To begin today's lesson, I have students take out a sheet of paper for a couple of quick writes. I tell them this is to get their minds thinking about the ideas they're writing about. What they don't know is that these quick writes are actually going to become their introduction and conclusion paragraphs!
Using the PowerPoint slides, I ask them to write 4-5 sentences in response to each Quick Write Prompt.
As my students are getting logged into their computers and ready to draft, I walk them through the information on the fifth slide. I congratulate them on having the hard part of the essay done.
For the drafting step, all I ask them to do is get the words from their quick writes and outline to the document. If they want to add transitions or an extra sentence or two, that is fine. My more advanced writers like to be able to add some creative flair at this point in the process.
I then set them free to type, and I get to enjoy one of my favorite sounds: lots of fingers working away on keyboards!
The very last thing I ask them to do today is create titles for their essays. To do this, I ask them to read the entire essay, start to finish. I want them to think about their ideas or something particularly creative they did or said during the process.
When writing their titles, I ask them to take pity on me. I let them know that I have to read 90 papers and I want to be entertained. I ask them to be creative, but not silly. My favorites from this year are, "Lying, Joking, and Other Dangerous Things We Do," and "The Great Lies of Tom Sawyer."
As class comes to a close, I make sure that all of my students have their five paragraphs typed or have a plan to be ready to move on by tomorrow's class. Since we're going to be working on peer feedback, it is imperative that they have a product to share with a classmate.
Since we use Google Docs at my school, I will take a peek at each of my student's documents tonight. I'm like a naughty kid at Christmas. I like to peel back the tape and sneak a look at what I'm going to be getting. Sometimes I'm thrilled, and sometimes I have to get the moan out of my system so the giver of the gift isn't hurt by my honest reaction!