~Happy Valentines' Day, my students and families~
I've received many emails from diligent students in regard to this argumentative letter assignment, and I want to clear up some instructions.
Student Question: Can I change my topic?
Rao's Answer: I would advise against changing your topic at this time. Students identified their topics 2 weeks prior to the assignment being due.
If there is another topic that you wish to write about, consider it for the revised version- the editorial.
Student Question: Can I change my topic, since I have not started any work yet?
Rao's Answer: We did start work and complete work on 6 points of the outline during the
week of 2.10-2.13. Students wrote and shared introductions in class a week prior.
Student Question: Will I be penalized for changing my topic?
Rao's answer: No, there will be no grade deduction based on topic changes. You do not have to report to me in regard to changing your topic. However, your outline and essay should be over the same topic.
Student Question: What sources do we have to use?
Rao's Answer: Please use relevant and credible sources to support your points in each body paragraph. At least 2 sources should be used in your argumentative letter. You are not required to use a NY times article as a source, but- if you do- you may be saving yourself some time for the editorial, which will require a NY times article source.
Student Question: What is the proper way to site sources in the argumentative letter? Also, what is "relevance"?
Rao's Answer: Here's an example from the first paragraph of the exemplar- "According to the New York Times, after they conducted an interview with Mr. Fly, a high school science teacher, he stated..."
Here's another example, taken from a winning entry "The Life-Changing Magic of Being Messy" for the editorial contest in 2019, "In the NYT article “It’s Not ‘Mess.’ It’s Creativity,” Kathleen D. Vohs’ study of messiness..."
Here's another example from the outline I gave in class: "Procon.org, a non-profit website devoted to exploring both sides of controversial issues, states that..."
Please include the title of the source, and why it has something to do with your topic.
Editorials and argumentative letters must include proper MLA citations at the end of your writing. It is listed on the rubric: "Uses citations insightfully". It includes this descriptor specifically for me to assess how well you incorporated them into the writing and correctly documented them at the end.
The editorials for the contest require MLA citations. I expect them to be in your argumentative letters.
Student Question: What is the proper way to site sources in the argumentative letter if we did not use any quotes from them?
Rao's Answer: It would still be great to include (paraphrased from [last name of author and year]). However, if nothing is really paraphrased, but you did use the information to help your understanding, please document it by correctly including the MLA citation at the end.
Student Question: Do we have to do the outline?
Rao's Answer: The outline is worth 20 points, and is a separate grade from the argumentative letter. Yes, you have to do the outline.
Student Question: How do we turn in this paper?
Rao's Answer: It's very important to my grading process to have a printed out copy of your work on this one. I really struggle to get papers back quickly and the best way to ensure that the paper will be returned to the student quickly will be by hand.
Student Question: Can I ask Mrs. Rao to print out my paper?
Rao's Answer: Maybe... however, it is a time consuming and frustrating process. (For example, a student asks me to print out a paper, then makes a correction, then wants a second printout. Or, for example, a student sent me several versions of their essay, and I just print out one, but not the right one. Not to mention any possible printer malfunctions, or sharing permissions.) If at all possible, come to school with a printout of your essay- the version that you want me to grade.
Student Question: Can I still email a copy of my paper?
Rao's Answer: Absolutely yes. It is the best measure to ensure that there is documentation that you submitted your essay on time, and that it is complete. PLEASE, copy and paste the essay in the body of the email, as well as attach a copy/picture, etc. It's one small step for you, but it takes out 2 steps for me- multiplied by 120.
Ethos, Logos, Pathos- very helpful and entertaining presentation.