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The Writing Center at Colorado State University
Welcome to [email protected] — home of Colorado State University's online learning environment, the Writing Studio. Use this site to:
The OWL at Purdue
Free "Writing Help and Teaching Resources, Open 24/7"
MLA Writing Style Help
 BibMe:  A Fast & Easy tool to create bibliographies in any format for all types of information and media.
Citation Machine
"Serving Students & Teachers K-12, College, & University"
Citation Machine is an interactive web tool designed to assist high school, college, and university students, their teachers, and independent researchers in their effort to respect other people's intellectual properties. To use Citation Machine, here....and follow the easy to use instructions.
APA & MLA Writing Style

Thesis Builder & Online Outliner
Welcome to Thesis Builder & Online Outliner
Writing Contests
Contests, Contests and more Contests YOU can win!

Writer's Magazine
A publication by, for, and about writing!

More Freelance Writer Resources
A collection of resources used by writer's who make a living from their writing.

The Writer's Workshop - W2

Mr. Cottom's Writer's Workshop (W2) is an important component of effective English Language Arts and Journalism instruction. 

This class uses as a foundational basis for our Writer's Workshop (W2).  Further, as we explore various writers in literature our focus remains on the State of California English Language Arts Content Standards

1.0 Writing Strategies
Students write  coherent and focused texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument.  The writing demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and purpose and progression through the stages of the writing process.

2.0  Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each.  Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

As a foundation to the Jane Schaffer Writing Program, the following is an example of Jane Schaffer's "Structured One-Chunk Paragraph:"

"1)  In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry is a champion to many of the more insecure students at Hogwarts.  2)  For example,

when Draco Malfoy takes Neville's Rememberall, Harry gets it back.
  3)  He cannot stand someone who picks on others.  4)  He won't tolerate

bullies who take advantage of their victims.
  5)  Harry is a hero on campus."

Notice the colored sentences.  This unique feature of Jane Schaffer's program creates an easy way to remember the types of sentences and their order (orders may vary as writers progress in the program).  Students in this class will be expected to create a color-coded, "One-Chunk Paragraph" of their own in Microsoft Word and add it to a specific page on their student website.  The following key highlights sentence type and color:




"We use it to train our classes in higher-order habits of thinking."
                                                                        - Jane Schaffer









evidence from sources that support your claim

stuff from the story

on the surface

paraphrase CD

quotation CD

reasoning for your claim that explains your evidence

stuff from your head

under the surface

connotative words --

words with feelings you can describe to me

 amount of CD:CM

in a body paragraph


the "what"





plot references



plot summary

What really happens/happened

in the story?

play-by-play announcer


the "so what?"

the "why?"

the "spin"




a character's feelings

George feels (felt) ______.






How does /did ___feel on the inside?

Why did _____ do that?

color commentator

 English = 1:2+ for response to literature writing

2+:1 for narrative and persuasive











History = 2+:1 or 3+:0

Science and Math = 2+:1 or 3+:0

All Others = Varies with the assignment



MLA FORMAT Materials 

ELA Writing Prompt Template

Writing Prompt Template for

English, Social Studies, Foreign Language, ESL, Health, and Fine Art




!    Write your response to the writing task below.

!    You may give your writing a title if you like, but it is not necessary.

!    You may either print or write in cursive.

!    Write clearly!  Any erasures or strike-throughs should be as clean as possible.



Writing Task:



(Two sentences to set the tone of the topic)





Write a(an) ___________________________ in which you______________________________

                                    (format: essay, paragraph, etc.)                                           (purpose verb: persuade, describe, explain, analyze, etc.)







Use details and examples to support your ideas.




Checklist for your Writing


The following checklist will help you do your best work.  Make sure you do the following:


q     Read the description of the task carefully.

q     Organize your writing with a strong ____________________________________________.

                                                                                                         (intro, body, conclusion or topic sentence, CDs and CMs, and concluding sentence)

q     Use specific details and examples to fully support your ideas.

q     Use precise language that is appropriate for your audience and purpose.

q     Vary your sentences to make your writing interesting to read.

q     Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation.

Tools for Writers


EAP EPT scoring sample essays

Directions:   You will have 45 minutes to plan and write an essay on the topic assigned below.  Before you begin writing, read the passage carefully and plan what you will say.  Your essay should be as well organized and as carefully written as you can make it.
In a recent editorial essay, a working mother of four laments being made to feel guilty for not "being there" every minute for her children.  She notes, "The school nurse has taken me to task for not being immediately accessible, and my kids--who live in a world where instant gratification has become the norm--complain about my intermittent unreachability.  To which I say, hey, deal with it.  I'm not cavalier about my mothering responsibilities....  I'm an involved parent.  We modern moms and dads are not only expected to make sure our kids are perfectly nourished, endlessly enriched, and absolutely safe at all times:  now, with cell phones and pagers, we are also supposed to be instantly reachable and immediately responsive....  We cannot and should not orchestrate every moment in our children's lives for them--partly because the effort turns out to be futile, but more importantly because it prevents our kids from learning skills they need to succeed in the real world.  There are times they need to ad lib.  There are times they need to wait.  There are even times they need to turn to someone else."
Explain the author's argument and discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with her views.  Support your position by referring to the passage and by providing reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.
Sample student essay with a score of -----:
            Being able to  handle responsibility is one of the greatest feelings.  A sense of accomplishment rushes through you as you complete  a task by yourself when others run to their mom for help.  The so-called "involved parent" is sometimes the one who steps back and lets their child discover the difficult tasks on their own.  The same parent has the child who learns to conquer the obstacles and venture into the world aware of imperfections.  Although some children may need their parents by their side, the best is for them to live life through their own eyes.
            Personally, I can relate to this issue on many levels.  I struggled through my childhood--being raised by nannies, neighbors and grandmas--this when the nannies were no longer affordable.  My mother at work, and my father looking for work in other cities, left my older brother and I alone after school.  I am living truth that "what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger."  At a  young age we learned to get by without my mother at our beck-and-call.  Granted we had access to her while she was at work but that whole 15 minute drive home nowadays would be unbearable.  On her way home we couldn’t call her in a frenzy as to where our favorite toy was--we had to wait 15 minutes!  A little ridiculous, but very true.
            The author confesses that they aren't the "cavalier" parent--who is?  She claims she’s involved enough so that her children can depend on her but not at all hours of the day.  I can relate.  I succeed in school primarily because I learned to handle obstacles on my own.  When some school assignment needed to be done, I did it.  If I had questions, I asked.  I took the initiative.  Speaking from experience, I know that dependency on your parents is not effective--nor going to bring you to a University where so much is expected from you, not your parent.  I hear stories nightly about my mom's boss--an attorney--with a sophomore son who still does homework with his mom, every night for five hours.  The mother claims it will help him--meanwhile, he’s learning nothing and still recieving C’s  and D’s.  Tell me then, what good is that mother at his beck and call, that runs to his school when he forgot an assignment?  When will parents like that "let go" and let their children learn for themselves?
            There are many views and definitions of a "good parent," the "ideal parent."  One suggestion is the one who works hard for their family, there for them enough for the kids to know they’re loved--beyond that the grey areas appear.  As the school nurse claims--the parent must be "reachable."  But what good is reachable when the kids have no sense of self-worth or accomplishment.  What good is that when the child’s accepted to a 4 year institution--because of their mother's work--and has no idea how to handle due dates, deadlines or to manage time?
            In an ideal world--one which will never again exist--and for good reason--the mother could be home for their children.  If the income was so that the mother didn't need to work two jobs, that would be great.  If the women didn't feel the desire to get out of the house of bratty kids, that would be acceptable, but that’s not how things are.  I grew  up with kids who had their mom home at every given moment.  I think mine was the only one who worked.  And while I was jealous for all those years of a mom that made cookies and snacks, I now realize that I'm a better person because of the lack of involvement from my mother.  I have yearbook deadlines, school reports, two jobs.  I can handle a lot more than other students--primarily because I’ve learned to accept responsibility.
            She was always there for me.  Whenever I had a bad day or needed to chat--I could always call her at her office.  But I learned a lot from her working.  She came home every night, cooked dinner, helped with homework and managed to remain sane, all while I took responsibility into my own hands and did what I needed to do.  I'm now capable of overcoming the obstacles, strive to achieve my full potential and accept that my parents were always there for me--in essence, and supported me every step of the way.


Comments on the ----- essay: This is an example of strong writing.  The writer provides a strong defense of the author's position and reinforces this defense with clearly expressed examples from her own experience. The essay shows some complexity of thought: the writer compares her positive experience with a mother similar to the author of the passage, and then contrasts this mother with the type of oversolicitous mother who has a detrimental effect on her child.
The essay is generally well-organized and shows a clear understanding of the passage: the writer most often conveys this understanding through implication rather than summary or paraphrase of the passage.  The essay is strengthened by its lively tone and personal examples.
There are some errors, but they are not serious enough to distract or confuse the reader.



Sample student essay with a score of ----:
            The main point that the author is trying to bring up in the passage is that the parents are quite busy in today's world.  She says that because of this they can’t devote all of their time to their children.  Also, she says that because they are busy, it should not be taken for granted that they don't love their children.  She says that the nurse had blamed me for not being immediately available to their kids, and her kids complain that she is difficult to get in touch with.
            I agree with the author's viewpoint.  The children need to face the daily problems on their own.  If the child is small, like three years old, then it is the sole responsibility of the parents to take their care, but as the child grows old they should try to take care of themselves.  They should not run to their parents with every problem they come across.  If they do this, they won't be able to create a niche for themselves in today's fast pace world.  The wouldn't know how to tackle problems.  Also, the children wouldn't be able to express themselves, either it is school class or a business meeting.
            I would like to present an example of my friend, who was solely dependant on his parents, and the parents didn't mind that.  They never told him to do some work or do even homework without their help. When he was fourteen years old, his parents died in a car accident.  Now, my friend was living with his grandparents, who were into their eighties.  The whole responsibility of the house dropped on his shoulders.  He had to run the house, make money, and to take care of his grandparents.  It was because he was not independent, he was always looking around for someone who could help him.  Sometimes, he trusted persons, who later robbed him of money and put him into trouble.  Although, after a couple of years he learnt how to handle problems, but his innocence had cost him a lot by that time.
            It is very much clear from my real life experience that how interdependence can cost you  a lot.  I believe that the children need to face the world on their own.  The author has put quite clearly in the passage that sometimes the children need to wait until their parents are available and sometimes they need to look for someone else for help.

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