Week 11: Monday, November 4th - Friday, November 8th
Note: The beginning of Portfolio 3 marks a new
stage in your lesson planning. If you have not done so already, you should
begin creating your own activities to accomplish the course goals. To support
your efforts to accomplish this, we have provided more detailed discussion of
teaching goals and have introduced a new section entitled “Resources.” If you
have any questions about developing your lesson plans, please see Mike, Steve, Kate,
Sarah, Kerri, Sue, Paul, or Liz.
Goals for this week:
Create a transition between the second
and third portfolios. Note: Consider asking students to complete
a WTL/postscript before you collect the portfolios.
Review the Writing Situation Model (see
Resources, below) and introduce the “Great Circle of Writing” model (see
Introduce Portfolio 3 and the Context
and Audience Analysis Report.
Review techniques for Writing Arguments
(consider assigning pages 442 - 443 in the PHG and the Argument writing guide on Writing@CSU.
Brainstorm arguments, claims, readers
and contexts for Portfolio 3 (see Resources, below).
Review types of claims on pages 444 -
448 in the PHG. To accomplish
this, introduce different types of claims from the reading by designing a
discussion that highlights for students the need to have a claim that is
debatable and to understand the expectations that come with different
types of claims they might use. Have students identify the types of claims
addressed in the PHG reading
(fact, cause-effect, value, solution) and how each type implies certain
expectations for supporting it.
Discuss what claims imply about development, reasoning, and evidence.
Ask students to consider what types of evidence they’ll need based on the types
of claims they might have. For example, a claim of value would necessitate a
list of criteria, while a claim of solution would likely require evidence to
prove both that a problem exists and that this solution would work or is better
than other possibilities. Also, remind students that types of claims will
suggest different types of proof. The PHG
is set up to focus on different types of claims in different chapters. Ask
students to review the chapter that deals with their type of claim.
Type of Claim:
Value - "Evaluating" Chapter
Solution/policy "Problem-solving" Chapter
Cause-effect "Cause-effect" Chapter
Fact "Informing" Chapter
Practice unpacking claims. To accomplish
this goal, consider preparing sample claims that you can unpack as a class
to prepare students for the group activity. For instance, a claim of
solution -such asGrades
do not accurately represent a student's intelligence, therefore portfolios
should be used instead -may work well because typically it
will imply a claim of value as well. To unpack this claim, a writer would
need to address all implied claims, including:
criteria for intelligence (value)
fail at representing these criteria (fact)
will do a better job of meeting the criteria (fact)
Your discussion of a claim will depend on the audience and existing
research. For example, if research has already shown that grades don't reflect
intelligence, a writer could quickly support this sub claim and then focus on
the solution -- using portfolios instead. However, if there is no evidence to
support the claim that grades fail to represent intelligence, the focus for the
argument should be on proving this claim.
Workshop claims in class. A typical
workshop might involve asking students to determine what type of claim is
being made (fact, cause-effect, value, solution), then “unpacking” the
claim to determine how many subclaims are involved in it, identifying the
types of evidence needed to support the subclaims, considering how readers
might react to the claim and subclaims, and offering suggestions for
revising and narrowing the claim.
Provide students with an example of a Context
and Audience Analysis Report and review it in class.
Work on Context and Audience Analysis Reports
in class (due at the beginning of Week 12 - Mon., November 11th
or Tuesday, November 12th).
Connection to Course Goals
The two main
objectives for this week are to have students construct their claims and
arguments and to have students think critically about how their target audience
and context will influence the choices they make when writing their arguments. The
techniques listed in the PHG will
introduce students to classical forms of argumentation, but instructors should
emphasize that audience and context are just as important as "forms"
when making choices about content and organization. To write successfully,
students will need to think about their readers' needs and interests and shape
their arguments accordingly. The Context and Audience Analysis Report is
designed to help students write for real world audiences. It serves the overall
goals of encouraging students to be active participants in culture and enabling
them to write for audiences beyond academia.
Required Reading and Assignments
Read the beginning of the
"Arguing" chapter on pg. 441 - 444 in the PHG
Read the Arguing writing guide on
Read about types of claims on pg. 444 -
448 in the PHG
Draft a claim for your argument and post
it to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum
Read and respond to the claim posted
above and below your own. Is it clear narrow and debatable? What advice
can you give to improve the writer's claim?
Read the Sample Context and Audience
Analysis Report on GMO's. As a class or in groups, have students discuss
the effectiveness of the sample essay. Ask them to example how well it
meets the demands of this assignment, where it is effective, and where it
falls short. The goal is to set a standard for the Context and Audience
Analysis Report (since too many students will skim over the questions
without enough thought if you don't set a high expectation). Emphasize
that students will need to do substantial research in order to succeed on
this assignment. Their efforts here will contribute to their success with
the final argumentative essay.
Begin research for the Context and
Audience Analysis Report (due Week 12).
The Writing Situation Model:
Key points from the Writing Situation Model: Be sure to cover the following points (in
whatever order feels right for you):
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.
and social contexts shape the writing situation, acting on both writers and
readers. Key elements of cultural context include language/media, government,
shared values and beliefs, historical events. Key elements of social context
include organizations, universities, schools, churches, businesses,
environmental groups; family, friends, and neighbors; local events and
traditions; community concerns (such as planning for growth along the Front
The “Great Circle of Writing” Model: This model helps students see the shift in
their roles as writers that takes place as they join, learn about, and
eventually contribute to a conversation about a publicly debated issue.
Points to bring up
about the Great Circle of Writing Model:
as readers who encounter texts as a way to learn and explore what is happing
culturally and socially. (Portfolio 1)
become informed readers - drawn to certain specific issue that we want to learn
more about. That is, we became accountable members of the conversation. (Portfolio
and research various texts to locate the "conversation" that
surrounds the issue we're interested in (find out what groups or individuals,
who are active in writing about the issue, are saying). (Portfolio 2)
analyze these texts to figure out how they are shaped by cultural and social
influences. And in turn, we consider how the texts that get produced are
shaping society and culture. (Portfolio 2)
we've critically examined the existing viewpoints on an issue, we become
critical thinkers and informed writers. We then use our observations and
critical thinking skills to construct new arguments. (Portfolio 3)
our own arguments for public discourse (a specific group of readers in society)
in the hope that our opinions and views will influence society and culture. (Portfolio
·Through this process, we become active participants in
society and culture. (Portfolio 3)
Sample Brainstorming Activity for Developing Claims and
Arguments: The goal of this
activity is to help students formulate possible arguments and claims for their
issue. This activity takes place in front of the class using the white board.
Lead students through one of the following strategies.
Strategy 1: Answer the question that you explored in Portfolio
II to form an argument for Portfolio 3. For example:
If your research question for Portfolio II was:
> Who is responsible for intervening
when child abuse is suspected?
argumentative claim for Portfolio III might be:
> The government needs to impose
stricter laws to deter child abuse.
> Teachers need to play a more active
role in preventing child abuse.
Strategy 2: Brainstorm possible arguments by describing
which parts of your issue you feel most strongly about. Then, imagine that you
were involved in a conversation surrounding these aspects with some friends;
what viewpoints might you offer? Which positions would you agree/disagree with?
What overall arguments would you make?
Discuss Audience and Context for Arguments (15 - 20
minutes): Use this activity to
model approaches to choosing a context and audience. Ask two or three students
to put their claims up on the board (ask for volunteers - try pitching it as
"free help" with their essay). Then, check to see if these claims are
narrow and debatable. If they aren't, have students revise them to meet this
criteria. If they are, use them as models for argumentation. Ask the class to
brainstorm a list of possible audiences for each claim.
Use these points
as a guide for this discussion:
the claim and ask - who needs to hear this argument?
would be most interested in this argument?
would be the most realistic audience to target (those who would actually read
it and be affected by it)?
how the argument would look differently based on each group of readers and
their various needs and interests.
might these different readers encounter this argument? Where would they be
likely to read about it? (If students have difficulty generating specific
contexts, tell them they'll need to do more research in this area to find out
which contexts are available. One way to do learn about contexts is to look
back at the journals they encountered when researching their issues in Portfolio
II. Also, tell them to do some topic searches to find out where their issue is
being talked about).
** Repeat the above
process using 2 -3 sample claims.
Week 12: Monday, November 11th - Friday, November 15th
Goals for this Week
Collect the Context and Audience Analysis Report
Help students understand the basics of
structuring an argument by assigning the PHG reading on structuring arguments on pages 487 - 488. You
might consider creating an overhead based on the two pages and leading
your students in a discussion of the pros and cons of each organizational
strategy. You can emphasize that arguments take many shapes and that there
is no single "correct" way to structure an argument. A thesis or
a "map" helps readers see where an argument is heading.
Responding to opposing arguments shows that a writer is more credible and
informed on their issue. Using narration provides a context or background
to illustrate what the writer is responding to in society or culture. All
of these elements are important aspects of argumentation, but the writer
must decide where and when it is best to use them. You may also want to
reinforce that a writer needs both reasons and evidence (research) to
support their claims. Providing specific evidence accounts for much of the
development of an essay.
Discuss research strategies and organization. See
Review sample arguments about publicly debated
issues. During the review, ask students to identify the writer's overall
claim, to break the argument into parts and describe what the writer is
doing in each part of the argument, to identify and evaluate (in terms of
the writing situation model) the overall organization of the argument, and
to evaluate the writer’s use of evidence. In carrying out this review, you
might decide to use what is called a “Backwards Outline,” a technique
designed to help students dissect arguments and examine their parts or
structure. Many students complain that this activity “hurts their brains”,
but we figure that they're paying us to make them think, so essentially
we're doing them a favor. To learn more about backwards outlines, see
Help students understand how to analyze a target
publication. They will need to select a publication in which to place
their argument (e.g., TIME,
Newsweek, the Coloradoan, College English, various professional or
trade publication, Web sites, and so on). To select an appropriate
publication, they should review and, ultimately, subject likely candidates
to a careful analysis. The results of the analysis will provide them with
enough information to help them determine whether the publication is
appropriate for their writing situation. It will also provide them with
insights into the typical organization, layout, and types of evidence used
by articles in the publication. When you assign the activity to help
students conduct this analysis, stress that they should also be aware of
the design and format of the publication, since this plays an important
role in conveying information and ideas to readers.
Assign HyperFolio worksheets for structuring
arguments (due by the end of Week 13 - collect in class or via e-mail)
Sign up for conferences
Connection to Course Goals
The objective this week is to
help students think about organizing and developing their arguments. By looking
at sample arguments and discussing such things as claims, reasons, evidence,
narration, and opposing arguments, students will begin to see that there are
many approaches to writing arguments. We want to show students that there is no
single correct way to organize or develop an argument. Rather, the
effectiveness of an argument depends on the choices a writer makes in response
to his/her audience and context. The HyperFolio assignment will allow students
to practice making these choices with their own arguments.
Required Reading and Assignments
Read "Outlines for Arguments" and
"Developing Arguments" page 487- 488 in PHG.
Assign the Analyzing a Publication Tutorial in
the CO150 Room on Writing@CSU.
Design an assignment where students read two or
three arguments (from the PHG or
online). Use these samples in class to discuss how each writer makes
different choices about structure and development based on their purpose,
audience, and context. Most of this can be covered during class, but
assign two or three questions for students to think about or respond to
when reading each essay. This will encourage critical thinking and promote
more discussion. The questions on page 482 in the PHG can be adapted for just about any essay to meet the goals
for this activity. The arguments available in the PHG include: "The Internet: A Clear and Present
Danger?" by Cathleen A. Cleaver page 458; "The Damnation of A
Canyon" by Edward Abbey page 464; "Death and Justice" by
Edward Koch page 472; "Death Be Not Proud" by Robert Badinter
page 477; and "Death and Justice" by John O'Sullivan page 479.
If you are using two or more of the "Death Penalty" essays, consider
also assigning the introduction on page 471. In the questions section
following the readings you can find Internet addresses for other topic
Complete the HyperFolio worksheets for
Research and writing
strategies and organization:Prepare a lecture, discussion or activity where you
review the following strategies for developing and organizing different parts
of an argument. If you prepare a lecture, we suggest that you ask students to
Review the types of
strategies for creating introductions (also, see page 314 - 316 in the PHG for additional help with writing
lead-ins and introductions):
Topic: Come right out and say it.
Tell your readers what your topic is, what the issue/conversation is you are
focusing on, and what your argument aims to do.
Argument: If your readers are
familiar with disagreements among authors contributing to your conversation,
you can get right to your main point—what you think should be done about the
issue or what you think they should know about it. In other words, you can
introduce your argument by leading with your thesis statement. By using your
thesis statement in your introduction, you can let your readers know, for example,
whether you are explaining something, making an argument to convince them of
your points, offering a solution to a problem, etc…
Problem: Depending on how you define
a problem, you’ll call attention to different solutions. There’s a tremendous
difference, for instance, between saying, “We have a problem with education:
our teachers are not prepared to teach the skills needed in the 21st century”
and “We have a problem with education: our students can’t learn the skills
needed in the 21st century.”
Question: Asking a question invites
your readers to become participants in the conversation you’ve joined by
considering solutions to a problem or rethinking approaches to an issue or
·Tell a Story: Everyone loves a story, assuming it’s told well and
has a relevant point. Featured writer Patrick Crossland began his research
project with a story about his brother Caleb, a senior in high school and a
star wrestler who was beginning the process of applying to colleges and
Historical Account: Historical
accounts can help your readers understand the origins of a particular
situation, how the situation has changed over time, and how it has affected
·Lead with a
Quotation: A quotation allows your
readers to hear about the issue under discussion from someone who knows it well
or has been affected by it. You can select a quotation that poses a question,
defines a problem, or tells a story. You can also use quotations to provide a
Situation: You can provide a brief
review of the situation, drawing on other sources or on your own synthesis of
information about the issue. A brief review can be combined with other
strategies, such as asking a question, defining a problem, or defining your
Introduce strategies for
concluding an essay:
·Sum Up Your
Argument: Offer a summary of the
argument you’ve made in your document.
Additional Analysis: Extend your
analysis of the issue by offering additional insights.
about the Future: Reflect on what
might happen next.
·Close with a Quotation: Select a
quotation that does one of the following:
osums up the
points you’ve made in your document
opoints to the
future of the issue
solution to a problem
you would like to see happen
·Close with a Story: Tell a story about the issue you’ve discussed
in your document. The story might suggest a potential solution to the problem,
offer hope about a desired outcome, or illustrate what might happen if a
desired outcome doesn’t come to pass.
·Link to Your Introduction: This technique is sometimes called a
“bookends” approach, since it positions your introduction and conclusion as
related “ends” of your document. The basic idea is to turn you conclusion into
an extension of your introduction:
introduction used a quotation, end with a related quotation or respond to the
introduction used a story, extend that story or retell it with a different
oIf your introduction
asked a question, answer the question, restate the question, or ask a new
introduction defined a problem, provide a solution to the problem, restate the
problem, or suggest that readers need to move on to a new problem.
Find a few examples (from
magazines or Web sites) to illustrate how some writers use illustrations to
support their arguments. Pass these around in class:
Tell students that they will
be expected to include some type of illustration (common to their chosen
context) when shaping their final arguments.
Consider where your argument
fits into the larger, ongoing discussion about your issue. Then, provide some
setting to show readers what you're responding to so that your essay isn't
floating in space. The narration can be personal (a story that you've
experienced) cultural (recent trends in society, or a speech or text that
you're responding to) or political (recent government-supported actions). By
connecting your issue to a something concrete, readers will realize its
significance and see the reason for your argument.
Label and group your notes and sources using one
or a combination of these methods:
ocause > effect
approaches or viewpoints
Brainstorm connections between your purpose, your
claim, your reasons and your evidence and group these ideas accordingly
Cluster or create a visual scheme where you
sketch out the relationships between your claim, your reason and your
Consider your audience. What reasons and evidence
should they hear first? What reasons and evidence should you save for
later? Will they be able to follow your organization given what they know
about your issue? How much narration or background will they need? What
structure lends itself to the greater focus and coherency?
Write out a very rough draft and then read
through it, drawing lines between related ideas. Use scissors to cut up
your draft and try rearranging paragraphs in various orders on the floor.
Also, try looking at the argument from the POV of your readers and ask,
which order seems most logical and fitting to their needs and interests?
Finding Substantial Evidence
You have already completed
research to gain an understanding of the ongoing "conversation" about
your particular issue, and to identify the range of positions on the issue. Now
you'll need to do further research to 1.) consider the range of opposing
arguments for your own argument and 2.) find substantial evidence to support
your overall claim and sub claims. Use the following strategies to locate
Review the library handout (on your own time) and
continue to search online databases.
Find periodicals: Here are some of the magazines
(beyond more general-audience magazines such as Newsweek and U.S. News and
World Report) that may offer articles on important current issues:
Harper's - Independent
Atlantic Monthly - The Economist
New Republic - The Nation
National Review - Business Week
Utne Reader - The Christian Science
The Humanist - Scientific American
Note that this list is by no means comprehensive.)
Consult reference texts: Reference texts provide
statistics, facts, definitions, demographic, and other useful types of
information. You may find them useful especially early in the process of
researching your topic.
Use live sources. Talk with friends, family, and
teachers but also think of ways to use the web to find live sources (i.e.
discussion forums, chat-rooms, using schools’ web sites if the research
involves schools, etc.). Also, briefly consider how live sources might be
useful as evidence for the paper, given the target audience and context
for your argument.
Using different Arguing Approaches (from PHG - more traditional vs. Rogerian)
This discussion should give
students more of a sense of the different approaches or strategies available to
them. Emphasize to students that their argument doesn’t have to be completely
traditional or Rogerian. Instead, they might use Rogerian techniques for the
most sensitive points in an argument that is otherwise more traditional.
Analysis Directions: On a sheet of
paper, (or on the board) write down the author’s main claim or the controlling
idea in the essay. Divide the rest of the paper (or board) into three columns.
Then complete the following tasks, one by one:
In the left-hand column, write a brief summary of
the content and purpose of each paragraph (e.g. Suzy Q example to support
argument about body image). If there are two distinct ideas or purposes in
the paragraph, write a brief phrase for each.
In the middle column, write a sentence that
explains the connection between what this paragraph says/does and the
overall claim at the top. If you don’t know or it isn’t clear, write a
In the third column, write a sentence that
explains the connection between the paragraphs (i.e. paragraph one and
paragraph two; paragraph two and paragraph three, and so on). If there is
no clear connection, put a question mark in the third column.
Week 13: Monday, November 18th - Friday, November 22nd
Note:As you design your lesson plans for this week,
consider whether it would be best to meet in class, to schedule individual
conferences, or to do both. If you believe conferences would be most valuable,
cancel one or more of your class meetings this week and meet with students one
on one. If you sense that students are having trouble with their research,
spend a class in the library gathering sources. If you think students would
benefit most from meeting formally, design a mini-workshop where students can
peer review HyperFolio drafts in groups. Use this week to reinforce important
concepts for Portfolio 3 and to catch up before Thanksgiving Break.
Goals for this Week
students to the library to continue gathering sources for their arguments
students understand the implications of their publication analysis
activities for their selection of a target publication and for the writing
and design of their arguments
drafts of the HyperFolio worksheets in class
for individual conferences. See Resources, below.
Connection to Course Goals
The activities this week
support the concept that writing is a process involving collaboration and
revision. By interacting with other writers (through research), peers, and
instructors, students allow their previous ideas to take on new shapes. They
make crucial decisions about content development based on observations made
during research or the feedback received from potential readers.
Required Reading and Assignments
worksheets are due this week. If you run into trouble collecting them (due
to conferencing and Thanksgiving Break) have students email them or drop
them by your office at a designated time.
should prepare for their individual conferences
Individual Conferences: Plan to spend 10 to 15 minutes per student. During
the conferences, focus on these main concerns:
·Do they have a
focused, debatable overall claim?
·Do they have a
clear sense of why they’re writing on this issue in the first place?
·Do they have a
clear sense of purpose in why they’re writing their argument for their defined
audience? Does the claim fit the purpose?
·Are the audience,
purpose and focus they’ve identified coherent?
understand what evidence they’ll need to support their sub-claims? What types
of evidence do they plan to use? What evidence do they already have that can
Week 14: Monday, December 2nd - Friday, December 6th
Goals for this Week
types of argumentative appeals and provide students with an opportunity to
practice making them. See Resources, below, for related activities.
students understand logical fallacies. Your goals is to ensure the
students understand what types of logical fallacies exist and why each is
problematic. T prepare to meet this goal, read over the fallacies
identified in PHG and highlight
the ones that you think they’ll be most likely to have trouble with in
reasoning through their arguments. Then design an activity where students
pick out logical fallacies from texts. Or, have them work in groups to
write their own logical fallacies as models to "teach" the
class. Another option is to have them look at each others' drafts of their
arguing essays in search of logical fallacies. Many GTA's have developed
useful activities for teaching logical fallacies, so ask what others are
doing and check out the sample fallacies in the appendix.
at argumentative appeals and logical fallacies in texts that contribute to
conversations about publicly debated issues.
students with an opportunity to evaluate sample argumentative essays.
the goals and expectations for the arguing essay.
Connection to Course Goals
Learning to write appeals and
to avoid logical fallacies will help students construct effective arguments. It
also serves the larger course goal of developing critical thinking skills. To
use appeals successfully, writers must have a strong sense of who their readers
are. To avoid fallacies in argumentation, writers must critically examine their
claims to ensure that they are being thorough, thoughtful, and fair.
Required Reading Assignments
Read about types
of appeals on page 448 - 452 in the PHG
and Rogerian arguments on page 452 - 455. For additional information on
appeals, consult the Arguing writing guide on Writing@CSU.
Write a 2 - 3
paragraph appeal for your argument. This can serve as the introduction to your
argument, or as draft work to be incorporated into the argument later on. At
the top, write down who your audience is and post your appeal to the SyllaBase
Class Discussion Forum.
Read the appeal
posted above and below your own. Provide a paragraph response telling the
writer what is working with their appeal (be sure to consider their audience)
and what improvements could be made.
logical fallacies on page 492 - 494 in the PHG
for donations (environmental groups, politicians, local clubs…)
and full-page coupons
Bribe mail from
phone, internet and credit card companies
on line or in texts
A Group Activity for
Helping Students Analyze Appeals:Have students break into small groups (3-4) and give
each group one or two sample appeals to look at. Put the following questions on
an overhead for each group to address:
is the writer's purpose?
is the target audience?
types of appeals do they use?
these appeals effective? Why or why not?
these appeals accurately represent a product or a situation? Are they fair
to use? Why or why not?
could the writers do to improve their use of appeals?
Allow each group 3 minutes to
share their sample text and present some of their findings to the class. After
all groups have finished presenting, emphasize that writers should use
appeals to make effective arguments, but that they should also respect their
readers and use the appeals fairly to represent their points (not to distort
A Role Play Activity to Practice
Using Appeals:Use this activity to get students thinking about how
to appeal to an audience to meet a specific purpose. First, prepare five
different tasks that require students to develop appeals. Print the tasks out
and cut them into separate strips to distribute in class.
Persuade your parents to give you $3,000 to start
your own T-Shirt business
Persuade your landlord to let you have a pet goat
Persuade your best friend to go on a date with
your 34 year old cousin
Then, break students into
small groups (4 - 5) and have each group choose one strip at random. Once
students have their strips, explain the following:
group task is written on this slip of paper. Your group will have 10 minutes to
develop an argument to persuade the rest of the class to act on. Someone from your
group will then read your task to the class (the class will role play the
designated audience) and you will have 5 - 7 minutes to present your argument
as a group. Afterwards, the class will decide if your use of appeals was strong
enough to persuade us to act on your argument. Be sure to anticipate opposing
arguments along the way (as some of your peers may raise questions and
objections to your claims). While developing appeals, also consider what your
audience will value most. What are their needs and interests and how can you
respond to these?"
Give students 10 minutes to
prepare arguments before presenting. Tell students that they are free to add
some inventive material to their situation (e.g. your cousin just got out of
jail and he's feeling very low about himself - he needs a girlfriend to make
him feel better). After each group presents, ask the class which parts of the
argument were most effective, and which of the appeals worked best. Tell
students to keep these observations in mind when writing appeals for their own
Week 15: Monday, December 9th - Friday, December 13th
Goals for this Week
sample essays. As you do so, ensure that students understand that sample
essays are not models for writing, but that they serve as vehicles for
discussing the effective and ineffective choices writers make in response
to their writing situation. You can use the sample essay(s) from the
appendix or find/create your own. To facilitate the discussion, you can
place them on an overhead or have students examine the essays in groups
and report back to the class with their findings. You’ll find an expanded
discussion of strategies for meeting this goal in "Planning to Model
or Critique Students Samples" the teaching guide Planning a Class
on Writing@CSU and in the appendix.
the use of document design, formatting, and illustrations to enhance
arguments and to conform to a target publication. See the discussion of
this issue under Connection to Course Goals, below.
students assess the effectiveness of their drafts. Although there are a
number of strategies for meeting this goal, consider the “backwards
outline” activities found in Resources, below.
students with peer responses to their drafts.
students develop a plan to revise their drafts for submission. To accomplish
this goal, ask students to take notes on what they'll need to revise based
on the feedback they received from their peers. This will encourage them
to think critically about their peers’ responses to their writing.
students with updated information about when to be ready to submit
Portfolio 3. Depending on the progress your students are making on their
essays, you can choose to collect the portfolios prior to or on the date
of the final exam. Be sure to remind students that they need to include a
cover page with their final essay (describing the writing situation for
their essay). Tell them that you will evaluate their argument with their
various writing situations in mind.
Connection to Course Goals
The activities for this week
emphasize (1) the importance of ongoing revision during the writing process,
(2) the role of document design and formatting in the preparation of polished
essays, and (3) the use of illustrations (charts, graphs, images, animations,
video, etc.) as persuasive and informative devices. In terms of revising, your
overall goal is to help students understand that writing continues even after
they've completed their first draft. It would be ideal if they begin to see and
value the improvements made during this process of rewriting. In terms of
document design and formatting, your goal is to help students understand,
first, that they must adapt their documents for publication in a specific venue
and, second, that (among other things) document design calls a reader’s
attention to specific information and ideas. In terms of illustrations, your
goal is to expand students’ understanding of “evidence.” Students should
understand that, in addition to such devices as paraphrases and quotations,
they can draw on a wide range of illustrations, tables, charts, and so on to
support their arguments.
Required Reading and Assignments
and proofread your arguing essay draft. Be prepared to hand it in with all
process work and portfolio contents on the assigned due date.
for final meeting.
Backwards Outline Activity:
The backwards outline activity
encourages students to look closely at the organization, focus, and coherence
of their essay by considering how each paragraph functions in relation to the
overall claim. Students can complete a backwards outline on their own draft or
on their peers’ drafts. Since the directions for this activity can seem
complicated, you might try to lead students through each step verbally
(announcing each task and waiting five-to-ten minutes for students to complete
the step). The outline below is a guide. Revise it as you see fit.
Backwards Outline Workshop
Read through your draft once
without making any marks. Then re-read it while completing the following steps:
1.On a separate
sheet of paper, write down the main claim of the essay. Quote directly from the
essay and/or put it in your own words.
2.Then, divide the
sheet into three columns.
3.In the left hand
column, number and summarize what each paragraph says. If there is more than
one idea in the paragraph, list the ideas as separate points.
4.Review the list
in the left-hand column and see if similar things show up in different parts of
the draft. (e.g. Are both #2 and #8 examples that prove the same point? Do #4
and #7 bring up the same example?) If so, suggest some possible reorganizations
on the reverse side of your outline (and/or on another sheet of paper).
middle-column, write a sentence that summarizes the connection you see between
what each paragraph does and the overall claim at the top of the page. If you
can’t see a connection, put a question mark in the column.
6.Look back to see
if each connection is made obvious in the draft itself. Under each connection
you’ve written, make a note of “obvious” or “not obvious”.
7.In the third
column, write down connection you see between each paragraph (e.g. between
paragraph one and paragraph two, between paragraph two and paragraph three, and
so on). If you can’t see a connection, put a question mark in the column.
paragraphs where you could see a connection, go back and examine the draft to
see if the author has provided a transition for the reader explaining this
connection. Mark each connection you listed with a note of “transition” or “no
9.Based on your
analysis of the organization and coherence of this essay, make suggestions
about how to re-organize and where stronger connections are needed. In your
suggestions, be sure to consider whether any lack of clarity in organization,
coherence, or evidence may result from the claim itself (i.e. ask whether the
organization is hard to follow because the claim is trying to prove too much).
10.Finally, re-examine the draft one more time for
evidence and provide suggestions about where more examples or proof are needed
to support the argument.
11.When you receive comments on your draft, use them