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