Today I ask students to reflect or review what makes for good explanation in a body paragraph because we are about to move into drafting our summative essays. They should be able to tell me what good explanation means or at least review their notes to find the answer.
After attendance, I ask for the answer and am greeted by downward stares and silence. Uh oh. After an awkward moment, a few voices chime in.
"It explains." Well, that's in the word itself, yes.
"It clarifies." Good academic vocabulary,yes. Still, what term did I use?
"Connection!" YES! Good explanation connects details to evidence, evidence to claim. It makes clear how the details and evidence PROVE the claim.
Students hit the term I was looking for, so we move on.
Students receive their outlines back today, full of feedback for improvement. I ask students to make their changes to claim, evidence, and details as they work on their rough drafts and establish our timeline. Students will have three class sessions to produce their rough drafts (seems like a lot, but isn't given that we'll have to travel to the lab each day and twiddle our thumbs waiting for computers to load).
We move down to the computer lab, and after thumb twiddling, begin writing. I stroll the room to answer questions and check for engagement. Students ask clarifying questions on my feedback:
"You said this was repetitive--does that mean I should get rid of it?" Yes.
"Would it be good to change this paragraph's focus to emotional effects to avoid repetition?" Yes.
"How do I add an action to this claim?" Well, who makes decisions about marriage laws? What do you want that group of people to do?
One student believes he is done with his draft after 20 minutes in the lab:
At the end of the hour, I remind students of the scheduled work days ahead. They save (I hope successfully--you never know) and log off until the next essay work day.