By referring to your agenda on the
board or by previewing the day's goals/objectives, introduce the
class session for your students. Today is also probably
a good day to remind students of the limited add/drop period for
the class, to be sure you have all New York Times subscriptions
filled out and faxed, and to finalize entries into your grade
As you discuss Cohen's
article, demonstrate critical reading skills and strategies.
To get the discussion going, you might put the following questions
(or some of them or questions of your own) on an overhead or have
students do a Write to Learn that answers questions about the
What is the essence
of Cohen's position on the issue of consumption in America?
Where in the text do
you see her position most clearly stated?
How does she support
What type of conversation
in our society do you feel Cohen's article is most likely a part
of? That is, who might discuss this issue and/or where would
it be discussed?
Do you think Cohen makes
a valid point about consumption in our society? Why or why
Does this article strike
a chord with you as a consumer? Explain.
Transition to Next Activity
using a transition such as the following: Now let’s take what
we know of the article and apply the Writing Situation Model to
the discussion of Cohen’s article.
Our goal here is to help students
see the connection between the WSM and Cohen's choices in writing
her article and publishing it in the New York Times.
(You may want to do some background research on Cohen to have
up your sleeve. Be sure students note the date of the article--before
the holidays and after 9/11--as this level of social and cultural
context plays a role in Cohen's influences and argument.)
As an historian in the
U.S., what might motivate Cohen to write about this issue to begin
What larger writing
situation (beyond the New York Times) is Cohen part of?
Apparent through the
byline, Cohen has written a book about this issue. Why do
you think she chose to publish an article version as an editorial
in the New York Times?
Who do you think Cohen
imagined as her audience for her book? For this article?
What choices did Cohen make to meet
the change in expectations for those differing audiences?
What limitations did she accommodate for both audiences?
How does our culture
influence her position on the issue? How does our culture
influence how we, or her intended audience members, read her work?
Transition to Next Activity
using a transition like the following: For Portfolio 1,
your purpose is to provide a summary and response to an article
we will have read. So 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
will no doubt be misguided as well. Today (and for our homework
next time) we are going to practice some restraint and only summarize
ideas from the document in question.
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 PHG
for 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.
What is summary (in
general)? Where do you see summary used in our society?
When was the last time
you summarized something that you did or saw (perhaps in an
e-mail to a friend or on the phone)?
What is usually your goal
or purpose for summarizing? (to inform or entertain; to give
an overall impression without all the boring details)
Are your summaries objective
(fairly representing everyone/everything involved) or are they
subjective, colored by your own opinions or point of view?
How do 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)
What are the purposes
for an academic summary (consider the context for Essay 1)?
How is this different from a general summary?
On the board or on an
overhead, have students compile the components of summary they
learned about in their homework reading. This is a good
opportunity to use a student scribe particularly if you are writing
on the board. Once the components are on the board, discuss
each one briefly and answer questions students have about them.
Summary Principles to Cohen's article (10 minutes)
Our goal here is to give students a good
foundation for writing their summaries for homework.
How will you introduce
the article and its writing situation to your audience?
What is the main idea of Cohen's article? What are the
key points she uses to support that idea? Where do you
find these in her article? [Engage students in writing
these down in preparation for their homework.]
What details do you feel are okay to leave out in this summary?
How will you credit Cohen's
ideas or words within your own words?
Today you might have
a student recapitulate the main objectives you discussed today
or you might write your own conclusion. You might say something
like, "Today we discussed Cohen's article and her position
on one issue of public discourse. We also began preparing for
the summary aspect of Portfolio 1. Your homework will be
to put the summary skills we discussed today into action in your
the homework due for the next class session. You may want
to remind students that after this week, you will expect them
to access their homework assignments online via your Writing Studio
class page if you are using it as a syllabus.