We spent today’s lesson looking at how to construct PEE paragraphs in a response to the Of Mice and Men literature exam. It is an area that most of the class need to work on and develop so we used the Prezi above as a template for the whole lesson.

We started by reminding ourselves of how to PEE, Miss Ryan wanted us to focus on the type of evidence that we select to use in our essays. We know that it’s really important to choose concise, relevant quotations and to embed them naturally as part of our answer.

We read 2 responses to a question about Lennie, and explored what makes an effective PEE paragraph.

  • When selecting a quote, don’t choose a really long one – make sure that it is relevant and concise.
  • When making a point, be specific, rather than generic. For example, student A wrote ‘Steinbeck compares Lennie to an animal’ whereas student B wrote ‘Steinbeck compares Lennie’s appearance and physical movement to an animal’. Student B focuses on the actual nature of the comparison, which is better.
  • Although you aren’t being heavily graded on the quality of your writing, you should adopt a lively and informative tone with a good range of vocabulary.
  • You should link the details from that quote to other areas of aspects of the novel.
  • You should put in as much detail as you possibly can – 6-10 sentences per PEE paragraph.

After we had done this, we looked at the success criteria for a good paragraph in a literature essay:

AfL Criteria:

  • The point is concise
  • Evidence is concisely selected (only what is needed)
  • Evidence embedded
  • Explanation makes up the majority of the paragraph
  • Explanation relates directly to the quote
  • Explanation discusses the effect of specific words and phrases
  • Quote linked to other parts of the novel to which it is similar or with which it contrasts

We then completed the analysis of a quotation and constructed a PEE paragraph together as a class. We used this quotation:

Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to his master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand

We felt that Lennie’s character could be interpreted in a number of ways in this scene:

  • Loyal
  • Disobedient
  • Tame
  • Immature
  • Playful
  • Rebellious

Either one of these interpretations could be valid, and there is certainly no ‘right answer’, as long as you use relevant quotations to support your ideas.  The best answers will be analytical, showing the ability to critique Steinbeck’s ideas and show an understanding of a variety of interpretations.

We were then given a quotation that we had to write our own PEE paragraph for:

They sat by the fire and filled their mouths with beans and chewed mightily. A few beans slipped out of the side of Lennie’s mouth. George gestured with his spoon.

We were given 10 minutes to write a detailed paragraph using the success criteria. When the time was up, we had to swap with our partners, read each others’ work and offer feeback of ‘What went well…’ and ‘Even better if…’

We were given homework (sigh!), but luckily it is just a 30 minute job:

Write a PEE paragraph for the last quotation on the blog (‘They sat by the fire and filled their mouths with beans…’) Choose another quote, from another section of the book where a different side to Lennie’s character is shown, and write a PEE paragraph for that.

Time yourself, giving 10 minutes to write each PEE paragraph