What Does it Mean to Have Great Expectations: Open Response (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT write arguments to support claims in an analysis of a substantive text, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence by analyzing the title of Great Expectations and what that means for Pip.

Big Idea

Working through an outline together builds confidence and can create more complete essays.

Getting Started

10 minutes

We will review our work from last class, reminding ourselves of the prompt and our thesis statements. The review will help us get started on the next step: outlining. 


45 minutes

I am going to insist that for this open response (W.9-10.2), students employ the Harvard Outline. I know that it is advanced and I anticipate that their outlines won't be "perfect," but I am working to set the standards high and let the chips falls where they may. Plus, I'm going to help them with much of the outline throughout this period, so they will get a good sense of how to complete it. 

Students never outline their work, unless they are directly instructed to do so, even though it would make essay-writing so much easier and would guarantee a better product. I force my junior AP students to hand in an outline with every essay until January; at that point, they usually believe me when I tell them that it helps them organize and write more efficiently, and I don't have to make it a requirement. It may take longer, however, for freshmen to feel comfortable with the process, which is why I plan to walk them through the process.

I will select one of the thesis statements they shared at the beginning of class and base the outline on that statement. Students will have the option to stick with their original thesis (which will probably be similar), or to change their thesis and follow the same outline. Most will change, since writing will be much easier if they can follow the outline I help them complete.

From that thesis, we will write the first topic sentence. I will ask for someone to give the definition of a topic sentence and then I will ask what our topic sentence should be about. We will build the sentence together and I will write it on the board. We will work through the same process, from proof to analysis to the next topic sentence, and so on, throughout the period (W.9-10.5). It will be a long and arduous. I will force them to write complete sentences. We will read our work in total at each step. We read our work aloud at each step, so that they hear how each section connects to the others.

It may seem like I'm doing too much of the work for them, but in reality, I am merely focusing on one section at a time and forcing clear and organized analysis. While everyone will leave class with the same basic outline, it is amazing how different the final products will be, especially after they add transitions, attention-grabbers, a conclusion, and their own voice.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

No matter where we are in the outlining process by the end of the period, I plan on assigning the open response as homework. Then understand that this is coming. It was announced when I gave them the prompt. They have two nights to complete it and should have enough pre-writing done that they will feel comfortable approaching the topic and finishing independently.