Social and Climate Justice and the Anatomy of an Essay

Social and Climate Justice and the Anatomy of an Essay

Watch The Anatomy of an Essay presentation  Download The Anatomy of an Essay presentation which introduces and briefly discusses key concepts of essay writing.  Be sure you can hear the narration that goes along with the PowerPoint Presentation. After you click on the presentation, be sure to click on “slide show” and then “play from beginning.”  Also watch the the following video, which examines an example personal essay (about happiness, instead of sustainability):Play media comment.

Next, watch the following TedTalk on the intersection of climate change and social justice.  Pay close attention to the role story-telling (a part of writing) plays in her discussion.

When you have finished watching both the video and the presentation, follow the steps below towards a mini essay, which practices the techniques introduced in the presentation and video. The mini-essay should respond to the following question:

Describe a time in your life when you may have witnessed the way climate change worsened an existing social injustice.

1. FIRST! Start with Tiffany.  Before you draft your mini essay, freewrite for 5 minutes in response to the prompt above.  Freewriting is the behind-the-scenes writing, where you develop and discover ideas before you draft them and present them to an audience.  It is really essential to freewrite first so that you have something to say.  To freewrite, you simply set a timer, put your fingers on the keys (or pen to paper) and write without stopping.  Just write.  Don’t plan or judge or edit or worry about paragraphs or sentence structure.  Just let the words come however they come.  Don’t try to make it good or clear.  Just write.  This will give your mind a way to spill out every authentic thought it has about this prompt.  More often than not, you’ll be surprised by what comes out in a freewrite.  It might not be brilliant.  But it will be authentic and can inspire the idea you begin to craft into an essay.  The most important rule of a freewrite? DON’T STOP WRITING for the full 5 minutes.  And if you write beyond that 5 minutes, even better.  Keep going.  Let the ideas flow.  Include this freewrite with your submission.

2.  (Aunt Bea) Then, from the ideas you generate in that freewrite, on the same document, draft your mini essay (guidelines below):

1. Introduction: In 2 sentences, create the context for the discussion that will follow, in your body. Then, in one more sentence, state the ONE idea you develop with the rest of your mini essay.

2. Body:

A. In one paragraph, DESCRIBE a specific, particular experience of injustice you have had or witnessed, in 3-4 sentences.

B. In another paragraph, ANALYZE that same experience, explaining what it means to you now, in just 3-4 sentences.

3. Conclusion: Creatively emphasize, in 3 sentences, the idea you’ve developed in the body (above).

4.  Creatively title your mini essay.

3.  (Frank)  Copy and paste the above draft in your document so that you can work on your “final draft” separately. Read carefully through the copy of your mini essay, asking yourself what could work more effectively, what might cultivate more clarity or engagement, what might help you to create your personality on the page, and decide if there is anything you might delete or add.  Refine the mini essay carefully.

Submit all three parts of the assignment, in one document, here.