Lost Art

I gave my students a writing prompt.  That prompt gave them two passages from a novel to use for a literary analysis essay.  In the prompt, I instructed the students to write about civilization and savagery in the two passages.  The photo below is a portion of that prompt.

Paragraph instructions
Instructions from a writing prompt

We discussed the prompt in class on several occasions.  We devoted class time to working on the assignment.  I was around to answer any questions.  I asked if they understood the prompt.  We discussed the prompt some more.  We talked about expectations for the assignment.  I emailed them reminders about the assignment.  I talked with each student individually about the assignment.


Nevertheless I had the following questions and comments about the assignment.

How many paragraphs does it need to be?
I thought it was supposed to be five paragraphs.
Are we supposed to use paragraphs?

I didn’t know we had to write an introduction.
We need a conclusion?
I didn’t write a conclusion.  Do I need to go back and add one?
You didn’t say anything about needing a thesis statement.
I thought my thesis statement was supposed to be instead of my introduction.
I wrote my first paragraph about civilization.
Oh, I wrote my first paragraph about savagery.  Is that right?
I didn’t know I was supposed to write about civilization and savagery.

I would now like to interrupt this litany to introduce Exhibit B.

paragraph instructions 3
Excerpt from writing assignment prompt

You didn’t say we had to talk about those 2 passages.

And here is Exhibit C.

Paragraph instructions 2
Excerpt from a writing prompt

I suppose reading instructions is a lost art.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s