Trying Out a First Draft

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SWBAT write a first draft of an essay in order to practice supporting their claims with logical reasoning and relevant evidence while acknowledging their opposition.

Big Idea

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Lesson Opener

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect: I will say, “Two days ago we planned out one idea for an essay using an outline. Yesterday we tried out three different persuasive introductions. Today, we will put all our components together into a first draft of one idea we have generated so far. This is the first of three drafts.

Teach: I will say, “In order to plan out my persuasive essay, I am going to practice the skill of completing a first draft and the strategy of taking everything we have learned and making a draft. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Remind myself about what I know about essay writing so far

2)Review my boxes, bullets and brackets

3) Read over a sample essay* in order to see how to put it all together

4) Review my example of how to write a counter argument

5) Place the parts in a logical sequence in my draft using the reminders on the side

I will have students share out what they know about essay writing so far. I am hoping for (fingers crossed!) that they share an essay has; an introduction and conclusion, at least 3 body paragraphs, tranisition words between paragraphs, evidence for the reasons and claim. I will write this down on a anchor chart for students to review as we write.

I will then show the students how read through the sample essay and think through how to place the parts of my essay in a logical manner. I will especially focus on how to write out my counter arguments into each paragraph. 

*Attached as resources to this lesson are other essays and outlines you could use thanks to my awesome coach Dena Snyder! The one I have linked has annotations that I revised from our state's education office. If you scroll down there are two other persuasive essays annotated. 

Active Engagement

10 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say,”You will now take a separate piece of paper and quietly write down your introduction and then go on to your second paragraph.”  I will check for understanding by quickly reading the first one or two sentence from every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I am listening to see that they understand the different parts of the sequence and if I need to re-teach a particular part.

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember in order to draft a persuasive essay, successful writers practice the skill of completing a first draft and the strategy of taking everything we have learned and making a draft. The process writers use is they review what they planned out, read over a sample essay in order to see how an essay is put together and then place the parts in a logical sequence.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Independent Practice: will say, “Now you are going to write out your first draft. They should write for at least 25 minutes if not more. They should be adding all of the components of persuasve essay that we have gone over so far, as well as what we have been taught in past units (gone over in the brainstorm at the beginning). As they are working independently and quietly, (I like to play classical or smooth jazz for“writing”music(I just create a play list on Pandora Internet radio) I will confer with them about their writing.

Partner Work: Students will be directed share the second paragraph of their persuasive essay. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share your second paragraph. Partner B, I want you to listen if partner A has their logically put their claim, reason, counter-argument and two pieces of evidence together. Give your partner feedback as to if they missed anything. I should hear you say, “Maybe you could…. OR I like how you…” Then switch.” .



I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: For today students will turn in their drafts to me. I want to see if they added all the components of an essay  and check on the volume of their writing.  I am looking to see what revising or editing strategy most students need for the next day. If they are not completed with the first draft, they will complete it as homework. If they are still working on the draft I will ask them to write down an example of counter-argument in their essay.