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Essay number 1

What issue in society today absolutely ticks you off? What issue are you passionate about? Is it pollution? Minority rights? The war? The draft? GMOs? Deforestation? The Green movement? Overdevelopment? Landfills? Genetic engineering? Cloning?

Now, you get a chance to make your voice heard. In this project, you will write a five-paragraph PSA (public service announcement) to draw attention to an important issue we covered in Unit Five.

A PSA is an advertisement featured on television, radio, or print. It is intended to benefit the public interest, by raising awareness of an issue, altering attitudes, and potentially stimulating people to take action.

While the most common PSAs are about health or safety, we will be limiting ourselves to topics we covered in Unit Five.

Choose one issue from the list below and write a PSA about it.

land conservation
minority rights
the war
genetically modified foods
the Green movement
the Women’s Movement
sustainable development

Your PSA should be suitable to be broadcast on radio or television, so use language that is upbeat and appropriate for the general public.

Follow these general guidelines:

Use short upbeat sentences and a conversational tone.
Tell how your information can help the listener.
Call the listener to action.
Tell the listener exactly where to go or what to do to meet the call to action.
Tell the listener to contact you for more information.
Include your contact information but don’t give your personal contact information; make up a phone number or mailing address.

Your PSA must be five paragraphs long. Most PSAs are much shorter since they must be broadcast and airtime is costly, but for this project, we will stick with the standard five-paragraph essay. When you have finished writing, try your PSA out on an audience. Read it to your family, friends, or your teacher.

essay number 2

Imagine you are a young person living in the United States during the 1930s. The Depression is raging in your state and you and your family, which is a large one, is in crisis. Your parents cannot pay the rent, let alone feed you and your three brothers and sisters as well as your widowed aunt who has newly come to live with you. To make matters worse, your little sister has asthma and her medication costs a lot.

You are young and strong and have always had a good head on your shoulders. You desperately want to help your family in any way possible but the situation is very bad. What do you do?

Write a five-paragraph personal narrative describing your situation and how you choose to deal with it. Your paper must have an introduction, a three-paragraph body, and a concluding paragraph. It will be much easier to write a good paper if you follow the process of writing outlined in the writing activities rather than waiting until the last day of the unit to write the entire paper.

Here are some questions to help you brainstorm ideas:
• In what part of the United States do you live?
• What was life like prior to the Depression? After?
• What did your father/mother do for a living? Are they unemployed now?
• How are your siblings reacting to the circumstances? Your community?
• Has the government done anything to help your situation? Are they doing enough?
• Whom do you blame for the Depression? Why?

Although your narrative is fictional, you must support what you write with facts about the Depression. You may use material from the textbook, the Internet, or the library. Please avoid using Wikipedia as a source of information. The History Channel, PBS, and HistoryNet are examples of good websites to use for your history class projects. If you know someone who lived during the Depression, she/he might also be a good source. In any case, be sure to cite every source you use to write your paper. Follow the citation style your teacher prefers and list your sources at the end of your paper.

You may want to do a Google search using these key words or think of some of your own: Great Depression, hoboes, Hoovervilles, shantytown, Okies, or Dust Bowl.

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