Editorial Pre-writing and Research: Google Doc Style

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SWBAT cite strong text evidence to support an argument by researching evidence to support a claim for an editorial.

Big Idea

What's the difference between arguing and venting? Evidence!

Topic Decision Time

10 minutes

Today students need to decide on a topic for their editorial and begin their research to support their evidence.  When students enter class they will log into their google account and will discover I shared three new Google Docs with them.  I will say to students:

---Please log in and identify the document called Information For Contest.  This document is updated daily with a to-do list, hints, pointers, etc.  When you come to class, please log on and open this document.  

---You'll notice that your first task today is to declare your topic.  Please write this information in the shared Spreadsheet Google Doc.  If I have questions about your topic, I will comment in the Google Doc.  You have five minutes to make this decision.  


This Topic Spreadsheet video explains how and why I use it in class.  After students have worked for five minutes, I will explain that if, during the course of their research, they decide they want to change their topic, they may if they have a conversation with me first.  I ask them to do this because I don't want students switching topics on a whim and multiple times.  Additionally, I only give students five minutes to make an initial decision because they would spend all day deciding if I didn't put a time limit on it.  

Editorial Pre-writing and Research

30 minutes

Students will move to the next section of the To-Do List.  Rather than giving them the typical direct instruction, I put their daily tasks on a document.  They have to read the document and follow multi-step directions to complete the daily tasks.  

Here is today's to-do list:

Tuesday To Do List:

1.  First, you have spent a lot of time brainstorming topics.  You should be prepared to make a decision.  Please open the Topic Spreadsheet in your Drive and enter your name and topic.    My editorial topic is:  Chrisman is the best school in Missouri.

2.  Now what do I do?  I have to come up with 2 reasons.  Reason 1:  Students at Chrisman are kinder than students at other schools

3.  Now what do I do?  I research evidence to support reason #1.  I found an article from the NYT describing how important kindness is in students.  That will support my first reason.  I print it off.  I also found this article which talks about Chrisman being the kindest school in the metro area.  I print it off so I can read, annotate and gather text evidence to support my own opinions and reasons (RI.9-10.2) (RI.9-10.8).   

4.  Reason 2:  Chrisman is better than other schools because Chrisman is a school of character which is a prestigious award.  

5. Now what do I do?  I research evidence to support reason #2.  I found this website which explains what being a school of character is, describes it as an honor and lists the rigorous process to become a school of character.  I print it off so I can read, annotate and gather text evidence to support my own opinions and reasons (RI.9-10.2) (RI.9-10.8).  

Now that I have all of my evidence and reasons, I am ready to submit the form Ms. Thompson sent me this morning in email.  Make sure you are using the most recent email.  Please note, once you start typing in the form, it can't be saved until you hit submit.  Then, I can start writing my editorial. 

Some examples of valid news sources: Washington Post, CNN, Huffington Post, KC Star, Florida Sentinel, MSNBC, Fox, etc.  Blogs are okay as long as they are a blog from a credible source.   

After you have your research done and your form submitted, you are finished for the day.  If you don't finish during class, you can access this Google Doc from home and finish there.  Good Luck!

After students gather their evidence, they write about their evidence in this form.  The form asks students to introduce their precise claim and create an organization between the claim and reasoning (W.9-10.1a).  In the form the students also supply evidence for the main points of their argument (W.9-10.1b).  They complete this pre-writing so they think through the process of using credible evidence to support their opinion.  Many times when I give an argumentative writing assignment, students vent and use their opinion only.  However, the pre-writing forces students to establish evidence to support their opinion before they ever begin writing the rough draft.  

Communicate Your Editorial Plan

8 minutes

With a few minutes left, students will partner up and share their topic and evidence.  For two class periods, students have been working independently.  I want to give them a chance to verbalize their plan.  I'm hoping it will help the struggling students to hear good topics and evidence.  It is important that students have lots of opportunities to participate in collaborative discussions and build on others' ideas (SL.9-10.1)