This page provides more detailed information about how to use the Planning Graphic Organizer to support English learners in focusing on language and meaning as they read. You can also read a general description of how to use the Graphic Organizer tool for Interpretation, Critique, and Counterargument.

With low intermediate and above English learners, take more time with the Planning Graphic Organizer. Have students gather the other supports they will use as they begin to write their own arguments:

  • The Writing Assignment
  • The Weigh the Evidence Chart
  • The Mentor Text
  • The Useful Language Guide
  • The Planning Graphic Organizer

Begin by having the students review the writing assignment and the question their argument will answer.

Then have students explore and identify the argument components in the Mentor Text. You can organize this as an interactive activity where students work together to circle or highlight the claim, evidence, reasoning, etc. in the Mentor Text and then justify their responses by showing how what they have highlighted is an example of that component.

At that point, refer to the Useful Language guide and have students identify ways that the language on that chart has been used in the Mentor Text; or identify ways that the Mentor Text offers yet another way to introduce the argument component. This will help them connect language forms with the meanings they present and help students recognize the language resources they will need for their own arguments.

Then turn to the Planning Graphic Organizer and move step by step through the selection of a claim, identification of evidence to support that claim, and reasoning about the claim. Students can review the Weigh the Evidence chart, where the class discussion has identified possible claims as well as evidence and reasoning that support different claims. This is the moment students can choose the claim their own argument will support.

Model for students how to look at the prompt for each argument component on the Planning Graphic Organizer and then make notes on the Organizer that indicate what they plan to write. Students may need to refer back to relevant sources at this point to be clear about the quotations or points about reliability that they will include.  Take time for students to share their plans with others in pairs or small groups to give them an opportunity to further refine their claims and reasoning.

As students then turn to drafting their essays, their notes on the Planning Graphic Organizer, along with the Useful Language, can guide them in writing sentences that flow from claim through evidence and reasoning in well-organized ways, drawing on the Useful Language to introduce each component of the argument, and drawing the Planning Graphic Organizer that has outlined the argument they will write, but expanding on their notes there as they write the first draft.

With English learners, keep the focus on meaning and the points they are making, rather than on points of grammar, spelling, or mechanics as they write drafts. Push them to expand the content they develop rather than to focus on form. Editing can take care of problematic expression as they rewrite their final drafts.

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