EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mueller Report (capitalized by most news organizations, which is interesting unto itself) was released April 18, 2019 — almost two months ago. Also on April 18, Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri filed a “book report” on The Mueller Report — all 448 of its oft-redacted pages. (How she read that fast is beyond us, but hey! she was channeling a high school student, so who are we to question an all-nighter, or perhaps a few clever shortcuts?) We were so taken with Petri’s book report that we asked an honest-to-real high school English teacher to grade it. Wisconsin’s Jennifer Hager did just that — after she finished the year with her honest-to-real students. Scroll through the document below to read Hager’s full comments, and make sure you read her advice to Petri, at the bottom of this post, on how to improve her critical thinking skills.
- Your knowledge of figurative language as well as other elements of literature — theme, symbolism, irony, to name a few.
- Demonstration of deep thinking from your analysis of colors to making connections to other pieces of literature.
- Expand and complete your thinking and use the text to support and demonstrate. For example, in your section about conflicts and your assertion about a societal representation, you need to connect that thinking to the actual Mueller Report. Without doing so, the assertion is just a thought — an interesting one, but one without the impact of evidence. Remember your ICE technique (I=introduce the evidence; C=citation with parenthetical; and E=explanation and elaboration) which I know you have heard me say over and over again is the most important part of your writing.
- Consider eliminating parts you do not care to elaborate upon — for example, the section on George Papadopoulos is a toe-dip into what seems like deeper waters. Without spending some time explaining to the reader what the importance is, then the impact is lost.