As we’re beginning to draft our essays, I reviewed the basics of evidence and its role in argument (generally) and body paragraphs (specifically). Most students REALLY struggle with finding and explaining evidence, so I tried to normalize that struggle. Indeed, if most academic and professional writing is really about making original, evidence-based arguments, then the struggle to find and explain evidence is ongoing. I also pitched evidence-based writing as an excellent way to have something to say — this can be super helpful for students who have trouble writing a lot in response to a task or question. I lastly pitched the need for evidence-based writing to encourage lots of thinking and work BEFORE you draft; this cuts down on the tendency to ramble, to fake it, or to misinterpret the writing task — none of which are good things.
Then, I introduced them to an oldie but a goodie: the paragraph burger! It’s a helpful graphic organizer for keeping the parts of a paragraph and their logical order in mind (topic sentence, evidence, explanation). We reviewed three paragraphs that each missed part of the burger (and modeled writing problems I regularly see), and then they began to fix some of the problem paragraphs. I had some really great work from folks, which was exciting to see! This is challenging work, but I think some of them are really rising to the tasks.
That said, I’m offering an easier path to writing the essay for those who are struggling with the homework or just struggle with writing in general. Muon parents, that new option was in the last homework email I sent out on Friday; it’s also listed at the end of the Week 8 lesson plan in the shared Drive workshop folder. Feel free to email me with any questions, concerns, or vague misgivings.
Thanks to Jennie and Erinn for their support in keeping the Muons focused! 🙂