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  • North Allegheny School District Communication Arts/English Style Manual

    North Allegheny School District

    cation Arts/English Style Manual

    North Allegheny School District cation Arts/English Style Manual

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    Table of Contents Introduction Writing Writing: Three Main Modes………………………………………………………….………… 4 PSSA Writing Domains…………………………………………………………………………. 5 The Writing Process………………………………………………………………………….…. 6 Standard Graphic Organizers………………………………………………………………….….7 Structured Five-Paragraph Essay Format for Academic Writing………………………………...8 The Thesis Statement………………………………………………………………………….….9 Attention Getting Techniques: Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs………………….…..10 Attention-Getting Techniques: Examples for Introductory Paragraphs………………...………11 Attention-Getting Techniques: Examples for Concluding Paragraphs………………………….13 Writing Assessment Writing Process and Assessment: Terminology and Requirements……………………………..14

    Stages of the Writing Process Portfolio Use No Excuses Chart Core Writing vs. Other Writing

    Writing Assessment: Core Writing……………………………………..………………………15 Writing Assessment: Other Writing…………………………………………………………….15 Writing Assessment: FCAs (Focus Correction Areas)………………………………………….16 Proofreading Marks…………………………...…………………………………………………17 Proofreading Abbreviations……………………………………………………………………...18 Plagiarism………………………………………………………………………………………..19 Turnitin.com: Directions…………………………………………………………………….…..21 MLA Style (Modern Language Association) MLA Style Background…………………………………………………..………………….….22 MLA Style Significant Updates 2009…………………………………………..…………….…22 MLA Style Citation Tools…………………………………………….………….....………...…23 MLA Style Essential Formatting Points…………………………………………………………23 MLA Style First Page Formatting: Example………………….………………………………..24 MLA Style Parenthetical Citations: Documenting Secondary Sources…………………………25 MLA Style Parenthetical Citations: Documenting Primary Sources……………………………26 MLA Style Parenthetical Citations: Special Considerations………………………………...….27 MLA Style Works Cited: Sample Entries……………………………………………………….28 MLA Style Works Cited Page: Example…………………………….………………………….34 MLA Style Works Cited: Helpful Hints………………………………………………………...35 Appendix A: Standard Graphic Organizers……………………………………………………..i Appendix B: No Excuses Chart Starters by Grade Level……………….……………………xxi

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    Introduction

    What is exemplary writing? Although many people may think of correctness in writing as

    an absolute—based on hard-and-fast, unchanging rules—instructors and students know better.

    Although there are rules, a certain amount of flexibility exists. “Is it okay to use I in essays for

    this class?” asks one student. “Last year my English teacher wouldn’t let us.” Or, “Does my

    heading go on the right or left side of the page? My social studies teacher asks us to put it on the

    right side.” Such questions show that writing rules often shift and thus need our ongoing

    attention.

    Shifting standards do not mean that there is no such thing as correctness in writing—only

    that correctness always depends on some context. Correctness is not so much a question of

    absolute right or wrong as a question of the way a writer’s choices are perceived by readers. As

    writers, we want to be considered competent and effective. We know that our readers judge us

    by our control of the conventions we have agreed to use. Robert Frost said of composing poetry,

    “Trying to write without honoring the conventions and agreed-upon rules is like playing tennis

    without a net.” Therefore, a reliable, sanctioned set of rules needs to be constructed so that

    teachers can maintain a consistent method of writing instruction and assessment that students can

    recognize and build on from year to year.

    The purpose of this style manual is for North Allegheny School District students in

    grades 6 – 12 to have a standardized guide to reference when writing. The stylebook will be

    available to students at www.northallegheny.org under Academics/Communication Arts/English.

    http://www.northallegheny.org/

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    Writing: Three Main Modes

    Competent writing skills are essential for students’ success at every grade level, across all disciplines, and in the real world. In order to ensure that all students learn and practice proficient writing skills, North Allegheny has adopted standardized language, procedures, and assessment tools that will allow students to confidently and effectively enhance their writing skills from year to year. In addition, a district-wide, shared approach to writing instruction and assessment will assist in students’ achievement on the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) tests. The Writing PSSA in grade 5 tests students in three modes of writing: narrative, informational, and persuasive. Grades 8 and 11 are tested in two modes: persuasive and informational.

    Narrative Narrative writing tells a story or relates an incident. This type of writing depends on the development of plot, point of view, character(s), theme, conflict, style, and setting. A narrative essay may be personal or imaginative. Personal narrative essays are based on the writer’s own experience, while imaginative narratives allow a writer to invent a story. Examples of narrative prompts:

    1. Think about a time you were feeling anxious. Write a narrative essay explaining your experience. 2. Summer breaks from school provide opportunities for families to spend time together. Recall an

    an occasion when you experienced a special time together with your family. Compose an essay about it.

    Informational Informational writing informs and explains, conveys messages, instructions, or ideas. Informational writing is non-fiction; personal opinions are not included. The writer must develop a thesis statement and present information clearly and thoroughly to support the thesis. Examples of informational writing include cause and effect, compare and contrast, description, articles, journals, and directions. Examples of informational prompts:

    1. Write an essay that explains the qualities of a hero. 2. “Great thoughts speak only to a thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all humankind”

    (Emily P. Bissell). How do “great actions speak to all humankind”? Write an essay that explains your understanding of this quotation.

    Persuasive Persuasive writing presents an informed position by persuading the reader to do or believe something. This type of writing differs from informational writing because its purpose is not to inform but to influence the reader’s opinion on a topic through the presentation of evidence. Examples of persuasive prompts:

    1. What is your favorite class this year? Write a letter to a class of eighth graders convincing them that they should take this class when they are in the ninth grade.

    2. Many areas have laws requiring motorcycle and bicycle riders to wear helmets. Do these laws conflict with a rider’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? Take a position for or against these laws and write an essay supporting your view.

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    PSSA Writing Domains

    Essays are scored based on the following components:

    1. FOCUS: • Topic recognition • Purpose • Thesis • Development • Coherence

    2. CONTENT:

    • Development and explanation of main idea • Factual statements • Relative details (details that relate to the thesis) • Illustrative examples • Comparisons and contrasts • Concrete examples to support opinions • Deletion of unrelated ideas

    3. ORGANIZATION:

    • Introduction that draws reader into the writing • Paragraphs logically ordered • Transitions between and within paragraphs • Conclusion that reinforces thesis statement

    4. STYLE:

    • Clear and consistent voice • Effective diction/tone • Concise wording • Varied sentence lengths and types • Active voice verbs • Specific nouns • Appropriate vocabulary • Literary devices/syntax techniques

    5. CONVENTIONS:

    • Correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, mechanics,