Monday, October 29, 2012

Central and Support: How are they related?

Writers use a central idea to drive all decisions made about a piece of writing.
We've been thinking through the ways the ideas of "central" and "support" are related.  Students have sketched the idea, and we've ended up with pictures of the earth, the heart and brain, race tracks, basketball courts, and solar systems.  From these sketches, some great quotes have emerged about the relationship between "center" and "support":
"All the attention goes to the center."  ~ Lindsay
"Everything leads to the center."  ~Jake W.
"The center is the main attraction."  ~Samantha
"The center is the piece everyone looks at."  ~Alexia
"The center controls the other parts."  ~Patrick & Melissa
"Without support, the center can't exist."  ~RJ
"The center controls the support."  ~Erin
When this thinking is applied to writing, it's much easier to look at our mentor text to notice how the central idea is supported.  The purpose of a Character Analysis essay is to analyze a character, not to retell the story.  With this purpose in mind, create a central idea for your essay and base all other writing decisions around it.  As writers, this central idea is what makes meaning for your readers!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Writing Character Analysis Essays

Wow, I am noticing some really great things happening as we draft our Character Analysis Essays.  As I conference with you, I'm really noticing how well you know the plot of your independent book or short story.  When I ask questions about your main character and the events that he/she went through, I always get a detailed answer.  I haven't had one person tell me "I'm not done reading," and what a smile it puts on my face to see you feeling like readers!

Something I am noticing though that I feel I need to address is the "Plot Summary Trap," I see many writers falling into. . .

 As writers, it's important to remember the purpose of the genre in which you are writing. 

As you write your Character Analysis Essay, you should remember why you are writing it and what purpose Character Analysis serves as a piece of writing.  This might mean you read through the mentor text (here) a few times to get a feel for what a Character Analysis Essay is for.  The purpose is not to retell the plot of the text you've read.  It's to analyze a character's significant change over the course of a text. 

If you aren't sure what significant change your character made, use some of the sharing we did in class about it (also in your Reading Journal).  Did your character realize any of these lessons?