General thoughts on CSpan Proposals

General feedback on CSpan Documents

I finished working my way through these documents on Friday and the grades in Worksis should be live and accurate.  Below are some general thoughts for all of you.

One, given the nature of this assignment — a short assignment — you need to think of it as an opportunity to think deeply about each word. You only have 250 words so you want to make sure that you’ve thought about each word, that it represents the best word you could choose, and that you’ve edited each sentence carefully.  Here’s author E.B. White:

“Vigorous writing is concise.   A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should contain no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.  This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”  

I read a number of papers with minimal efforts to punctuate sentences or capitalize proper nouns.   I read papers with multiple sentences that simply did not make sense.   Here’s the deal: you’re in 11th and 12th grade.   I will now read papers until I reach four basic mistakes at which point I will make the assignment not completed until you re-submit the paper.

Two, I deeply appreciated those of you who began to collect evidence about your topic.  Having a feeling or having watched something sometime is not evidence.  It’s just something you happened to write down on a paper.   Given the English seminars most of you have had and given the projects you’ve done in the past, I’m not going to spend that much time thinking about this.  Ask yourself again and again: what is my evidence for this claim? How do I support my claim with more than a feeling?

Three, a number of you did something important.  You realized that you had deep thoughts and ideas that might help you create this film and you added them to your paper, even if they didn’t necessarily relate to the prompts and even if it forced you over the word count. (For those of you who submitted 250 words exactly, you should know that I received five proposals with more than 750 words.) Thinking deeply about your film and about the end goal of this project will always serve you well.

Please feel free to make an appointment to discuss any and all grades.  Send me an email explaining in 2-4 sentences why you feel the grade is too high or too low and we’ll find a time to sit down together privately. Like on the green bench in the hall.


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