Essay Question:

To what extent did the Salem Witch Trials  result from a "gap between the expectations of a united community and the reality of a diverse and divided one?" Include the political, social and religious circumstances that contributed to the hysteria.

Writing Tips:

1. Analyze the question:  Make sure you understand every aspect of the question and plan your essay so it directly answers the question.


2. Collect and sort information/ make an outline


3. Develop your thesis: This is the most important aspect of your essay. Everything in the body depends on this!


4. The introduction: Hook me! Introduce the topic, provide an insightful comment regarding analysis of the question, and write a clear developed thesis.


5. The body of the essay: Strong topic sentences should be supported with relevant data. Paragraphs should be connected with transition sentences, words, ideas, etc.


6. Write the conclusion: Reinforce your thesis; summarize the main points of your essay.  Don't introduce new material.


7. Read over the essay: Proof read your essay for grammar/mechanical errors


Writing Rubric

Note: 1-3 must conference; 1-2 must rewrite

Numeric Value












Argument: Clear, well-developed thesis; addresses complexity of question

Thesis is well-developed and clearly focused; acknowledges the complexity of the question itself (last sentence in first paragraph)

Thesis must be consistent and controlled; may not be as focused as in top category

Limited or partially developed thesis which addressed question somewhat

Confused, unsupported, poorly developed thesis

No thesis or an irrelevant one

Critical Thought: Analysis clearly supports thesis and main ideas; discussion of conflicting evidence

In-depth analysis clearly supports thesis and main ideas

Strong analysis in most areas; needs more

More descriptive than analytic; may not discuss entire question

Limited understanding of question; ineffective or inaccurate analysis

Inadequate or inaccurate understanding of question

Evidence: Logical and balanced; displays sophisticated knowledge of subject

Substantial use of evidence throughout

Strong use of evidence, may lack balance

Contains some evidence, needs more

Lacks evidence to support main ideas

Facts not specific, relevant, or accurate

Writing Style: Organization; clarity; mechanical skill

Must be well-organized and well-written; cogent; clear transitional sentences connect back to thesis

Clearly organized and written; not exceptional but logical;  transitional sentences connect back to thesis

Acceptable organization and writing; weak transitions

Weak organization and writing; lacking transitions

Disorganized and poorly written