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ELA Level 2, Unit 2 Embedded Assessment 2: Writing a Letter to the Editor

Exemplary
3210 Soccer Street Bellevue, WA 55500 March 10, 2010

60 Minutes 524 West 57th St New York, NY 10019 Dear Editor: Although your piece, A Conspiracy Against Silence, shared many reasons that supported your opinion, I wish to share a few of mine as well. You state that you dont understand why some people insist on filling the air with noise, but many people are comforted when music is on. It might help them wind down after a tiring day of work, relaxing them, giving them a peaceful state of mind. You also explain that when you are waiting on a call or on an airplane, that the music they provide is irritating and puts you on the edge. That might be true for you, but for most, it keeps you serene and patiently waiting for the certain service needed. You might not be familiar with the purpose of a horn but, I believe it is to alert another individual that they are present. When a car is getting too close to you, you might honk to signal the driver that you are near. The horn does not pointlessly distract the attention of others but allows you to be aware of your surroundings. For ambulance drivers, it is illegal to use their siren for anything else other than an emergency, so I strongly doubt that any ambulance driver would use their siren for personal use in fear of losing their jobs. You are correct when you say that some people just do everything louder than everyone else. Some people use volume to express themselves, this is a part of their boisterous, fun- loving, personality. This trait is what separates them from everyone else, makes them unique. If everyone was quiet and identical, it would be a chore just to meet someone new, but since there are people out there that have voices to be heard, every day brings excitement and surprise. The variety of individuality is what makes communities extraordinary. The world would be very dull without the clamoring action of the city, the sound of kids screaming, or just the blend of noises that comes from life itself. Sincerely,

SpringBoard Student

Proficient
3210 Soccer Street Bellevue, WA 55500 March 10, 2010

Editorial Department The New York Times 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018 Dear Editor: I agree with your views on the cell phones and privacy conflicts for two reasons: one, the government should not have free rain over GPS cell phone software, and, two, the government shouldnt be allowed to break the 4th Amendment. I think that the government should have a legitimate reason or a warrant to track someone via cell phone because a persons information is naturally private. For example, if I were dating the police chiefs daughter, I would not want the chief to know our whereabouts. Also, a persons privacy is of paramount importance and so if the government were to have unrestricted access to this GPS type software, it is almost like cyber stalking. Next, the government is breaking its own amendment, the forth one to be specific which requires the government to obtain a search warrant for locational records. Therefore if the government is randomly asking for these data records and other tracking services its illegal so the law makers are breaking the law. In the Tech News World article dated July, 2008, it states that The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a suit urging a federal court order to turnover records related to the government's use of people's cell phones as tracking devices. In addition, in the Tech News World article Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU says This is a critical opportunity to shed much-needed light on possible unconstitutional government surveillance techniques,". I think that if my government was breaking a constitutional right I would no longer trust the government. In conclusion the government should have restricted access to cell phone GPS software, and the government should not be allowed to break the 4th Amendment. Thank you for your time. Sincerely,

SpringBoard Student

Emerging
3210 Soccer Street Bellevue, WA 55500 March 10, 2010 Editorial Board 108 Hamilton Hall Ames, IA 50011-1182 Dear Editorial Board, I agree with the video games dont cause violence because the game stays at one place the television. Us children never did anything wrong to prove that video games other than the attack with the two brothers playing out the scene of an adult video game called Grand Theft Auto: Vice City made by TAKE2Interactive and partner Rockstar. This is also the kids fault since they shouldnt really blame the kids since it was their responsibility. Another reason I agree that the game has made sold out to twenty-five million units sold. It also states in your editorial and I quote video games included, increase aggression in people, it is greatly overstepping the bounds of such research to say the game is sole reason for particular acts of aggression. Thats also why I believe that video games dont cause violence. Sincerely,

SpringBoard Student

ELA Level 2, Unit 2 Embedded Assessment 2: Writing a Letter to the Editor Exemplary: Addressed to 60 Minutes This exemplar begins with a clear position that disagrees with the editorial it references, and proceeds to refute several points from the editorial using a variety of rhetorical appeals. The first argument presents an emotional appeal to get the audience to consider an alternative point of view--those who find music comforting and relaxing, rather than annoying. The rest of the paragraph uses additional examples that appeal to the emotions of readers. The next paragraph uses a more logical appeal by discussing the uses of the horn and the responsibility of ambulance drivers to use sirens only when necessary. The final paragraph returns to an emotional appeal by arguing for the value of noisy, boisterous people as part of what makes life more interesting, bringing excitement and surprise to daily life. This essay is organized to suit the purpose and audience, and uses diction that is generally formal and persuasive throughout, as well as sophisticated transitions between ideas. The last sentence of the final paragraph is especially nice syntactically. This letter is at the entry stage of the exemplary performance band. Revising the letter to assert a more sophisticated position, propose a strong solution and select appropriate pronouns would make it a stronger exemplar. Proficient: Addressed to Editorial Department The proficient exemplar contains a confused statement of the issue and the opinion. The reader must sort out the writers opinion on the subject of privacy and cell phone GPS software. The strength of the letter is in the persuasive points being made. The letter begins by presenting two logical reasons with examples to support the thinking. The first paragraph ends with a nice analogy between using GPS tracking software and cyber stalking. The second paragraph is notable for using quoted material from a secondary source as textual evidence to support the point that restricting GPS type surveillance is a constitutional issue, a strong ethical argument. What keeps this exemplar from moving into the exemplary range is that the organizational structure used is not appropriate to the genre of a persuasive editorial letter. Organizing the letter as if it were an essay of argumentation, with a thesis and topic sentences and evidence, leads the writer off on a path he is unable to sustain. The topic sentences and the evidence are not developed sufficiently, leaving the reader with questions. The transitions are perfunctory without being truly helpful. Furthermore, the audience and intent of an editorial letter demand careful proofreading to avoid the type of spellcheck errors present in this letter. These kinds of errors are especially unacceptable in a formal letter. Emerging: Addressed to Editorial Board The position of this letter, though strongly stated, gets lost in the errors of the opening paragraph. The ideas presented are limited, poorly stated, and not developed to present a position that is supported with effective appeals or persuasive techniques. The writer tries to appeal to ethos (it is the responsibility of the manufacturer, not the player) and logos in his body paragraphs, but relies on a quote from the original without commentary. The most important characteristic that marks this persuasive letter as emerging is the lack of attention to proofreading, so that errors in sentence composition, spelling, punctuation and conventions detract from meaning and seriously interfere with the effectiveness of the message. Revising this letter to add in commentary that shows an application of the different persuasive appeals and attention to the publishing/editing stage of writing would substantially improve this essay.