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failureStudents wrote these comments in response to the assignment: What Makes a Good Paragraph? Teacher's comments are in italics.

What Makes a Good Paragraph? Student Comments Day Class

What should writers do before beginning to use their pens? Give two examples.

Choose your topic. Yes, knowing what you need to write before you write it is important. Choose well according to your nature.

Before the beginning of writing, the writer needs to make an outline for his paragraph as if he were and architect developing a blueprint for his building.(Six students did this in class today; twenty did not). For some, this is very comfortable and useful. The majority, however, proceed without an outline.

Read the instructions very carefully.For tests and school writing, of course you should.

How can writers write more effective sentences? Give one example.

Use your vocabulary to make it easy to understand your sentence. Use the simplest word to make your meaning.

Use idiom.Carefully, please, for some idiom is out-of-date and others are obscene. The word "whack" as in "that's whack!"  is something bad among teenagers. That's sick!  is something good! Cool!  is the same as it always was.

What should writers do after finishing their first drafts? Give two examples.

Read it again. Review it again. Make the necessary corrections.Corrections are called proofreading in the writing industry and are done last. Editing and revising are more like the activity you did in English 10. It is more like analysis than correction.

What Makes a Good Paragraph? Student Comments Evening Class

Before Writing:

Before making use of pen, a writer must have a topic (idea of the topic) of what he or she wants to write about. The student also emphasizes the importance of knowing “who” you are writing for, such as in a personal letter.

Brainstorm your topic to find related elements. I prefer the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, why or how) Use some kind of thinking technique before you write.

Before using the pen, we should know the rules. For example, paragraphs (at school) take a title and so on.

Effective Sentences:

In order for your writing to be more effective, you should use descriptive words. This is good advice to follow. For example the sentence, “He used a lot of red pen.” shows a teacher at work.

Transition words or linking words can make sentences more smooth (smoother) and more effective.

After Writing:

You should review and read the paragraph that you wrote and make sure that the paragraph follows the topic sentence.Topic sentences can be easily adjusted to reflect the true contents of a paragraph.

Make corrections of basic elements of punctuation, spelling, and grammar.This is the final step before you hand in.


 (February 2, 2003)

More Student Writing:

Current Student Writing Sample

The Pearson Buzz:
Want to read lots more student writing? Check out the "Buzz," written by the students of Writing 12.

The Suggestive Mystery
Tatiana's essay, written for English 12, gives a thorough examination of the Susan Glaspell story, "A Jury of Her Peers."  May 21, 2005

The Longest Night of My Life
Octavia's personal narrative essay is a gripping account of her family's terrifying ordeal that happened more than 20 years ago.  February 11, 2005

Canadians in My Eyes
Vera's paragraph provides some interesting comparisons between Canadians and Chinese. November 19, 2005

To School, Again
Atala's paragraph captures the mixed feelings of an adult returning to school. September 6, 2005

A Special Relationship
Eva's charming story of her dog and a new baby is sure to warm your heart.  June 24, 2005

Giant Plunge
Hiromi's first short story is inspired by Sean O'Failain's story, "The Trout." In it, a young girl learns to conquer her fear of the water.  March 26, 2005

A Place to Live
Atala writes a beautiful descriptive paragraph about her grandmother's house. Full of lovely detail using all the senses, it ends with song lyrics from Louis Armstrong.  February 28, 2005

Free Tranquilizer
An excellent descriptive paragraph about the delights to be found at Central Park in Burnaby. By a former student who wishes to remain anonymous.  February 1, 2005

An Ordinary Day
Far from ordinary, Octavia's paragraph captures the sights and smells and sounds of an outdoor market. Sensuous writing with excellent detail!January 16, 2005

The Place I Long For
Jana's rich description makes it easy to imagine the peace she finds at a favourite place.  December 13, 2004

The Mosquitoes on Campus
Couch writes an amusing story of meeting the new, much smarter, urban mosquito!  November 28, 2004

Nothing Came to My Mind
Tina has written an intriguing narrative paragraph about finding quiet contemplation time in her car on an autumn day. November 9, 2004

A Smart Pig
Annie's amusing paragraph contemplates what it would be like to be a pig, but only for one day! 

Hanging Up the Clothes 
Short paragraph with lots of detailed description. 

How to Reduce Stress
    Short essay in five paragraph standard style.

Smells of the Sun
   Short paragraph demonstrating the use of the senses in writing.

Advice to New Students of the PALC 
Lucky gives some straightforward and useful advice to new students. 

The PALC for Improving Your English 
Ciprian has some good advice on how the PALC can help you with your English skills.