a WTL where students respond to the main idea from Singer's essay
the concept of summarizing
summarizing Singer's essay (collaborate on a list of what should be included)
Connection to course goals
The WTL will engage students in a discussion
on Singer's essay by starting with their ideas. It also introduces them to the
concept of responding (which we will be addressing later on in this portfolio).
Applying the writing situation to Singer's essay will help students see that
writing is situated among various contexts (understanding this will help them
with the rhetorical analysis they do for Portfolio II and it will help them see how context shapes their own decisions
about writing). Finally, it will also help them meet the immediate goal of
summarizing an author's purpose/audience/context for an academic audience.
Note: The introduction for today's class will
follow the first activity.
To Learn (5 minutes): Have
students expand on the message they posted to the SyllaBase Class Discussion
Forum by providing specific support to show why they agree or disagree with
Singer’s main point. (Note: Putting WTL instructions up on an overhead
at the start of class is a great way to get students on task. You can invite
them to take out some paper and begin writing immediately, even as others are
still wandering in. You can also use this quiet writing time to take attendance
and practice learning names).
discuss responses to Singer (5 minutes):Ask students what
the main idea from the essay was (have them refer directly to the text for
accuracy). Then, ask them how they responded to this idea (you'll have time to
hear from 4-5 students).
the rest of the class session using something like the following: Today we'll review the
requirements for your first portfolio and Essay 1. To complete this portfolio,
you'll be asked to summarize an author's text (including the main ideas) and
provide a response to those ideas. The activity we just did models this
process; however, to write Essay 1 you'll need to represent the author's
argument fully and accurately and develop your ideas with substantial evidence.
Let's take a look at the assignment sheet.
4.Introduce Portfolio 1 (7-10 minutes):
the Essay 1 assignment sheet.
read it over.
for understanding of the general terms, and the essay in particular, ask
students to restate the purpose, context, and audience as a class:
the purpose of this essay assignment?
your audience for this essay?
will you have to do to meet the assignment goals?
move on to discuss how these responses will affect their choices when writing
Essay 1. Since the students are part of the general academic audience, include
them by asking what type of response they would like to read.
your audience, what will readers want to know?
type of reaction would you want to read?
They should be able to generate such concerns
reaction that isn't a rant
reaction that doesn't go off on tangents or try to cover too much (focus)
reaction that has an appropriate tone
reaction I can relate to
reaction that is well supported with evidence
Transition to Next Activity:Even though your audience will mostly
be concerned with your response, summary is still an important concept. If your
summary is inaccurate or incomplete, your response could be misguided as well.
the concept of summarizing (15 - 20 minutes):Use these questions
as a guide for this discussion. You may pick and choose from this selection or
add some of your own questions to meet the goal of introducing academic
summary. (See page 160 - 161 in the PHGfor summary guidelines, and view the Teaching Guide on Types of
Summary and Response (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/summaryresponse/)
when planning this activity). It helps to use the board to focus this activity.
You can create two columns: General Summary and Academic Summary. Then,
list generated responses beneath the appropriate titles. Note: possible
responses and prompts are listed in parenthesis following the questions.
summary (in general)? When do you use it?
the last time you summarized something that you did or saw (perhaps in an
e-mail to a friend or on the phone)?
usually your goal or purpose for summarizing? (to inform or entertain; to give
an overall impression without all the boring details)
summaries objective (fairly representing everyone/everything involved) or are
they subjective, colored with your own opinions or point of view?
you think general summaries compare to academic summaries? What are the
similarities and differences? (academic summaries are more objective and focus
on main ideas rather than events)
the purposes for an academic summary (consider the context for Essay 1)? How is
this different from a general summary?
Present an overhead with three types of
summaries on it:
1.Main Point Summary - is brief and gives an overall perspective
2.Key Point Summary - represents an author's argument more fully
by providing other key points and supporting evidence in addition to the main
3.Outline Summary - is used to explore the structure of an
article or essay. Shortened phrases are used in place of full length sentences.
Read through each type of summary and ask
students which one they think will be most appropriate for Essay 1 (Key Point
Summary). Then ask them why they made this choice (they are writing to an
academic audience who has not read the essay and needs enough information to
follow their response). Finally, ask them to imagine other contexts where a
main point summary and an outline summary would be more appropriate. The point
you want to make is that the content and organization of a summary will vary
based on a writer’s purpose, audience and context.
Transition to Next Activity:Let's turn to Singer now so that we
can apply some of these concepts for summarizing to his text. This discussion
will help prepare you for your upcoming homework assignment as well as Essay 1.
discussing summarizing Singer's text (10 minutes): You may want to use the board to track this discussion and keep it
focused. Be sure to include the following discussion points:
would you include in a summary of Singer’s essay? (main points, key points,
important evidence and quotes).
the main point that Singer makes? (Ask students to think back to the WTL at the
start of class)
includes other key points and different types of evidence as well (such as Bob
and the names of specific charities). How do we decide which of these are most
important to include in a summary? (Note: Allow students to interpret this; but also
mention that we need to consider Singer's purpose.
Then, we need to decide which points illustrate how he arrives at that
Singer's purpose for writing this essay? (To persuade readers to give a portion
of their earnings to overseas organizations; to inform readers of the problem
of world hunger and to show that Americans are not doing enough to help).
key points and examples best illustrate how he attempts to achieve his purpose?
the following points as a guide:
Negotiate ideas around this question with your class until you agree on which
points and evidence are most important to include in an academic summary. Some
of these will be obvious while others may be more subtle and debatable. Feel
free to add to or change the following points as you see fit. Remember - the
question that should guide this discussion is: Which key points or examples
from Singer’s text seem most important? That is, which points and examples best
illustrate Singer’s attempt to persuade readers to donate money?
phone numbers for charities
government is lagging behind other nations for not meeting the recommended
target of donating 0.7 %
average American only needs $30,000 for necessities, so the rest should be
consumer behavior raises serious moral issues.
the moral distinction between one who deliberately kills a child versus one who
refuses to send money to charities that save children's lives?
ethics do not excuse consumers from giving. Singer states, "The problem is
most [Americans] aren't doing it."
should take it upon themselves to give without looking for a standard.
"When it comes to praising or blaming people for what they do, we tend to
use a standard that is relative to some conception of normal behavior."
$1,000 suit could save five children's lives"
formula is simple: whatever money you're spending on luxuries, not necessities,
should be given away."
Conclusion: Today we
began discussing academic summary as a way to prepare for writing Essay 1. Next
time, we'll deepen our understanding of summary by using the writing situation
model to think critically about a writer's argument.
Review the guidelines for writing an academic summary in the
PHG on page 160 - 161. Use these
guidelines, along with our discussion from class, to write an academic summary
of Peter Singer's essay. Post your summary as a message to the SyllaBase Class
Discussion Forum. Bring a hard copy of your summary to class on Monday.