Discuss responses to homework -
specifically how context shapes our choices
Discuss strategies for critical reading
Connection to course goals
The rhetorical model
for writing will be used throughout the course to demonstrate how writers use
contexts to inform their writing. The homework discussion invites students to
consider what influences them as writers in general, but more specifically, it
asks them to consider how the context of this classroom helped determine what
they wrote about and the approach they used when writing.
roll (5 minutes): Find out who has
added or dropped since the first class. Remember that some students who may not
have attended the first class will likely show up today. If you have room, you
can sign an add form for anyone on your waiting list, and if someone has missed
both classes you can disenroll them through the form you were given with your
roster after class.
Model Introduction: “Today we'll be returning to
the idea of how context influences our choices and actions. By understanding
how writers are influenced by various contexts, you will hopefully learn to
make more confident and accurate choices with your own writing (in both
academic and non-academic situations)."
2.Review expectations for course (5 minutes): Discuss student responses from the WTLs
completed on the first day of class. Address any student concerns that didn't
come up on the first day. Also, you can explain the dual focus for the class - "Writing is our primary
concern, so we'll spend a lot of time emphasizing things like purpose,
audience, and context (we tend not to focus on skills, such as grammar and
mechanics, as much as we do on larger concepts and approaches to writing;
however, we work individually with students who face some challenges with
grammar and mechanics). Public discourse is our secondary focus (since we need
something to write about and since it is an ideal topic for exploring the
complexity of writing situations), so we'll also be looking at important social
and political issues.
Model Transition to Next
Activity:Last time we used the introduction activity to
discuss how context shapes what we say (content) and how we say it (approach). Today
we'll look at a model for the writing situation in order to better understand
this idea that writers are influenced by different situations.
3.Introduce the writing situation model (10
minutes):The goal for this discussion is to illustrate
how context shapes the interactions between writers and readers. Writers make
choices based on their physical, social and cultural contexts as well as their
purposes for writing. In the same sense, readers come to a text by way of their
own needs and interests. Thinking about interactions between writers and
readers helps to ensure that meaning is clearly communicated.
For this activity then, use the model from, "Understanding Writing
Situations: Writing as a Social Act" to show students how readers and
writers interact. This model is available on Writing@CSU (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/writingsituations/).
It’s also available as a linear document in the Lectures and Class Notes
section of your SyllaBase class page. You can either draw a diagram on the
board or use and overhead (you may want to do this before class begins).
Explain to students that you will first review the model in general terms, and
then they will discuss it with more detail in relation to their homework.
Be sure to cover the following points (in whatever order feels right
have purposes for writing
these purposes emerge from the writer's cultural or social context (something
happens outside the writer that creates a need to write - something to respond
make choices based on the context they are writing for (writing a letter home
to your parents asking for money is a different than writing a letter to an
organization to ask for contributions for a good cause). Therefore, different
contexts will pose different requirements, limitations, and opportunities for a
addition to context, writers also need to think about readers.
have various needs and interests which are likewise determined by their
contexts (their background, environment and experience).
to communicate effectively, a writer must anticipate what their readers' needs
and interests are.
homework in relation to the writing situation model (15 minutes):
For this activity it helps to label the diagram with students'
responses to reinforce connections and to help keep the discussion on track.
Note: possible responses and prompts are listed in parenthesis following the
Start at the middle of the diagram and ask students the following
the text you produced? (homework - reflection on self as writer)
your purpose for writing this text? (to complete an assignment, to impress the
instructor or class, to learn more about one's self as a writer, to get an
"A" in CO150)
the context that created your purpose for writing? (the college classroom, the
first day of class, a small "classroom community" where participation
requirements and limitations did the context of a college classroom pose? (a
deadline for writing, a computer to type the message and to print it out,
limitations on language, tone and style, the possibility of having to share
writing in class…).
opportunities did this context create? (an invitation to call on your own
personal reflections, experience and expertise)
the various limitations, requirements and opportunities shape what you wrote?
(answers will vary)
you think of as your readers for this text? (you, the instructor, other peers)
think of your reader’s needs and interests? If so, what were they?
Model Transition to Next
Activity:So whether or not you realized it you were probably
already thinking about context, audience and purpose when completing your
homework. This course aims to help you think about these things more critically,
both as a writer and as a reader.
5.Discuss strategies for critical reading (5
minutes):This activity asks students to think about
how they can become close and critical readers.
students to identify what it means to be a “critical reader.”
makes an effective critical reader?
one become a close reader of the text?
you do to be more active and critical when reading an essay?
reading (marginal markings, notes outside of text)
questions that challenge the ideas in the text
the context in which the essay was written
your context (what you are bringing to your reading and why you react the way
how cultural context influences your reading (turn the critical lens inward and
examine your beliefs and influences)
students how to access readings off of SyllaBase (5 minutes): Use a variation of the handout you prepared
for the first homework assignment or make copies of the “How to Log on to your
class SyllaBase Page” handout in the appendix. Explain that students can access
the readings at the Library reserve desk if they have difficulty getting onto
Conclusion:“Today we looked at how context influences the way
readers and writers interact. Next time we'll look more specifically at the
context for Essay 1 and discuss how this context will shape the text you
Read Peter Singer's essay, "The Singer Solution to
World Hunger" (http://www.petersingerlinks.com/solution.htm). Read "Understanding Writing Situations: Writing
as a Social Act" (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/writingsituations/).
Practice the critical reading strategies discussed in class when looking at
both essays. Post a message to the Class Discussion Forum on the SyllaBase
Class Page. In your message, identify the main point being made in Singer’s
essay and explain why you agree or disagree with it. Your response should be
between one and two paragraphs in length.