This writing unit is about creating an opinion piece about whether students prefer indoor or outdoor recess. In Part 1 of this writing unit, Inside or Out-Writing an Opinion Essay (Lesson 1 of 3), students used an organizer to write a 3 reasons why they prefer indoor or outdoor recess and supporting examples. In part 2, Draft a Star Narrative (Lesson 2 of 3), students wrote a rough draft. In this final lesson of the unit, students will edit and then write a final draft for the five-paragraph essay.
Second graders need time to work through these writing steps of the writing process (brainstorm, organize, rough draft, edit, final draft). The district expectation for my students is to create a five paragraph essay, aligning with the Common Core Standards of composing a variety of types of essays, including opinion pieces that state an opinion with supporting examples and reasons. (W.2.1). They are stating the opinion, giving support, adding linking words, and restating their thinking in the conclusion. Guiding students through each step and giving them practice will ultimately help them become independent writers.
To give you more background about how to help students write a five paragraph essay, I encourage you to look at some narrative writing lessons that I taught previously in my course: Organize Your Ideas In A Timely Way (Lesson 1 of 3), Draft and Edit a Star Narrative (Lesson 2 of 3), and Finalize and Show What You Know (Lesson 3 of 3). I taught that unit to teach students about writing narrative essays. I used the same ideas of 'main idea' with 'supporting details', writing 2 drafts and editing that the Common Core Standards emphasize to provide evidence for statements that the students make in writing and create strong writing pieces.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Common starting point
Explain and Demonstrate
My goal is this activity is for students to begin to become responsible for editing their work. They do have a basic understanding of these 'star' concepts from previous writing units, so they can be held accountable to fix some minor mistakes. I am not focusing on new grammar rules (quotation marks or complex grammatical phrases). My focus is, instead, for students to use what they know to go back and correct their own work. The Common Core standards encourage students to be able to focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing. (W.2.5)
As students participate in these collaborative conversations (SL.2.6), they are ultimately talking about their own writing and looking over others' writing. This student editing with a friend for the purple star is following the rules for discussion along with his classmates, taking turns, and building on what others say. This is the kind of learning the the Common Core Standards is striving for. (SL.2.1) The ultimate goal is for students to, when appropriate, learn from each other's mistakes and proper writing samples. Did someone forget to capitalize the noun? That's a good sentence because the noun and verb agree. Wow, my neighbor says it's hard to write too. This kind of learning and writing toward a goal is a true team effort led by individual students working and learning how to be great writers.
Give the purpose and background of the lesson
Give students time to edit and write & write the final draft
Formative assessment & student support
I make a BIG deal out of creating this final paper. The students have worked for THREE long days creating this paper and I want them to be proud of all of their hard work. Here's my comments about taking pride in their work in their work. Writing a five paragraph essay is not easy for a second-grader, but as they finish, they are proud of how nice their writing looks. This is a intrinsic pay-off... they feel good that they've worked hard.
Scaffolding and Special Education
You can still scaffold this lesson to students with more and less academic ability. Those who excel in writing should be able to edit more easily, specifically the grammar. I would have them take a look at the 'words and sentences' to see if they can raise the level of vocabulary and use longer sentences with more description.
Those who need extra help can be supported with spelling help on the whiteboard. As they work and finish their drafts, ask them to explain what they are editing. This is a video of one of my students with language challenges re-reading his final draft and noting comparing his rough and final draft.