I always begin the school year with my students writing an argumentative essay connected to their summer reading text. I do not grade this first essay, but use it as a pre-assessment to gauge my students’ writing strengths and plan the lessons I need to teach them to become better writers. To help my students understand the expectations for Common Core writing demands, I spent three consecutive days in writing workshop mode to help my students rethink and revise their first essay for eighth grade.
Each day the workshop began with a ten mini lesson and interactive foldable about an element of the introductory paragraph and then the remaining twenty five minutes was used for writing workshop, revision, and individual conferences. The writing went from general and casual to specific textual details and elaboration with strong academic language. Below are the slides I used for the mini lessons and a handout that I created to help students break down the elements of the introductory paragraph.