16 Assignment Part One: Write a Definition Essay

Glasses on top of book

What do you do?

For this assignment, imagine that you are ready to leave Community College and continue your studies at Urban University. You have completed the application and taken the placement tests. The admissions office recognizes that you are a bright student. However, they are also looking for a student who understands social justice. Therefore, they ask you to write an essay to define a significant word or idea from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Here are the steps in the process:

  1. Use the word or concept from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that you proposed to your instructor.
  2. Complete the definition research chart below. Find out as much as you can about your word or idea.
  3. Use that information to first write a definition paragraph. Start a new Google Doc. Write only a paragraph now; you will write the full essay later. Be sure that your paragraph has a strong topic sentence (topic + controlling idea). Add 3-6 supporting sentences that explain the topic sentence using the information from your definition research chart (choose 2-3 strategies; write 1-2 sentences for each strategy). End the paragraph with a concluding sentence. Proofread your work and fix grammatical and mechanical errors. Share this paragraph (and your definition chart) with your teacher for feedback.
  4. After you receive feedback from your teacher about your definition paragraph, then expand that definition paragraph into the first draft of your definition essay. Use the essay self-check and grading rubrics to review your work before you submit it to your teacher.

How should you do it?

  • Follow the schedule from your instructor. Pay close attention to the due dates for each part.
  • Type your essay on a computer using Google Docs and use the Share function to send to your instructor. You do not need to print anything.
  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Use Times Roman 11 or 12 point font or similar.
  • Use double-spaced lines.
  • Use page numbers.
  • Put your full name, class name, and date in the upper left-hand of the first page.
  • Add a title, centered at the top of the page. Be creative with your titles! Get the reader’s attention.
  • Use the TAB key on your keyboard to indent each paragraph.
  • Write as many body paragraphs as you have major points (each major point is a separate body paragraph).
  • Do not copy directly from another source without proper citation. That is plagiarism and may result in 0 points for this assignment. If you use ideas or information from another source, you must paraphrase (use your own words) or quote (use exact words inside “quotation marks”). Either way, you must say where you found the information. For this assignment, a simple phrase like “According to [author name] in [title of article or book or website], [rewrite the idea in your own words]….. Example: According to Tim Krause in The Book about Everything, plagiarism is the same as cheating and doesn’t help students to learn.
  • Include at least one adjective clause in your essay. Underline it.
  • Try new vocabulary words! Your teacher will let you know if they are not used correctly.
  • Proofread carefully to make sure you are accurately using standard grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

How will your work be graded?

You will receive two scores for this project. One score is for the first draft; it focuses on content and organization. The other score is for the second draft; it focuses on grammar and mechanics. Review the grading rubrics to understand how your teacher will evaluate your work.


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