Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
Students are going to begin drafting their argument pieces. I am huge into giving students choice. I think it's so important to do this as much as possible. When a teacher assigns a topic, engagement is down and when engagement is down, students will not grow as writers. By allowing them to choice their topic, they will be willing to write. For this writing piece, students will be allowed to choose the topic they would like to write about to create an argument piece.
I start the lesson by explaining to students that we will spend two days of classes drafting argument pieces. The goal is to have a draft of a few different topics. We can then work together to figure out which topic we can eventually take through the entire process. I think it's important to try drafting a few different pieces based on a few different topics. This can really help the students to see what will work best for them as it is not always their first one.
I pass out a copy of the Claim Graphic Organizer and explain it to them. (This graphic organizer I modeled off of Penny Kittle's in her book Write Beside Them). I show what each step of the graphic organizer and discuss how to fill it out. We review what an argument is so students have an understanding of what they will need to think about as they fill it out. This video explains the different components of the graphic organizer: Argument Graphic Organizer Video Explanation
The next step is to fill out the graphic organizer. I scaffold for different students by offering different resources in the next section of the lesson to help them.
Students will be spend the rest of class time filling out the graphic organizer, with teacher assistance as needed. By this time in the year, I hope that students are able to work through their thinking independently. We have worked on various writing projects so I hope they can do this work on their own.
I tell students to spend the rest of the class to fill out the graphic organizer. They can use this time to think through their ideas with the hopes of having the graphic organizer filled out as much as possible. While working on a graphic organizer in class may seem to some like a waste of time, I do this because it's really beneficial for the students. It helps them to really structure their thinking and their ideas, which will help with their organization as they draft. Many students struggle with organizing their thinking and when I can devote class time to do this, students will be able to overcome that obstacle.
During this time, I offer assistance to various students based on need. Some students need help thinking of ideas so I refer them back to the chart I keep in front of the class: Argument Ideas List. Other students need help to see how to fill the chart out. For this I show them an example of an argument I will be working on: Claim Graphic Organizer Model.
Here are two examples of students work with this graphic organizer: