Lesson at a Glance

Students draft the supporting argument portion of their editorials, using their completed Editorial Organizers (Handout 3.1a) as a guide. They incorporate their source information into the body of their editorials.


  1. The lessons in Step 4, Write Your First Draft, may require additional time. You should assess your students’ progress to determine whether to extend particular lessons.
  2. The lessons in this step are designed with the understanding that students type their first drafts as they develop them. Students who handwrite their first drafts will need additional time to type before they can publish. Make sure to reinforce the practices you want students to employ when beginning to draft, such as transitioning to loose-leaf paper or computers from the notebook, and naming and saving all electronic files.

Prep & Tech

Technology: LCD projector, laptop, speakers, Internet access or the Writing Editorials CD, and student computers with Internet access
Other Materials: Student folders, writers’ notebooks, Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) and draft of supporting arguments for the Teacher Model

Limited Tech Options

If there is no access to the technology needed for this lesson, try the following options:

  1. Mini Lesson: Instead of showing the introductory animation, read aloud a current editorial and discuss how the author uses evidence to support his or her arguments. Instead of modeling your writing using a computer and LCD projector, write on chart paper.
  2. Writer’s Work Time: Have students begin writing their drafts in their writers’ notebooks instead of on computers.


Students will generate paragraphs that clearly express their supporting arguments and back them up with evidence.

Focusing Question

How can you draft paragraphs that will persuade the reader to agree with your opinion?

Mini Lesson (10 min)

Show lesson visuals, Draft Your Supporting Arguments.

Introduce Step 4 by showing the introductory animation, Write Your First Draft. Explain that it is time to take the material outlined in their organizers and turn it into a piece of writing that influences readers to take action. Tell students that the purpose of today’s lesson is to draft the argument portion of their editorials, using their Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) as a guide.

Review the structure of an editorial, emphasizing the body. The body of the editorial is often written first because it addresses the main ideas in depth and is therefore very important in shaping the introduction and conclusion. The body of an editorial is made up of two separate sections; the first contains the supporting arguments and evidence. The second is the other side where the writer acknowledges and counters the opposing arguments. Tell students that they will be drafting the argument section of their editorial today. Remind students of the importance of using relevant supporting evidence if they want to convince their readers to think the way they do about their topics.

Show Section B of your Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) and model writing your first supporting argument with a clear connection to your opinion statement. Continue to draft the paragraph by incorporating your evidence. Remind students how this was done in some of the mentor texts the class has read.

Ask students to find their first supporting argument on their Editorial Organizers (Handout 3.1a) and turn to a classmate to share what their first sentence of their body paragraph could be. Have one or two students share their sentences with the full class. Students will then begin to draft on computers.

Teacher Model

  1. Using a computer with an LCD projector, open a word processing document and demonstrate how to title and save it. It is helpful to title the document with the word “draft,” author’s initials, and the date, and save the document in an easy to find folder on the computer desktop. Alternatively, you can show students how to open and save documents using DD’s e-Tutorial: Saving Files located in Step 4 of the Online Classroom.
  2. Explain how the evidence in the supporting arguments section of your Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) supports your opinion statement.
  3. Type your first supporting argument in a sentence to start the paragraph.
  4. Reflect upon how to make a clear connection between your opinion statement and your supporting argument.
  5. Add your evidence to the paragraph.
  6. Your completed paragraph should contain:
    1. A supporting argument
    2. Sentences addressing one or two pieces of evidence
    3. A clear connection between the evidence and the supporting argument.
  7. Model how to resave the document and submit it in Step 4 of the Online Classroom in the assignment called, Submit Your First Draft Editorial.

Note: Students will find your model editorial especially helpful when drafting their own. Try to keep your model projected on your computer or up on chart paper to guide them as they continue to craft their paragraphs.


I’m going to start my paragraph with my supporting argument expressed in one sentence. I’ll write: Overcrowded subways cause significant service problems like train delays and increased passenger injuries.

Now I have to introduce my supporting evidence and connect it to my supporting argument. I’ll add: A NYC Transit study done in 2003 showed that it took up to five times longer for passengers to get on and off an overcrowded subway car than a non-crowded car. This led to long delays in service and more overcrowding.

I have one more piece of evidence: Safety is also an issue on overcrowded platforms. A study funded by NYC Public Advocate Mark Green showed that overcrowding on subway platforms sometimes led to passengers accidentally falling or being pushed onto the tracks.

Preparing for Writer’s Work Time

Distribute computers. Ask students to:

  1. Open a word processing document and title it with the word “draft,” their initials and the date, and save it. Refer to DD’s e-Tutorial: File Saving in Step 4 of the Online Classroom for additional guidance.
  2. Write at least two argument paragraphs based on the supporting arguments and evidence they have on their Editorial Organizers (Handout 3.1a).
  3. Make sure each paragraph includes:
    1. A supporting argument
    2. One or two pieces of evidence
    3. A clear connection between the evidence and the supporting argument.
  4. Read over their work to ensure that it flows smoothly.
  5. Resave their documents and submit them in Step 4 of the Online Classroom in the assignment called, Submit Your First Draft Editorial.

Writer’s Work Time: Part I (15 min)

*There will be a midworkshop interruption after the students have started writing their arguments.

Students select supporting arguments and evidence from their Editorial Organizers (Handout 3.1a) to use in their drafts. Circulate among students to answer questions and provide support. Focus on helping students build paragraphs that contain evidence and explanations that support their opinion statements.

Midworkshop Interruption (5 min)

Remind students that editorials are most persuasive when they include evidence from trustworthy sources. Explain how editorial writers usually mention their sources directly within their writing, instead of listing their sources at the end. Provide a list of sentence starters to aid students in incorporating their sources into their argument paragraphs. A list could include:

  1. “According to (source)…”
  2. “(Source) states…”
  3. “(Source) says…”
  4. “A study by (source) shows…”
  5. “Researchers from (source) find…”

Suggest that students scan the mentor texts in the Editorials Packet (Handout 1.1a) to find examples of how these sentence starters are used within the body of editorials.

Writer’s Work Time: Part II (10 min)

Students continue to draft their arguments, making sure to use sentence starters as a way to cite their sources to strengthen their arguments and connect them to their evidence. Help students save their work in a word processing document and upload it to the Online Classroom.

Individual conferences: Review students’ writing, checking to make sure that each paragraph has one or two pieces of evidence, a connection to the opinion statement, and an explanation of how their evidence connects to their supporting arguments. Prompt them to select appropriate ways to refer to their sources. Advise them to refer frequently to the prewriting on their graphic organizers in order to draft organized paragraphs.

Differentiated Instruction Strategies

  1. Difficulty citing supporting evidence? Show students the specific ways that the author of “Dropouts” in the Editorials Packet refers to her sources. Have these students underline the sentence starters used, and help them incorporate one of these sentence starters in their own editorials.
  2. Struggling to write? Form a guided writing group in which students review one another’s supporting arguments and evidence and help one another build the first of their paragraphs. Students can discuss how their evidence connects. They can then begin to work independently on the remaining paragraph(s).
  3. Ready for more? Students can extend their editorials by writing an additional supporting argument paragraph. Students may also go to the Study Center to participate in more activities such as the Editorial Feedback Forum or Analyze This – Editorial Body!

Sharing and Lesson Summary (5 min)

Reconvene the class. Revisit the Editorials Rubric (Handout 2.1b). Review the section on supporting arguments. Have students reflect on what other information they might need when they revise their paragraphs. Give students a a moment to make notes about changes they will make to their supporting argument paragraphs.


Review students’ drafts. Using the Online Classroom, you can view and download all of your students’ editorials. You may choose to give feedback to students in one of the following ways:
(These techniques can be employed whenever students submit new drafts.)

  1. Print students’ editorials and comment on paper.
  2. Comment on students’ editorials, using the discussion feature in the Online Classroom.
  3. Comment directly on the electronic version of students' editorials, using the Comments function in Microsoft Word.
  4. Comment directly on the electronic version of students' editorials, using the Ink Annotations function on a Tablet computer.

Check whether students’ writing clearly connects their supporting evidence and arguments to their opinion statement. Make sure their paragraphs contain ample evidence in order to be persuasive. Use the Teacher’s Checklist to identify what students have completed to this point.

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