How long does my paper have to be?

Hand to heart, the honest answer to this question is “as long as it needs to be.”

I know that isn’t the answer that you wanted. But it’s the truth. If you’ve been given a page length or word count, that’s because, in your teacher’s experience, that’s how much space it takes to make a decent response to the writing prompt they’re giving you. It’s never a magic number, let alone a guaranteed grade.

Let’s stop for a minute and talk about what your teacher hears when students ask that perennial question: “how long does it have to be.”

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Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (3/3)

This post is a continuation of Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (1/3) and Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (2/3)

Third Example: Literary Analysis/Response

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Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (1/3)

In this post, we will go through how to dissect a writing prompt in order to figure out exactly what your teacher wants from you. I will also give you some pointers about how papers could be structured in response to different prompts.

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Yes, your teacher DOES owe you a grade. BUT.

I get it. College is expensive. College students graduated with an average of $37,000 in student loan debt in 2016. In response, college students are working more: nationally, about one-fourth of all college students work full-time while going to school full-time. Almost 40% of undergraduate college students work 30 hours a week (get more detail here). When I ask my students if they work at least part-time, nearly every hand in class goes up.

Continue reading Yes, your teacher DOES owe you a grade. BUT.

How to read an assignment sheet and rubric

This post builds off of the Before You Begin blog post, which provided you with some ideas of where to find out what your teacher expects of your writing submissions. In this post, we will review how to read an assignment sheet and a grading rubric, using examples from my own teaching.

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Learning to Write Well: Why Bother?

Why should I bother to learn to write well? I’ll never use it after I graduate, anyway.

Learning to write effectively is not just about writing college papers. Learning to make a convincing argument, to marshal sources to back up what you are saying, and make an appeal to your audience – these are all things that can follow you into not just your professional life, but into your personal life as well.

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