Week 3 of the opinion writing series! Most of what I will be sharing this week focuses on what happens on Day 3 of a “writing week.” As a reminder, Day 1 is the prompt introduction and agree/disagree analysis chart. Day 2 is a writer’s craft mini-lesson and completing the graphic organizer. Now that our organizer is complete, today’s post features taking our ideas from the organizer and putting them in paragraph form.
Setting Up Our Rough Drafts
When it’s time to write the rough draft, I give students a handout specifically for that task. While this certainly isn’t necessary, I find it helps students (particularly at the start of a school year) learn how to format a rough draft. Since I want students to skip lines for their drafts, I have grayed out alternate lines. The purpose of these skipped lines is to allow space for future edits and revisions. The graphic organizer is laid out in a specific order so that students can simply start at the top and “write” their way down to the bottom. At this point in the process, I’m not expecting perfection – it is a rough draft after all – so I encourage students to get their thoughts down on paper in complete sentences. Everything else can and should be addressed in the revising and editing step, which takes place the next day.
Oral Writing Rough Drafts
Taking ideas from a graphic organizer and turning them into complete sentences can be a huge step for a lot of young writers. One way to ease that transition is by having students do an “oral writing” of their graphic organizer. Model how to do this for students so they understand the task, but it’s quite simple to do. Look at the graphic organizer and read it starting with the first sentence (the hook). Make sure you read every part as a complete sentence. Assist students as needed for this strategy, but hearing their graphic organizer read as an essay seems to make writing a rough draft easier for some kids. As with anything in teaching, it’s not a sure-fire strategy but it’s a good start.
Drafts Without Templates
Not all students will need the support that comes from using a rough draft template. Awesome! Less time at the copy machine for the teacher! For those students who are ready, they can simply write their drafts on loose-leaf paper or in their writing notebooks. Make sure they remember to skip lines, but otherwise the process is still the same – get your ideas on paper quickly.
That’s it for today’s post. It’s been a long Monday…fortunately now that Spring has officially arrived, I can look forward to wearing some of my cute new warm-weather clothes! Oh, and it’s only a 3-day week for me thanks to Easter. Of course, I usually spend some of my days off from work running errands, and this year is no different with some routine maintenance on the car. Oh, well. Better that than calling a tow truck from the side of the road. Happy teaching! ~ Sally