Today when students enter the class, they find their prewriting organizers and their research notes all laid out. Because of the previous lesson's wrap up section, they know that today we're beginning the rough draft. We take a minute to review how many paragraphs are necessary in this report- an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion- five total paragraphs. I also give them quick reminder about using topic sentences for each paragraph. After the reminders, they are ready to begin the report writing.
The students spend the majority of the class working on creating paragraphs to finish their report. While they work, I answer the call of, "Does this sound right?" "Is this a good topic sentence?" "Can you help me think of a topic sentence?"
I don't really want to help them too much because I don't want the report to become mine so instead of giving students the answers, I work to lead them toward the answer. The one thing with my class that I do have to do is remind them that topic sentences are not titles. They like to take their research questions and turn them around. For example the research question, "Where do anacondas live" becomes "Where anacondas live" used as a title instead of a sentence.
The other thing I find myself doing during the work time is reminding students what the goal is. I like to give my students a concrete goal to work toward during writing because it's hard enough to get them to write. Today's goal is to get the introduction and at least two body paragraphs done.
Near the end of class, I gather the students' materials to keep for tomorrow and bring them back together as a group. We do a "check- in" to see who has reached their goal. I created a clip system that we use in class (not my own idea- I got it from Pinterest). As I call each student, they move to the pencil and move their clip to the appropriate spot. I've included a picture of my clip system in the resource section.
This check in helps me see if the kiddos need another day and it keeps them motivated to stay on target with their classmates. Plus, at a quick glance, I can pair students up by what stage of the writing process their piece is in.
After the check in and paper collection, I tell the students that tomorrow, we will be finishing our rough drafts and beginning the editing and revision process.