quinta-feira, 17 de novembro de 2011

Sentence Connectors

Hello dear students!
Now that you have learned about parts of a paragraph and how an outline can help you organize your ideas, it is time to perfect your paragraph by adding connectors/linking words to your sentences.

Here is a short video with a summary of the most common connectors used in paragraph writing:

I am pretty sure you know about them, don`t you? This is just a reminder so that you try to use them in your paragraphs. Remember that a paragraph is not just a collection of sentences, they need to have a certain flow and logic and linking words are perfect for that. Moreover, they make the text easier for the reader to understand.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

If you want to have some extra practice on connectors, try some of these exercises. They all have answers, so you can study by yourself and check how you are doing. Great, isn`t it?

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

sexta-feira, 11 de novembro de 2011

Paragraph Outline

Hi guys! Today we are going to talk a bit about the outline of a paragraph. You already know that a good paragraph should have an introduction, a development and a conclusion, and you know that without these basic “ingredients”, it would not be complete.
I suggested that you all wrote about living in Brasília and I provided you with the supporting ideas for the development. This is how the paragraph should look like:


But wait a minute! What do all those “Xs” represent? They are actually the detailed information you should provide for each supporting idea plus the information you are going to add in the introduction and in the conclusion. That means that besides providing 3 different supporting ideas, you should comment and add details, facts and examples related to each of the supporting ideas with the purpose to reinforce the idea just mentioned. In the case of the introduction it is important that you include some additional information and not only the topic sentence. It is as if you were preparing the reader for the main idea you want to write about in the paragraph. For the conclusion you should keep in mind what I said on the first post ( “The conclusion is the final section of the paragraph and it summarizes the connections between the information discussed in the body of the paragraph and the paragraph topic sentence.”)
So , does your paragraph look like that? An outline is how we call the structure of a paragraph and it helps the writer visualize what ideas that are going to be included in the writing. Here is a simple example that ,if followed, is definitely going to help you organize better your ideas.

Introduction: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________( write some information to prepare the reader)
+_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(topic sentence)

1st Supporting idea : ______________________________________________________________

facts, details, examples

2. 2nd Supporting idea_______________________________________________________________

facts, details, examples

3. 3rd Supporting idea______________________________________________________________

facts, details, examples

Conclusion : _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(brief summary+ any additional idea that could be used to wrap up the paragraph)

So, how about trying to improve the paragraph you wrote last week? Take a look at your first attempt to write about living in Brasília and re-organize your ideas using this model outline. When you are finished, post it here so that everyone can read it and be inspired by the way your developed your ideas!

sexta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2011

Writing a paragraph is like making a sandwich!

Writing a paragraph is like making a sandwich. Can a cheeseburger be called a "cheeseburger" if it has no cheese? I guess not! Likewise, a paragraph cannot be considered a paragraph if it doesn`t have some basic necessary "ingredients".

A typical paragraph has 3 essential parts:

the introduction
the body
the conclusion

Let`s look at each part separately!

The introduction usually appears in the beginning of the paragraph and it is where the topic sentence can be found. But what is the topic sentence? It is the sentence that contains the main idea of the paragraph. A good topic sentence tells the reader what the whole paragraph is going to be about.

The body follows the introduction and it discusses the topic sentence. Here , the writer should add facts, arguments, analysis, examples, and other relevant information. A well-developed body should have, at least, 3 different supporting ideas.

The conclusion is the final section of the paragraph and it summarizes the connections between the information discussed in the body of the paragraph and the paragraph topic sentence.

So dear students, if you write a paragraph and it does not have any of these parts, then it is not a paragraph, it is incomplete just like a cheeseburguer would not be a cheeseburguer if it didn`t have cheese in it!

To make the metaphor clear and easy to remember let`s adopt the following:

The bun (bread) can be considered to be introduction and the conclusion
The meat (burguer)can be considered the topic sentence
The cheese, pickles,onions and condiments can be considered the supporting ideas

Now, let`s make our cheeseburger, I mean, write our sample paragraph!I am going to give you some ingredients:
burguer: Brasília is a great place to live.
cheese: a lot of green areas
pickles: fast access to most places
onions and condiments: varied entertainment options
Remember, you a the chef now and it is up to you which buns you are going to use and how you are going to prepare the sandwich using the given ingredients. Each chef is going to make a different sandwich, but the essence is still going to be the same. We are all going to make a cheeseburger. We are all going to write a perfect paragraph!