Turning a Plan into an Essay!

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SWBAT write an essay from a plan by developing stamina.

Big Idea

Flash plan to a flash draft!


15 minutes

I start the mini-lesson with a review of our classroom Discussion Norms and expected behavior during discussions and work time. My purpose is to continue to build a trusting and supportive classroom environment where all students can learn.  I tie in my talk to our upcoming discussion and lesson by saying that  "I treat people with respect." can be thought of as a big claim statement.

Teaching Point:  Writers use their main idea to generate supporting details on their plan.  Then they turn the plan into a paragraph writing in complete sentences with a subject and verb phrase.

I review the common mistakes on drafts chart and reteach that a complete sentence has a subject and verb. I make it clear to students that their paragraph will have at least 4 sentences.  (Previously, I looked at student flash drafts from paragraph one and from previous essays in this unit and knew turning their jottings from their plan into complete sentences making a paragraph was an area that some students needed support. I make it brief as not to bore the students who already have this set of skills).

I want all students to be able to use their boxes and bullets plan to write in complete sentences using elaboration.

I show students my Boxes and Bullets page 1- the jottings and verbally how to elaborate from them. The last bullet point I talk about is how principals "can't" extend the lunch period.  This is where I ask students to turn and talk about this point.  Short turn and talks  and whole class discussions are important to embed the mini-lesson because up until now, I have been doing all the talking.  This is a chance to get students actively engaged in thinking, listening to each other, and sharing in a range of collaborative discussions.  This teaching structure allows students to practice and gain skills in CCSS SL5.1-5.3.

The video shows how this discussion allowed for kids to agree and disagree with each other following discussion norms.  The mini-lesson really comes to life when students add in their ideas and opinions!  This turn and talk was intentional on my part because I knew students had learned a lot in their research period in the lesson before this one and I wanted to give them a chance to share what they had learned in authentic situation.

I quickly refocus students' attention back into the end of the mini-lesson by using the school wide quiet signal- raising my hand and saying "My turn", then I say, "If you can hear me, put your finger on your nose,... put your eyes on the screen."

In the next 30 secs to one minute I will prepare students to move into their partner or independent work phase of the workshop.

I say, "I have my supporting details, the tricky part is to take your plan with the few phrases ( what your finding today) and expand those and elaborate."

What do you have to do?  kids say: "Expand and elaborate."  Raise your hand if you can tell me what elaborate means."  Those of you who don't know be listening.  How do we stretch out our our sentences? Yes, add more words. What else?  

Let's see how I elaborated.  I will have students read one sentence at a time from Teacher Flash Draft page 1of my argumentative essay draft and we will see how many sentences I ended up with."  I am hooking back to the beginning of the mini-lesson when I told student they needed at least 4 sentences in each paragraph (Teacher Flash Draft page 2).  By asking different students to read each sentence, it supports students who are still learning what composing a complete sentence- the subject and verb phrase. 

Dismissal to work time:  "You may work by yourself.  You may work with partners.  Some of you are reading to get your supporting details.  Decide what your going to do."

I model internal thinking for students and say  "Am I going straight to my seat to work alone writing my second paragraph?  Am I going to work with a parter because I need to do more research on an ipad?  I do this so that everyone makes a decision before they start moving as to what they need to do and who they are going to do it with.

Independent and Partner Work time

30 minutes

Students begin to settle into their work.  I remind students with a beginning independent work time interruption to get out their boxes and bullets, rough draft, and pencil. Students figure out where to sit.  Students are using the ipads and rereading, skimming, and scanning their articles.  During the first few minutes  students are settling into their work, Ms. Anna, the student teacher gathers a group of students on the back rug to find supporting details for their claim statement.  Ms. E., the resource room teacher gathers her students and works with them.  I move from partnership to partnership seeing that they are are track.  Then I confer with one partnership that is working to find supporting details that "sack lunches should not be banned".  The students have their second main idea that parents do not support the ban of sack lunches and I am asking them questions to get them to elaborate details for this main idea on their boxes and bullets planning sheet. I tell students they need to add details about their second main idea.  I do this by asking them questions about their main idea, "Do you think that is true? Do you think adults should determine where, when and what children eat, and kids should determine how much and whether they eat.  Why?"  I reviewed with a student what the words "where, when and what"  He then started to picture a scene using his background knowledge of a parent saying "You are going to eat at the dinner table, you're having spaghetti, and you're eating now".  I asked, "Do you think the parent did their job?  The student said yes.  I asked what is the child's responsibility?  The student said, to decide how much to eat, or whether to eat.  Then the student said, "I'd eat all of it ..I like spaghetti."  I coached the student in writing adults should tell children where, what and when...because...  I told the student to explain this using his own reasoning.  And then explain why they think a child should be in charge of how much and whether to eat. I continued to prompt their thinking by giving them this sentence stem, "This makes sense because..."

Mid workshop Interruption

About halfway through the independent/partner work time, I made an announcement to all students saying, "Push yourselves to turn your second reason why main idea and supporting details written in paragraph form on your draft."

I continue to confer with students, supporting them by asking questions and suggesting sentence stems to get them to elaborate their Student 1 boxes and bullets.


Share and Close

10 minutes

I bring the students back to the rug for our share and close.  I say, "Today students I want to review my teaching point and your learning goal. What you learned today was how to find a main idea to support your claim. You did that by skimming and scanning an article that you had already read and you did that by looking for the important parts.  You looked for who and what they said or did. That was the first part of our lesson and then you took your notes on your plan and turned it into a compete paragraph that is organized.  You start with your big idea and then you have more sentences that tell about that idea. We have a few people who are going to read what they wrote."

I shared with the students how we share sitting in a circle to strengthen our community showing respect for each other.  I make sure everyone is sitting in the circle and encouraged two students to move into the circle.  I asked three students to share their Student 4: Flash Draft.