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The Line Between Us

Your name:

Person who wrote essay:

Basic Essay checklist
Part One:

For each of the following categories, put a check in the space provided — but only if you believe that the essay is successful. Put a zero if you feel the essay has not yet succeeded in that category.

_____ Clever, inviting title

_____ Engaging, imaginative introduction

_____ Important, clear thesis. Write it here:

_____ Different kinds of evidence, and sufficient evidence, to support the thesis (e.g., quotes from films, quotes from articles, examples from their own life, examples from history, from contemporary society, etc.) Is it convincing?

_____ At least two quotes used as evidence. Name the source of each quote:

_____ At least one source the person found on his/ her own. Name the source(s):

_____ Strong conclusion

_____ At least two pages

_____ typed or in ink, legibly written or printed

_____ No major errors of punctuation, grammar, spelling, paragraphing

Part Two:

            Write the person who wrote the essay a "Dear _____" letter telling the writer your thoughts on his or her paper. Include at least one paragraph on what you liked about the essay. Be very specific in terms of ideas, quotes they selected, the introduction, the "voice," etc.

            Include at least one paragraph raising questions for them to think about or including suggestions for how the essay could be strengthened. Explain any zeroes you put on the checklist.

Sample peer edit letter from earlier essay

Dear Anna,

            Your title really caught my attention: "Television: Cultural Nerve Gas." That was powerful. Your introduction also was very inviting. I liked the fact that you opened with a story. It was unusual, funny, but also showed really clearly how television could become a problem for indigenous people in Alaska. I liked the fact that you used so many quotes of Inuit and Dene people talking about the effect of TV on their communities. It made me feel like it wasn't just your "opinion," because you offered so much evidence in their own words. Your conclusion was brilliant. You brought it right back to that guy in the community who had the first television — the one you talked about in your introduction. Opening and closing with the same person made the essay feel complete, like you kind of tied it all together.

            You noticed that I put a zero next to the punctuation errors part on the checklist. I have one word for you, girl: spell-check. Seriously, it's not that bad, but there are a lot of misspelled words in the essay. There are places where I found it kind of distracting. One thing I'd like you to think about is whether or not your paper is too negative. You don't say anything good about television in these communities. In some ways it makes the people look stupid. You have all these people getting TVs and all these quotes from people saying how bad TV is. We don't hear anything from the people who are watching these TVs. Know what I mean? Maybe you could just say somewhere that television does break the boredom of life in small towns, the long winter nights, etc. Don't get me wrong. Your quotes convinced me, and I think you proved your thesis. I just wondered if there wasn't more to the story.

            So even though I gave you a zero next to spelling, I thought it was great. It sounded like you and you obviously put a lot of work into it.

 

Spring 2006