Making A Plan: Crafting an Outline

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SWBAT organize the specific evidence to support their persuasive claims by creating an outline and establishing a thesis statement.

Big Idea

With landmarks in the form of information cards, students make an actual "map" to their topic in the form of an outline.

Intro and Welcome: It's National Grouch Day!

5 minutes

I greet students at the door, handing each the directions and model for creating an outline--today's primary task. As students settle in at the bell, I welcome them to "National Grouch Day," and express my hope today's class doesn't live up to the name. In reaction to this, I try something new for the start of the week: "Tell Me Something Good." I call on three to five students to share something positive from the long (Columbus Day) weekend.

As with daily holidays and other start-of-class activities, the objective is to build a sense of community, especially in terms of re-engaging and re-motivating students after a long weekend. 

Hopping Ahead to Step 5: How To Outline

20 minutes

After our short "welcome back" discussion, I ask students to turn their attention to Persuasive Paper Step 5: Outline. I project the directions on the board, as well. I have prepared "model" info cards, and use them to demonstrate the different ways in which students can organize their thoughts. Holding each card up to the board, I physically show the students where information goes in the outline, as well as how note cards can be used to provide the tactile and kinesthetic learners with a way to literally "manipulate" their data. The objective here is to provide students with an organization establishing clear relationships among claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence (W.9-10.1a), in turn supplying evidence for each (W.9-10.1b). Along the way, I check for understanding by asking the students to explain why I put a piece of evidence where it is, or what I (deliberately) left out of a line. 

Our curriculum requires research at all grade levels, in order to develop students' skills at locating and citing information, as well as in sustained tasks (the writing process). We use MLA style, as this is an English/Language Arts course. This project serves as an introduction/refresher of the research process, in addition to addressing writing an argument, as noted in standard W.9-10.1. Later this school year, students will write a longer (3-5 pages) biographical research paper. 

And Back To Step 4: Writing a Thesis Statement

20 minutes

After wrapping up our sample outline, I pass out the directions for Persuasive Paper Step 4: Thesis. I begin by calling on three students to read the definitions at the top of the paper, and then ask the class to shout out the answer to the question, "Which one are we doing?" (Hopefully, they say, "Argumentative.") I then skip ahead to the bottom of the page, and read the example to the students, orally breaking down each point.

Using the model on the back, I ask students to go through each step and create their own thesis, as I do the same for my paper, at my computer with the examples I come up with projected for everyone to see. By establishing a clear thesis statement after drafting an outline, students can introduce their precise claim, distinguish that claim from alternate or opposing claims, and provide clarity for the organization of the paper (W.9-10.1a).  


Wrapping Up And Looking Ahead

5 minutes

Since tomorrow is scheduled for "All School Testing," I take a few minutes at the end of class to review their schedule for the day, address when we will be back in the computer lab writing, and remind them that their outlines and thesis statement will be due at the end of the week. I also remind students that any information cards not turned in today are due when we return to class, after testing. The intent in wrapping instruction/students work time a few minutes early is to reinforce upcoming due dates and ensure students are responsible for their work and whereabouts.