Writing Summary

Writing Strategies

Planning Guide: foundation work for writing

Beginning–Intermediate ESL, Native Speakers

writing pyramid

Before your pen touches the paper do the foundation work (or fingers touch the keyboard)


organize thoughts

write a rough draft

edit 1


edit 2

write a final draft


Focus Topic: detecting a reasonable amount as a topic

Beginning–Intermediate ESL, Native Speakers

magnifying glass

Focusing Steps  

Take a broad subject and narrow it.

Determine your research question (controlling idea)

Create your thesis sentence (topic + controlling idea)


Topic / Thesis: creating your thesis sentence

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Sherlock with magnifying glass

Your thesis sentence:  

focuses and directs the essay

includes the topic and your attitude on it

includes a statement (not a question)

appears at the end of the introduction (usually, but may be anywhere within the introduction)

Introductions: writing four types

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Story telling

An introductions should:   

introduce the topic

indicate how the topic is going to be developed.  (cause-effect, reasons, examples -- Will it classify, describe, narrate or explain?)

contain a thesis statement

be inviting and entice the reader to continue after reading the first sentence

Spatial Organization: narrating your story effectively

Revealing story

Add entertainment to your writing by considering:  

how you will reveal details

the order in which you will reveal them

spatial and time organization

Grammar Disputes

Grammar Disputes: fifteen grammatical mistakes you should never ever make—really?

Intermediate–Advanced ESL; Native Speakers

A grammarian vs. a linguist


There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with and. But this prohibition has largely been ignored.

This is a crime away with which you cannot get!

Less people are using conventional grammar each year.

Plagiarism & Fair Use



Plagiarism: strategies for avoiding plagiarism

photo line-up


Plagiarism is using the ideas and writings of others and representing them as your own.

Strategies for avoiding plagiarism:

Quote it.

Paraphrase it.

Cite it.


Plagiarism Examples: identifying plagiarized work

rat smelling a can

Identifying plagiarized work isn't so hard. See if you can "smell a rat".

Citing Sources

Citing Sources: What is MLA Style?

Author (hitchcock)



Your instructor does not expect you to be the genius who creates all original ideas.

When putting together (synthesizing) other people's ideas in your work, give the people credit by citing their work.

Choose a style (MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press, etc.)  and use it consistently .


DragDrop-Practices: MLA Citation –practice arranging elements into proper order

screen shot of practice

Publisher     Year     Author     Title    Location  

Drag and drop the images into the correct order.

Requires a Flash Player (not available to iphone or ipad.)

Web Page Evaluation Criteria

Web Page Evaluation Criteria: separating fact from fiction


Apply critical thinking skills.

Examine the following on a web page:







Evaluate three web sites as authoratative resources.