Handout: Writing a “Comparative Essay”

What is a comparative essay? As the terms implies, a comparative essay is an essay in which the author compares two things. I use the word “things’ to refer to people, animals, music, instruments, food, highways, clothing, emotions – whatever. Basically, in a comparative essay the author thoroughly studies aspects of two separate things and …

Lesson: Creating Thesis Statements

A topic sentence is the sentence that conveys a central position of a paragraph. Like a topic sentence, a thesis statement is a sentence that conveys your central position for a multi-paragraph essay. Argumentative/Persuasive thesis statements must contain an arguable claim. Statements of fact are not argumentative thesis statements. An argumentative/persuasive thesis statement must be …

Lesson: Observation and Perspective

(Consider taking students to the museum or the transfer station and having them choose an “object” for this activity) Read Wallace Stevens’ “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.’ In the poem, Stevens describes 13 different ways of looking at a blackbird. Some of Stevens’ observations are concrete others are more philosophical. Your assignment is …

Lesson: Use Your Senses, An Introduction to Observation

Introduction to Observation activity: Use your senses! 1. (10-15 minutes) Choose a short piece of writing that features sensory details. I chose the first chapter of “We the Animals’ by Justin Torres (it’s one of my favorite books!) Read the piece aloud in class. I read the piece to my students so that they could …