Outlining Does a Body Good

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SWBAT use a planning tool to outline the first body paragraph before drafting.

Big Idea

Milk is good for the human body, but outlining is great for the essay body as students work on their writing.

Do Now

10 minutes

In this unit, my students are working on comparing and contrasting two characters from "The Gift of the Magi," by O. Henry and "The Necklace," but Guy de Maupassant. Today for the "Do Now" I am only asking my students to take out all of the documents that we will need to work on our body paragraphs today: their Venn Diagrams with thesis statements, outline and the introduction that they wrote last class. I will give them a few moments to retrieve these documents from their immaculately organized notebooks (wink).  Next, I will explain to my students that we will be using these documents to draft at least one of the body paragraphs in class today (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b).

Building Knowledge

15 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will model a way of completing a thorough outline of the first body paragraph of the comparison contrast essay that will help them with a structure for the rest of their body paragraphs. I am providing them with an outline on the SmartBoard to help them. I am choosing to give them this outline because it went well during our last writing assignment, and it helped the students stay focused on the topic and helped ensure that they were using and explaining their textual evidence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9). 

During this process, I will be sure to show them where I got the topic for my first body paragraph (from the three topics listed in the thesis statement). This will be a good time to show them how a thesis is the road map to an essay. It tells the writer exactly which ideas are first, middle, and last.  I'll also show them how and where their textual evidence should be placed in the outline. This video shows how I work through the outlining process for my students.


Application: Outlining

20 minutes

After modeling the outlining process, I will give students 20 minutes to work on the outline for their first body paragraph. I am giving them class time to work on this outline because I will require that they get approval of this part from me before they start drafting out the actual paragraph. This will give them a fighting chance of doing it right the first time.

Here's a sample of a student's outline with textual evidence for her first body paragraph:

Student Body Paragraph1 Outline

While some students are writing, I will give some struggling students the option of sitting with me at the small group table so that I can guide them through the process step by step. This is also the place where students will convene when they have finished their outline drafts to get approval to start writing.  At some point, I will have seen each students' outline before they write, and I'll be a little exhausted!

Application: Writing the Paragraph from the Outline

30 minutes

After students have gained my approval to move forward, I will ask them to draft the body paragraph(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2) on the same page that they wrote their introductions. Again, I will need to remind them that all evidence needs to support analysis/explanations,(CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9) of their topics, so I should not see any paragraphs that end with quotes from the text. I will also remind them that their topic sentence should be related to the first topic mentioned in their thesis statements. I'm really excited to see what these drafts will look like to determine whether the way that I am teaching this works. I think I'll cross my fingers and toes for this one!

This piece of student work shows a student's first body paragraph, developed from an outline.

Body Paragraph 1

Closure and Homework

10 minutes

For the closure activity today, I'll ask my students to share their drafts with a partner. I am asking them to share because this is only the first body paragraph, and they will need all the feedback they can get in order to do the same type of writing twice more when they write body paragraphs two and three. This also gives my students a chance to evaluate their partner's use of evidence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3) in this first draft.

 For homework, I will ask students to write at least one more body paragraph (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2) using the same format as the first body paragraph. They don't necessarily need to outline it out in the detail that we did the first one, but it should include all of the elements. I am having them do some of the writing at home because the product will tell me whether I can release them to do more independent writing assignments.