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Commentary Essay Exam

ASSIGNMENT:  Watch the animated poem “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan (a spoken word poem) on bullying. You need not open the other links at this site–watch only the poem (about 7 minutes). Here is the link:

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For your exam, you will write a commentary on bullying as he presents it. The poem gives you the detail you need to explore the specifics of bullying as described in this poetry project. Once you paraphrase Koyczan’s representation of bullying (a well developed paragraph or two after the introduction), then you can comment on the subject of bullying as you have experienced it, as you have heard about it (with specific, cited examples), as you research it now.

CRITERIA FOR PAPER: Your essay should be two to three (2-3) typewritten pages, double-spaced, using Modern Language Association (MLA) format. See WT Chapter 27 for your example of a works cited page. I will count off for incorrect MLA style of your paper heading, header, title, and spacing. I have given you an example of the correct MLA form in an example in the example folder. However, I will not take off for any incorrect citations if you try to create an MLA styled record of your sources on the Works Cited page. You must cite the website for the animated version of “To This Day.”

DUE: Look up the due date on the Course Calendar.Turn the essay in to Canvas.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION: In the textbook you will find the chapter on Commentaries: express your opinion about the problem of bullying in the schools, building on Koyczan’s experience presented in the poem. You are not analyzing the poetry project; instead, you will be commenting on this current issue, offering your perspective (guided by the memory-trigger this poem offers). You will be contributing something new to this public conversation. Your goal: convince your readers to agree with you. To do so, you will want to quote a line or two and refer to the “To This Day” project.

You may read other commentaries on bullying, but more research is not required. All of us witnessed bullying in school, so we have our own insights to bring to the commentary. You may also limit your paper to only a commentary on the revelations of this one spoken word poem.

Be sure to create a Works Cited page listing the website of the poem. If you use a quote from the poem to help you express your commentary, use the paper sample on p. 485 as your model for reference to the text. Be sure to use parenthetical, in-text citations of the website for any quoted material or ideas drawn from the poem.  Cite the poem website, using the paper sample as your model.

1. See Chapter 10 of WT for a how-to explanation.

2. Read the essays in that chapter to see the form of a commentary.


3. Pre-thinking and pre-writing activity: Follow the steps explained in Chapter 10 in detail. You should go over the chapter several times to make sure you understand the process. Be sure to play the Believing and Doubting Game.

4. Use the outline on p. 162. Study the student’s work in the chapter

5. In your notes on the poem, be sure to list the examples of bullying that the poet offers. Once that is finished, think about your own experience with bullying and compare notes and the long-lasting effect the hurtful words had on the two victims in the poem.

6. Consider: Which of the poet’s examples are good ones?

7. The audience for this paper will be parents of adolescent kids (boys and girls–or you may limit your commentary to one gender). Your essay will appear in the PTA newsletter that goes out to all parents at a middle school in Plano (you need not direct language to that PTA group; you need only have them in mind as you write)


**On p. 162 you have the organization of your essay. Follow that if you are unfamiliar with writing such a commentary.

**Follow the invention of commentary content in your textbook. You would benefit from playing the “Believing and Doubting Game.”

**Create a draft following the example in your text.

**Be sure to follow the section on “Choosing an Appropriate Style”

**Read the section on “Designing Your Commentary” in full and follow the advice there.

**Attach a Works Cited page as your book shows you. Follow that model exactly (spacing, punctuation, order, and such). This is the final page of your essay (a page by itself).

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