It Feels Drafty in the Computer Lab: Developing a Full Draft

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SWBAT use technology to produce a complete draft of their comparison contrast essay using MLA format

Big Idea

Writers create a polished rough draft in the computer lab on the road to the final copy

Do Now

10 minutes

For the "Do Now " today, I will be giving students instructions for what to do when we go to the computer lab to type the first draft of their comparison contrast essays.  I am allowing my students to type the essays in class rather than at home because I can provide additional writing support while they are typing as I roam around the room to check for understanding. This is also a good time for me to catch errors in formatting as they work.

During the last class session, my students wrote one of the body paragraphs for their essays using a structured outline. For homework, I asked them to write another body paragraph. When they get to the computer lab, they have their marching orders: Type what they have already written AND type the final body paragraph (with appropriate details and explanations) (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b) and conclusion (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2f ). For this essay, I have not provided a model for the conclusion, but I will ask my students to consult their outline document that I found at for suggestions on what to include in the conclusion:

1) Re-statement of the thesis--I added this one

2) Summary of main points

3) Evaluation and/or possible future developments

4) Significance of topic to the author

I am choosing not to provide a model for the conclusion because I spent quite a bit of time modeling the introduction and body paragraphs to get them accustomed to doing them on their own. For the next essay, I will focus more on writing effective conclusions and language usage.This is just my way of scaffolding the writing instruction to get some skills under their belts before moving on.

Instead of having my students hand write the rest of the essay, I am having them type a full draft. I am choosing to do it this way for two reasons:

1) I don't think that all students need to write out (by hand) their entire draft before typing.

2) I want my students to have a clean draft for the revising and editing lesson next class. A typed version is the best way to go for this one because I won't have to listen to complaints about handwriting and neatness.

Since we have already typed one essay this year, I will ask my students to retrieve their old essays (from a flash drive or from their student drives) that we wrote in quarter 1. I am having them do this because I gave very explicit instructions on how to format in MLA format, and having them type over a correctly formatted essay will help me avoid re-teaching MLA for this essay.



60 minutes

For the application part of the lesson, I will have my students type a clean draft of their essays (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6). In the "Do Now" section, I mentioned a couple of reasons that I am allowing students to type in class. Another reason is that I have found that I get more essays submitted in the correct MLA format (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3a) and (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 ) when they type them in class. I also need everyone to have a clean, typed draft in order to participate in the Speed Date Revision Cafe during next class. Their peers need to be able to read their essays in order to give them feedback, so a clean typed copy is the best case scenario.

As they type today, I will be walking around and peeking at MLA Format and content, and providing additional feedback on their drafts. Check out this video of my feedback to one student who needed to "tweak" his formatting. I like to give feedback during this time because I can spend one on one time during their typing. I have also found that lots of students ask questions during this time, so I am generally on my feet making the rounds the entire time.


10 minutes

At the end of the period, I will check-in with students to see how many of them finished their drafts. If they did not finish, they will have three options:

1) They can save their drafts to a flash drive and finish up at home.

2) Students can email their drafts to themselves and finish up at home.

3) If students do not have a computer at home, they can neatly hand write the rest of their essay and finish typing when we return to the computer lab after revisions and edits.

I will give them these three options to avoid any issues with students being able to participate in the revision activity next class. I hope I have covered all bases!