Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Self- and Peer-Assessment of Your William Golding letter

Lord of the Flies Expository Letter Writing Assignment

Imagine that you are William Golding. From his point of view write a letter to the students of Gloucester High School explaining how the character(s) you have focused on (Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, Roger, Sam and Eric, the littluns, etc.) and the visual motif you have focused on (the island, shell, glasses, fire, rocks, pigs, the beast, the boys’ appearance, etc.) contribute to the meaning of the novel. You will write a single letter that will explain the significance of both the character and the motif. Circle the character and visual motif you have written about.
Self/Peer Assessment: I expect that you self-assess your letter and that you have a classmate peer-assess the letter. The revision history and comments in Google Docs will provide evidence of the self- and peer-assessment. (For peer-assessment share the document with a peer.)
Introduction. (The purpose of the introduction is to engage the reader with a big idea essential to the thesis and to let the reader know what the letter will be about.)

Find and comment on the opening big idea (also known as a theme or exploration of a question) relevant to the novel and to the world beyond the novel that leads into the rest of the essay.  (This opening big idea might include information about Golding’s life (World War II and/or teaching). It might also include your essential question. Give yourself and a peer feedback on this opening. How engaging is it? How relevant is it?
Find and comment on the transition between the big idea and the thesis.  Give your peer feedback on this transition.
Find and comment on the thesis statement or statements. This thesis is a clear, bold, insightful, nuanced, precise response to the prompt: How does Golding use a particular character and a particular motif (or symbol) to develop a theme (or meaning or a big idea or a response to an essential question)? There might be separate statements about the character and the motif , there might be a single statement involving both. Give yourself and a peer  feedback on this thesis. How clear is the thesis? How nuanced, insightful, and precise?  
In your draft the big idea, transition, and both parts of the thesis should be labeled and annotated.   
Body Paragraphs. (The purpose of a body paragraph is to develop and support a part of the thesis.)
Figure out and comment on the organization of the paragraphs. (Is there a big lump of a paragraph about the character, followed by another big lump about the motif? Is Golding’s use of the character developed in a series of chronological paragraphs, followed by another series of another series of chronological paragraphs about the motif? Is the development of the character and motif blended together into a series of chronological paragraphs? Or, is there another organizational system at work.)
Identify and comment on the transitions between paragraphs.
Identify and comment on the statement at the beginning or near the beginning of each paragraph that indicates exactly what part of the thesis that paragraph will develop.  These statements are called “topic sentences” or “mini-theses” or “body points”. Is the topic sentence clear, nuanced, insightful, precise? In the rest of the paragraph has the writer kept the promise made in the topic sentence/mini-thesis/body point? Give yourself and a  peer feedback on the topic sentences/mini-theses/body points.  
Within each paragraph you need supporting evidence (including direct quotations) to illustrate how Golding uses the character and motif to develop a theme. Identify and comment on the supporting evidence. Is the evidence specific? Is it relevant? Is it thorough—or has the writer neglected significant, relevant parts of the text? Is the evidence integrated into the writer’s own sentences or is there an over-reliance on block quoting? Mark the evidence. Comment as necessary. Give yourself and your  peer feedback on the evidence.  
Development: Here is the heart of this writing task. You need to explain clearly and convincingly how the evidence supports your thesis. Identify and comment on the explanations. Is each piece of supporting evidence connected to the thesis? Is each explanation clear? Is each explanation focused on supporting and developing the thesis? Is each explanation accurate? Is each explanation thoroughly developed? Is each explanation convincingly developed? Is each explanation nuanced? Mark the explanation. Comment as necessary. Give yourself and you  peer feedback on the explanation.  
Notes on advanced writing:
Has the writer shown that changes in the character and changes in the motif/symbol contribute to the development of the theme/idea/response to the question? Or, has the writer treated the character and motif/symbol as static? If you're unsure look at the evidence. Is it all from one part of the book? Is it organized chronologically to show change and development as the book progresses?]

Has the writer explained nuances by looking closely at particular language choices in key passages? (Ralph "cradles" the shell as a father cradles a vulnerable child; Ralph's child, the democratic order, is near death, and Ralph, no longer the childish optimist of the first two chapters, wants to prevent its death.) Or, has the writer relied exclusively on broad, general statements about the character and/or motif? (E.g. The conch shell represents order and here is a quotation that shows that the conch shell represents order.)

Conclusion. (The purpose of the conclusion is to drive home the point of the letter and to drive home the significance of that point.) Find and comment on the conclusion. Does the writer return to the letter’s central thesis? Does the letter return to the fundamental, essential big idea, which is important both within the novel and beyond the novel? Have you skillfully woven the big idea together with your thesis? Mark where you see the big idea and the thesis in the conclusion. Comment as necessary. Give yourself and your peer feedback on the conclusion.  
Style. Comment on the letter’s style. Has the writer created logical transitions between the paragraphs? Has the writer written in first person from William Golding’s point of view? Has the writer tried to incorporate elements of William Golding’s writing style (varied sentence structure, formal word choices, somber tone)? Comment on the particular elements  Has the writer incorporated elements of William Golding’s experiences? What words has the writer used from the Lord of the Flies vocabulary list? Self: Comment as necessary. Peer: Give your peer feedback on the style.  
English Language and Letter Writing Conventions. Comment on the writer’s use of conventions. Does the letter have any run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, or homophone errors? Where? Does the letter include an appropriate opening salutation and an appropriate closing? Find and comment.  Does the letter use appropriate letter writing spacing? (Do you think an informal or business format is more appropriate?)  Does the letter use appropriate quotation conventions? Does the letter observe other capitalization, punctuation, usage, and grammar conventions? Ask questions if you have them. Self: Edit as necessary. Peer: Give your peer feedback on the use of conventions.  
Look over the self and peer assessment comments.
Read the essay aloud using a one-foot voice.
Revise and proofread your letter accordingly. (The letter should embody the best writing you are currently capable of producing.)

A final draft is due by class time Friday, January 24. (If this presents a problem email me immediately.)
Turn in a hard copy of the final draft.
You can show the self- and peer-assessment either in the shared document or by handing in a hard coy.

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