Chris Adcock
English Language Arts, Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Informational Texts
  • Writing
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Essay Feedback

    Essay Feedback


    In today's lesson, students will give and receive thoughtful feedback on their argument essay. They will also explore the use of transitions and logic in writing.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Prepare examples of transitional phrases and other elements that create cohesiveness. There are several examples in the Sample Essay.

    Transitions and Logic

    • Briefly model a few examples of transitional phrases and other elements that create cohesiveness. There are several examples in the annotated Sample Essay.


    In your writing, it’s important to make sure that ideas, sentences, and paragraphs fit together cohesively by making sure each idea, sentence, and paragraph has a clear relationship to the one before it and the one after it.

    • As you listen to your teacher, review the annotated Sample Essay and make note of any questions you have.

    Open Notebook

    Essay Workshop

    • You can choose to have students work with pairs from within their museum exhibit teams in order to foster a sense of teamwork, or you can have students workshop their introductions with students who aren't on their team in order to broaden the range of perspectives they're exposed to.
    • You can model these concepts before the workshop begins if you feel that will be helpful to your students. Examples are provided in the annotated Sample Essay.
    • Decide how students will share their writing and comment on each other’s work. You may wish to display the questions on the board.
      • ELL: For students who are still learning the language of constructive criticism in English, you can review potential comments beforehand and make them available for reference during the exercise.

    Work Time

    In your workshop pair, read your partner’s introduction and first two body paragraphs while he or she reads yours.

    Consider the elements of a strong introduction:

    • A smooth introduction to the topic—not a cheesy hook or a bland, general statement.
    • An appropriate level of formality.
    • A thesis that is specific, challenging, and based on evidence the paper will provide and analyze.

    Consider the elements of a strong body paragraph:

    • The topic sentence acts as a mini-thesis that states the goal of the paragraph.
    • The topic sentence acts as a connection between the main thesis and the claims of the paragraph.
    • Evidence is blended elegantly with a sentence that makes its purpose clear.
    • The claims of the paragraph are clearly based on the evidence, using a valid line of reasoning that your reader can follow.

    Review the Unit Accomplishments and Argument rubric as needed to keep the purpose of the essay clear in your mind.

    • After you read your partner’s introduction and body paragraph, give your partner positive feedback about specific ways his or her writing is meeting these goals. Share your notes with your partner.

    Open Notebook

    Essay Update, Part 1

    • Identify students who may be struggling and check in with them as they work individually. Some students will have a hard time anticipating an audience's perspective despite having had multiple workshop opportunities so far.
      • SWD: Monitor the ability of all students to work with the Argument Development Organizer. Some students may have a difficult time reflecting on their own work. Consider side-by-side coaching to clear up confusion and generate ideas.
    • If necessary, model the use of the Argument Development Organizer by filling in information from the Sample Essay used in Lesson 7 , Task 3.

    Work Time

    • First, update your introduction and first two body paragraphs based on the feedback you received from your partner.
    • Then step back and create an Argument Development Organizer using the model. Use it to evaluate and organize your argument. Break at least four of your claims down in each of the six categories provided.
    • If you find you don’t know how to fill in a particular box for one of your claims, that’s an important sign that you need to do some more thinking and revising, or perhaps even more research!

    Open Notebook

    Essay Update, Part 2

    • Use this time to continue to support individual students with conferencing as much as you can.
    • If feasible, allow students to print a copy of their essay-in-progress for easier reference.
      • ELL: Be sure that ELLs are developing their essays successfully. You can check in with them at this point either in person or by having them submit their work so far to you. If you find that some ELLs need additional support, consider working with them as a group.

    Work Time

    Now take your work with the Argument Development Organizer and continue improving your essay.

    Consider the following issues.

    • Are the connections between claims made clear with good word choices?
      • What kinds of words should you use to make those connections clear?
    • Does each paragraph effectively answer any major counterclaims?
      • Do you have to answer every counterclaim specifically, or can you anticipate the counterclaim in your original claim?
    • Does each paragraph use appropriate language to help persuade the reader?
    • Does each claim connect clearly to the central thesis of the essay?

    Open Notebook

    Updates Quick Write

    • Prompt students to consider all of the elements of an effective essay.
      • SWD: If you have students with executive functioning difficulties, it may be helpful to check in with them at this point and make sure that their plans for further revision are both appropriate and feasible in the time that remains.


    Write on the following topic.

    • What additional changes does your essay need to be the best it can be?

    Open Notebook

    Essay Writing Continued

    • Review the elements of a good body paragraph with the class.


    • Finish your body paragraphs.