Much Ado Writing Rubric

UPDATED 1/3: Final copy of essay is due on by midnight on Thursday, 1/7 (in other words, once it is 12:00AM Friday, 11/8, the essay is late). Please make sure you are able to log in to before then so you don’t have any trouble.

The vocab quiz this week will be on TUESDAY. No IR due this week because we are focusing on Lord of the Flies (speaking of… there will be a reading check on Lord of the Flies on Monday, 1/4 as previously stated).


As you work on revising your Much Ado essay, refer to the rubric below (click to enlarge).

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You’ll notice that the rubric has links to tips. For your convenience, that checklist of tips is also copied below.


  • Be sure to include the necessary parts of the classical arrangement (5-part) model: Introduction, Narration, Confirmation, Refutation, and Conclusion.
  • Check the transition between your Introduction and Narration. Are you able to make clear the connection between your Introduction and the background information of the text presented in the Narration?
  • In the Confirmation section, trace your topic logically through the text. Remember that the Confirmation includes multiple paragraphs that includes evidence (quotes) from the text. Present this evidence in a logical order, which is usually chronological.
  • Ideas should build on one another. Test your sentence logic: Choose any sentence and identify its main idea or purpose (what are you trying to say in this sentence?). Now look at the sentences that come before and after. Does the previous sentence lead into that sentence? Does the next sentence develop it further?  Do the same thing with your paragraphs: does each paragraph build on the previous? does the next paragraph move the essay forward logically?
  • Use transitions between each section and within each section that connect the ideas. Consider transitions words like Furthermore, Later, Next, In addition, Moreover, However, First, Then, etc.


  • Clear thesis statement has all parts (specific topic + debatable view).
  • Thesis stated clearly in the Introduction, Narration, or Conclusion.
  • If no thesis directly stated in Introduction or Narration, then a focused essay question is posed in the Introduction or Narration (for example, What would drive Claudio to such an action? or What role does honor play in Hero’s life?).
  • The best evidence is chosen carefully and then thoroughly explained, clearly showing how the quotation helps to prove the writer’s point.
  • Evidence is specific and precise, whether from the text or the writer’s life.
  • At least six quoted examples from the text are smoothly integrated using a “quote sandwich” approach that includes the 1) context, 2) quotation w/speaker and citation and 3) significance. See example below. Note that there should be an intro clause (“He scolds,”) before the quotation that identifies the speaker. Also note how the quotation is cited using the Act, Scene, and Line numbers.

After the wedding falls apart and Leonato learns of Hero’s perceived impurity, he lashes out at her. He scolds, “But mine and mine I loved and mine I praised / And mine that I was proud on, mine so much / That I myself was to myself not mine, / Valuing of her, —why, she, O, she is fallen / Into a pit of ink” (4.1.141-145). By repeating the word “mine” over and over again, Leanato shows how much Hero’s loss of honor reflects poorly on him. He may be angry at Hero’s infidelity, but he is even more angry at how her reputation affects his own. Her reputation is as dark as “ink,” to Leonato. Through Leonato’s reaction, we can see how honor is an issue not just for an individual in the Elizabethan era, but for the entire family.  


  • First-person or second-person pronouns are used selectively and only when necessary to help develop the writer’s ideas.
  • Personal experiences include specific, illustrative details that show versus tell.
  • Personal experiences are relevant and help to introduce or develop the main ideas.


  • Avoid using overly general or overused words like really, very, normal, bad, good.
  • Revise sentences to use strong active verbs, keeping to be verbs (is, was) to a minimum.
  • Remove any slang.


  • Read your essay aloud. If there are places that are difficult to read aloud, then revise the sentences to make them simpler.
  • To make overly complicated sentences simpler, identify your main points. Chances are you are trying to include too many ideas into one sentence. Give each idea its own sentence.
  • To increase sentence variety, underline the first three words of every sentence. Revise as needed.
  • Avoid using “This” or “This quote” or “This shows” to start sentences. Revise by either removing the unnecessary “This” phrase or by replacing “This” with more specific information. See below:

Original: This shows how Claudio feels betrayed by Hero and how effective Don John’s plan for revenge works.

Revised: Claudio feels betrayed by Hero, thus proving how effective Don John’s plan for revenge works.

Revised: Claudio’s words reveal his feelings of betrayal and demonstrate that Don John’s plan for revenge is effective.Page Break


  • Check that your MLA heading is double-spaced and left-aligned with the following components:
  • Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.16 PMBe sure all titles of the texts are correctly formatted. Titles of longer works―full-length books, novels, plays, newspapers, magazines―are italicized. Titles of shorter works―short stories, poems, articles in newspapers or magazines―get quotation marks.
  • Read line-by-line, checking for proper punctuation and capitalization.
  • Use present tense verbs when discussing events in the text. See example below:

Claudio felt betrayed by what he thought was Hero’s infidelity.

Claudio feels betrayed by what he thinks is Hero’s infidelity.

People Pointers

For your reference, here’s a copy of the 8 mini-lessons on descriptive writing we reviewed in class today. Use these to reflect and rewrite your own sentences. Final copy is due Friday, 10/23. 

UPDATE: I know there was some confusion about the note about not using names on the board. Ignore that. Use whatever names you want for your final copy. I meant to erase that from the board – apologies for any confusion! 

Happy Writing!

Reader’s Memoir

In a brief, well-developed essay, reflect on your experiences as a reader. You may focus on a particularly meaningful reading experience—either in school or out—or you can provide a general overview. As such, essays can range in focus and scope, depth and breadth. Your essay should, however, address significant works you’ve read and give me a better idea, overall, of the kind of reader you are. After reading your essay, your attitudes and experiences about reading should be clear to your audience. Your essay should not be a list of works you’ve read, but rather a reflection on those works that have played a significant role in your development as a reader, in a positive or negative way.

This is a personal essay; your voice emerges through thoughtful choice of words and sentence structures. Be sure that each paragraph is focused (avoid writing the “one-paragraph essay”). Consider telling a story, giving a well-chosen example, comparing and contrasting, providing a definition of what makes a good book to you, etc. At least half of the time you spend working on this essay should be focused on reflection.

Be prepared to share (read aloud) your essay in whole or in part with the class on the due date. 1 ½ to 2 pages, double-spaced.

Consider addressing the following questions in your essay. The best essays will touch on most of the questions below while focusing/developing one or two of the questions in more detail.

  • What type of reader are you?
  • What types of books do you like to read? Why? (Consider your reading trees!)
  • What types of books do you not like to read? Why?
  • Why do you read? For what purpose or goal? (Remember our angles? Do any fit you?)
  • What experiences have shaped your attitudes towards reading? (Look in your notebook at what you wrote in class.)
  • What is your earliest memory of reading?
  • Overall, what does “reading” mean to you?

On Wed-Fri this week, we spent some time in class pre-writing and brainstorming for this essay. Again, our first pre-writing activity―drawing our reading trees―should help you think about the types of reading you’ve done in your life. See below for a draft of my own reading tree (remember to leave yourself at least two pages in your notebook for this tree―we’ll be adding to it throughout the year!):

reading tree

If you need additional inspiration or to see an example of how to write about a specific meaningful book in your life, read the last few paragraphs below. This is an excerpt from an essay by author Kate Walbert about how Charlotte’s Web changed her reading life.

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Below, you can read what The Little Engine that Could meant to journalist Jeff Benedict, both as a child and as an adult.

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And finally, feel free to read my own reader’s memoir that I wrote especially for this assignment. You can find my personal example by clicking here.


(Don’t forget that you also need to bring in your IR book to class that day!)