This page is dedicated to sharing lessons from my work as a teacher, coach, and encourager. I believe each person can write and give voice to their unique blessings and talent, given to them by God.

I will be posting some linked, but private, pages for specific skills. I may create a series of posts behind a paywall for this… but not yet.

For today, I am going to start out with a “How-to” post:

How to Succeed at In-Class Essay Writing

This may end up as its own page at some point. For now, it’s here.

In-class essays can be challenging, but they can also be a great place to showcase your capabilities, knowledge, and creativity.

You have written good essays on your own. You have spoken well in class. Think of this as a chance to do both, a live showcase of your thought and writing, at which you can excel.

To succeed:

  • Stay calm and focused. Science and faith can help you do this. Take a few sips of water (4 oz usually helps people calm down). Take slow, deep breaths (again, science). Pray (science and faith working together here). Ask God for confidence, wisdom, and peace. (You already have the knowledge needed.)
  • Read the writing prompt(s) carefully.
  • If you have a choice, consider the option you feel you know the most about right now.
    Read the prompt again. Look at exactly what it’s asking you. If you need to, draw a line between the “command” or “direction” of the prompt and the rest. If there are two commands, box them in. Underline the area of expertise the prompt wants you to write about.
  • Write a definition in your own words of the direction word.
  • Write out 3-7 points of knowledge you have about the area of expertise.
  • Do you have “evidence” or ideas of how you might prove these points of knowledge (references to a text, personal experience, or both)? Write these down next to the points they would go with.
  • Make a plan of attack. If you know you have more evidence for 2-3 points, but not the others, discard the others, and focus on the ones you know more about. If you need to mention the others, that’s fine, but focus on what you do know. Create a thesis around these points with the direction word (the actual word).
  • Write the introduction with that thesis.
  • Write the essay with the points you know with the proofs you have, and any transition points you need to make between those.
  • Conclude the essay by restating your thesis, but use your own definition of the direction word instead of the actual word.
  • If you have time, reread your essay.
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