Differentiation getting to you? Students ten grade levels apart in the same class? Join the crowd.
I created a set of differentiated outlines for writing the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay. The essay can be researched-based or not and can require any number of different sources.
I allowed my students to choose whichever level they felt was appropriate for them. I teach in the inner-city where many students have writing skills that are below grade level. My students loved using these outlines so much that whenever we did another writing assignment for the rest of the year, they would always ask, "Do you have those outline sheets?"
There are three different levels:
1. Advanced - USING EMBEDDED QUOTES (Claim, Evidence, Analysis) - This is based off of an AP Composition writing style where students make a claim, provide their evidence, and then provide their analysis. Students are encouraged to "embed" their quotes in their writing as well. The graphic organizer is less structured and provides more freedom to advanced students. Many students who I would not have considered advanced enjoyed the less rigid format.
2. Intermediate - TRADITIONAL “SEE” RESPONSES - This is the level I recommended to most students and students who "just wanted to get it over with." My students had been practicing the "SEE" response format, which stands for "statement, evidence, explanation." Nearly every student was able to write these responses, which helped remind them to write in an organized manner and include sufficient evidence and explanation.
3. Beginner - GUIDED SENTENCE STARTERS - This level is recommended for low level students and students who really struggle to put anything down on the page. I recommend students who use this outline write their outline on a separate piece of loose-leaf paper. The outline includes "guided sentence starters" and allows students to "fill-in the blanks" with the missing pieces. Although I allow students who really did not need this outline to use it anyway, it is important to remind them that their analysis and explanation are key components of their essay.
Note: I usually copy them so that the same outline is on both sides of the same sheet of paper. I required four body paragraphs, so students needed two "sheets." I also allowed students to mix-and-match.