Directions: When we share stories about things we have done or situations we have been in, we are doing so much more than just providing anecdotes! We are using our past experiences, or our background knowledge, to make connections to the present time (as well as to make choices that work for us!).
Background knowledge is what we use to make decisions in everything we do all day long...and also to answer questions we have while doing so! Our past experiences help us decide what to do in everything from choosing foods at the grocery store to selecting the right present for a close friend.
Our background knowledge also fuels the types of questions we may ask while we complete these tasks!
Let's take a moment to discuss how this works!
When we tell or write down an anecdote, we also make inferences, which is what we do when we try to make sense of something. When you tell a story about how long you were stuck in traffic, there are a number of inferences we can all make depending on our own experiences (our background knowledge).
For instance, people who travel long distances in traffic know exactly how it feels to sit in a car, on a bike, or on public transportation for long periods of time, and they could infer any of the following:
1. It takes patience to sit in traffic for a long period of time, but it can be done.
2. It can be nice to listen to music while traveling in the car, or it could be enjoyable talking to other people while using public transportation.
3. It can be peaceful to sit on a bus or train and read an interesting book while traveling a long distance.
4. It can be stressful to worry about not getting to work or an appointment on time; we don't want to be late!
5. It can be considered just another aspect of going to work, something you just have to do as part of your normal day, and it is not negative or positive.
Do you see how many choices there could be for the same situation? These choices exist because we are all individuals who have had different experiences that led to a particular way of thinking or behaving!
When you hear about someone being stuck in traffic, what would your reaction be? This type of inference has no right or wrong answer; it just gives us more information about your own experiences and allows us to predict how you may deal with things in the future. We can then make an inference about what you will do in another situation!
Telling anecdotes allows us to do all of the above....and listening to anecdotes also allows us to do the very same thing! We go through all the same steps of having an experience, asking ourselves questions about that experience, making inferences about what to do during that experience, and coming to a conclusion of how that experience went. Then we tell others about this experience, often to connect with them or to communicate something we have learned.
You already know how to do all of this and so much more! You are already a master of the anecdote!
Directions: Select a situation from the list below, and write an anecdote about it. Think back to something that happened to you or someone you know, and use this experience to write an anecdote that will communicate your feeling to others as well as serve a purpose.
1. You see someone driving erratically on the highway and it almost causes an accident.
2. Your friend is in a silly mood and does something out of character for him/her that embarrasses you.
3. You go to the store to buy something in particular and think it will be a short trip, but you end up running into someone you have not seen in a very long time.
4. You have an unusual meeting with your child's teacher OR you run into a teacher you once had when you were in elementary school and discover something you never realized back then.
5. You do something you have always been afraid or too shy or too uncomfortable to do!
6. You think you know everything about a good friend of yours, but you either hear gossip or you uncover a secret that was always kept from you.
7. You are eating in a restaurant when you suddenly find a bug (or something else!) in your food!
8. You have an argument with someone and later realize you were wrong.
9. The cashier gives you the incorrect amount of money back, and it is quite a bit more than you should have received.
10. You decide to do the right thing when everyone around you is not.
11. You have a wonderful time at a special event that you will remember forever!
Review of Terms
1. True False Paraphrasing is what you do when you put something into your own words without adding your own opinion.
2. True False An anecdote is a story you tell that can prove a point, entertain others, warn everyone, or simply tell others an interesting situation you just went through.
3. True False When you write down the exact words someone has said, you should put apostrophes around their words.
4. True False An example of making an inference is the following: While reading a story, you imagine what the character will do next based on what you have already found out about him.
5. True False Foreshadowing is when you give clues regarding what happened in the past.
6. True False We bring our background knowledge to every book we read, which means we think of our own experiences to make sense of what is happening in the story and to often form a connection with a character or situation being described.
7. True False An anecdote is generally nonfiction.
Idiom of the Day:
Sonny was on cloud nine when he passed the test.
Idiom of the Day #2:
I know she means well, but she is always telling him what to do. I think she should cut him some slack.
Persuasive Writing in Review
Directions: Finish the persuasive paragraph that follows.
All health care should be free. People work hard to earn enough money to pay their bills and purchase food for their families. They should not have to worry about how they will be able to afford expensive doctor bills. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Write at least two more sentences that prove the opening topic sentence should be agreed with! Then write a solid closing sentence that makes an interesting point! Good luck!