Creating a Second Draft by Concentrating on Word Choice

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SWBAT write a second draft of an essay in order to practice thoughtful word choice.

Big Idea

Pick a flower from the garden variety of words.

Active Engagement #1

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect: I will say, “Yesterday we planned another idea for a second draft. Today, we will put all our components together into a second draft of a second idea we have generated so far. This is the second of three drafts.”

Active Engagement: “For this draft, we are going to concentrate on word choice, in order to do this we are going to say good-bye to the word said, said is is dead.” I will then have a pot of soil in and a small post-it in front of me. I will write the word “said” on the small post-it, crumple it up and push it in to the soil (I got plastic gloves from the nurse for this!).

“Now I want you to look through your last draft and pick a word you repeat a lot (usually this is sad, mad, thought or walked). Write it down and crumple it up and bury the word (I will help students since I am the one using the glove). Say good-bye to the word!”

“We are now going make a “garden variety of words.” I will show students how I look through a thesaurus and find my favorite synonym for the word said, this word will go in the middle of a flower template. I will then put other synonyms in the petals. I will then affix a chopstick (for some reason I had 30 of these at my house, but you could also use popsicle sticks or skewers) and put in the pot. Students will then do the same with a partner. We then will make our “garden variety of words.”

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

Teach: I will say, “In order to plan out another draft of an persuasive essay, I am going to practice the skill of using thoughtful word choice and the strategy of using a thesaurus and my peers to pick a variety of words. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Remind myself about what I know about essay writing so far

2)Review my boxes, bullets and brackets

3) Pick a flower from our “garden variety of words” (I also will have an anchor chart with the words)

4) Place the parts in a logical sequence in my draft using the reminders on the side

I will then show the students how I read through the sample essay and think through how to place the parts of my essay in a logical manner. I will especially focus on how to use specific word choice for variety and by keeping my audience in mind. 

Active Engagement #2

5 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say,”You will now take a separate piece of paper and quietly write down your introduction and then go on to your second paragraph.”  I will check for understanding by quickly reading the first one or two sentence from every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I am reading to see that they understand the different parts of the sequence and if I need to re-teach a particular part.

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember in order to practice the skill of using thoughtful word choice for a draft, writers use the strategy of using a thesaurus and their peers to pick a variety of words. They remind themselves about what they know about essay writing, they review their organization, then write an essay by concentrating on their audience and using a variety of words. 

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Independent Practice: will say, “Now you are going to write out your second draft. They should write for at least 30 minutes if not more. They should be adding all of the components of persuasve essay that we have gone over so far, as well as what we have been taught in past units (they can access this by anchor charts in the room and their resource binder). As they are working independently and quietly, (I like to play classical or smooth jazz for“writing”music(I just create a play list on Pandora Internet radio) I will confer with them about their writing.


I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: For today students will turn in their drafts to me. I want to see if they added all the components of an essay  and check for how they used word choice.  I am looking to see what revising or editing strategy most students need for the next day. If they are not completed with the, they will complete it as homework, but before they leave and while I am conferencing I am taking notes about the aforementioned for tomorrow’s lesson.