Your response is to be posted on the
Message Board associated with this
see what & how peers are writing
learn from each other's essays
respond and provide help to a
classmate for future writing
- To note what works and what needs
- To help your peers write better.
- To help yourself become a better writer
by becoming familiar with essay
The purpose of doing this critique is to help a peer in your class.
Students only have access to the
Discussion Board for
the class they are in; therefore, critiquing a student
not in your class is a waste of time.
That student will never
critique. If you critique a peer in another class no credit will be given.
Soon after the assignment closes a file containing all the
essays submitted from both online
classes will be sent to you
via an email attachment.
Essays are grouped according to
class section: IN OR IN1.
Choose an essay to critique written
by a peer in your class.
A list of all students in your
section is on the Homepage - People
Notify the class of your choice on
the Discussion Board when you are
ready to do the critique (to avoid
duplications) and immediately do the
all peers have been critiqued,
critique your own.
Write a very brief sentence or two summary
It need not be lengthy, perhaps
a few sentences just give a sense
of what you are critiquing. Do not
assume a reader has read the essay
you will critique. Providing an
overview so your critique has a context.
retell the essay; (give a
reader only enough to get an overall picture
of what happened, what was described,
2. Write a critique
purpose of a peer critique is to provide
insight to the writer of how the reader
is perceiving an essay. Additionally, it
also is very beneficial to the peer
doing the critique. It is often said
that we learn a lot by teaching or
instructing others. You are trying to
help a writer become a better writer and
in so doing help yourself learn what works
and what doesn't. Being vague with compliments
or criticisms is not helpful. You must be specific
and forthcoming with as much information as you can provide. Both you
and the writer will benefit form it. To help the writer and do a good
critique consider the following. You are
not answering questions; you are writing
a critique, and you will be graded on
your writing ability, helpfulness, and
What works or doesn't. How
could it be better? Good writing
inspires thought and gives a reader
something to think about. Be honest with
your peers. Giving unwarranted praise is
very destructive, as is withholding a
pat on the back. Be honest. Be
analytical of the author's points. Think
about it for a while before writing. Did
you enjoy it, or was it a chore to read?
Most importantly is there a worthwhile
message? After all, that is the purpose
to write an essay. If you were
Bernarducci, what would you say to help
Offer suggestions, give advice; what can you tell this
writer to help make a better essay?
Label it completely
think in terms of:
Meaning - what the
implicitly and\or explicitly aims to
Writing Strategy - how the essay was
Language - what writing techniques
the following for your critique
Enjoyment & Message
all techniques present?
Do they enhance the message?
can they be used better?
use of advanced vocabulary
use of surprise
on whatever will help most.
Avoid simplistic yes or no critique.
Do not be vague.
Do not use unclear terminologies
you enjoy it?
Did you get meaning?
whatever will help most;
Avoid simplistic yes or no critique.
Do not be vague.
Do not use unclear terminologies.
Yes or no
answers are not helpful.
Explain thoughts completely.
Provide examples where necessary.
In addition to the above also consider the following if
the essay is ARGUMENTATION\PERSUASION.
- Is the argument clear? (what is the argument about)
- Is the author's position clear? (which side the author is
- Does the author consider and show respect for the other
side, but still debunk anticipated arguments?
- Is there plenty of concrete evidence to support the author's
- Does the author use appropriate reference to logic and
- Does the author use appropriate reference to emotion?
- Are you convinced? If so, tell why - if not tell why not.
Below are some tips of What Not To Do
What not to do
The Thesis was good and had meaning. (this says nothing -
The message of self sufficiency stated in the thesis is one that we
can all learn from. The author clearly believes that students are
responsible for their own education, and far too many of them rely too
heavily on their teachers to teach them, when in fact they should doing more active learning. This is a fine message to give to
other young writers and all students.
What not to do---use general undefined and
ex: The essay flowed well. (flowed? ..doesn't mean anything)
Because of the proper use of pronoun references and skillful use of
verbs, the writing was easy to follow. Additionally, the author
used lots of transitional phrases to establish the order of ideas (Time
Order). This was particularly evident when she told of how the doctor's
visit preceded her involvement in the confusion with the medical
insurance company, Having that knowledge and the time the doctor's visit
established made it more clear that she was being treated unfairly.
What not to do-----focus on yourself or convey
vague general unclear meaning
ex: I enjoyed this essay. (that is nice to hear but not helpful; be
specific. What helped you enjoy it?)
This essay was enjoyable because it can be related to any student
situation. We all have lots to do during a semester, and
all the great examples that this author provided made it very easy to
visualize. The examples of trying to do homework, care for
a screaming child, and welcome her tired husband home from work with
affection and attention really hit home. For many of us it is like
looking in a mirror. What an interesting wake up call this provided.
etc....................complete the thoughts.
What not to do-----be vague or say nothing
ex: It was well written (again nice to hear but not helpful: be
This essay was full of very interesting examples and sensory details.
The examples were wonderfully illustrated with lots of vivid
sensory detail. I could picture the lake and the camping trip as
if I were there eating hot dogs with the gang. I especially liked the
short story of how they all went fishing and fell into the lake; that
was not only humorous, but it nicely let me better understand the
meaning of friendship that this essay portrayed. etc............
grading rubric to see
how you will be graded for this
Label you Peer Critique correctly:
Your Name & Section
Author of essay being critiqued.
Paul Vault - (IN or IN1)
Critique of John Smith's essay
Align text left (do not force
Single Spaced standard size 12 text.
To submit this assignment
assignment is to be posted (submitted) on the associated Message Board.
submit a Message Board assignment
Failure to follow these submission
requirements may result in a confused Professor, and in an
The Accident, by Jessica Thompson
(the critique of this student essays is below the essay)
I witnessed an extremely tragic car
accident several years ago, and still to this day, I can still
picture the entire event. A bunch of us had gone whitewater rafting
down the Lehigh valley in Pennsylvania. The night before we went
dancing, everyone in the car was exhausted. We were driving down
Route 80, and a blue compact car decided to play games on the road.
He continuously weaved in and out of traffic, braked periodically,
and jetted across three lanes just to show-off. What a fool I
thought then the grand ole' saying, "where's a cop when you need
one, " popped into mind. Route 80 is this endless six-lane highway
that stretches across the state of Pennsylvania. The highway has
minimal stop areas and exits every 15 to 20 miles. It seems isolated
from civilization. Plenty of wild flowers, brush, and evergreens
line it. The sun just started to settle, and the roadway created a
visual masterpiece. It must be so peaceful here when the roaring of
the motors ceases. Suddenly, that same foolish blue compact
distracted my attention.
This car just wouldn't let up. He
continued to be a nuisance. Now he decided to jackknife from the
right lane all the way over to the left, making that exit.
Unfortunately, a tractor-trailer was riding in the middle lane. This
poor panic stricken driver swerved into the right lane, pulling his
ten ton truck with him. Obviously, he didn't see the young couple
from Ohio driving in their shiny new white Volvo. The truck ran
directly over them. Piercing sounds of metal on metal, similar to
someone scratching a chalkboard, is what was heard. The traffic had
come to a complete standstill. I quickly hopped out of my car and
ran over to the scene. I was surrounded by a confused and
disillusioned mob. Physically, the truck driver appeared to be all
right, mentally, I didn't want to know. You could hear screams
coming from beneath the wreck. "They're alive, thank God," I
whispered. The woman was in a state of panic and frustration; she
hollered, "help, I can't get this seat belt off me, someone please
help me. My husband is covered with blood, please don't let him die.
HelpÖ.,"she continued. A group of men quickly crawled under the
disaster. Out they rushed with the woman's husband. Someone then
yelled, "Back away, it's going to blow." Sure enough; no sooner was
this said when it happened. I thought I was watching some sort of
volcano documentary. At first, a sound of a bomb going off was
heard. This was followed by unidentified flying objects being
disbursed through the air. Some flames were seen and lava started
flowing all over the place. The woman, my God, she burned to death.
The dense dark smoke clouded the entire area. There was an appalling
smell in the air. It was so awful that you actually started gagging
from the bitter taste it left in your mouth. I remembered learning
that human flesh burning is an extremely putrid smell. The trailer
had a colossal amount of lava surging from it now. Through
conversation I learned that the truck was carrying cheese. I would
have never imagined it could smell this dreadful.
Finally, professional help arrived. You
could hear their emergency sirens roaring, fire trucks, ambulances,
police cars, and two of the hugest tow trucks I had ever seen.
Almost immediately the fire was put out, and the man taken away by
ambulance. They chain sawed what remained of the trailer in half to
pull the car out. There sat the once new Volvo completely charred.
Again they used a chainsaw to cut through the car. The rescue squad
pulled out a body bag. Into this cold dark bag was put whatever
remained of this poor woman. At this point, I could no longer watch.
I started feeling queasy; I just couldn't look, so I turned away. I
noticed several police officers in the wooded are. I later learned
they were "combing" the woods looking for a baby or a small child
that may have been thrown from the Volvo. I walked back to my car and
sat there until traffic could move again. The horrible smell still
lingered. The woman's voice was constantly echoing.
Traffic eventually started to move
again. The sun had gone down. No one was playing any games on the
road. As a matter of fact, everyone seemed to be doing at least ten
miles under the speed limit. I tuned into the local Pennsylvania
radio station. Not surprisingly, they recapped the accident. The
couple driving the Volvo were newlyweds, destined for New York on
their honeymoon. They were married a meager 32 hours. The broadcast
interviewed witnesses describing the blue compact, give or take a
few details. I knew this guy would never be caught; I just prayed he
heard the broadcast or read the paper, at least know what he did and
be forced to live with the guilt.
After seeing what I did, I couldn't
sleep for two days. I think about these stupid games people play, no
one enjoys then, and the loser pays a terrible price. Today, when I
see one of those "blue compact' cars, I wonder will there be another
loser. There is certainly never a winner.
Critique of "The Accident" by Jessica Thompson
begins with a brief summary followed by the critique)
On a typical highway, on a typical sunny afternoon, Jessica
witnessed a very tragic automobile accident between an unsuspecting
truck driver and a very recently married couple. This provocative
narrative begins with a description of the setting and, suddenly
shifts to the inconsiderate and deadly antics of a careless driver
who caused this horrific accident. This immature drive created a
situation where the truck driver, though no fault of his own, ran
over the newly married couple's car causing death and heartache. It
concludes with a poignant message and reminder of what can happen
when driving is not taken seriously.
This narration begins with a very engaging introduction that sets
the stage for the terrible events that follow. Jessica begins with a
brief background to put the story into perspective. Because we have
all been in similar driving situations, this techniques works nicely
to draw the reader in and make it seem like an ordinary day. Then
through the generous use of sensory detail she paints a vivid
picture of the setting. The reader can almost smell the flowers and
feel relaxed on this a trip with friends. Unexpectedly, she
introduces a driver who seems to be tempting fate and not taking the
responsibility of driving seriously. She cleverly says,
"Suddenly, that same foolish blue
compact distracted my attention." At this point the introduction
ends, and I couldn't wait to see what happened. As introductions go,
this one was a great tease and made me eager to continue.
As I read I was treated to a
very coherent and well constructed narration. It begins with the
truck driving directly over this unfortunate car, and through the
use of dialogue and well supplied sensory details, I could
practically hear the crunching and sense the panic. She states, ""Back
away, it's going to blow." By using lots of transitional phrases,
the author, whisked me through the frantic events, and even let me
hear what she was thinking only this time through whispered personal
dialogue. From the smell of the smoke to the sounds of the crash not
much is left to the imagination. What also worked particularly well
was Jessica's use of Figurative Language. By comparing it to a
"volcano documentary" and showing us that when the truck exploded
"lava flowed" I could imagine the scene.
After all of this
mayhem, help gets to the scene, and we hear the chainsaw cutting
through the car to get to the woman trapped, but it is too late. At
this point, I was pretty nauseous, but Jessica was not done, and
wanted to make sure I understood what happened. She splashes
reality in my face, and simply states, " The rescue squad pulled out
a body bag. Into this cold dark bag was put whatever remained of
this poor woman." Through the use of dialogue, transition phrases,
and brilliant sensory detail, I felt as if I saw this accident and
wanted to find the driver of that blue compact car that cause all
this horror and have him brought to justice. After the smoke clears
and Jessica is calming me down from all the action, she saves
the worst for last and informs me that couple where just married and
on their way to their honeymoon in their bright shiny new car. I
think I cried.
At points the
author made inappropriate reference to the reader, using "You" which
I thought was not well thought out. After all, I was really
engrossed in this story, and I had good regard for the author's use
of language, This gaff was off-putting. Other than that, there were
a few other minor sentences errors, but nothing so egregious to take
away from my enjoyment and understanding of this tragedy
of "Winning & Losing" by Jason Kapoor
(essay not provided because a good critique begins with a brief
summary which should be sufficient for a reader to understand the
Kapoor begins this essay speaking about the skills children are
taught involving winning and losing. More specifically,
sportsmanship. According to Kapoor, sportsmanship is taught from a
young age. A parent is to teach their child sportsmanship by
playing with the child, losing, and then showing the child a good
example of how a loser behaves. Kappor goes on to say that as a
school aged child it is necessary to have sportsmanship skills. She
gives an example of school aged children demonstrating sportsmanship
by taking a knee when a member of the opposing team is hurt or
injured. Kapoor explains that there is a drastic decrease in the
presence of sportsmanship once the child, now a young adult, enters
high school and college. She claims that the act of taking a knee
when a member of the opposing team is injured, no longer takes
place. She concludes to say that if players behaved in a more
sportsmanship like manner, all people would find sporting
events more enjoyable.
Kapoor's introduction seemed as if there was a bit too much
information for an introduction. After reading the essay I could not
get a grasp of what exactly her thesis was. In Kapoor's essay,
there was very little use of transitional words which made it
diffcult to follow. There were a few instances where Kapoor's
sentences seemed as though they were missing a word. I believe it
would be possible for Kapoor to improve her writing by paying close
attention when proof reading or allowing someone else to proofread
for her. Sometimes it can be hard to find mistakes in one's own
work, because as the writer, one assumes what it should say and
believes that it does. Kapoor should also work more on unity. Within
each paragraph not all the supporting sentences seemed to go along
with what I assumed the main idea of the paragraph to be. Kapoor
used the rhetorical device of rhetorical questioning in her
conclusion. Her tone seemed to be subjective, opinionated, and
outspoken. She appropriately followed the rule for 3rd person. The
direction Kapoor took on the topic of sportsmanship was interesting.
Yet, unfortunately, due to my struggle in following this essay and
the confusion I felt over the purpose of Kapoor's conclusion, I did
not find this essay to be enjoyable.
Critique of "Advertising" by Samantha Whitehall
(essay not provided because a good critique begins with a brief
summary which should be sufficient for a reader to understand the
In this essay the author writes how product advertisements are
ruining todayís youth. He says that this is due to the fact that
advertising is a lie to get children to buy products. Many ads
depict childrenís favorite celebrities using a specific product,
while in reality that celebrity would probably never even use the
product. The author goes on to say that many advertisements show
only the positive without telling the negative. Numerous ads depict
a product in use with the user have a good time without stating that
the product can potentially be a death hazard if used incorrectly.
The author also says that advertising sends the wrong message to
children regarding where and on what to spend their money. He
supports this statement by stating how advertisement tell children
to buy the product immediately before the product is gone, while in
two months the product will be half the price. The author ends his
essay by saying that companies do not evaluate their strategies of
selling products, since this simple method works, even though
sometimes it really is the worst possible method they could choose
The introduction to this essay definitely has the grabber component
to it. The author starts off with the statement that product
advertisements are ruining the youth of today. It makes the reader
want to read on and see why and how advertisements are ruining the
youth of today. The authorís thesis is clearly stated in his
introduction. Upon reading the introduction the reader can
immediately know that the essay is about the way advertising today
is brainwashing children.
The author concludes
his essay in a way that wraps everything up very nicely. His
conclusion is written in a way that makes readers stop and think. He
brings out the point that companies will continue to pull the
children the way they want. This can make a reader stop and think of
a way to try to prevent this from happening.
paragraphs are set up in a way that all have only one main idea,
which makes it easy for the reader to follow along. He has three
main ideas with three separate paragraphs that have supporting
sentences to support the main idea. Not all of the paragraphs have
concluding sentences, which makes the transition from one paragraph
to the next a little clumsy. All of the authorís paragraphs clearly
support the thesis that advertising today is brainwashing children.
This idea is very well developed throughout the essay.
The authorís order
of paragraphs is clear which enhances the meaning. He clearly breaks
down the various negative ways advertisements are ruining the youth.
The authorís order of support is clear within paragraphs. I like the
way he brings supporting examples. When the author says that
advertising companies are breaking into the minds of children in
showing a product in such a positive light that the negatives are
never explained, he brings excellent examples such as play-Doh and
The author uses the
rhetorical method of examples which is well chosen, very clear, and
supports meaning. I like the way he explains so clearly the way
advertising companies tell children they have to buy a certain
product before itís gone, while if that child would wait a few more
months that product would be on sale for half the price. Most of the
authorís sentences are accurate and grammatically correct.
essay proved to be extremely interesting and thought-provoking. It
makes the reader stand back and reflect on the idiocies of