Turning An Outline Into A Rough Draft

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SWBAT learn how to turn their outline into a rough draft.

Big Idea

From notes, to sentences, to paragraphs and we're almost at the finish line! Well, we're getting there.

Reading Time

10 minutes

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. 

Direct Instruction: Review Of Drafting Powerpoint

10 minutes

Students spent time already learning how to do an outline for a research paper. It's important for them to learn ways to turn that outline, which is in note form, into full sentences and then into paragraphs for a rough draft. This is incredibly beneficial for students as they can have a focus for how to organize their paper. They already did the heavy lifting by organizing their information into an outline. Today's lesson allows them to see how to work on their rough draft. It avoids the typical "I don't know what to write." This is actually the first time I did such instruction directly. In the past this lesson was done rather informally as I expected students to be able to this independently, which is one of the skills of this entire project. After looking at the outlines and hearing what students wanted, I realized this lesson was needed.

I begin the lesson by pulling up the From Outline To Draft Powerpoint. This is a brief Powerpoint, but it shows students ways to begin drafting their research paper. I review the entire presentation. Since students work at different paces, I show them the different steps and then they can spend the rest of the class working on turning their own outlines into drafts. I choose to show them all the steps at once and then give them to work at their own spend. The Powerpoint is on my web-site so students can access it on their own. You can also decide to do each step individually.

  • Step 1 has students looking at their notes to determine which headings will be main ideas and which ones will be supporting details.
  • Step 2 reviews different types of paragraphs. When they review their outlines, they will be able to see which paragraphs they can use that fits their information.
  • Step 3 gives ways to make strong paragraphs. Once they start writing they can look at this list and figure out what they need to do.

Some students have already started drafting and other students need a push to complete the first sentence. Giving them different steps allows me to differentiate instruction so students can determine what would be best for them.

Independent Practice: Analyzing The Outline For Writing Choices

23 minutes

For the rest of the lesson, I give students time to review their outlines using the steps from the previous section. This time is crucial because it can give me time to determine if students are able to begin to make decisions about how to draft on their own. If they can't make these decisions I may need to individual instruction and conference with them one on one.

I keep up the From Outline To Draft Powerpoint on the Smartboard and we review the list slide (and here is a screenshot: Step 4 Screenshot.) This slide lists questions for students to work through as they review their outlines. Here are the questions:

  1. What places in your outline need to be cited? Should you paraphrase, summarize, or use a direct quote?
  2. What information in your paper would be best as a main idea and which headings would be supporting details?
  3. Which types of paragraphs would help develop the information in your outline?
These questions force students to review their outlines multiple times using the information from the lesson. By reviewing the outlines multiple times they have multiple ways to work on their draft. There is no excuse for not knowing what to do. Some students focus on one at a time and others use all three at once. I encourage students who are struggling to begin with the first question since it's a low pressure way to look at their outline.
The rest of class students have time to review their outlines and make notes on their outlines. This will help them as they begin to draft their research papers. As a teacher, it's important to discuss with students the decisions they are making. You also want to pay attention to what they think they need to cite and what the think are main ideas. Sometimes pulling a few students aside and reviewing their outlines with them one on one can be a huge benefit for them.

Here is an example of a student's outline with notes on main ideas and supporting details: Student Example: Outline For Main Idea and Supporting Ideas. You can see the TS for topic sentences and SI for supporting ideas. Here is a video explaining how I would discuss the outline with a student: Student Outline Main Idea Example Video