Your Journey Through U.S. History Starts Here!

Unit #101: VFW Patriot's Pen Writing Contest
Learning Target: I can COMPOSE a well written essay that includes a claim and evidence to support my claim.

Please complete the steps below to prepare for this assignment:

 Follow the directions below to compose your well written essay. 

Essay Activity:

Assignments to Complete:

 Part #1: Understanding the Contest and the Assignment

1.  What is the 2017 VFW Patriot's Pen Contest?

2.  You will be composing a well RESEARCHED and well WRITTEN essay answering the following question: What is  "America's Gift To My Generation?"

3.  Tips for writing a successful essay:

     ***Topic or Prompt: Each year the prompt is different but centers around a patriotic theme. This fall, the prompt will be "America's Gift to My Generation."  

  You will want to include a personal connection or personal touch to the prompt.  In other words students should write about a veteran they know personally or a personal experience that directly       relates to the many gifts America gives to citizens.

For example, my grandfather fought in World War II in order to defend freedom and democracy from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.  His sacrifice ensured that my parents generation would still enjoy all of the freedoms and opportunities America has to offer.  

Check out some of the essays that have won in the past to get a better idea of what your final product will look like: Winning essay 


***What you should include:

      1.  A Theme: You must show research (evidence) and show knowledge of the theme (America's Gifts). Doing research in the next part of this assignment will help you. 

      2.  Development: You must develop the theme in their essay by answering the five Ws Who, What, Where, When, and Why. 

      3.  Clarity: You must write clearly in an "easy-to-understand" voice that shows they understand the theme.

      4.  Length: Your essay will be 300-400 words.


 Part #2: Research and Prewriting

  1.  Spend some time researching the "gifts" America offers its people and how those gifts relate to your life.  Think about all of the freedoms and opportunities you have in your life today.  Consider how
    those freedoms and opportunities were gained and protected by those who came before us. 

2.  Create a document on your Chromebook using Word in your Microsoft 360.

3.  Make a list of "gifts" America has to offer to your generation.  Next to each "gift" list something in your own life that relates to that gift.  You should also consider how that gift was "earned" by the  
     people who have come before us.  If there is a topic you feel strongly about you can focus on that gift. 

What is the gift you feel is important? How does it effect me personally
(Tell yourPersonal story)
Where did it come from? ( Research the topic to find supporting details)

 My daughter's education
 She gets to go to a great school.  My daughter can go to college and get a great job of her choice.   She has the same opportunities as the boys in her class. In many nations girls are not allowed to be educated even today. For many years girls were not admitted to college in America.  Women were expected to stay home to take care of the children. People fought hard in the past during the Women's Rights Movement to give women the some educational and career opportunities men have.   

    For some ideas, use the sites below to help you research.  You can also conduct your own search. 

    12 Great Things to Love About America  | 27 Little Freedoms | America is Great Site  |  100 Great Things About America  | 

4.  Now that you have identified America's Gift To Your Generation, take some time to research as much information about your gift's past.  Make a list of supporting details.  These can be used in your

Notes about the gift of Female Education in America (use bullet points)
     - In the colonies, boys and girls were taught to read at home so that they could read the Bible
     - Few girls attended formal schools, but most were able to get some education at home or at so-called "Dame schools" where women taught basic reading and writing skills in their own houses
     - In the mid 1800's people worked for Women's Rights including education and the right to vote.  The most famous was the Seneca Falls Convention 
     - 1830 Oberlin College was the first college to accept women
     - Formal single sex female schools began in the 1930's however women were expected to marry and take care of the home
     - 1945 the first women is accepted to medical school  
     - 1950's public education for all Americans
     - 1970's women encouraged to attend college and begin careers
     - etc.  The more details the better

     5.  Now tell your story!  What does this gift mean to you and your generation?

Notes for Your Story . . . .
     - Tell your story and how this gift effects you and your generation. . . . . . . .


 Part #3: Drafting, Proofing, and Writing

1.  Now that you have done your research and prewriting, its time to use that information to write your WINNING essay!

2.  Use a definitive statement to begin your essay.  See the example below:

America's greatness has given my generation the gift of ________________________________. 

3.  Next, write several well written sentences using the notes you took about the topic above.

4.  Now, write several more sentences using the information you noted above about your personal connection to the gift. 

5.  End your essay with a conclusion.     See the example below:

The gift of _____________________ was given to my generation by _______________ and it will continue to benefit my generation by _____________________.


6.  When you are finished, find a friend to proof read your essay.  Be sure to check for spelling and grammer.

7.  If you would like a grade, and enter the contest, please EMAIL Mr. G for final essay by attaching your Word file to an email.  If you do not know how please do the following.

     - Open your mail in Microsoft 360

     - Create a new email to Mr. G
     - Attach your Word file to your email

     - In the subject line write the words: Patriot's Pen

     - Press send







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