I look for and put together resources that would appeal to any teacher who teaches any subject.That practice will continue for as long as I keep this up.Once students have argued without the support of any kind of research or text, I would set up a second debate; this time with more structure and more time to research ahead of time.
In my experience, I’ve found that students appreciate having a clear picture of what’s expected of them when beginning a writing assignment.
At this time, I also show them a model of a piece of writing that meets the requirements of the assignment.
Then again, I’m always interested in how other people do the things I can already do; maybe you’re curious like that, too.
Before I start, I should note that what I describe in this post is a fairly formulaic style of essay writing.
It’s not exactly the 5-paragraph essay, but it definitely builds on that model.
I strongly believe students should be shown how to move past those kinds of structures into a style of writing that’s more natural and fitting to the task and audience, but I also think they should start with something that’s pretty clearly organized. One of the most effective ways to improve student writing is to show them mentor texts, examples of excellent writing within the genre students are about to attempt themselves.
I would ask students which author they feel did the best job of influencing the reader, and what suggestions they would make to improve the writing.
I would also ask them to notice things like stories, facts and statistics, and other things the authors use to develop their ideas.
Unlike the mentor texts we read on day 1, this sample would be something teacher-created (or an excellent student model from a previous year) to fit the parameters of the assignment.
Before letting students loose to start working on their essays, I make sure they have a solid plan for writing.