Essay Revision with Highlighters

This revision technique can be very helpful in determining areas of strength and weakness in your AP prompt responses.

You will need four different color highlighters to complete the task. Please mark your response to the “The Black Walnut Tree” prompt as follows:

  • Color 1 – Highlight your thesis statement and the topic sentence of each paragraph.
  • Color 2 – Highlight any specific quotations you have made from the text.
  • Color 3 – Highlight the literary techniques and strategies that Oliver is using in the poem to evoke meaning. In other words, how is Oliver communicating the underlying meaning of the poem with her selected strategies (like imagery, tone, etc.)?
  • Color 4 – Highlight your interpretation of Oliver’s strategies and the meaning they convey. These highlighted lines explain why you derive a particular mood or meaning from the lines or strategies/techniques/language you have chosen (what about the strategy made you think what you did).

After you have finished marking your draft, look for opportunities for improvement. Is one color dominating the essay as a whole? Do you notice a lack of any particular color? Do you need to include more specific evidence from the text? Does your essay need restructuring overall because your thesis only addresses one part of the prompt? Do the topic sentences connect logically with the thesis and provide a logical and coherent flow in your essay? Have you chosen appropriate techniques and strategies to discuss? Are you fully explaining the use of those techniques and how they help to reveal meaning? With answers to these questions in mind, rewrite the essay. Consider what we reviewed in terms of the scoring rubric and plan to create a final version that would bring the score up at least one point from the original draft. If you have been stuck on a score, you should improve and revise to lift this essay out of the rut.

Your completed revision should be stapled to the back of the prompt and in-class draft. You may type it if you wish, but typing is not required. Your revision is due when you come to class Friday, February 6.

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