Improve essay writing for the TJ admissions exam, the SSAT and ISEE, and school projects.
Lesson 1 – Introductions that Get Attention
We will begin with a discussion of common essay writing mistakes. Many of these are aimed specifically at essays written for TJ. The primary concentration during this class will be on ways to write effective introductions. The lead is the most important and often most difficult part of the essay as it must grab the reader’s attention, as well as provide a clear thesis statement. A short writing exercise will follow this discussion to give students practice in writing different types of introductions for the same essay prompt.
Lessons 2 and 3 – The Heart of the Essay
These sessions begin with a critical look at mistakes made on previous essays. We will then concentrate on ways to provide support for the thesis by considering known facts, personal experiences, and/or other examples, as appropriate, in response to a variety of prompts. The importance of individuality (whatever it is that makes a writer unique) will also be stressed, and we will look at ways to effectively use personal experience to strengthen or support an opinion.
Lesson 4 – The Final Analysis: How to Sum Up
This final session will bring it all together. A review of the introduction and body/support of the essay will be followed by a discussion of the variety of ways to write strong conclusions that strengthen and support the thesis.
- Students will write one timed (30 minutes) essay at each session to be scored and returned at the following class.
- Homework – students will be expected to revise essays according to reader corrections and comments and complete short (10-15 minutes) writing exercises during the week between sessions.
- All students will be given personal workshop folders at the first class for handouts, essays, revisions, exercises, notes, etc. They should bring the folder to each session.
- Students should bring a laptop to class for in-class assignments. If this is not possible contact Dalby to discuss that limitation before you sign up.
About: Katie Fawcett has tutored students in the Vienna area for several years, specifically in essay writing for the Thomas Jefferson High School admissions test, the SAT, and college admissions applications. She spent ten years in the World Bank’s Publishing Department, did social work in Appalachia, and wrote ads for Peace Corps and VISTA. She has published personal essays and articles in a number of magazines. In February 2010 her middle-grade novel, To Come and Go Like Magic, was published by Knopf Borzoi Books, an imprint of Random House. It was a Parents’ Choice Recommended Book, listed by the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee as one of the Best Children’s Books of the Year, featured in the Weekly Reader’s READ magazine, selected for Battle of the Books 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and winner of the Evelyn Thurman Award for Best Young Reader’s Book of 2011. Mrs. Fawcett also volunteered in Fairfax County Schools for thirteen years in a variety of activities from teaching hands-on science enrichment classes to managing publicity for high-school theater. You can reach Ms. Fawcett by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 703-442-3833.