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Writing a synthesis essay

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Mrs. Hall

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of Writing a synthesis essay

The Synthesis Essay - Exploring sources to develop an argument
Writing a synthesis essay
-Analyzing sources to create an argument
-Honing your "writer's voice" and experimenting with the tone of your essay
-First, let's examine what exactly your "writer's voice" is!
What is special about my response to the S.E. compared to the other AP questions?
For some questions, your response must not be too personal. Sometimes, it is easy to go into "diatribe" mode or the old man "get off my lawn" tone. For the argument essay, you will use a more formal tone.

However, for the synthesis essay, the goal is to use YOUR strong writer's voice to show your opinion. This will be a more expressive, "from the heart" response.
Put on your thinking cap...
After you've read the prompt carefully, start to think about what your point of view will be. You should have about 15 minutes to read the question and sources before starting to write.

Read the sources closely. Make sure you know how many sources you need to reference. Look for text, quotes, etc. that could potentially support your point of view.
Before you begin writing:
First, watch the "Synthesis Essay" video in this folder. If the video does not play, please watch it on your home computer (some schools do not allow you to view YouTube videos).

I will place the instructions from this presentation above the S.E. question. The focus on this one will be the process you use to organize the items included in your essay.

Download, print, or keep the prompt document open on your computer while you complete the S.E. assignment. You will need to look at the sources multiple times as you develop your essay.
The BIG RULES, AP test portion:
Never, ever summarize the sources. You need to pull quotes and info FROM them, but always use your own words. You must "synthesize" the information in order to develop your OWN argument.

This essay CAN (must :) use your personal voice. Write from your heart and let us hear YOU through the words.

Once you pick a tone, stick with it all the way. You can change it if you don't like it, but remember that this is essentially a first draft. You will write in pencil and edit directly onto the paper.

Good luck- try your best and you will do a great job.
What is your "writer's voice?"
Sometimes when I give you feedback about essays, I mention how you have a strong "writer's voice." To me, this is your personal style and how your personality and knowledge of your topic come across. You are all unique, so each of you has a different "voice."

Elements that contribute to your voice are your use of syntax, diction, punctuation, how you would develop your characters, and dialogue.

Your voice can be light, playful, expressive, serious, scholarly, fast paced, casual, imaginative, etc.
So... what is the point of the synthesis essay?
The synthesis essay was recently added to the AP test. It requires you to use various sources to answer a prompt.

Sources usually include text and "visual text" such as pictures, graphs, comics, ads, newspaper articles, books, editorials, etc.
What do I do with the sources?
You will choose a position for your response. You will be given a guideline such as "use at least three sources", and have to examine each one for validity and usefulness in making your argument.
Where do I start??!
There are steps to take to create an awesome synthesis essay. First, read the question CAREFULLY. You must answer all parts of the question to earn your best possible score.


Now, I don't want the "score" to be our main focus, but obviously if you want to earn college credit it is very important!

By learning the "rules" for each type of essay, you can then start to focus on HOW you express yourself and showing your mature, focused style. These are all elements that will help you earn a high score.
My voice is awesome! Oh... you mean writing... I only know about 5 words and they are "baby," "no," "oh," "like," and "baby."

Look at how much I love school!!!!
This dude is pretty proud of this buck,
just like you should be proud of your writing skills.
...Or your hipster antlers, glasses, mustache, and fixie bicycle.
Your opening paragraph is the reader's first impression. Your first steps:

Choose your point of view
From the list on the next screen, choose a tone. This will be the way you will be consistent with the overall "feel" of the essay.
Choose at least four brief quotes from at least three of the different texts.
Quotes: Choose one against your position and three supporting.

Tone Words
Choose one of these tone words, which you will use to create the S.E.

Humorous
Satiric
Serious
Playful
Objective
Balanced
Patriotic
Sardonic
Alarmist
Nostalgic
Urgent
If you can think of a solid tone along these lines that can fit your response, try it out.
-Your words here-
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