How to add DETAILS to your essays...

On the last exam, many students were lacking sufficient detail in their essays. Today we're going to do something to help you to understand how to get AS MUCH DETAIL AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE into your essays for the third exam!

Just so you know, details can include any/all of the following:

  • Names - Nicholas Biddle, Treaty of New Echota, Worcester v. Georgia
  • Dates - 1676, 1776, 1802, 1832, 1836, ...
  • Events - Boston Massacre, Panic of 1837, Trail of Tears
  • Numbers - 80% mortality rate; 70 in the treaty party, over 15000 in the non-treaty party
  • Specific facts and elaboration - components of the civilization program, explanation of what AJ did to KILL the 2nd BUS, description of the Puritan safeguards, specific demands in the Declaration of Sentiments

Basically, if you have a date/name/event/fact in your notes related to the topic, then it SHOULD go in your essay! Put it ALL in there! (YES, this means that your paragraphs will be REALLY long!)

My Guarantee: The MORE (accurate and appropriate) details you have, the HIGHER your essay score!!!

Common Example: The Cherokee went to court and won, but Jackson didn't listen.

BETTER Example: In 1832, the Cherokee (who had embraced the civilization program and had in fact established a government similar to that of the US Constitution) fought against Georgia's actions in the Supreme Court case of Worcester v. Georgia. The Supreme Court sided with the Cherokee, saying that it was a violation of the Indian Intercourse Act of 1790 for Georgians to try to interfere with Cherokee land. Andrew Jackson, however, did not agree with this decision and outwardly opposed Justice John Marshall. In fact, he is known for saying "John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it..."

Reverse Mad Lib Time!

In traditional Mad Libs, I would give you a story with blanks in it. You would fill in the blanks without seeing the story. Then we'd all laugh hysterically at the ridiculousness that ensues.

Today we're going to do a REVERSE Mad Lib! I'll provide the "blanks" and you'll fill in the story! Bwa ha ha! It's crazy! (Not John Brown crazy, but crazy nonetheless!)

  1. Get into groups based on my instructions...
  2. Let's look at one of the possible essay questions for Exam 3
  3. I'm going to give each group an envelope representing one of the events/issues. Inside the envelope are cut up slips of paper representing the details of that event.
  4. Your job is to tell the story of that event/issue USING ALL OF THE DETAILS. Your group will write a paragraph on the paper provided by inserting the details in the appropriate places and weaving them together with your own words to create a story.
  5. Near the end of class, we'll all share our stories. Hopefully no laughing will be involved.