The last class students started drafting their responses to one of the Literary Analysis Topics for Things Fall Apart (W 9-10 2a/b). They have already drafted their claims and begin finding evidence to support that claim.
The first thing they do when they arrive in the classroom is get a lap top and log on. They are using google docs to write and revise their essays.
I tell them to take a few minutes to work independently as a group to review their work from the last class. Make sure everyone in their group is on the same page (SL 9-10. 1). I walk around and answer questions when necessary.
The students have the bulk of the time in class to work on their essays. Not all students have access to the internet outside of school, so I want to give them as much time as possible to collaborate (SL 9-10 1).
While the computers are warming up, I tell them that they will find more than enough evidence in the text to support their claim. They have to decide what is the most relevant information to use. They need to look how the evidence connects to not only the claim but the other evidence. What evidence will work best together to prove their claim.
The ability to discuss content of the essay is one of the primary reasons I have them writing in groups. As the students are working, I check in and mini-conference with each group. I ask them the following quesitons:
If they can't answer the question, I try to provide some guidance to help them find the appropriate evidence or lead them into an connection between the evidence and the claim.
I suggest that the group write the introduction together, divide up the body paragraphs, and then write conclusion together. By dividing up the body paragraphs, each group member becomes the peer reviser of the other group members. Also they really have to consider how to transition between body paragraphs and how to revise the body so the essay has a unified voice (W 9-10 2c).
During our mini-conference, if they are already drafting the essay, I also give them feedback on their transitions and voice.
I tell them once they have a draft of their essay they can share it on google docs with another group for feedback (W 9-10 .5).
I walk around the room offering assistance when needed.
I give students a 10 minute warning, and then I tell them the essay is due at the end of the next class. Every group is probably in a different place in the writing process. I give them the 10 minute warning so they have time to develop a plan on how they will finish the essay by the end of the next class. If they need time to work on it, they can come to conference (tutoring time) at the end of the school day.