ASSIGNMENT: Select ONE of the following writing prompts and complete a 3-5 page (approximately 800-1300 words) informative essay. As a part of your completed draft, complete the color coding activity described below. In addition, answer the “Think About Your Writing” questions on a separate sheet of paper and include it with your draft submission.
In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the touchstone.
Note: Touchstone 4 will be a revision of the draft that you submit for Touchstone 3.
Sample Image Analysis Essay: Prompt A
Sample Extended Definition Essay: Prompt B
Choose ONE of the following prompts for your informative essay.
PROMPT A: IMAGE ANALYSIS: Although we look at print advertisements every day, we often do not consider the ways in which they affect us. Visual images in ads can influence and persuade us, so it is important to evaluate them critically to understand their meanings. Good image analysis involves examination of the components of an image to gain an understanding of the whole.
Select an advertisement to analyze. The advertisement you choose should be directed towards a specific audience. To identify the intended audience, think about the members of the potential audience for the advertisement that you have chosen. Who are they? Ads for a beauty product, for example, may be aimed at young girls; ads for a deodorant might target men; a diaper commercial is likely intended for new parents; ads for cruise trips might be aimed at retirees. You can use any academically-appropriate advertisement to complete this assignment, as long as its intended audience is clearly identified.
Your thesis must inform the reader of your topic and purpose. Because you are writing in the informative mode, use objective language and a neutral point of view.
Draft an analytical essay that examines the audience, context, and purpose of the advertising image you’ve chosen. Read the article by Jenna Pack titled “Breaking Down an Image” for ideas about how to write an image analysis. Your analysis should lead to a conclusion about the ad’s effectiveness, based on examination of its components. Include the image with your draft.
PROMPT B: EXTENDED DEFINITION: Define or redefine one of the following words:
In your draft, briefly explain how society, or the dictionary, defines the word you’ve selected, and then explain your unique or extended definition of the word. Provide examples and explanations to support your definition. Your thesis must inform your readers of your new definition and, because you are writing in the informative mode, you must use objective language.
Draft an extended definition essay that defines or redefines a word or concept. Read the article by Dan Richards titled “Digital Ethics” for ideas about how to write an extended definition essay.
B. Think About Your Writing
As a part of your completed draft, complete the color coding activity and include answers to all of the questions below your draft.
PART 1: Color Coding Activity:
Using the color codes provided, evaluate your draft as follows:
Use red text to indicate your thesis statement.
Use green text to indicate the topic sentence of each body paragraph.
Part 2: Questions
1. What is the significance of your essay? Why should readers care about what you have written? (2-3 sentences) Sophia says: Think about why you decided to analyze this particular image, or why you picked the word you chose to define. Your interest in in your subject matter should be clear to readers.
2. Which areas of your draft do you think will benefit most from revision? (2-3 sentences) Sophia says: Consider the organization, style, focus, development, and conventions of your draft. Which areas did you struggle to complete?
3. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your writing. How can you capitalize on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses in future essays? (3-4 sentences) Sophia says: Think about what was easy about writing the draft, and what was more difficult. For example, if you write paragraphs with strong topic sentences, but repeatedly use the same type of sentence to provide supporting details, you can improve your paragraphs by varying sentence structure.
C. Informative Draft Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Refer to the checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until your draft meets all of the guidelines. Print this checklist!
Essay Prompt: Image Analysis
❒ If you chose the image analysis prompt, have you analyzed and interpreted — and not just described — the ad’s design?
❒ Have you made conclusions about the audience and effectiveness of the ad?
❒ Did you include the image in your draft?
❒ Did you complete the color-coding activity?
❒ Is your draft 800-1300 words long?
Essay Prompt: Extended Definition
❒ If you chose the extended definition prompt, did you indicate how society defines the word you selected, and then explain your definition (or an extended definition) of it?
❒ Have you included examples and explanations to support your definition?
❒ Did you complete the color-coding activity?
❒ Is your draft 800-1300 words long?
❒ Have you included a clear, focused, and detailed thesis statement?
❒ Does your thesis state the topic and purpose of your essay?
❒ Is your thesis a single sentence, and is it located in the introductory paragraph?
Focus and Organization
❒ Is there an adequate number of body paragraphs, each with a clear topic sentence?
❒ Is there a conclusion paragraph that makes a concluding statement?
❒ Are your draft paragraphs sequenced properly?
❒ Have you used transitions to connect ideas between sentences and paragraphs?
❒ Can your draft be described as having a good flow?
❒ Does your draft have a clear focus?
❒ Are all supporting details relevant?
Style and Tone
❒ Is the tone of your draft unbiased and informative?
❒ Is it clear that the purpose of your essay is to inform readers about your topic?
❒ Have you carefully considered your word choices?
❒ Have you checked your draft for grammatical errors?
❒ Have you used Spell-Check or another method to check spelling?
❒ Have you punctuated your draft correctly?
Before You Submit
❒ Have you included your name, date, and course at the top left of the page?
❒ Have you completed the “Think About Your Writing” questions and color coding activity?
❒ Is your draft between three and five pages long (approximately 800-1300 words)
Your draft will be scored according to the Touchstone 3 Rubric, which considers required elements for either the analysis essay OR the definition essay, the thesis statement, organization, style and tone, focus, conventions, completion of the color-coding activity and answers to the “Think About your Writing” questions above.
E. Helpful Tutorials
Drafting and the Rhetorical Situation
Narrowing Your Thesis
Introduction to Informative Writing
Writing Effective Informative Essays
Model Informative Essays
Advanced (90-100%) Proficient (80-89%) Acceptable (70-79%) Needs Improvement (50-69%) Non-Performance (0-49%)
Prompt A: Analyze an advertisement using parts to draw conclusions.
Consistently goes beyond description to analyze the design choices made in the advertisement, including layout, color schemes, text, and/or other design components. Effectively draws conclusions about the intended audience and the likely impact and effectiveness of the advertisement. Primarily goes beyond description to analyze the design choices made in the advertisement, including layout, color schemes, text, and/or other design components. Draws conclusions about the intended audience, and the likely impact and effectiveness of the advertisement. Includes some analysis of the design choices made in the advertisement (i.e., layout, color schemes, text, and/or other design components), but focuses primarily on the description. Somewhat effectively draws conclusions about the intended audience, and the likely impact and effectiveness of the advertisement. Focuses heavily on description. Analysis of the design choices made in the advertisement is limited or absent. Conclusions about the intended audience, and the likely impact and effectiveness of the advertisement are very limited. Does not describe or analyze the advertisement. Does not draw conclusions about the advertisement.
Extended Definition Essay
Prompt B – Define a meaningful word or concept in a unique or compelling way.
Defines a meaningful and nuanced word or concept in a coherent and compelling way, consistently using critical thinking and thoughtful discussion to explore the definition. Consistently goes beyond traditional definitions to define or redefine the word in a new and unique way. Defines a meaningful and nuanced word or concept in a coherent way, primarily using critical thinking and thoughtful discussion to explore the definition. Primarily goes beyond traditional definitions to define or redefine the word in a new and unique way. Defines a meaningful and nuanced word or concept adequately, but only sometimes uses critical thinking and thoughtful discussion to explore the definition. Only sometimes goes beyond traditional definitions to define or redefine the word in a new and unique way. Defines a word or concept, although critical thinking and thoughtful examination are largely absent. Often relies too much on the traditional or dictionary definition and does not sufficiently explore a new or unique definition. Does not define a word or concept from the list provided and/or does not explore the definition in a thoughtful or critical manner. Relies almost entirely on the traditional or dictionary definition.
State the focused central claim of the essay.
Has a clear, focused, and detailed working thesis that is expressed in a single sentence that states the central claim of the essay. Has a clear and focused working thesis that is expressed in a single sentence that states the central claim of the essay. Has an acceptable working thesis that states a claim, but it may be unclear or unfocused, or consist of more than one sentence. Has a working thesis, but it is not clear and/or focused and/or it does not state a claim. Does not have an identifiable working thesis and/or the thesis is extremely unclear or unfocused.
Exhibit competent organization, flow, and writing techniques.
Includes all of the required components of an essay, including an introduction with a strong thesis; an adequate number of body paragraphs (3-6), each with an effective topic sentence; and a conclusion with an effective concluding statement. The sequence of sentences and paragraphs is logical and flows well. Includes all of the required components of an essay, including an introduction with a thesis; an adequate number of body paragraphs (3-6), each with a topic sentence; and a conclusion with a concluding statement. The sequence of sentences and paragraphs is predominantly logical and flows well. Includes all of the required components of an essay, including an introduction with a thesis; an adequate number of body paragraphs (3-6), each with a topic sentence; and a conclusion with a concluding statement. However, some components may be ineffective. The sequence of sentences and paragraphs is somewhat logical, and may lack good flow. Is missing one of the required components of an essay or most of the components are ineffective. The sequence of sentences and/or paragraphs is frequently illogical and lacks flow. Is missing multiple required components of an essay or all of the components are ineffective. The sequence of sentences and/or paragraphs is consistently illogical and there is no flow.
Style and Tone
Establish a consistent, informative tone and make thoughtful choices.
Demonstrates thoughtful and effective word choices and uses a wide variety of sentence structures. Establishes a consistently unbiased and impersonal tone that is appropriate for an informative essay. Demonstrates effective word choices and uses a variety of sentence structures. Establishes an unbiased and impersonal tone that is appropriate for an informative essay, with occasional minor exceptions. Demonstrates generally effective style choices, but may include poor word choice, and/or repetitive sentence structures. Primarily establishes an unbiased and impersonal tone that is appropriate for an informative essay; but some sections express bias or include personal observations. Frequently includes poor word choices, and/or repetitive sentence structures. Primarily establishes a tone that is biased, and personal observations and opinions are expressed frequently. Consistently demonstrates poor word choices and/or repetitive sentence structures. Tone is consistently biased and the essay is dominated by personal observations and opinions.
Include relevant details, effective connections.
Details are relevant and support the purpose of the essay. The writer consistently makes effective connections between the supporting details and the working thesis. Details are relevant and support the purpose of the essay. The writer makes some effective connections between the supporting details and the working thesis. Details are predominantly relevant and generally support the purpose of the essay, though some details may be irrelevant and/or distracting. Details are often irrelevant and frequently distract from the purpose of the essay. Details are irrelevant and distract from the purpose of the essay.
Demonstrate command of standard English grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and usage.
There may be a few negligible errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are occasional minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are some significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are frequent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are consistent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.
Think About Your Writing
Answer reflection questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.
Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; consistently includes insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses. Answers all reflection questions effectively, following or exceeding response length guidelines. Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; includes multiple insights, observations, and/or examples. Answers all reflection questions effectively, following response length guidelines. Primarily demonstrates thoughtful reflection, but some responses are lacking in detail or insight. Answers all reflection questions, primarily following response length guidelines. Shows limited reflection; the majority of responses are lacking in detail or insight. Answers reflection questions inadequately: may not answer all of the questions and/or may not follow response length guidelines. Does not answer the majority of reflection questions or the majority of answers do not follow response length guidelines.
Your draft must be 800 to 1300 words in length (approximately 3-5 pages).
Informative Guidelines and Topic Selection Guidelines must be followed or your submission will not be graded.
Double-space your draft and use one-inch margins.
Use an easily-readable 12-point font.
All writing must be appropriate for an academic context.
Your draft must be original and written for this assignment.
Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.
Your submission must include your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of your draft.
Your submission must include both your color-coded informative draft and your answers to the “Think About Your Writing” questions.
Submit a only single file that contains all of the assignment components.
Acceptable file formats include .doc and .docx.
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