Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Memory and Metacognition

You made it through your first essays. Now to find out if you made it through intact1.

Grades will be handed back on a rolling basis, which means that you may know how you did on Wednesday, but you may not know until much later. Trust that each of you will have your turn to conference and unpack your work. In the meantime, you will be given the course rubric, a guide to feedback and general revision, and a few other things to work on.

Whether you were in class on Friday or not, you must read this page on reflection and metacognition. Then, if you were absent, you must load the set of metacognitive questions given in class. Those questions are posted below.

After I’ve read and processed your work, we will decide our next step.

Writing Diagnostic: Metacognition

Work your way carefully for each of these, using a separate sheet of paper to record your responses. Staple this on top of your printed essay.

  1. Without reading your paper, write your essential question.
  1. Without reading your paper, write your thesis.
  1. If the thesis is explicit in the paper (i.e., written out in full as its own clause or sentence), label it. You can underline the thesis, highlight, put a ring of stars around it—just make sure it is labeled.
  2. Label your use of each of the 3-5 sources. Indicate which source each quotation, paraphrased selection, or summary is from.
  3. Ask one specific question you wish me to answer about this paper, where “specific” means that you are focused on one section, one paragraph, one sentence, etc.
  4. Find the longest sentence in your paper. Count the words and write the number.
  5. Find the shortest sentence next. Count the words and write the number.
  6. Now find the best sentence. We’ll define best here as the sentence that you think your teacher will consider the best—because it is clever or insightful or well written (or for some other reason). Write this sentence in full below on your separate sheet.
  7. Briefly explain how you made this sentence clever or insightful or well written. Think back to the writing process as best you can, and focus on the choices you made here.
  8. Now look at the very end of your response. For this step, briefly describe how you chose to approach the end of your argument. Why did you decide to do what you did?

1. This is probably too gloomy a tone to use, but this was a difficult diagnostic—and that’s before we fold in the Marching Band’s trip, the jitters of the first full week of school, and the siren call of a four-day weekend. It’s easy to assume a few limbs were detached along the way.


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