could be something we can share.
               My grandfather had no idea what he started when he
               brought that first bear home. Anytime I'm feeling down, I
               can just pick up a bear and I can be reminded of a happier
               time. I hope that someday my daughter will pass them on
               to her own daughter as I have passed them to her.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ESSAY
QUESTIONS AND HOW TO ANSWER
THEM
1. WHY: explain with 3 reasons
2. HOW: explain 3 ways how something can be
   done
3. WHY and HOW: Make sure you include both
   reasons why and ways it can be done. You may
   want to just include 2 longer paragraphs in the
   body of this essay. That would make this one a
   4 paragraph essay (introduction, why
   paragraph, how paragraph, conclusion).
4. COMPARE AND CONTRAST: You are
   comparing and contrasting two things. Again,
   this is better to answer in 4 paragraphs
   (introduction, paragraph explaining the
   similarities, paragraph explaining the
   differences, conclusion).
5. CAUSES: Explain three things that might
   cause something to happen.
6. EFFECT: Explain three results of something
   that has happened.
7. LIST AND GIVE EXAMPLES: Provide three
   items in your explanation. Then in the body of
   the essay list again the three items, and give
   several examples of each of these items.
TRANSITIONS
   Transitions are signals that help readers follow the
    direction of the writer’s thoughts. They are like
    signposts on the road that guide travelers. Here are
    examples of some common transitional words or
    phrases, grouped according to the kid of signal they
    give to the readers.
   ADDITION SIGNALS: first of all, for one thing,
    second, the third reason, also, next, another, and, in
    addition, moreover, furthermore, finally, last of all
   TIME SIGNALS: first, then, next, after, as before,
    while, meanwhile, now, during, finally
   SPACE SIGNALS: next to, across, on the opposite
    side, to the left, to the right, in front, in back, above,
    below, behind, nearby
TRANSITIONS (CONT’D)

 CHANGE OF DIRECTION SIGNALS: but,
  however, yet, in contrast, otherwise, still, on the
  contrary, on the other hand
 ILLUSTRATION SIGNALS: for example, for
  instance, specifically, as an illustration, once,
  such as
 CONCLUSION SIGNALS: therefore,
  consequently, thus, then, as a result, in
  summary, to conclude, last of all, finally
   SCORING GUIDE
                         1                 2                3                        4
                    Inadequate         Marginal       Adequate                   Effective
                  Reader has                                                Reader
                                 Reader
                  difficulty                                                understands
                                 occasionally has
                  identifying or                  Reader                    and easily
                                 difficulty
                  following the                   understands the           follows the
                                 understanding or
                  writer’s                        writer's ideas            writer's
                                 following the
                  ideas.                                                    expression of
                                 writer's ideas
                                                                            ideas
                  Attempts to
                  address the                                               Presents a clearly
                                   Addresses the
                  question but                          Uses the question focused main
Response to the                    question, though the
                  with little or                        to establish a main idea that
Question                           focus of the essay
                  no success in                         idea                addresses the
                                   may shift
                  establishing a                                            question
                  focus
                      1               2                   3                   4
                  Inadequate       Marginal            Adequate           Effective
                                                   Uses an
                  Fails to     Shows some                               Establishes a
                                                   identifiable
Organization      organize     evidence of an                           clear and logical
                                                   organizational
                  ideas        organizational plan                      organization
                                                   plan


                Demonstrates
                little or no  Has some                                  Achieves
                                                    Has focused but
                development; development but                            coherent
                                                    occasionally
                usually lacks lacks specific                            development
Development and                                     uneven
                details or    details; may be                           with specific
Details                                             development;
                examples or limited to a listing,                       and relevant
                                                    incorporates some
                presents      repetitions, or                           details and
                                                    specific detail
                irrelevant    generalizations                           examples
                information
                        1                 2                   3                   4
                   Inadequate        Marginal             Adequate           Effective
                 Exhibits
                 minimal or no
                 control of
                                Demonstrates                             Consistently
                 sentence                            Generally controls
                                inconsistent control                     controls sentence
Conventions of   structure and                       sentence structure
                                of sentence                              structure and the
EAE              the                                 and the conventions
                                structure and the                        conventions of
                 conventions of                      of EAE
                                conventions of EAE                       EAE
                 Edited
                 American
                 English (EAE)
                                Exhibits a narrow
                 Exhibits weak range of word
                                                     Exhibits            Exhibits varied
                 and/or         choice, often
Word Choice                                          appropriate word and precise word
                 inappropriate including
                                                     choice              choice
                 words          inappropriate
                                selections
 ADDITIONAL ESSAY TOPICS IN
  CLASSROOM BOOKS
 G-6: pages 305-306, H-1 pages 363-364, H-2 page
  123

								
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