If students follow this process, they should have time to go through another draft (at least) before the essay deadline. Our first- and second-year seminars are a very short 45 minutes, which means that there’s really only time to run the plan the way I’ve written it.
If I had more time I’d break the counterargument section into its own block, and have students do it at the end, once they’d filled in topic sentences and evidence for the other essays (though I’d emphasize that a counterargument can go at the beginning or end of an essay).
Emphasize that written work should be produced independently to avoid plagiarism, but that students can and should talk through ideas with peers, and ask people to proofread their work.
You should also suggest that it can sometimes be very helpful to step away from the laptop, pull out a piece of paper, and try to draft something the old-fashioned way.
Doing so sometimes yields an essay draft in as little as 45 minutes.
3) That all essays should go through several drafts before being handed in.
My Wandering Essay lesson plan is one of the meanest, most productive approaches I’ve used because it makes clear the fact that writing is a process. Explain what a counterargument needs to accomplish, emphasizing that although the counterargument should introduce evidence that contradicts the overarching argument, it must also explain why the essay’s original argument is more important.
Here’s how you do it: Based off of the readings for the week in which you conduct this lesson plan, come up with an essay question that encourages students to make an argument (for or against). Ask each group to take their introduction, and pass it to the group next to them.
That group is now responsible for coming up with the pieces of evidence for each paragraph.
They may use bullet points rather than write full sentences. Ask groups to pass their completed essay back to the original groups.