Long Island University Logo

Brooklyn Campus Come Grow With Us

Writing Across the Curriculum

SCRAMBLED PARAGRAPHS

Scrambled paragraphs are a challenging and fun way to get students to think about how to structure a paragraph and how to recognize transitional devises.  After presenting the basic definitions and examples of topic sentences, supporting details, and transitional devices, I give them these two exercises. (This generally takes  place over several sessions, during which students are exposed to paragraphs with topic sentences in both the initial and final positions.

Exercise 1:      I make several copies of this paragraph about Braille and cut each up into the individual sentences, which I place in envelopes.  In class I divide the students into groups and give each group an envelope.  At the end of the task, I ask the students to write out the paragraph in the agreed-upon order.

Directions:  Your task is to unscramble the following  paragraph. Discuss your suggestions amongst yourselves, justifying each of your sequencing decisions.   You have 15 minutes to complete the task, at which time we will compare results and reasons.

Braille gets its name from Louis Braille, a blind science and music teacher who invented

this special alphabet in the 1800s.

Blind people read these dots by running their fingertips across them to recognize the

pattern of the dots.

Braille uses a special code of 63 characters.

            Millions of blind people are able to read today because of his simple yet effective

            communication system.

Each character has one to six dots that are arranged in a six-position pattern.

Braille is a special system of writing and reading for blind people.

For example, in the pattern for the letter C, the top two dots are raised, but the lower four

are not.

Braille letters have groups of bumps or dots.

Exercise 2:      Students get this paragraph as it is and work on it individually.  Class discussion follows.  Again, at the end of the task, I ask the students to write out the paragraph.  This exercise could be begun in class and finished as an assignment, followed by class discussion.

Directions:  The following sentences are the components of a paragraph. Read through them. Decide what topic this paragraph covers and try to identify a topic sentence. Then rearrange the sentences into logical order by numbering each one, and underline the one that appears to be the topic sentence. Lastly, write out the reconstructed paragraph and list the specific factors that helped you decide on the proper sequence.

______The primary purpose is to train people to think and to express their thoughts easily and intelligently.

______Nevertheless, some people who realize its importance do not understand its real purpose.

______By forcing the student to write much and to correct her own errors, English composition develops her powers of expression and makes it easier for her to convey her thoughts to others.

______Either of these results may follow from the study of English composition, but neither is the primary purpose.

______The fact that English composition is required indicates that it is an important study. 

______By forcing the student to pay attention to logical order, English composition trains her powers of thinking.

______Many of these people think that it is intended to make either novelists or else short story writers out of students.

______Clear thinking and simple, easy writing are, then, the ends of a course in composition.


The Paragraphs Unscrambled

Braille is a special system of writing and reading for blind people.  Braille letters have groups of  bumps or dots.  Blind people read these dots by running their fingertips across them to recognize the pattern of the dots.  Braille uses a special code of 63 characters.  Each character has one to six dots that are arranged in a six-position pattern.  For example, in the pattern for the letter C, the top two dots are raised, but the lower four are not. Braille gets its name from Louis Braille, a blind science and music teacher who invented this special alphabet in the 1800s. Millions of blind people are able to read today because of his simple yet effective communication system.

The fact that English composition is required indicates that it is an important study.  Nevertheless, some people who realize its importance do not understand its real purpose.  Many of these people think that it is intended to make either novelists or else short story writers out of students.  Either of these results may follow from the study of English composition, but neither is the primary purpose.  The primary purpose is to train people to think and to express their thoughts easily and intelligently. By forcing the student to pay attention to logical order, English composition trains her powers of thinking.  By forcing the student to write much and to correct her own errors, English composition develops her powers of expression and makes it easier for her to convey her thoughts to others.  Clear thinking and simple, easy writing are, then, the ends of a course in composition.


Papers must be written IN YOUR OWN WORDS.  Do not quote from the textbook; instead, SUMMARIZE and PARAPHRASE the information the textbook provides.  Copying text word-for-word from the textbook is plagiarism.  PAPERS THAT CONTAIN PLAGIARISM WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU UNGRADED.

Papers are due IN CLASS on Thursday, October 29.  Late papers will be accepted but will be dropped one full grade for each class meeting they are late.  Like your first paper, these papers may be revised and resubmitted for grading as many times as you wish up to Thursday, December 10.

Formatting Requirements for Papers

Papers must be typewritten, double spaced, with one-inch margins on top, bottom and sides (not including page number).  The type font must be not less than 10 point or more than 12 point (in other words, similar in size to the type font on this page).

Long Island University - Brooklyn Campus - 1 University Plaza - Brooklyn, NY 11201-5372 - 718-780-4385
Long Island University

Brooklyn Campus