Roughly Drafting: Crafting MEL-Con Paragraphs

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SWBAT develop their claims and create cohesion in their paper by crafting MEL-Con paragraphs.

Big Idea

MEL-Con structure supports claims in a logical, structured frame.

Introduction: Happy International Day of the Nacho

10 minutes

As students enter the classroom, I welcome them at the door and hand them a copy of "Step 6: Writing a Rough Draft." As they get settled, I share the results of the Friday Favorite, wish them a "Happy International Day of the Nacho," and go through the schedule for the week. For the Monday Mindbender, students seek alternate spellings to "sigh," as George Bernard Shaw claimed "fish" could be spelled "G-H-O-T-I." This puzzle introduces the idea of phonemes, the basic sound units that can affect meaning. Students will be delving more into language structure as the year goes on. As always, Daily Holidays and Monday Mindbenders are observed to foster a sense of community, collaboration, and open communication in the classroom.

MEL-Con Structure: How To Format Paragraphs

38 minutes

Today's direct instruction and modeling focuses on how to take the factual information on the students' outlines, connect it to the main idea of each paragraph, and transition between ideas: in short, actually "writing" the essay.

Much of what we are covering in class today is review. I have chosen to spend one day recapping this material to both refresh it for the students and to close any gaps that may exist in their memory. 

We begin by addressing attention getters/hooks. I ask students--without looking at the handout--what ways can they remember for grabbing the reader's attention. I list whatever examples they come up with, and then direct their attention to the first entry on the Persuasive Paper Step 6: Rough Draft directions. I explain the transition between the attention getter and thesis is up to them, but should explain or elaborate on the idea in the attention getter, and show how it connects to the thesis. 

I then ask students to read the rest of handout while I provide them with copies of the Persuasive Paper Step 6.4: MEL-Con Sample and a packet that has MEL-Con in an template form students can simple plug their information into and begin writing. (This template is available for classroom use from many websites; I use Wheeling High School's.) While students are reading, I project the MEL-Con Sample onto the board. 

Once students have had a chance to read the directions, I ask them to look at the MEL-Con Sample, we discuss and review how I organized my information on the sample outline, and I physically demonstrate how to transfer information; copying, pasting, and retyping from my own models as I go. I address each of the "Things to Identify" on the MEL-Con Sample, calling on students to come to the board and mark, circle, or underline each.   

We end class with a quick recap of writing a conclusion as I provided, and if there is any time remaining, students will be able to use the template to begin working on their draft. 

By modeling the transition from outline to paragraph, I demonstrate how to create cohesion in the paper and clarify the relationships between their argumentative claim and the evidence students have researched (W.9-10.1c). Modeling allows students to actually see the process in practice, not as an arbitrary checklist or "to do" on directions. In addition, by calling on students to come to the board or help write portions of the paper, I can ensure they are attentive and increase buy-in/student ownership. As far as paper format, MEL-Con also provides a way for students to create cohesion in their writing.

Two Minute Warning: Wrap Up and Reminders

2 minutes

I remind students which computer lab we will be meeting in tomorrow. Homework for tonight is to begin crafting their rough draft by hand on the MEL-Con Organizer provided, and complete any outlines that needed revisions.