Workshop Time: Drafting The Research Paper

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SWBAT work on drafting their research papers.

Big Idea

The biggest problem in writing: beginning the first sentence.

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.

Workshop Time

33 minutes

In order to get students on the right path to finishing a rough draft, I think it's important to give them class time to work on it. I don't give them too much time, as I want students to learn how to write independently of me, but I think it's important to allow some time since they are not used to writing a research paper of this length and depth. It also gives me the opportunity to see how far they have (or have not) come. Do they need extra time? Have they just been procrastinating?

I begin the class by reviewing the questions we discussed when we started looking at our outline to turn it into a rough draft. These 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 remind students what they need to think about as they are drafting their research papers. When students are already thinking before they write, the process of writing will be easier as they have some ideas in mind. I also remind students of the various resources they have to look back at throughout the rest of the lesson. They can look at the Research Booklet, which answers many questions they have as it covers every aspects of the project. They can also refer to the From Outline To Draft Powerpoint and the Plagiarism Paraphrasing Citing etc Powerpoint. Both of these Powerpoints are on my web-site and are from previous lessons. This will also students to think about how to structure their paragraphs.

The rest of class is devoted to drafting their research papers. Students are reminded to be productive. Occasionally, since they are teenagers, reminders are needed to get back on track, but if they are in engaged in the process, they will be engaged in drafting during today's lesson. During this time I jump around the class to trouble-shoot and help out students who need it. Most of the time is devoted to lower-level students who also need help on how to begin. I try my best to also monitor higher-level students who can be challenged by asking them to start their papers in a different way than is normally done. 

This document shows the common questions/conferences that come up for today's lesson and how I would respond to each: Workshop Time Common Questions

Here is an example of a student's rough draft of her introduction: Rough Draft Introduction Example and this video explains the conference I would have with this student: Rough Draft Introduction Conference.