Creating a rough draft is something that we sometimes overlook, due to time constraints; however, rough drafts are a needed step for Kindergarteners! When our students are able to create a rough draft, they are given a little more think time and they are also given a non-stressful, non-judgmental time to simply WRITE. After all, we want the focus to be on the writing! And, if we want their writing to be good, we must ensure that our students have time for that-- the rough draft is the way to give our students needed time to create their quality writing.
This lesson is the third step in my Writer's Workshop, and is typically completed on a Wednesday, after
1) an information dump, and 2) brainstorming.
Students will have created their own graphic organizer, where they have categorized their information, the day prior to this lesson. Students will use their organizer at their supporting information for their rough draft.
In order for my students to realize my expectations, and have a little support, I like to make sure that I always model a rough draft, using a graphic organizer. When I do this, I can show my students how to break down and put together their information correctly.
I model my rough draft process, I like to have students in the whole group setting with them sitting in front of me on the carpet.
"Today is rough draft day! So, I am going to show you some easy ways to make sure we get all of our information transferred over from our organizer to our writing paper!"
Basically, I show students HOW to look at their organizer, one step at a time, to create a topic sentence, a main idea with details and another main idea with details.
I take my graphic organizer and remind my students that our topic sentence can be created from the title of our paper- Flowers. I also take out my rough draft recording sheet.
Personally, I like to begin my paper with one of the following topic sentences:
"Let me tell you what I know about flowers," "I have been learning about flowers," or, "What do I know about flowers?"
I write this down to model this for students: Let me tell you what I know about flowers.
"Now that we have our topic sentence, we can move on to our first main idea."
I show students where to find ONE main idea and its' details.
"My first main idea that I have written is, flowers need.... Hmmm... let me think, how can I re-phrase that so I can use it in a sentence? (wait time) I usually will have a student respond here. "I love ______'s sentence. Plants need many things. Good job, _______. That is a great sentence using my first main idea. I am going to write that as my second sentence."
My paper now reads: Let me tell you what I know about flowers. Flowers need many things.
"Now that I have my first main idea, I need to support it with details." I point at the details on my organizer. "I have three details here. Let's figure out how to write them. The first thing I have written down is sun... hmmm... how could I use that in a sentence?" (wait time) I will have a student respond here. "Yes! Good job _______. I could write, 'Plants need sun for light.' Good idea." I will write that down.
My paper now reads: Let me tell you what I know about flowers. Flowers need many things. Plants need sun for light.
"Okay, now we have to figure out sentences for our other two supporting details. I think I can use the word water in a sentence like this: plants need water to be healthy" (wait time), "But, I do not want to start this sentence the same way that I started the last one!" (wait time) "So, maybe I can change it... Another thing that plants need is water because it keeps them healthy. Yes, I like that sentence because it now sounds a little different than the last one! I am going to write that down."
My paper now reads: Let me tell you what I know about flowers. Flowers need many things. Plants need sun for light. Another thing that plants need is water because it keeps them healthy.
*I did not ask for a student's idea here because I wanted to get my point across about beginning sentences in a variety of ways.
"Now, we can move on to our next and last detail for this idea. The last detail I have written on my organizer," (I point at my organizer) "is the word help. Hmmmm... so plants need help... let me think about that one for a moment." (wait time) "Who can come up with a sentence about this?" I will call on a student. "Great thinking, _______. I love that. Plants sometimes need help from people and insects, too. I am going to write that down."
My paper now reads: Let me tell you what I know about flowers. Flowers need many things. Plants need sun for light. Another thing that plants need is water because it keeps them healthy. Plants sometimes need help from people and insects, too.
"Wow! We have our whole first main idea! Now, we can move on to our other one." I point to the other half of our organizer. "Our other main idea says plant parts..." (wait time) "Who can think of a sentence I could write about this?" I will call on a student. "I love ______'s, sentence! Plants have different parts. Your sentence gets to the point and tells me what I need to know. Great. I will write that just below my last main idea and its' details in my story."
My paper now reads: Let me tell you what I know about flowers. Flowers need many things. Plants need sun for light. Another thing that plants need is water because it keeps them healthy. Plants sometimes need help from people and insects, too. Plants have different parts.
At this time, I would stop my model, as I don't feel I need to hold students' hands all the way through. I have reminded my students how to use their graphic organizers to find their information and move along, so now I can send them back to their seats, knowing that they can follow their own information along, the same way that I did.
For some students, I like to write numbers for them to follow (in case they get easily confused or lost on their paper). I write a 1 next to the topic word, I write a 2 next to the first main idea, with an arrow pointing down to all of its' details, and I write a 3 next to the second main idea, with an arrow pointing down to all of its' details.
This step can be especially helpful to ALL students the first time we begin this process of moving from brainstorming on a graphic organizer to creating a rough draft.
At their seats, students will use their own graphic organizers to create their rough drafts.
I will label the papers of students who need more assistance with numbers to guide them.
I will encourage my beyond-level students to add additional ideas to their writing if they can.
As students write, I will walk around and guide students when needed. I will also be looking to make sure all students are indeed using their organizers the correct way; students should be creating sentences based on the words written on their organizers.
Students simply have a plain piece of paper here, so it is important that they know they need to follow their specific order to create their rough draft.
While students are writing, I encourage them to do two things, 1) use their best handwriting, and 2) check off their items on their organizer as they write them down.
After students complete their rough draft, I have them read over it one time to make sure that it makes sense. Then, they put their rough drafts in their writing folders; we save our rough drafts for the following day's lesson with conferencing.
After students have correctly completed this rough draft, they can take home their graphic organizer from the brainstorming step and take it home or file it away, as it won't be needed anymore!
Sometimes, I allow students to type their rough drafts! Here is a student's typed rough draft and here is the step that is coming up in the lesson following this one, because this is the same typed rough draft with edits!
Here is a video showing my expectations (with explanations) for rough drafts!