Rough Drafts, Edits, and Revisions

Today was a continuation in the writing process started yesterday.  The students took the outlines and Double Bubble Thinking Maps they created yesterday about the stories we all read on Monday.  With “Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes and “The Storyteller” by Saki as their source material, the students set about creating a rough draft of an essay comparing and contrasting the themes within the two stories.  Furthermore, they were asked to show how the authors of both stories conveyed these themes.  After a brief re-cap of yesterday’s writing tips and a Q & A session, the students had the rest of class to write their rough drafts, share them with a peer for editing, and make the necessary revisions.  Tomorrow, the students will type up their final drafts in the Essay Scorer program for instant grading.


  • Finish any work not completed in class.
  • Continue work on Genius Hour project (DUE DECEMBER 12th, 2014).
  • Study for Friday’s Unit #2 Quiz.


Story Comparison Day #2: Expository Writing Tips

Essay writing has always gotten a bad rap…and rightfully so.  The topics have long tended to be stiff, un-engaging, and flat-out of tune with the millions of students who have to write in response to them.  While I like to create topics that are more interesting, all students need to learn how to find a way to connect with the topic in order to pop out an essay that is interesting to read, and representative of how well they can adapt and interpret the topic.

In today’s lesson, I showed the student how I approach the essay writing process so that it is a relatively easy and painless process.

Ms. Willipedia’s Expository Writing Tips:

  • šGet to know the writing prompt.
    • šDissect and analyze it to know what you’re being asked to do.
  • šOrganize your thoughts in advance.
    • šUse an outline or Thinking Map
    • šI strongly recommend an outline after using a Thinking Map
  • šRemember to make it interesting.
    • šInclude stories along with facts and examples to drive your ideas home (make them stronger).
    • The “Go Green” process works really well here.
  • šJust write.
    • šDon’t get obsessed with perfection.  Writing is a process.  This means that you make it better over time.

After presenting the students with their writing topic, we walked through the process of dissecting it in order to begin the brainstorming process.

Prompt: šRead “Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes and “The Story-Teller” by Saki. In your review, compare how the authors reveal theme in each story. Detail what is similar and what is different about the way each accomplishes conveying his message.

šDissecting the Prompt:

  • What are the verbs?
    • šRead, compare, reveal, detail, accomplishes conveying
  • šWhat are the verbs modifying/telling us to do?
    • šRead what? “Thank You Ma’am” and “The Storyteller”
    • šCompare what? How the authors reveal theme in each story.
    • šDetail what? What is similar and different about the way each author conveys (shows/illustrates) his message.

We then worked together to create a Double Bubble Thinking Map focusing on the themes of the two stories.

The students then took this Double Bubble Thinking Map and created an outline for their essay rough drafts with the information from the Thinking Map.  Whatever was not completed in class for the outline was assigned for homework.



  • Finish essay outline from class.
  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Continue work on Genius Hour Project (DUE FRIDAY DECEMBER 12th, 2014. NO late work will be accepted.)


Argumentative Rough Drafts: Monday, October 6th, 2014

Today the students had a work-on-your-own day where they had the majority of class time to work on their argumentative essay rough drafts.  Once the students finished, they were instructed to generate three questions they had about their work.  I also provided the following examples to assist them:

  • Is my essay clearly written?
  • Is my essay engaging?
  • Is my essay persuasive enough?
  • How can I make my essay more ____________?

If time allowed, the students were permitted to work quietly in pairs to conduct a Mini-Charette where they swapped paper with their partner, read their partner’s work silently, drafted any thoughts or questions that arose while reading their partner’s work, and finally they discussed these questions plus the questions generated by the paper’s author.  This workshopping technique provided the students with another perspective on their work.  The students who did not finish early will be doing a more in-depth version of this in class tomorrow.

Before class came to an end, we debriefed on the writing process and I addressed any questions, comments, or concerns that arose.  We then took a moment to recognize those who had taken the time this weekend to log onto  As stated Friday, those students will receive an additional 10 points onto their lowest quiz grade.




Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The warm 3-day weekend wrapped up with the historic inauguration of our President on the same day as we celebrate the achievements and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.  In fact, I found out that President Obama is one of only 17 presidents to give an inaugural address to jump start his second term.  Did you know that his second inauguration is not the first Presidential Inauguration to coincide with MLK Day?  Interestingly enough, President Bill Clinton‘s second inauguration was also on MLK Day.  How fascinating!

On our first day back (and the day before the Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment) we played an ELA version of Family Feud for the activator (the 10 minutes prior to the main lesson) and played Writing Assessment Review Jeopardy.  The students seemed to have a wonderful time.

This afternoon was the last of the Pre-Writing Assessment after-school tutoring sessions.  I want to thank all of the students who stayed after school or came during connections for additional help.  That level of initiative is what will surely be the foundation of success.  I am so proud to teach such students!

PowerPoint: forthcoming

HOMEWORK: Get a good night of sleep!  Read for 30 minutes and work on the Guided Book Review which is due in 1 week (on Tuesday, January, 29th, 2013).

WELCOME BACK! Tuesday-Friday, January 8th-11th, 2013

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Winter Break!


On this first day back for the students, we did a writing strategy recap.  As a whole group, we looked at a sample expository writing prompt and broke it down using TAPP-F.  This strategy helps the students look at the key points in a writing prompt to determine what it is that they need to do in order to be successful.

  • T=Topic
    • This is where the students take a topic in its entirety and summarize it in one to two sentences.
  • A=Audience
    • According to the writing prompt (topic), who is going to read the essay/letter/speech?
  • P=Purpose
    • Why is this essay/letter/speech being written?  Is it to persuade or to inform/explain?
  • P=(Organizational) Pattern
    • How should you organize your writing? Should it be organized in:
      • chronological order (in order of time)?
      • logical order (in order of what makes the most sense to you)?
      • cause and effect order (where the cause of something is discussed first and then its effects)?
      • problem and solution order (where the problem is presented and then you discuss a possible solution)?
      • comparison and contrast (where two or more things are discussed for how they are similar and dissimilar)?
  • F=Format
    • In what form are you writing?  Is it supposed to be:
      • a letter?
      • an essay?
      • a speech?

The students had to dissect and brainstorm using TAPP-F on the topic below:

Lunch GMWA writing topic

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes and write an introduction paragraph based on the topic presented in class.  Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Writing Strategy Recap 1.8.13



In class, each student continued formulating and organizing their ideas using a graphic organizer to map out their body paragraphs.  I provided some assistance by guiding them through the process using the ELMO document camera.

HOMEWORK: Complete the body paragraph sections in the graphic organizer provided in class. Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Body Paragraphs 1.9.13



Having mapped out the body paragraphs both in class and for homework the previous night, the students began work on sculpting a strong conclusion.  With the time remaining in class, each student then took what they wrote in the graphic organizer the night before and translated it into a rough draft.  Those who did not finish in class had to complete it for homework, due at the beginning of their class period on Friday the 11th.

HOMEWORK: Complete the rough draft of the letter to the principal.  Read for 30 minutes.

PowerPoint: Conclusions 1.10.13



The week wrapped up with practical application of all of the skills practiced this week in the form of a timed writing.  As a reminder, the students used the acronym of T-BOW ( (c) 2013 Me) to guide them through the writing process.  T-BOW represents:

  • T=TAPP-F (see above under “Tuesday”)
  • B=Brainstorm
  • O=Organize (see above under “Tuesday” as well)
  • W=Write

All of the drafting homework from the previous days this week were due at the beginning of each class with no late work being accepted (except in rare circumstances).

HOMEWORK: Read for 30 minutes.  Remember, this upcoming Tuesday is our next Library Day!  Find your library books and have a wonderful weekend!

PowerPoint:  Timed Writing Day 1.11.13


Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It has been said that preparation is the key ingredient to success.  With the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment, the students had the opportunity to mimic the conditions of the actual 8th grade Writing Assessment that will be administered on January 23rd, 2013.  Much like the actual exam, the Writing Folio Mock Writing Assessment is hand-scored on a rubric similar to the one used by the State of Georgia for the GMWA (Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment).  We should receive the results of these writings within the month where they will be posted online for viewing. 

After 100 solid minutes of writing in the morning, my 6th and 7th period classes took part in an ELA review game which can be found here.  They were paired up based on mixed ability and interests to create a dynamic collaborative learning environment.


HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments (DUE FRIDAY) and read for at least 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Just like Monday’s class, Tuesday was a day filled with work at centers.  The students had to work in the centers they had not addressed on Monday and complete the tasks given.


HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments (DUE FRIDAY) and read for 30 minutes.

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Monday was the first of two days where the students were in centers to practice their writing skills.  There were a total of six stations to which the students had the opportunity to visit.  These stations included focuses on:

Center #1: Organization

1.     Read the articles on the pay of female tennis players.

2.     Next, compare and contrast the two articles.

3.     Then, identify the problem in the article and suggest a solution.

o   Write at least 2 sentences explaining why that would be a good solution.

4.     Guess what might be the cause for the inequality in pay.

o   Then, write what the effect has been in at least one sentence.

Center #2: Ideas

1.     Think of 5 topics and write them down on your own sheet of paper.

2.     Then pass your topics to the person on your right. 

3.     Brainstorm at least 5 points for each topic. (Use a bubble map or a bullet point list)

4.     Turn to your elbow partner and share the two topic brainstorming bubble maps (or bullet pointed lists).  KEEP YOUR VOLUME LOW.

Center #3: Style

1.     Read the article “Text Talk” on Reality Central page 49. 

2.     Find the paragraph you think is the strongest.  Write down:

o   What page it is on,

o   What number paragraph it is from the top of the page,

o   And explain why you think it is the strongest.

3.     Next, Choose one of the paragraphs to rewrite with more style.

4.     Make the vocabulary stronger, add DRAPES, and overall make it more interesting to read.


PowerPoint: Writing Centers Dec. 3, 2012

HOMEWORK: Complete any missing assignments (due Friday) and read for 30 minutes.


Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Today, after turning in their “Create-A-Quiz” assignments (worth a quiz grade), the students finished writing their in-class essays.  However before that, we all participated in an “Editing Round Robin” where each student edited a paragraph and then passed it to their right.  The group that finished first won a prize!  Thereafter, to review the writing process we had a “Rap-A-Long” to the song “Essay Swag” which can be found here.  In some classes, the bravest students had the opportunity to rap the verses while we all chimed in on the choruses.  Finally, the students completed their essays with as much assistance from me as they needed.  Those who struggled with organizing their essays were allowed to use the computers which were already on the site ReadWriteThink’s Essay Map Generator.

Editing Round Robin Handout: Edit a sample 4 paragraph Essay

PowerPoint: Nov. 8. 2012 Write it Out! Part Deux

HOMEWORK: Complete the Unit One Study Guide in preparation for tomorrow’s exam!


Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The students were certainly charged up with energy after last night’s election results.  Thus, I took the opportunity to capitalize on that excitement with the essay topic they started in class today.  Before we tackled that, the students had 10 minutes to work on their “Create-A-Quiz” assignment in their groups.  We then moved into a review of the writing process‘ five parts: pre-writing, drafting (rough draft), revising, editing, and publishing (the final product).  Finally, the students began brainstorming on the topic below.  They will complete the in-class 5-paragraph essay tomorrow for a test grade.


Each of you possess some of the qualities for a successful President of the United States.  Regardless of whether or not you were born here, write an essay persuading the adults of the United States to vote for you for President.  Be sure to explain at least three qualities you possess that would make you strong at the job.

PowerPoint: Nov. 7. 2012 Write it out!

HOMEWORK: Complete the “Create-A-Quiz” assignment.  This is due tomorrow and NO late work will be accepted.