Essay Writing Exercise
In the upper elementary grades and throughout High School and even into college, students are asked to write essays. Some student are able to verbalize what they want to say, but they just cannot seem to put these words onto paper. Some students have trouble verbalizing what they want to say and also have a hard time writing their thoughts.
The purpose of this exercise is to provide guidelines in organizing and completing an essay. At first glance this exercise may not look like a neuro-developmental exercise because of its complexity. What will make it a neuro-developmental exercise is the way it is administered over time. At first, essays should be simple and not very complex. Overtime, the essays should be more difficult and complex. It is recommended that this exercise be performed until the participant is able to formulate their own essay that is of high quality and no longer needs this exercise. The steps of this exercise should be adjusted to the exact needs of the participant over time.
Other skills need to be developed prior to Essay Writing Exercise being used. The participant should have mastery over the other writing exercises in this section. If they do not, work on these other exercises for at least 30 days before attempting this exercise.
The only materials needed for this exercise is a pencil or pen, and ample amounts of papers to write on.
Step by Step Instructions: Essay Writing Exercise.
1. On a piece of paper, write down the title or topic of the essay.
2. Underneath the topic, write down what the participant thinks the teacher wants in this essay. Answer the question: What would make this a good essay? Write down these thoughts.
3. In bullet form, have the participant list what information, they already know about the topic that they feel should be in the essay. For example, if the essay assignment is to write a compare and contrast essay on: Of dogs and cats, which animal is the best pet to have and why? The participant may feel that the teacher wants the pros and cons about dogs and cats and the writer to tell why they prefer one over the other. A good essay would have examples to back up their views. The bullet list might look like this: I have a dog. The dog is loyal, comes when called, loves to play fetch. Cats do not fetch, but they are soft and love to be petted. They are independent. I prefer cats because cats do not bark all night and are more independent than dogs.
4. Next list the things that are unknown that need to be looked up. In the sample above it might be costs, which animal costs the most to take care of; a dog or a cat? How many shots does a dog need versus a cat? What are common problems with dogs and what are common problems with cats?
5. Go to several sources and find out the answers to Step 3 and write down the answers in bullet or short sentence form. In the example above, the sources to the unknown information may be the Internet, a story read in class and a parent. In the example above, the written information may be according to the internet, dogs require two times as many shots as do cats. According to the parent, Dogs as puppies chew up things and take things and hides them, and dig holes while cats tend to ruin furniture by clawing the fabric. The class story may have said that kittens chase string and are fun to watch.
6. Make an outline with the information listed above. Try to use all the information gathered.
7. With the outline complete, now put each point in the form of a well written sentence. Additional sentences and information can be added as well, if it adds to the essay and improves upon it. The finished product should be a well written essay.
8. Check for grammar and spelling. The words that are misspelled can be placed in a list and have the participant use the rebounder exercise to learn the misspelled words. Keep track of the errors in grammar and have the child review these rules often.
9. When the teacher gives back comments about the essay, review the comments with the participant. Review such things as what was right about the essay, what was wrong, what could have been done to make the essay even better. Discuss and ponder the answers to these questions.
10. When the teacher assigns another essay, go through these steps but add on the methods of improvement identified in step 9.
Exercise:Essay Writing Exercise.
Time: 45 minutes and longer depending on the nature of the essay.
Recommended Frequency: every time an essay is assigned. If the student goes several weeks without having to write an essay, the parent should then choose a topic and have the child write the essay according to the above steps.
Materials Needed: A pencil or pen and lots of lined paper. The participant will also need an assignment from the teacher or the parent can invent a topic for an essay.
Pretest Assessment: Teacher reports that the child is performing less than what the teacher feels the child can do. Another source of assessment could be from written profenciency scores on written language achievement tests.
Mastery: the participant is able to write quality essays without relying on these steps. The child is getting As on his/her essays.
Additional comments: At first you may need to do much coaxing and helping them formulate their ideas. As they get better, it is important to lessen your involvement so the child can learn to work independently.
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