Outlining our Way to Great Essays

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SWBAT write arguments to support claims in an analysis of texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence by writing thorough outlines.

Big Idea

My students never believe me when I tell them that outlining will actually save them time -- until they actually do it.

Getting Started

5 minutes

We will spend the first few minutes of class reacquaint ourselves with the prompt and our own thesis statements (W.9-10.1). I will ask two students to read the prompt aloud, since it is helpful to hear it more than once and from more than one voice. I will then repeat it again. Then I will ask students to reread their own thesis statements, as a reminder of what they are trying to prove throughout the essay. 

Too often students just start writing, paying little attention to the question at hand. This habit may create a beautiful book summary, but it won't do much to answer an analytical question. I am trying to instill a new habit, where students focus first on the prompt and then on their thesis, so that they are more likely to write a compelling argument, rather than a book report. 

Folders and Open Responses

5 minutes

I will ask one student to hand out the writing folders, which are always kept on the window ledge near the desks. These folders contain all of their writing throughout the year. At the same time, I will hand back the open responses that students wrote last week. When they get their folders and their open responses, they know to fill out the writing chart, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the open response (W.9-10.5). 

I will ask students to read through their charts so far, reminding themselves of their own strengths and weaknesses in writing. I will also ask them to find the model Long Composition that we highlighted at the beginning of the year, in preparation for Of Mice and Men. Just looking that this essay should remind students of what will be expected with this essay. 

Harvard Outline

40 minutes

Wrapping Up

10 minutes

Before the period ends, we will discuss the homework for the week. Students will be reading six chapters from Great Expectations at home this week, while we write in class. I will hand out the assignments for the week today and explain that the questions for chapter 19 will be collected next class.