Writing Log Entries

WLE #1: Encounters with the Written Word

(Prewriting for Essay #1)

Homework Entry
First take a look at the assignment for Essay #1 and make sure you understand it. Writing log entries are steps in the process of writing essays. Both WLE #1 and WLE #2 are prewriting stages to help you gather and reflect on ideas before you set about to write Essay #1, so keep this in mind as you complete these two WLEs.

  • Please list your memorable encounters with reading. My own list will include the summer I couldn’t work during which I read 50 books and decided I wanted to be a Literature Professor, the day I stayed up for 34 hours because I just couldn’t stop reading Moby-Dick, and Adrienne Rich finally showed me how to love poetry. What novels, stories, comic books, scripts, poems, and letters have you read? Which are important, memorable? Why?
  • Please list your memorable encounters with writing. My own list includes the short story about the Pike Place Market Wishing Pig I wrote in 5th grade that received honorable mention in a state writing contest, the two months I spent when I was 15 editing a memoir my aunt wrote about our Rogue River Rafting Trip, and how I discovered the joy letting myself become completely unravelled by overly ambitious research papers in graduate school. What essays, letters, stories, and applications have you written? Which are memorable? Why?

WLE #2: The Examined LIfe

(Prewriting for Essay #1)
Part I (In Class)
After looking over the assignment for Essay #1, go back to WLE #1 and choose what you consider to be your strongest topic to write about for Essay #1. Then answer as many of the following questions as are applicable to that topic.
  • To whom else will this incident matter? Is there an audience for this piece beyond you and those duty bound to love you? Who would find a lesson, enlightenment, or validation in it? Who would get into it?
  • How old were you when this happened? How does your age affect the story? Does your age matter to the telling? Why or why not?
  • What else was happening at the time?
  • Why have you selected this moment over the other moments you listed? Why have you chosen this story and not another?
  • Where were you when this incident happened?
  • Would anyone else know about this moment? What might they think?
  • Is there someone who should know about this moment?

Part II (Homework Entry Portion)

Write as much as you can about the incident you've selected for your Literacy Snapshot.

WLE #3: Writing a Descriptive Essay

(Prewriting for Essay #2)
After you have looked at and chosen an assignment options for Essay #2 complete the “Description: Planning Think Sheet”
· Before you can write your essay, you need to do some pre-writing to get your ideas on paper. There are many different ways to do pre-writing, and different ways work better for different people or different writing assignments.
· The Planning Think Sheet will guide you through the process of choosing a topic and generating ideas that you might want to use in your essay. First, write your name at the top of the Think Sheet. Then, write the topic of your essay that you chose from the Essay #2 Assignment Options.
· Planning Step 1: Your Purpose
The first question on the Planning Think Sheet is "What is my purpose for writing this essay?" It will be much easier for you to write your essay if you have an idea of why you are writing it and what you want to accomplish. Your purpose may change as you go through the writing process, but you should write down what you think your purpose is now to get started.

· Planning Step 2: Choosing Pre-Writing Techniques
The next step is to think about which pre-writing techniques will best help you to generate ideas for your topic. Mark the techniques you plan to use on your Think Sheet by underlining, circling, highlighting, or marking in some other way.

· Planning Step 3: Pre-Writing
Now that you have decided on a pre-writing technique (or more than one), it is time to actually do your pre-writing. This is your opportunity to put your ideas on paper to see what you know about your topic. Remember the most important rule of pre-writing--don't worry about grammar, spelling, correctness, or the difference between good and bad ideas!

· Planning Step 4: Adding Sensory Detail
Once you have generated some ideas for your descriptive essay, it is a good idea to think of sensory details that you can add to your description. something, would focus mostly on things they can see.

· Fill out the chart on your Planning Think Sheet for sensory details about the person, place, object, or animal that you are describing in your essay.

WLE #4: Planning the Descriptive Essay

(Prewriting for Essay #2)
In Class Entry:
· Take out the planning work you have done so far for paper #2. Now start to imagine that you need to put the essay together. Look at the planning and outlining handouts that have been distributed. How might you be able to arrange the observations you have made? Spatially, temporally, by sensory details? Devise a plan for your essay.
· You may also want to take this time to compose an introduction that really pops or grabs your reader’s attention.
· When you are satisfied (or stuck), exchange papers with your group members and help one another out.

WLE #5: Wiki Project Phase 1

(Prewriting for Essay #3)
Homework Entry
  • Please identify three or four terms you are considering as the topic of your definition essay Next, do a little online research to determine the terms’ viability. What do you find on Google? How many newspaper / journal / magazine articles have been devoted (at least partially) to the terms? Can you find images, movies, songs that address the terms. Please be absolutely sure to check our library databases for articles, too (a vital step in this process).
    NOTE: Instructions for checking library databases will follow.
  • For each of the terms you’re considering, please write about 200 words on your discoveries and on each term’s viability. Which will you select?

WLE #6: Prewriting the Definition Essay

(Prewriting for Essay #3)
In-Class Entry
Part I: Answer the Following Questions:
  • Why did you select your word in the first place?
  • What do you know now about your word--now that you've completed your wiki page--that you didn't know or realize or understand when you first selected it?
  • Who needs to know about your word? Why?
  • In which magazine or newspaper can you imagine your essay getting published? Why?
  • Does your word affect the way people act? How and why?
  • Should people use your word more often? less often? Why?
· Has the definition of your word changed over time? How is that change important? Is that change important?

Part II: Write three potential thesis statements for your definition essay: one claim of fact, one claim of value, and one claim of policy.

WLE #8: Model Definition Essay ponderings

(Prewriting for Essay #3)
In-Class Entry
  • What do you notice about the sample definition essay we just read in class? What works? What do you like about it? What don't you like? What about this essay to you want to mirror in your own definition essay? What do you want to avoid?
  • Choose your favorite Definition Essay of those you have read at home. Why about this piece speaks to you? What do you like about it? What don’t your like? What would you like to mirror? What do you want to avoid?

WLE #9: Writing the World

In-Class Entry
· Make a list of everything you did yesterday--and I do mean everything, from how often you hit the snooze button to your dinner menu. Next, identify potential research topics in that list. So you watched the Food Network all afternoon? Great! Do you think the channel offers more entertainment than it does education? What do you make of the fact that only two of the professional chefs featured are women? Into which categories might you divide the network's programs? See, and you thought you had a boring day!

WLE #10: Discerning Evidence from Commentary

(Preparing for Essay #4)
In-Class Entry
· Please use one highlighter color to identify the evidence the author provides in this essay and another highlighter color to identify the commentary he/she provides. Does the author rely more heavily on one than the other? Which? Which (evidence of commentary) do you find to be more persuasive? Why?

(Prewriting for Essay #4)
Homework Entry
· Please answer the following questions for each of Free-Choice Essay topics you are considering:
· What do you have to say?
· Who needs to hear your argument? Why?
· What form will your essay take?
· What will this writing you produce

WLE #11: Pitching the Free-Choice Essay

(Prewriting for Essay #4)
Homework Entry
Please answer the following questions for your favorite Free-Choice Essay topic:
· What might your purpose for this essay be?
· On which portion of your topic might you focus?
· How might you organize this essay?
· How might you support your claims?
· How might you conclude this essay?

WLE #12: Post-Pitch Ponderings: Claims and Counterarguments

(Prewriting for Essay #4)
Record both your own answers to the following questions as well as the ideas your Pitch Partner advanced:
· What argument will your essay advance? In other words, what is your claim, your thesis statement?
· What counterarguments (oppositional viewpoints in disagreement with your claim) will you need to address and disprove?
· What evidence will you use to convince skeptical folks of your argument's validity?

WLE #13: The Art of Introductory Paragraphs

(Prewriting for Essay #4)
Homework Entry
Please write two different introductions for your Free-Choice Essay.

WLE #14: Preparing to Sell Your Stance

(Prewriting for Essay #4)
Homework Entry
Identify the audience for your Free-Choice Essay; then please answer the following questions concerning that group of people:
· What do you know about your target audience?
· What matters to your target audience? What do they value? What might they fight for?
· What do you think they read? Why?
· How can you hook them with your essay?
· How can you persuade them with your essay?

WLE #15: Writing the Cover Letter (NOTE: This assignment has changed. This is the updated version)

In your cover letter you should introduce your work to your reader and write at least one paragraph about each piece and what its strengths and weaknesses are. THis is essentially a five paragraph essay about your own work. Sell our work. Convince your readers of the merits of your work. Why did you write each piece? Who did you write it for? What inspired you? What frustrated you? How did you develop each piece? What do you love about each? What do you hate about each? What did you learn in the process of writing each? Why should your reader care?