DIRECTIONS: Revise and submit a 2-4 page essay (excluding works cited) in which you discuss the pandemic while interacting with the texts from this module. Draw directly on personal experience or generalize more broadly. Either way, use the New York Times article, the Readjustment Handbook, and the Hidden Brain podcast as sources. Address what was and what is or will be. That is, spend some time describing how the experience was, what things are like now, and how you hope things will change (or what they will return to) going forward. How much time you spend discussing each aspect, the balance, is up to you.

NOTE on PROCESS: The 2nd and 3rd drafts are where you approach a finished and polished product with any piece of writing. In this stage in the process, problems at the HIGHER ORDER should be resolved and revisions and finishing touches at the LOWER ORDER (sentence level) added. This list may seem like a lot, but improving a first draft can sometimes mean just one or two tweaks in each of the following areas.


  • Create a header that contains your name, class name, assignment name (Pandemic Essay), and date
  • Use 12 pt. + Times New Roman or other standard font
  • Use standard margins of 1″
  • Double space
  • Center your essay’s title (NOTE: Do not put quotes around your own title; unless you’re referring to some other title or quoted phrase)


CONTENT: Your 2-4 page essay should draw on the required texts and have a focus or theme per PANDEMIC ESSAY DESCRIPTION  (HOC)


and be include the following STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS:

15 points

An introduction that ends with a thesis statement or claim

Try to connect you thesis statement or claim to your theme

Thesis statements come at the end of the introduction

Underline thesis statements

Body paragraphs which support your thesis Conclusion

Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) and and in-text citations

End citations do NOT count towards page count

Paragraph Unity &  Length

UNITY – Paragraphs should focus on a single topic named in a topic sentence.

Underline topic sentences

LENGTH – Keep visual as well as content balance in mind when it comes to paragraph length.

Don’t make paragraphs too long (1/2 a page is a good measure of maximum paragraph length for this essay).

Don’t make paragraphs too short (there’s more flexibility in a personal narrative than in other more academic essay forms; but 4-5 sentences is a good standard for minimum length and no paragraph should be shorter than 3 sentences).5 points

Sources, TS/IS Techniques, & Diction

1/ SOURCES: Use a minimum of 3 quotes from any combination of the 3 class texts/sources. Use 2 sources minimum. Employ quotes however feels fitting. If you’re not sure what to do, here are some suggestions

THEY SAY – Presenting 2 authors’ exploration of the problems and solutions to social and political division is your essay’s “they say.”

I SAY – How you present and respond to these other authors’ ideas is your essay’s “I say.”

Use templates – from the “Glossary of Templates” at the end of They Say/I Say

Highlighting templates and verbs from TS/IS within your essay in YELLOW

2/ DICTION – use precise words (investigate synonyms where language feels basic)

Highlight at least 2 moments of precise or improved diction in YELLOW

5 pointsSentence

Style & Strategies

Pay attention to the following aspects of PARAGRAPH COHERENCE and FLOW (See Little Seagull):

REPETITION -use key terms/nouns regularly and alternate with pronouns; don’t over rely on pronouns; repetitive/overuse of pronouns is a good indication that you are not achieving this balance Highlight several key terms, nouns, and pronouns in GREEN deliberately repeat sentence structures or elements strategically, for effect (includes parallel structure)

VARIETY – vary sentence length and syntax (word order); if sentences all begin the same way, that’s a good indication that you have not achieved adequate sentence variety

TRANSITIONS – if you don’t use transition words and phrases naturally, refer to Little Seagull, then add some here and there to improve paragraph flow Highlight at least 2 transitions in GREEN 6 points(2 points per strategy)


Eliminate typos and problems with format (indentation, alignment,etc.) with a final read-through. One or two typos will not be penalized but multiple careless errors at the sentence level or errors in format will be. (See Little Seagull sample MLA or APA essays for guidance.) 4 points

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