Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Writing Assignment Revolutionary War 11-18-10

1. I will share with students several examples of recent letters to the editor. Include samples from local newspapers and national newspapers.
2. I will explain that newspapers in this country have published written opinions since the American Revolution. These letters or editorials expressed strong and passionate opinions about our country’s fight for independence. Students will be required to  write their own letters to the editor as if they were living during the Revolution. Our letters should express our opinions about how the war is going and a desired outcome. Each letter must make clear:
• where the writer is from—the American colonies or Britain;
• the writer’s sympathies—loyalist (that is, faithful to the crown) or patriot (that is, favoring the American cause)—and support for that position; and
• the newspaper’s sympathies—loyalist or patriot.
3. We will review the fundamentals of writing a letter to an editor (or of writing an editorial):

a) Tell the reader specifically what you are writing in response to—usually, to an article, an editorial, or a column previously published in the newspaper.
b) Announce your position.
c) Give evidence in support of your position, making sure that the details you include are relevant, fair, and reliable.
d) Appeal to both a reader’s logic and a reader’s emotions.
e) Acknowledge that the newspaper and some readers may hold an opinion different from yours. Show why your position is superior to theirs; in other words, show what’s wrong with their position.
f) When appropriate, conclude your letter with a call for action by the readership.
4. We will select an issue appropriate for a 1780 letter to the editor. Possibilities include the following:
• John Paul Jones’s exploits at sea
• Benedict Arnold’s behavior
• Guerilla warfare by patriots in the South
5. After we draft our letters to the editor, we will exchange letters with a partner for peer evaluation. We will check each other’s letters for the following problems:
• Insufficient support
• Unclear organization
• Overstatement or hyperbole (we will talk about this)
• Fallacies of reasoning (such as either-or thinking, red herring, attacking the person instead of the position)
6. We will revise before final copy is turned in