Writing is different from other school subjects. In math, reading, social studies, and science, every student is supposed to study the same things and come up with the same answers. But in writing, if everyone writes exactly the same thing, that’s no good — that’s copying, not writing.
Because each of us has a unique personality, each of us has a unique voice in writing, and that is what makes our writing unique. The trick is in letting that voice come through. And the only way that happens is if we make different choices in our writing than other writers make in theirs, choices that reflect who we are inside — our original thoughts and personal feelings, our particular way of seeing things and interpreting them — and writing it all down.
Before beginning a critical thinking essay it’s a good idea to come up to speed on critical thinking and what it is. The process of thinking critically begins with an open mind. It’s quite alright to already have an opinion on an issue but you must be willing to at least consider objectively ideas that differ from your own.
Voice that is individual and appropriate. Voice is how the writing feels to someone when they read it. Is it formal or casual? Is it friendly and inviting or reserved and standoffish? Voice is the expression of the writer's personality through words.
The current system is based on a few principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still gives examples of how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves. This process teaches writers a flexible method that is universally applicable. Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.
Voice and tone are the expression of the writer's personality through words. These traits create the way writing feels to someone when reading or listening, and it's how we establish trust. Our tone should match our audience (formal or chatty), platform (research journal or Twitter), and subject (obituary or new client win). .
Essays are shorter pieces of writing. Therefore, essays are (by nature) concise and require you to be clear and to the point. This means that there is no room for your thoughts to wander or stray … you must be deliberate and stay on topic.
Each of the six writing traits--organization included--can be broken down into multiple smaller writing skills that--when working together--make-up the bigger trait. Below, find some of our webmaster's favorite resources and lessons that focus specifically on two closely-related organization sub-skills: pre-planning for pacing and sequencing in a piece of writing. A great writing teacher finds the time to explore as many of each trait's subskills as possible, helping students understand that each trait is built from multiple skills.
The critical thinking essay starts with a question, not a thesis. Your essay shows how your thinking changes as you research a topic. For example, when you begin researching capital punishment, you may be in favor of the death penalty because it is a deterrent. Then you may find some studies that question whether it has a deterrent effect and that may influence your thinking. You don't have to know what you think about your topic when you start writing your critical thinking essay.
"I'd had a hard time with my students using voice after a few lessons. Then I read a book I thought my 5th grade boys would never go for, and they totally got it. It was a real 'OOOOHHH!' moment for many of my students.
"My favorite (and most effective) book to use with the voice trait to my 5th graders is by Jane O'Connor. Even my 5th grade boys love this book. When I am finished reading it, we discuss. The discussion focuses on what Nancy's personality is like and can we guess what things she'd like and dislike. We discuss the idea that if I wrote a story--or if John, Carrie, or Max wrote a story--would it sound the same? The kids come up with the unanimous answer of 'NO!'
"Then we talk about how each of us as authors have our own unique voices that need to come out in our writing. We talk about Fancy Nancy's unique voice adds a lot of interest to the story. We talk about how there is nothing hum-drum or lifeless about Fancy Nancy and that it definitely leaves us wanting more. When my students go back to their seats, so many of them 'get' voice for the first time and are no longer afraid of taking risks in their writing because they've seen how effective and writing with voice is after reading this mentor text.
"I hope this is helpful and other teachers could use the idea so that their students can catch on to voice as quickly as mine did this past year. Writing is an overwhelming subject to teach, but I really love it and want to do all that I can to help my students improve."
"I have discovered a GREAT book for teaching voice. It is , written by Kevin O’Malley. In the story, a girl and boy are given the assignment of retelling a favorite fairy tale. As you can imagine they cannot agree on which fairy tale they like best, so they start to retell their own version of a fairy tale. The girl starts our telling her version of the fairy tale at which point the boy interrupts because he can’t take her version of the story any longer. As he continues telling the tale in 'his style,' the girl then interrupts and takes over the telling of the story in 'her style.' When I’m reading it to my class, I don’t show them the pictures until they can guess who is telling the story--the girl or the boy.
"The voice in the story is very obvious, but the story is hilarious and has become one of my class favorites! Usually the class ends up asking to do a similar assignment, so I usually let the girls start retelling a familiar story and then at a certain point hand the story to a boy in class and ask him to write on from there. The stories are always full of voice!"
"I stumbled upon , by Andrew Clements, at a Scholastic Book Fair yesterday! Our family loves Andrew Clements' novels, and my daughter is the one who spotted this little picture book among all of the other brightly colored eye-candy. As soon as I read the first page, I realized that it is a story written entirely in haiku! Brilliant!
"I immediately began to develop a lesson in my head using this as a mentor text. I can't wait to try it out! Even for the most reluctant writers, a haiku seems 'doable'-- only 17 syllables!
"If you get a chance to check out this book, don't miss the author's note in the back. Priceless"