Writing a Research Paper Writing a Rough Draft. Lesson Summary

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1 Writing a Research Paper Writing a Rough Draft QuickView Topic: Projects Writing Skills Grade Levels: 9 12 Lexile Range: Focus Question: From the information you gathered from all your different sources, what details should you include in your paper that support your topic sentence and communicate your ideas most effectively? Curriculum Objectives: Students will learn how to draw information from the materials they have gathered to write a draft of their research paper. Key Terms peer review, topic sentence, transition sentence, working draft, writing process Assessment Project Building on the work they did in Lessons 1 and 2 of this unit, students will write rough drafts of their papers and strengthen them through the peer review process. Approximate Time Frame Project 3 4 (50-minute) class periods Lesson Summary A working draft, or rough draft, is a complete but still provisional paper in which a writer concentrates on presenting his or her arguments and ideas as fully as possible. Knowing they may still change their mind or need to add or cut material, students should forgo detailed polishing at this stage. Instead, they should focus on organizing their paper into cohesive paragraphs, writing sentences within those paragraphs that contain details that support their thesis sentences, and taking care to ensure that each paragraph flows smoothly to the next with solid transitions. Many writers find it helpful to outline their ideas before they begin writing. Whether students use a traditional outline structure or a looser, more free-form structure, it is important that they think through the progression their papers will follow. In planning this paper, students may choose the form that their pre-writing notes will take, but they will be turning in a preliminary list of points. continued on next page Teaching Tip Some students find it helpful to create outlines before creating working drafts, while other students prefer different approaches. Allow students the freedom to organize their ideas as they see fit, without insisting that they create a traditionally structured outline. Some students may prefer to brainstorm an ordered list of ideas, for example. Other students may decide to brainstorm a list of sentences. Encourage students to use whichever method works for them, and to keep in mind that the purpose of the outline is to put their ideas in order and ensure that their papers flow logically from one idea to the next.

2 Lesson Summary (continued) Because the rough draft is a provisional paper that will still require polishing, it is necessary to review the rough draft thoroughly in order to determine what works and what needs improvement. Often, it can be difficult for students to notice when they are getting off-track and are not addressing their thesis. It can also be difficult for writers to see problems in their own writing. For this reason, many professional writers have editors review their work. In the peer review process, students will review one another s papers. Student reviews should be considered carefully, but writers should rely on their own judgment to revise their papers into a second draft.

3 Project Activities This project should take 3 to 4 class periods to complete. In this lesson, students will build on the materials they prepared in the first two lessons to write working drafts of their papers. Using the information they gained from the Questia readings, students will create a list of points they will cover in their papers. They will then write a draft of their papers, which will include an introduction, several paragraphs of supporting details, and a conclusion. Then students will work in pairs to critique one another s papers. Students should be encouraged to give constructive criticism when reviewing papers, and consider the constructive criticism they received while they revise their papers. Procedure: To complete the project, take the following steps: Day 1: Distribute the student handout and explain that students will be using the information and materials from the first two lessons of this unit to plan and write drafts of their papers. Have students log on to Questia.com and go to the Projects link in the upper left-hand corner of the page. They should click on the Project Folder that corresponds to this project to ensure that they can access the information they compiled in Lesson 2. Discuss the purpose of the introductory paragraph, the body paragraphs, and the concluding paragraph. Also, explain the purpose of the peer review process, and explain that students will be working in pairs to critique each other s drafts. Allow students class time to create lists of prewriting points for their papers. Encourage them to create a type of list or outline that suits their learning style. Explain that they will be graded on the organization of their ideas and not on the structure of their outlines. Days 2 and 3: Students will create rough drafts, or working drafts, of their papers. They should use wordprocessing software for this task. Papers should be between two and four pages in length (double-spaced); each paper should contain a clear thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion that restates the thesis. Students should use the Quote/Cite feature in the Questia library to quote the Questia resources where appropriate. (A review of the feature is on page 20 of the Activity Guide.) Tell students which citation style you would like them to use when using the Quote/Cite tool. continued on next page To help students understand the process of writing working drafts, refer them to the Questia readings in the Materials and Resource section of this lesson plan. They may take notes on these readings, if they wish. After students complete the readings, review basic composition skills in class. Discuss the structure of a research paper and the structure of a paragraph. Discuss transitions between paragraphs, and encourage them to write transitional sentences on their list of pre-writing points.

4 Project Activities (continued) Day 4: Divide students into pairs (preferably students who are writing about different topics) and have them critique each other s papers. Encourage students to provide constructive criticism, explaining both what works in the paper and what needs to be improved. Ask students to pay particular attention to the following things: Did the paper contain an introductory paragraph, three or more paragraphs of details, and a concluding paragraph? Did the paper provide good transitions between the paragraphs? (Did the writing seem to flow?) Did all the details in the paper support the thesis sentence? Did the concluding paragraph summarize the thesis? When students are finished reviewing each other s papers, they may discuss them. Explain the purpose of giving constructive criticism. Encourage students to consider their partner s comments, but to use their own judgment when revising their papers. Have students continue revising their drafts pursuant to their peer reviews. At the end of the period, they should submit their second drafts for grading.

5 Materials and Resources Questia Resources: Student Resources Pages in The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, (Lexile: 1070) Pages and in Analyze, Organize, Write: A Structured Program for Expository Writing by Elizabeth Lynn Jenkins, Arthur Whimbey, (Lexile: 1140) er&docid= Teacher Resources: Research Topic Page Teaching Writing teaching-writing.jsp Traditional Materials: Handouts: Project Student Handout, Project Rubric Handout Technology Resources: Laptop or desktop computers with Internet access and subscription to Questia SM, The 21st Century Library Additional Links (to be provided by teacher): National Standards Driving This Project The National Council of Teachers of English: Standard 7: Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience. Standard 8: Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge. National Educational Technology Standards for students: Standard 1: Basic operations and concepts Standard 2: Social, ethical, and human issues Standard 3: Technology productivity tools Standard 4: Technology communications tools Standard 5: Technology research tools Standard 6: Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools Teaching Tip You must be logged on to Questia in order to access these links. Logging on to Questia will enable you to access the entire text of the resource.

6 Name: Date: Project Student Handout Writing a Research Paper Writing a Rough Draft GOAL: To outline, write a working rough draft and then give and receive a peer review of the writing draft. DIRECTIONS: To complete this phase of your research project, take the following steps: Day 1: Log on to Questia.com and go to the Projects link in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Click on the Project Folder that corresponds to this project to ensure that you can access the information you compiled in Lesson 2. Read the Questia resources your teacher assigns to get an understanding of the process of writing working drafts. You may take notes on these readings, if you wish. After you have completed the readings, your teacher will lead a class discussion about basic composition skills and the structure of your paper. Create a list of pre-writing points or an outline for your paper. The list should contain all of the major points you intend to make in your paper. The points should appear in the order they will appear in your paper. Days 2 and 3: Create a rough draft, or working draft, of your paper using word-processing software. Your paper should be between two and four pages in length (double-spaced), and should contain a clear thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion that restates the thesis. Use the Quote/Cite feature in the Questia library to quote the Questia resources where appropriate. (A review of the feature is on page 20 of the Activity Guide, which you used in Lesson 2.) Your teacher will tell you which citation style to use for the Quote/Cite tool. Project Student Handout

7 Name: Date: Project Student Handout (continued) Writing a Research Paper Writing a Rough Draft To complete the project, take the following steps: Day 4: Pair up with another student and critique each other s papers. Provide constructive criticism, explaining both what works in the paper and what needs to be improved. Pay particular attention to the following things: Did the paper contain an introductory paragraph, three or more paragraphs of details, and a concluding paragraph? Did the paper provide good transitions between the paragraphs? (Did the writing seem to flow?) Did all the details in the paper support the thesis sentence? Did the concluding paragraph summarize the thesis? When you are finished reviewing each other s papers, discuss them. Consider your partner s comments, but use your own judgment when revising your paper. Continue revising their drafts pursuant to your peer review. At the end of the period, submit your second draft for grading. Project Student Handout

8 Name: Date: Project Rubric Writing a Research Paper Writing a Rough Draft Objectives Above Standard: 4 Points Meeting Standard: 3 Points Approaching Standard: 2 Points Below Standard: 1 Point Outline or Prewriting Points Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the structure of a research paper and the flow of ideas Demonstrates a general understanding of the structure of a research paper and the flow of ideas Demonstrates a minimal understanding of the structure of a research paper and the flow of ideas Demonstrates a lack of understanding of the structure of a research paper and the flow of ideas Reviewer Peer Review 1.) Provides constructive criticism that points out both strengths and weaknesses in student paper; 2.) Takes criticism well 3.) Fully participates in discussion with partner 4.) Back up critique and makes helpful suggestions for improvements Reviewer demonstrates 3 of the 4 elements. Reviewer demonstrates 2 of the 4 elements. Reviewer demonstrates 1 of the 4 elements. Working draft contains Working Draft 1.) An introduction, three or more paragraphs of supporting details, and a concluding paragraph. 2.) Transitional sentences between paragraphs. 3.) All details in logical order. 4.) All details support the thesis sentence. Draft contains 3 of the 4 elements. Outline contains 2 of the 4 elements. Outline contains 1 of the 4 elements. Project Rubric

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