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This is an essay outline that I use as a pre-writing activity before students begin writing their essays. It helps the students gather their evidence before they begin writing.
Have the students begin with their thesis statement which should be a debatable claim that answers the essay prompt. Direct the students to move backwards from 4 to 1, adding the TAG, then any background information about the text or topic necessary for the reader to understand the argument presented in the thesis, and then finally to the hook. I have the students complete the essay outline up until the "stop here" line above the conclusion. The conclusion needs to be completed after the students have analyzed all of their evidence, but it is included on the outline to show proper structure.
This assignment takes approximately one hour. However, I provide the opportunity for my students to take the assignment home to finish for homework.