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Regents Questions #26 & #27 - bths.enschool.org

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Regents Questions#26 & #27
Topic & Concluding Sentences
The Topic Sentence in General
Needs to state what the entire paragraph is aboutFirst sentence of the paragraphNeeds to connect back to the thesis statementNote, for questions 26 & 27, there is no thesis statement b/c there is no full essay, which means the topic sentence is acting as a thesis statement for the paragraph.Needs to be broad and universalShould NOT include specific evidence or quotations = save it for the body of the paragraph
Examples
IncorrectJohn Gardner’s depiction of Grendel as angry at God is shown when Grendel “uplift[s] a defiant middle finger” at the sky and “give[s] an obscene little kick” (2).
CorrectJohn Gardner’s depiction of Grendel shows that anger leads to disillusionment as shown by Grendel’s reactions to God.
The Topic Sentence in Question #26
Prompt: Write a well-developed paragraph in which you use ideas from both passages to establish a controlling idea about ___________________. Develop your controlling idea using specific examples and details from both passages.This question wants to see you develop a theme. It will give you a topic, and the test is whether or not you can break it into a relevant theme in order to analyze it in the passages they provide you.Therefore, the topic sentence should include the theme, and for organization and clarity sake, we are going to word it in a “leads to” format.
The Topic Sentence in Question #26
But, that’s not all. Since you are having to do this for the sake of a testing situation, and since exhausted, overburdened English teachers (with varying degrees of abilities & perhaps certain prejudices or expectations towards BTECHstudents)will be grading these tests, let’s help them NOT MISS YOUR CONTROLLING IDEA!Let’s use the words “controlling idea” and let’s DRAW A BOX AROUND IT!!
The Topic Sentence in Question #26
Example:Both Passage I and Passage II show acontrolling ideathatlying leads to the preservation of relationships.Revision TIME! Go back through your Regents Paragraphs forGrendeland revise the topic sentences so that they are in the above format. Be sure to use the phrase “controlling idea,” word the theme in a “leads to,” and draw a box around it. Instead of saying “Passages I and II,” please say “John Gardner’s novelGrendel.”
In John Gardner’s novelGrendel,he evidences thecontrolling ideathata belief in nothing (or nihilism) leads to violence.
Applying Questions #26 & #27to REAL LIFE WRITING
The reality is that when crafting a “real” thesis statement, you should have four parts: warrant, claim, reason, evidence.However, #26 only calls for one part = the claim (or controlling idea/ theme). A claim by itself in NO WAY is a developed thesis statement, but we are going to stop there for Question #26 to make sure that the grader is not confused about whether or not you have answered the prompt.Qualification: This is where writing becomes confusing for students and for us teachers to teach you because we are tied to the constraints of these exams, which do not necessarily call for “quality writing.” This, herein, is the universal problem with standardized testing and with rating teachers based upon those exams– the exams are not “good,” but I have to teach you how to do well on them anyway b/c 40% of my job depends on those scores this year… and NOT just for me! This year, I am also carrying the P.E. teachers + the Foreign Language teachers who have 20% of their overall “teacher score” based upon my English Regents Scores. ???Moving on to Question #27- It asks you take a second step in creating a topic sentence/ thesis statement because it asks you to include both a claim (theme) and evidence (literary element or technique) (that is only two parts of the four part thesis statement). Remember that in reality, you WOULD ALWAYS DO THIS, but you are not to do this in question #26 because we do not want to confuse the grader in any way! You are ONLY to include the controlling idea/ theme/ claim, and that is all.
TheTopic Sentence in Question #27
Prompt: Choose a specific literary element (e.g. theme, characterization, structure, point of view, etc.) or literary technique (e.g. symbolism, irony, figurative language, etc.) used by one of the authors. Using specific details from either Passage I OR Passage II, in a well-developed paragraph, show how the author uses that element or technique to develop the passage.Since all literary elements & literary techniques point to theme (or “controlling idea”), this question wants to see you use a specific literary element or technique as evidence of the theme (or “controlling idea”) in action.Therefore, the topic sentence should include the theme (“controlling idea”) in a “leads to” format PLUS the specific literary element or technique. Note, even though the prompt mentions “theme,” you are not going to use theme to prove theme. This is where the Regents creators are confused. The argument IS the theme– it’s NOT separate from it!
The Topic Sentence in Question #27
But, that’s not all.Let’s make sure the grader DOES NOT MISS YOUR LITERARY ELEMENT OR TECHNIQUE!So, let’s use the words “literary element” or “literarytechnique”and DRAW A BOX AROUND the specific device we are using as evidence of the theme.
The Topic Sentence in Question #27
Example:Passage II shows that deceit leads to downfall through theliterary elementof characterization.Revision Time! Go back to theBeowulfparagraphs (Regents Paragraphs #1 & #2) & revise the topic sentences to look like the above except useBeowulfinstead of “Passage I” or “Passage II.”
Passage I shows the idea that ambition leads to corruption through theliterary techniqueof irony.
The epic poemBeowulfshows thatpride leads to downfall through theliterary techniqueof epithets.
The Conclusion Sentence
Now, for the easy part. The last sentence of each paragraph should rephrase the topic sentence.Do not use the exact same sentence or exact same words as the topic sentence, but you do need to remind the reader again what the point of the paragraph is.This will serve greater purpose when you are writing longer paragraphs for actual essays.
Example of Concluding Sentences
Topic Sentence: Theepic poemBeowulfshows thatprideleads to downfall through theliterarytechniqueofepithets.Concluding Sentence: The epic hero Beowulf makes many decisions based upon his pride that cause his ultimate death as emphasized by the shifting epithets in the poem.Revision Time! Go back through all Regents paragraphs now and revise the concluding sentences!

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Regents Questions #26 & #27 - bths.enschool.org