The First Part of Argumentative Essay Writing: Building the Intro Paragraph

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SWBAT write arguments to support claims in an analysis of Great Expectations, using valid reasoning and sufficient evidence by writing about a character whose selfishness or pride creates problems.

Big Idea

The skeleton of the essay is done. Time to turn it into a cogent argument.

Getting Started

5 minutes

Yesterday, we built the outline for the final essay (W.9-10.10). Today we start the writing process. At the beginning of class, they will arrange all their materials on their desks: the prompt, the outline, the novel, and their writing folder with their goals and resources.

Writing the Intro and Quick Conferences

50 minutes

Most of this class will be spent working quietly. This group of students has personality and they are resistant to quiet, independent work, so I need to motivate them to focus on writing instead of each other. Their motivation for quietly writing? The more they get done in class, the less they have to do for homework! It helps that much of the skeleton of the essay is already complete because it helps students feel ready for the challenge; they are more likely to work if they feel that they can be successful.

As students write, I plan to quickly conference with every student. I want to check the goals they set for themselves on this essay (during yesterday's class) and check their progress. I mostly want to check for a clear and specific thesis (W.9-10.1a) that they can support with evidence in a five paragraph essay format (W.9-10.1). But I also have a few goals I want them to consider. For instance, I have a few students who would benefit from reading their own writing aloud. I know that this practice would help them decipher run-on sentences and fragments. It isn't something they often think of doing and they usually think it's a weird suggestion, but I insist that it makes a difference and can often tell which students took my advice. Here is a sample intro paragraph. This writer benefits from reading her sentences aloud. Here is a super-quick sample of a conversation I had with a student who needed help clarifying his writing.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, I will check in again with the class as a whole. Was the last hour time well spent? What questions do they have about the text or the writing process? For homework, the students are writing their first two body paragraphs. We will work with their three completed paragraphs tomorrow in class.