In 1912, Pablo Picasso, an avid painter of nature and still life, tore part of a makeshift tablecloth and glued it to his painting, Still Life with Chair Caning, and thus, by adding different items to aid his painting, he began the art of collage making. (Pablo Picasso – Still Life with Chair Canning). A collage is simply a group of objects arranged together to create a complete image of an idea, theme, or memory. For example, David Modler created a collage called “Big Bug” to represent the irony that is the importance of insects to our natural world in comparison to their size. The bug in the image is the smallest feature of the collage yet it is to be viewed as the most important aspect (Modler, David). All these parts of a collage collaborate together to create a unifying theme or message and can be used as a helpful tool in education.
Statement of Purpose
I propose that each student make an artistic collage to be presented to the class that will symbolize the context, audience, setting, structure or any key ideas found in one of the readings this semester. Students who make a collage will be able to drop the lowest quiz grade.
Plan of Action
The students will have one week from the announcement of the project to complete the collage and prepare a presentation for it. Each student must choose one reading that we have done so far or will read in the future, and no two students may choose the same work. Conflict with students wanting to present the same work will be resolved by a first come first serve basis. The students will be given a rubric with the exact requirements of the project and what the purpose of the project is.
I will make the rubric myself and submit it for approval, or we can use the rubric that I have attached.
Benefits of Collage Proposal
- Making a collage would allow the students to think and inspect the readings and ideas visually (Rodrigo, “Collage”), thus giving them another perspective, or possibly clearing up any misconceptions and confusions they had about a work when we were just discussing it in class verbally.
- A collage provides the opportunity for revision of a certain work and would certainly help to clear up any topics in the readings that might come up on the final exam or a future test, via a visual and more creative method.
- If a student received a bad grade on a quiz because they did not understand the reading, the collage would give the student an opportunity to go back to the reading and understand it, or to read ahead and grasp concepts that might be useful to present to the class before the class does the reading. A collage would allow the student to become familiar with the work in a visual way and give them an opportunity to understand the main themes, topics, and ideas of a work, even one we might not have read yet.
Viability of Collage Proposal
Since a collage would be like giving the student an opportunity to go back and review a subject and at the same time would resemble preparation for a presentation, the time and effort required to go back and re-read a work as well as prepare the collage creatively would be sufficient to justify replacing the lowest quiz grade.
Our course mentor said that this project would be a nice addition to the class because, just like any play is better seen than read, the collage will allow students to get the visual aspect behind a work and help them to grasp the ideas better.
Past visuals that we have used in class to describe scenes from our readings such as The Tempest and The Odyssey have greatly helped me to understand some of the ideas of the stories. For example, I always pictured the cyclops as a nasty, vile creature, but after some of the “fuzzy” drawings on the board done by some of my peers, I imagined and understood that he could in fact be a gentle creature that was just angered by Ulysses trespassing and blinding him. I could not have seen that perspective of the story had it not been for some of the more innocent visuals on the board.
Finally, I have discussed with the students in our class about the idea of a collage replacing the lowest quiz grade and the overwhelming majority approved of the idea. Since a collage will substitute for a quiz grade, the assignment will be optional. Just as a quiz is almost always optional based on class initiation of discussion, the collage will also be optional based on similar student effort parameters. The students who do not want to do a collage can choose “door number 2” and take a quiz that would be created by the teachers and/or myself. This quiz can be used to make the total number of assignments for each student in the class even, and may or may not be graded based on the professor's discretion.
The first goal of my collage proposal is to give students a chance to be creative and step outside the boundaries of classroom discussion. They can use their imaginations to find a way to creatively put together a collage that will help the class as well as themselves to better understand the course reading.
A second goal of my proposal is that the time and effort put into making the collage and presenting it in front of the class will equal the worth of dropping the lowest quiz grade. Because this collage requires the creator to examine the context, audience, setting, structure of any one of the readings, it is essentially like a quiz itself, which includes questions on similar topics.
The literary work that a student chooses to create a collage on will determine how much time is necessary to fully complete the project. One week to create a collage should give each student—no matter what reading they choose to do—ample time to create a presentable and educational collage for the class.
In terms of tangible resources, this project is not very demanding. A simple poster or a series of photographs or drawings assembled neatly together by the student will be about as resourcefully demanding as this project gets.
In addition, a few hours of class time will need to be allocated in order to present the collages. If each student takes at least five minutes to present the total time needed for the presentations will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. The presentation day(s) and time(s) can be decided by the class as a whole.
The rest of the resources needed are already available:
- The readings are all published online if a student needs to refer back to them
- Craft supplies are readily available
Skills for Successful Completion
- As a good planner and organizer I made a rubric that is specific enough to give the students a good idea of what they should be doing for the collage. The rubric can be made available upon your request.
- In addition I can also come up with a quiz if there are students who want to opt out of the collage project.
- I can talk to the class and come up with a good presentation time and date for everybody.
- I would volunteer myself to hold an early presentation session a few days before the due date so the others can get an idea of what their collage could look like and why they can benefit from the project.
- I will make myself available to the class if they have any questions about the proposed project.
A collage will allow students to understand visually a reading or topic in a reading that they may have been confused about. The project is a fun and creative way to get students to think about a reading more in depth as well as review for future exams. As a result of the effort and time put into the collages, the students should be allowed to drop their lowest quiz grade in the semester.
Modler, David. Big Bug. Photograph.Kronos Art Gallery. Web. 12 Oct. 2011
"Pablo Picasso - Still Life with Chair Caning (1912)." Lenin Imports. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.
Rodrigo. "Collages." Web 2.0 Toolkit. 11 Mar. 2009. Web. 2 Oct. 2011.
Of course, your instructors say writing essays is an easy task, but that does not mean that you are a dummy if they are difficult for you. And it does not mean you are a dummy if it is difficult for you to cope with this type of assignment. Not every person is a guru in writing and can compete with Ernest Hemingway. If writing is not your strong point, you can still practice several helpful techniques that will make the writing process easier. The bad news is the amount of writing assignments in colleges and universities – they make up a large portion of your academic assignments. By following our “Writing Essays for Dummies” guide, you will improve your writing skills and increase your grades.
What Is an Essay?
You have probably read the definition of an essay many times. However, if you still have some questions, a good start is to read the explanation of what this type of paper is again. An essay in the context of education is a paper on a specific topic which reveals a certain aspect of the topic. It contains a thesis statement (main idea), strong arguments which support a thesis, and a conclusion. An essay is always an author’s interpretation of a specific topic. Is it still difficult to understand what an essay is? If so, then read the explanation to each characteristic below.
- An essay reveals a narrow aspect of the topic. When you are going to write an essay, you should choose a narrow topic so that it will be possible to reveal it properly. If your teachers assigned an essay about the American Civil War, he or she expects that you write only about one aspect of it. It is impossible to discuss all the sides of war in one essay. You can write about one battle, such as the Battle of Fort Sumter. And again, this doesn’t sound like a topic for an academic essay. The topic should be more specific.
Example of the topic: “The Influence of the Battle of Fort Sumter on the Military Strategy of the Union.”
- An essay contains a thesis statement and arguments which support it. One of the most important criteria of an essay is the thesis statement. What is it? Simply speaking, it’s the main idea of your paper; it’s a thought which you are going to prove during the rest of your paper. Do not confuse a thesis statement with a conclusion. It’s not something that you need to write in the end. The thesis statement is usually presented in the introduction. The rest of the paper consists of evidence which supports your idea, your thesis. Sometimes, you should also present a refutation of the opposite opinion but we will talk about this later.
Example of thesis: “The Battle of Fort Sumter has immensely influenced the military strategy of the Union making it more aggressive towards secessionists.”
- An essay is an author’s interpretation of a specific topic. Many students confuse “an author’s interpretation” and “personal opinion.” Please, take into consideration that your essay shouldn’t contain assumptions. You should express your opinion, your view on the topic based on factual information you’ve found. You need to analyze information and make your conclusions.
How to Write a Short Essay in 5 Steps
Now, when you know general rules of writing an essay, you can read our guide with specific steps on writing an essay. We’ve prepared an easy-to-read guide for you, showing how to write a short essay with minimum experience and practice in this sphere. Do not lose your faith in the success of your paper – we will definitely help you tackle this obstruction.
Step 1: Start with research
If you do not have enough time for brainstorming, skip this step and start looking for useful information on the Internet. Find a topic you are really interested in and try become confident in being able to discuss it easily. When it comes to writing, try to choose as narrow topic as it is possible to make your writing process enjoyable. As a rule, the first step is to choose the topic, but we have talked about this step in the previous section. So, our first step is making research on the already chosen topic. When you are making research, you should rely on authoritative sources. Which sources can you usually trust?
- Books written by well-known authors who are experts in the field.
- Scholarly articles.
- Studies made by well-known institutions.
- Information published on websites of authoritative educational affiliations.
A point to consider: Sources which do not present references, authors and dates of publishing the material are usually unreliable.
When you are making research, it’s better to find from three to five reliable sources than to use fifteen suspicious sources. So, first of all find those reliable sources. Afterward, read information which is presented in those sources and try to formulate your thesis statement. Gather all data available. The next stage of the research is to read information again and highlight the most important points and arguments to use in your paper. When making research, you should make notes on which points are obligatory to mention in your essay. These points will be a basis for your outline.
Step 2: Write an outline
This is one of the most important points as you create the structure of your future paper and think over the main ideas to present. The amount of points in your outline depends on the length of your paper. Your outline is your plan. The more detailed plan you make now the easier it will be for you to write an essay thereafter. The outline should contain such points:
- Argument 1
– evidence for Argument 1
- Argument 2
– evidence for Argument 2
- Argument 3
– evidence for Argument 3
3. Refutation of opposite side (This point is necessary for argumentative type of essay)
What is the difference between an argument and evidence in the context of the essay? An argument is the claim which supports your thesis, and evidence is facts which support your argument. Let’s return to our sample thesis “The Battle of Fort Sumter has immensely influenced the military strategy of the Union making it more aggressive towards secessionists” and try to understand which points can be arguments and which evidence.
So, the argument on why military strategy became aggressive can be the following: After the Battle of Fort Sumter, the Union started more active preparation for military conflict. What can be the evidence in this case? The evidence can be the amount of people who were recruited to the army, the amount of manufactured weapons, the President’s claims towards the military situation and others.
3-5 main arguments will be enough to support your thesis to decide how to write a short essay according to your instructors’ requirements. The same thing is with evidence – choose 2-3 points to support your arguments.
Step 3: Prepare the first draft of your essay
Follow your plan to write the first draft. Don’t focus on word choice at this staging point. Concentrating on words will distract you from the semantic aspect of your paper. You shouldn’t stop at one point on your outline for too long. If you don’t know what else to write, move further. After completing the first draft, you will have time to add or delete something from your draft.
When writing, always keep the interests and expectations of your readers when writing. You know your instructor better than anyone else. Write using the professor’s particular phrases, style of writing, ideas to support, etc. Each paragraph should be dedicated to one separate idea and have arguments to support it.
Step 4: Revise the paper to make sure your ideas sound logical and coherent
At this step, you need to reread your paper and make sure your ideas are logical and coherent. Also, check to make sure you didn’t make inconsistencies and if everything is understandable for the reader, who didn’t research this topic as much as you. All paragraphs of the body which present arguments should be equal to each other so that your paper looks balanced and well-structured.
IMPORTANT. Pay attention to the introduction and conclusion. They should also be equal to each other. If you are attentive enough, you will have noticed the absence of information in these sections, if you have this problem. You can write them when the whole paper is ready. They usually express the same idea from different viewpoints and have separate purposes. In the conclusion you should restate your thesis and say that, according to the arguments you’ve presented, your thesis statement is true. Also, you can give predictions about the development of this issue in the future. Or, you can mention problems which keep scientists from coming to an agreement about the issue.
Step 5: Edit the paper
Proofread it or ask your friends to do this for you. If you are interested in writin g essays for dummies, it will be tough for you to edit the paper correctly following all academic writing rules. Therefore, do not hesitate to request help. However, you still should know how to edit your paper. For this reason, we would like to tell you about the points you need to pay attention to while checking your essay:
- Grammatical mistakes
- Word choice
Tips on Writing an Essay You Should Definitely Follow
- Find information on how to write a particular type. There are many types of essays, such as analysis, classification, descriptive, expository definition, reflective, narrative, cause and effect, informal, deductive, compare and contrast, persuasive, critical, and evaluation. Each of these types have their specific requirements.
- Include experts’ opinions in your essay to make it sound persuasive. If you would like to present an expert’s view, make sure that you cite it properly. Also, don’t forget to mention who this expert is, his or her full name and occupation.
- Don’t use Wikipedia as a main source for your paper. Many students like to use Wikipedia as a main source, but this can negatively influence your scores. Articles on Wikipedia are written by users, some of which can be incompetent at revealing the issue. However, you can still use Wikipedia to find out which points you should pay attention to and check the correctness of particular pieces of information.
- Find format requirements on the official websites. If you are to complete an essay within a specific format style, visit the official website of the organization which created this format. For example, you should visit the website of American Psychological Association to know the requirements for APA style.
- Stick to the proportion:
Introduction – 5% -10% of the total word count
Main body – 80-90% of the total word count
Conclusion – 5-10% of the total word count
Writing Essays for Dummies: Helpful Advice to Consider From Students
What is the first thing you do when you write? You think about a topic to discuss. You have random ideas and cannot focus on the purpose of your paper. You know the theory, but it is difficult to use this knowledge in practice. We’ve gathered several helpful tips from former students to make your writing easier and more enjoyable.
“I start getting ready to write my paper in a traditional way – I find informative sources, think over the topic and arguments to present. I do this for several days and start on the last night before the paper is due, when the information is analyzed and chewed over. The only method that works for me is a strict time limit and the absence of opportunity to leave an essay for tomorrow.”
“I use an eccentric method. Instead of spending long and boring hours worrying about how to write a short essay, I search for challenging ideas in free essay samples on the Internet, paraphrase them in my own words and write a logical paper.”
“I copy-paste all ideas I find useful, relevant and appropriate to support my point of view. Then I set them in a logical order and start writing my own arguments.”
We hope that after reading this article you won’t feel like a dummy when it comes to writing essays. Follow all of our instructions thoroughly and you will succeed to complete a great essay. You shouldn’t ignore or skip any of the presented steps or recommendations. In this article, there is basic information that is crucial for writing essays. If something goes wrong while you are writing, this doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your chance for success. This means that you need more practice and more diligence. Try to put in more effort and you will cope with any task!