Today this class period will work a little differently because it is being planned for a substitute. I will be giving all students time to revise and work on their drafts so far, but I also want to check in on their progress with their draft, especially in light of our whole "you're accountable for doing your homework" speech that I gave last class period. While I could spend extra time going through students' shared folders to see what exactly they had done when they walked in the door, I simply don't have the time for this! Instead, students will be required to copy their draft so far, paste it into an email to me, and send it within the first five minutes of this class period. This will save me SO much time and achieve the same results--I'll see what they had when they walked in the door. (Another perk of this method is that you can catch students who plagiarized this part to save time or typed up random junk right before the hour to get the page count, rather than actually putting effort into this section. This will be easy to spot in your emails and even easier to confirm when you compare it to their draft after the class period in their folders.) I will encourage students who have nothing for drafts so far to send me an email explaining why they haven't done their homework and to sign up for an "extra help" session to get assistance with their drafts.
Our research tasks for the day will begin with revising the portion of the draft students have already completed. Each of our upcoming class periods will begin this way in order to encourage students to revise frequently and make better writing choices as they continue with their drafting process. I know from previous years that students are less likely to implement changes to their drafts if they have TONS of changes to make, so we will take this little by little! Additionally, students need to improve their writing, so structuring our activities this way will encourage students to preemptively fix mistakes instead of being careless with their drafting process.
First, students will use Strunk's Elements of Style (that they saw in our earlier Amazing Grammar Race) to identify and omit all the needless words and phrases that he points out. Though students have recently reviewed this list, I think they will be surprised to see how many of these "fillers" they actually use in their formal writing as a misguided attempt to sound academic. When I review these drafts next time, I shouldn't see ANY of these phrases in their writing. If they need help looking for these phrases, students should use the CTRL+F procedure to search for these phrases in their drafts. After students have edited for these errors, they will need to use another Amazing Grammar Race activity, the "Writing Concise Sentences" resource, to identify and remove additional redundant language.
Next, students will review their drafts to eliminate all instances of first and second person, as these are not appropriate for formal research writing. Also, students should go through each paragraph to ensure that only one topic is discussed per paragraph and that they are utilizing the PIE structure discussed last time.
Finally, students will be reintroduced to effective quote integration using the Sandwich Quoting Image. This quote integration style fits best with PIE structure, and it's consistent with the quote integration we've been working with all year. To increase variety in quote introductions, students will also be directed to the UHCL Tips for Introducing Quotes, which lists numerous verbs students can choose from based on the purpose of their quotation. Finally, a more detailed video explanation of these resources will be shown to students by the substitute (and available to student for reviewing throughout the process). This video is below and the presentation I used to make the video is attached in the resources.
After this video, students will need to go through their draft section and rephrase all quotes and paraphrases, ensuring that they are appropriately integrated in a variety of formats consistent with the information's purpose.
Our final activity will be to resume drafting their argumentative research paper using the claim section. Just like the background and definitions sections, students will need to use PIE structure to flesh out each point on their outlines with illustrations and explanations that relate back to their thesis. All students need to utilize the entire class period working on this draft, and I will go back to check the revision history of students to ensure that they have made sufficient, continual progress toward this goal. Since we still need to address the counterclaim and rebuttal sections of the essay, I will "cap" the number of pages that students may have for their draft next class period (including the background and definitions sections and the claim sections) at 4-5 MLA-formatted pages. This will help students to narrow down their argument and select only the evidence that makes their point rather than default to a broader, more superficial treatment of the topic. The Common Core encourages depth of thought over breadth, so I want to mirror that in my classroom.
In the final moments of class, I will have the substitute teacher reiterate what students need to have done for next class period, which is a 4-5 page section of their drafts, including background, definition, and claims sections. I will also have her remind students to check that their drafts are located in their shared folders so that I can view them.
Between this class period and the next, I will review my emails from students, placing completion grades in the computer for emails that were sent during the allotted time period, based on the degree of completion. I will also respond to student emails explaining why their homework was not finished, and I will reach out to students who did not email me. If I notice suspicious draft sections, I will also search these on Google to check to see if they are plagiarized and take action if so.