Wednesday October 24

Let’s start by reviewing the writing process. See yesterday’s post.

Then let’s work on how to use “state, illustrate, explain” to construct an effective paragraph. Let’s imagine I’m writing an essay arguing in favour of using cell phones in the classroom.

In my first paragraph, I want to talk about how people argue that cell phones are a distraction.

State your point:

Many people argue that cell phones should be eliminated from the classroom because they are distracting. This may be true, but if we don’t teach students how to manage distracting influences like cell phones, then how will they learn to manage the distraction when they leave high school and have no one to ban their technology?

Illustrate your point:

I didn’t have a cell phone when I was in high school because, while cell phones existed, they were gigantic monstrosities about the size of a brick. It wasn’t a thing teenagers used. Yet I still managed to find ways to distract myself when I was in class. I passed notes to my friends. I doodled. I hid trashy novels inside my history textbook. Now I’m a teacher and I have a cell phone and I find it very distracting when I’m trying to mark student assignments or plan my lessons. No one ever taught me how to manage my device use because they didn’t exist when I was in school.

Explain how this illustration supports your point:

I’ve developed strategies now, but it took me time to figure them out on my own. That being said, I was lucky because I didn’t have a cell phone in university either. If I had access to a cell phone in university, after never having been taught to manage my technology use effectively, would I have done as well as I did? Now, I did mention that I still found ways to distract myself in school, but my teachers knew strategies for managing my distraction, so it was kept to a minimum. There will always be something to distract students. You can’t eliminate all distractions. What you can do is allow teachers the opportunity to use these distractions as teachable moments to ensure students will be more successful once they leave high school.

Notice how I also incorporated a counter argument?

Here’s what the whole thing looks like as a complete paragraph:

Many people argue that cell phones should be eliminated from the classroom because they are distracting. This may be true, but if we don’t teach students how to manage distracting influences like cell phones, then how will they learn to manage the distraction when they leave high school and have no one to ban their technology? I didn’t have a cell phone when I was in high school because, while cell phones existed, they were gigantic monstrosities about the size of a brick. It wasn’t a thing teenagers used. Yet I still managed to find ways to distract myself when I was in class. I passed notes to my friends. I doodled. I hid trashy novels inside my history textbook. Now I’m a teacher and I have a cell phone and I find it very distracting when I’m trying to mark student assignments or plan my lessons. No one ever taught me how to manage my device use because they didn’t exist when I was in school. I’ve developed strategies now, but it took me time to figure them out on my own. That being said, I was lucky because I didn’t have a cell phone in university either. If I had access to a cell phone in university, after never having been taught to manage my technology use effectively, would I have done as well as I did? Now, I did mention that I still found ways to distract myself in school, but my teachers knew strategies for managing my distraction, so it was kept to a minimum. There will always be something to distract students. You can’t eliminate all distractions. What you can do is allow teachers the opportunity to use these distractions as teachable moments to ensure students will be more successful once they leave high school.

Sentence Structure