20 January 2010

Cool Conclusions

I've been teaching writing for thirteen years now. Every year or so I come up with a new wrinkle.

This year my challenge was lazy conclusion-writers in my 11th-grade class. Somewhere along the way--probably 8th grade language arts--they learned to "bail out" on a conclusion. In other words: restate the thesis, give a pat answer, get outta Dodge.

We're practicing for the statewide TCAP writing test by writing essays for college applications. I was trying to come up with a word that summarized a good conclusion.

I came up with three:

Jedi Mind Trick.

Remember how Obi-wan Kenobi would wave his hand in front of the object's face and say something like, "These are not the droids you are looking for"?

THAT'S how to write the conclusion to a good essay. You are placing in the mind of the reader the very idea you want them to say back to you. In a college application essay, that would be something like this:

"You will enjoy having me on your campus"

"These skills and more will make OSU a livelier, funnier place"

What Jedi mind tricks do you have? If you were applying to college again, what would you want the admissions clerk to mindlessly type into their computer after reading your essay?

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