Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blog Commentary Practice

Just about all of the major writing assignments you will do in this class will go through the critique process on your blog. Your classmates and your teacher will comment on your posted draft to help your finished essay attain the standards of effective writing. This is your chance to practice critiquing to prepare for the Roots and Recipes essay.

Sample Paragraphs from a Roots and Recipes Essay:
Gingerbread cookies are a wonderful part of my family's Christmas celebrations. The amazing smell of this delicious treat, the spicy aroma of ginger and cinnamon and cloves, always awakens fond memories of holidays past.
The kitchen was my favorite place to be, to watch all the ingredients and the making of those cookies! I eventually progressed from just watching, to baking the gingerbread. Even though it takes much time and effort, it is something I enjoy because of the satisfaction of turning out a perfect batch.
As children we looked forward to the baking of those special delights but even more to decorating the houses we would make with the gingerbread. It was so much fun to place the different kinds of candy onto our houses. All the cousins and aunties and uncles and grandma and grandpa would get together after dinner on Christmas Eve to decorate their houses. There was much laughter as people tried to out do each other in their creations!
Now, the gingerbread making has been taken over by the younger generation, and the decorating is shared with boyfriends and girlfriends and newlyweds! It is truly a family tradition.

Commentary Process
You will discuss and post as a team. Be sure to include each member's name so that all can get credit.
  1. Start by reviewing the rubric, so that you know what is expected in this essay.
  2. Begin your commentary with the positive elements of the piece, but be specific! There is nothing worse, or more insincere than a comment like "I loved your essay!" Instead, you can comment on
    • Specific details that helped you visualize what was happening, good sensory detail, for example.
    • Details that brought out the writer's voice, that gave authenticity to the experience. For example, IF I had shared the detail about my nephew Jesse, who loved to populate his gingerbread houses with soldiers and dismembered snowmen, THAT would have been strong voice.
    • Good organization: you could see the time sequence or spatial sequence clearly.

  3. Then, get into ideas for improvement. Here, it is most helpful if you can express your comments as questions. Thus, instead of saying, "You need more specific detail" you can ask the question, "Can you describe the kitchen utensils used to make these cookies?"
  4. Again, go back to the rubric for your comments. DO NOT JUST REPEAT STUFF FROM THE RUBRIC. Instead, ask questions that will help guide the writer to attain those standards.

Good luck :) I will comment on and assess all of your team critiques so that you will have a better idea of how to do this on your own.


Unknown said...

Brooke, Austin, Kaitlyn, Adara.
One thing we liked about your essay is that there was specific details about how the ginger bread was made in your family. Also how the family related to this delicious family tradition, and how it brought their family together.Another thing we liked about this essay was how the story was put into a time line.

Eryn Yuasa said...

"The spicy aroma of ginger and cinnamon and cloves" was a really good sentence to use in the first paragraph. That had really good sensory details and it was as if we could smell those scents too.
The whole last paragraph was where a lot of your voice showed through. There was a lot of expression and we could almost feel like we were with your family just having a bunch of fun on Christmas Eve laughing as "people tried to outdo each other in their creations!" and "placing the different kinds of candy onto our houses".
It was also really good how you used that sentence in the second paragraph about how you progressed from watching, to baking the gingerbread. We see that this tradition must've been in your family for a while.
It would have helped if you explained how you made the ginger bread. The essay kind of just went from how you enjoyed making it straight to decorating and that was slightly choppy. We would appreciate learning how you made it with sensory details.
Also, you could tell us more history behind this dish, like if you made the gingerbread with your family's special touch and how long your family has been doing this.
But all in all, you're on the right track. If you just fix a couple of things that we pointed out, you'll have a really good essay with lots of voice. Good luck :)
Love Taira, Eryn, Skylar, and Josh V.

Alexandra said...

Alexandra, Kaitlyn M., Branden, and Taylor:

In the first paragraph can you use more specific words that make your choices sound more interesting? I like how you described what kinds of spices you used to show what you were smelling. in the second paragraph you described the actions of how you watched and learned to make gingerbread cookies.Nice observation. When it comes to reading the last sentence of the third paragraph, it seems a little weak. My suggestion to you would be maybe you could add a little bit more. We liked your wording because it would make the reader actually imagine what's happening.

Anonymous said...

As we were reading we noticed the voice that came out in the essay, giving it an overall joyous feeling. Also we noticed the very descriptive sensory detail throughout the whole essay. We liked how you incorporated family history smoothly, when you said "As children we looked forward to the baking of those special delights."

The negative thing was the over use of the word "and." We also think that including how to make the gingerbread cookie would have made the essay even better.
Rachel Inabata, Dior Motas, Dustin Palea,& Christian Casinas.

Joy said...

Lina, Maurice, Ryan, & Joy:

Great essay! Your essay has good sensory details, such as your description of gingerbread cookies in the first paragraph. The essay was nicely organized and had a nice flow into the next paragraphs. Your voice in the essay was very strong and was said clearly. Lastly, it contains a lot of your family history which gets the reader to understand why you picked this recipe.

Your essay should be longer, and you need to check your grammar such as " watch all the ingredients" to "watching all the ingredients" as you described as you would walk into the kitchen. Overall, great essay! :)