This assignment was designed to assess two things:
Thus, this was a major assignment and was weighted heavily in the gradebook.
I spent a few moments with the students before moving onto modeling. I asked for a two volunteers to read the directions. I asked a few direct questions to make sure they understood the prompt.
Modeling is extremely important for students of all ability levels, especially at the beginning of the year. The modeling that I do, as the teacher, helps students know my individual expectation and allows me to set the bar high.
The first thing I did in my modeling was to reread the prompt. Students often think that they can get away with reading something once, and that's simply not the case. While I reread the prompt, I also did a short think-aloud to model how I would even go about writing a paragraph.
I underlined the question that would more than likely become my topic sentence in greed. I used red to underline the questions that would become my concrete evidence. The color coding ties into the school-wide system that we use in our T3C paragraph.
I reread the prompt and did a short think-aloud to model how I would even go about writing a paragraph. I underlined the question that would more than likely become my topic sentence in green. I used red to underline the questions that would become my concrete evidence. I commented to myself that my commentary would have to explain my concrete evidence and my concluding sentence would have to summarize my whole paragraph. You can watch a video of my think-aloud, Unpacking a Prompt, if you click here.
After unpacking the prompt, I showed students how my paragraph was organized. I'd already written my example, so we read through it. I asked for five different students to read aloud the different parts of the paragraph. I then showed students how my topic sentence introduced the topic of the paragraph, how the concrete evidence was connected to the topic sentence, how the commentary was connected to the concrete evidence, and how the concluding sentence tied it all together. Click here to see the modeling of the T3C plot paragraph. You can also download a copy of the outlined paragraph here.
After modeling how to write a paragraph, I gave each student a blank outline and directed students to start writing their own paragraph. I reiterated and repeated and said once again that they would need to have at least one direct quote from the text. They would need to have citations. They would need to be accurate in their writing and include accurate details from the text. They could use the plot diagrams they'd filled out to help them. They could use their notes on plot to help them. They could do something crazy and ask their partner or me for help.
In walking around, I was able to remind students (in a gentle manner, of course, not in a OMG I PULL OUT MY HAIR NOW manner) that it was ineffective to start a paragraph with
I reminded students that they would need to finish writing this paragraph for homework and that it would be on ETL checklist in two days.