Putting it All Together: Making an Outline

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SWBAT create a outline to draft out a report.

Big Idea

Students use an traditional outline to organize their information and main ideas before drafting.

Introduction and Modeling

10 minutes

Now that students have researched and taken notes on their topic, recorded their thoughts, and recorded tier-three words, they are read to organize it to support writing a draft. 

This lesson introduces one way to organize their writing using an outline format. I start by sharing that so many of them have either told me they are ready to draft or asked me about drafting. Today is the day!

One way that writer prepare for a draft is by looking through the information they are able to find so far and organize the big ideas. Because this is an information or expository report, students are writing to inform the reader about their topic. 

I show them a sample of my notes and identify the areas I want to focus on: 1) description of the place, 2) The way people live and 3) Fun things to do.

I write them down on the outline worksheet, showing students where to write each topic.

Main Activity

20 minutes

After I've modeled the outline with my own ideas, I ask students if they can think of another way to organize my ideas. They make suggestions such as adding a section on the animals that live in the region or a section on the climate, etc. 

We don't have much more time available to research so really want them to use the notes they currently have to organize their report. However, if there is one are that they want to write about, do not have the resources yet, but believes that can get it, then they can use it in their outline. 

In order to practice this before having to work on their own, I ask students to look over their notes and share with a partner, one subtopic they could use in their outline. After the share, they are ready to create their outline.


5 minutes

After students create their outline, they have a chance to share their ideas with someone else. They sit with a peer and share the subjects of each section of their report or the topic sentences if they have one. If there is time, the peer can ask the writer how else could they have organized the report. This strategy allows the writer to continue to think about their choices and potentially engage in a conversation that shifts the way they organized the paper based on their readers' opinion.