The Cornell System for Taking Notes
Step 1 - Your page has two columns
Step 2 - Take notes in the note-taking column
Step 3 - Review your notes within 24 hours
TOP 10 NOTE TAKING TIPS
The 5 Parts of an essay
The first part of your essay will be the introduction and it should begin by telling the
reader specifically what topic your essay is addressing. ...
First Body Paragraph. ...
Second Body Paragraph. ...
Third Body Paragraph. ...
Start by restating - paraphrasing your thesis. Once you’ve restated your thesis the next step is to reiterate your supporting points. Extract all of the “main points” from each of your supporting paragraphs. Then, find a way to wrap up these points in a way that demonstrates the importance of the ideas.
√ Sentence 1 TS Topic Sentence
√ Sentence 2 CD First sentence of concrete detail
√ Sentence 3 CM Commentary on sentence two
√ Sentence 4 CM More commentary
√ Sentence 5 CD Second sentence of concrete detail
√ Sentence 6 CM Commentary on sentence 5
√ Sentence 7 CM More commentary
√ Sentence 8 CS Concluding sentence
Paragraph Outline Form
Transitions for expository/argument/descriptive:
As a result
For this reason
Transitions for narrative:
All of a sudden
A basic Schaffer paragraph begins with the topic sentence—starting with a topic and an opinion, what the paragraph is about, then followed by a concrete detail, two commentary sentences, and a closing sentence. This is called a one-chunk body paragraph and is the most basic Schaffer model.
How to Write Schaffer Paragraph
How to Write Schaffer Paragraph. The Jane Schaffer paragraph is usually composed of five sentences, and each sentence has a specific function. Arranged according to their sequence, these sentences are: Topic Sentence (TS), Concrete Detail (CD), Commentary (CM), Commentary (M), and Concluding Sentence (CS). In writing a Schaffer paragraph, keep in mind several things: do not write in first person, there can be more than five sentences in one paragraph for as long as there are two (2) Commentaries for every Concrete Detail, and always use the present tense.
Topic Sentence (TS)
The TS introduces the primary point of the paragraph. It tells the reader what you will be discussing. Thus, your TS should be direct to the point so that your reader will easily understand your topic. In some cases, this sentence is called the Thesis Statement.
Concrete Detail (CD)
The CD is a sentence that states evidence, facts, illustrations, examples, and other supporting statements for the topic sentence. The CD typically begins with any one of these "signal" words: for example, as a matter of fact, or for instance.
The CM provides the analysis, opinion, or interpretation. It is the sentence that shows how the CD is linked to the TS. The CM is basically your personal take.
Concluding/Closing Sentence (CS)
The CS summarizes the whole point of the paragraph while serving as a transition sentence for the next paragraph. A common way to start a CS is by using the "signal" phrase as a result, therefore, or in effect.
Remember, the sentences in a Schaffer paragraph follow this sequence: TS --> CD --> CM --> CM --> CS.
The Schaffer method is a research-based writing formula commonly taught in middle and high school settings. The multi-paragraph essay structure was coined by Jane Schaffer in an effort to provide students and teachers with a consistent and proven formula for constructing essays. The method is backed by Schaffer's own research on the most effective means of crafting an essay as well as the best techniques to use in order to generate high paper scores.
Schaffer's format ensures that each paragraph is fully developed by designating specific types of sentences, a set number for these sentences (5-8 to be exact) and a specific order when composing them. In addition to these details the Schaffer method also suggest approximately how many words should go in each section as well as the ratio or sentence distribution depending on the type of paper that is being written.
The schaffer paragraph
When writing an essay using the Schaffer method, effective paragraph construction is essential. And the key terms to remember in doing so are concrete detail and commentary. These are two of the five basic sentence types that are to be included in Schaffer's paragraph format. This method calls for the following order of sentence writing; (a) topic sentence (b) concrete detail (c) two commentary sentences (d) and a concluding sentence. And as mentioned earlier there may be some variants with this as well as changes in the order of the sentences (for example, two detail sentences and then a concrete sentences) based on the subject or type of essay.
And though this formula is generally introduced and utilized amongst high school students, others may also benefit from it as well (possibly if faced with a blank page and no idea where to start!). But like many formulas, with specific guidelines and structures, you may be tempted to ask the questions; All of this for an essay? What's the benefit?
Excellent benefits of the Schaffer method
Though often criticized for stifling creativity and limiting many aspects of student writing, formulaic writing methods such as the five-paragraph-essay or the Schaffer method definitely have their share of benefits as well. With the Schaffer method in particular some features do stand out; which make it a desirable writing tool for students and teachers alike. A few are mentioned below.
Likewise, the placement of the commentary sentences after the concrete ones also indicates to students that it's necessary for them to evaluate or expand upon the evidence that they present and not to just leave it 'in the air' for the audience to decipher its relevance on their own.
Understanding Schaffer's terminology
When constructing an essay following the Schaffer method, by choice or due to the request of an instructor, it's important to understand the exact meaning of each of term that Schaffer utilizes. Though some are obvious, some may need a little clarification. The following terms relate to Schaffer's paragraph structure and are listed in the order that they should appear when written.
1. Topic Sentence
The topic sentence of a paragraph is simply the main idea and should reflect the primary concept or message that is being conveyed. The topic sentence of the essay differs in that it is being used to introduce the entire essay and therefore may be broader, but should still be connected to the thesis statement or central purpose/objective of the essay.
2. Concrete Detail
The concrete detail that is provided after the topic sentence is simply a statement that supports what was previously mentioned. It may include several things and is essentially a fact, or something know to be true as it relates to the topic. For instance, for a concrete detail you may choose to provide...
Along with providing supportive evidence the concrete detail sentence should also be properly written. Meaning that the detail is not simply placed alone in the paragraph. Its a good idea to first introduce it by providing a signal or transitional phrase. Examples can be seen below (these can be placed directly in front of your concrete detail);
The third sentence that is used with this formula refers to the author's opinion or evaluation of the concrete detail that was presented. There can be several commentary lines depending on the length of your paragraphs. The commentary sentences should not introduce any new evidence but rather work with the information that has already been provided by analyzing, interpreting, and expanding upon it. The main objective of the commentary is to explain how the evidence supports the writer's primary point, argument or objective. So along with interpreting this information more detail can be also be extracted by looking at 'deeper issues' that may be present for instance, trying to understand the true meaning of it, or even looking at it in a more abstract or alternative manner (depending on the nature of the subject).
4. Concluding Sentence
Finally, each paragraph should end with a formal conclusionary statement. Your conclusion statement should properly synthesize all of the information in the paragraph and relate back to the topic sentence. The conclusion sentence of a paragraph should be insightful but does not have to be as comprehensive as the ones found in the conclusion of an essay. Likewise, a good conclusion sentence should also be a connecting one; therefore it will sufficiently prepare the reader for the next topic sentence that is to come.
Color-Coded Outline / Jane Schaffer Essay
Your introduction paragraph should inform the reader of exactly what you are going to be writing about. There should be no surprises within your essay that take you off the topics that you have listed above.
Body Paragraph 1 – This is what you stated in sentence 3 in the introduction paragraph. Don’t get off topic!
Body Paragraph 2 – This is what you stated in sentence 4 in the introduction paragraph. Don’t get off topic!
Body Paragraph 3 – This is what you stated in sentence 5 in the introduction paragraph. Don’t get off topic!
Other Possible Body Paragraph Outline
“More Money Words” for transitions –
1. Choosing a topic: What is the focus of your essay?
2. Exploring a topic: Gather information, facts, and details. Study and research your topic?
3. Organizing/planning your writing: Create an Outline based on the information you have gathered and the research you have done.
– Create an outline/prewriting graph for each main idea you will discuss in your essay.
– Under each main idea, include supporting ideas and details. These ideas and details will come from the research you completed. Jot down specifics which will help the reader understand the main idea.
– Use supporting ideas and details that help clarify, explain, describe, and illustrate the main idea.
– Finally, select the number of paragraphs you plan to have in your essay.
Tips for Writing a Paragraph
Characteristics of a good paragraph:
Topic sentence, which includes the topic and a controlling idea. Supporting ideas (usually 3 - 6), which support the topic sentence.
RENNS (reasons, examples, names, numbers, senses), which develop the supporting ideas by giving details and explanation.
Optional concluding sentence, which expresses the importance of the information in the paragraph, may summarize the supporting ideas if the paragraph is long, or provides a transition to the next paragraph of the essay.
Unity, which means that all sentences in the paragraph directly support the topic sentence.
Coherence, which means that all the information of the paragraph is well-organized, logically ordered and easy to follow. This is accomplished by:
Repetition of key words and phrases (often from the topic sentence) Parallel grammatical structure
Transition words and phrases.
Process of Writing a Paragraph:
A. Supporting idea 1.
B. Supporting idea 2.
C. Supporting idea