Day 6 . Monday, September 8th

Friday, September 3:  Activity Ideas

Discussing NYT News Clippings

Discussing Agree/Disagree Responses

Revising Agree/Disagree Responses

Mini-Workshop on Agree/Disagree Responses

Concluding and Assigning Homework

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Introduce the Class Session and take roll (1-2 minutes)

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By referring to your agenda on the board or by previewing the day's goals/objectives, introduce the class session for your students.  Today, write your own introduction.


Discussing NYT News Clippings (10 minutes)

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WTL on NYT Articles

Open class today with a WTL engaging students on three clippings from the NYT.  Have them write a summary (for about 5 minutes) of one of the articles they’ve brought today as a news clipping. Discuss one or two of their issues for about 5 minutes, perhaps focusing on one student and his or her clippings. You might also create a Discussion Forum for the occasional posting of article summaries and issue clarifications. Have them turn in all the clippings they brought to class today so that you can skim through the issue ideas and give them verbal (whole class) feedback next time.


Put students in small groups to discuss what they've read so far (you can do this for about 3-5 minutes).  Then reconvene as a class so that students can share what topics were discussed (and so you can hold students accountable for staying on task).


Sample Transition to Next Activity

You might say something like:  Now that we've shared topics we have read in the NYT let's also share our Agree/Disagree Responses.


Discussing Agree/Disagree Responses (5-8 minutes)

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Discuss students' Agree/Disagree Responses to articles

Since we are dealing with the Agree/Disagree response, create questions that enable students to share whether or not they agree with the points raised in any of the articles we have read so far.


Ask students to get into small groups or partners (or use the ones you already created) and share the responses they wrote to an article.  Try to group them with people from across the room, perhaps sorting them by birth month, shoe size, or distance from home. (The goal of this informal exchange is to both "hook" students and to develop community.) In order to encourage them to think more critically about issues, it is useful to start with their ideas. Hearing from classmates they don’t yet know also extends the knowledge base of students, who may assume that their own experience with media and consumption--or other issues for that matter--is universal. Students will experience the RISK of stepping out of their own shoes and instead of having their opinions RATIFIED may find their suppositions CHALLENGED by their peers. This is far more likely to happen if they meet with classmates they don’t know. Mix things up routinely and you’ll have a classroom that becomes a community where students trust and depend upon one another for not only support but for challenge to one another as well.

Sample Transition to Next Activity

You might say something like:  Now that we've discussed the articles and our agree/disagree responses to them, let's take a look at what makes a written response most effective.


Revising Agree/Disagree Responses (15-17 minutes total)

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Review the concepts of claim, reasons and evidence from the previous class session (3-5 minutes)

What did we say was important about claims when writing?

What reasons are most effective when supporting a claim?

What makes evidence most effective?

Other points you might wish to cover:

·      What is evidence?

·      What are the different types of evidence (think back to the PHG)?

·      Where might you need to use some evidence in your summary/response essay?

·      What kind of evidence might you use in your summary?

·      How might the kind of evidence differ depending upon your response type and focus?

·      What kinds of evidence might you use in your responses?

Discuss what makes a written response effective (5 minutes)

Here, you can draw parallels between the articles students read for homework and the responses they wrote themselves.  Be sure to cover each writer's writing situation and foreground the choices the writer's made to meet the expectations of that writing situation.

Points you might wish to cover:

·      that the writer clearly made a point (agree/disagree)

·      that the writer is responding to a main idea from the original article

·      that the writer has given a sufficient reason to support h/er opinion (tell us why)

·      that the writer has provided some well-developed evidence (show us why)

·      that the reasons and evidence are focused - they connect back to the overall point the writer is trying to make

Look at a sample student Agree/Disagree Response (5-8 minutes)

Use the sample student Agree/Disagree Response provided in the appendix to discuss the similar questions as you discussed for the previous articles.  Be sure to apply the student's writing situation to h/er writing as well.

Have students read through the sample for a few minutes.  You might have them take notes or do a WTL after they read it through once so that you have a base for discussion.

Based on our previous discussions (of claims, reasons, evidence, etc.) what makes the student response effective?

What could be strengthened?

Create a Transition to the Next Activity

You might want to indicate that writing is not a solitary act and other writers' feedback can be very beneficial to our own texts.


Mini-Workshop on Agree/Disagree Responses

(10 minutes total)

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Introduce the concept and etiquette of workshopping (3-5 minutes)

Since we are working on building a writing community in the classroom, it is a good idea to discuss how workshops work, what their purpose is, what makes "good etiquette" and sometimes what not to do in a workshop situation.

You might create some samples of effective or ineffective workshop scenarios like the following and discuss them:

Sample Workshop Questions and Answers


Workshop Question: How effectively does the claim act as a map for the reader? What might the writer do to make the claim more effective?

Answer: The claim is a good map. The writer should make the claim clearer.

Stronger Answer: The claim lets me know that the writer will talk about how she agrees with Krugman's argument. In the claim, she provides two reasons for why she agrees, but since the body doesn't ever talk about the second reason, the claim would be strongest if revised so it doesn't promise that.


Student Question: Does my paper flow?

Answer : Not really.

Stronger Question/Concern: Please point out to me the places where my organization is confusing. I tend to jump around sometimes.

Answer: I'm confused between paragraphs 2 and 3. What is the connection between the two?

Have students workshop each other's papers in partners or small groups (5-7 minutes)

Choose one to three questions from your class discussions and create a mini-workshop guideline on an overhead (try to avoid "yes/no" answers as much as possible).  Then have students add one question to the workshop question.

In partners or small groups, have students workshop each other's papers.  Suggest that students read through their partner's paper once without making any comments and then answer the workshop questions.

Some questions you might use include:

·      How clearly did the writer make a point (agree/disagree) in your response?

·      Is the writer clearly responding to a main idea from the article?

·      Has the writer given a sufficient reason (or reasons) to support h/er opinion (telling us why)?

·      How effectively has the writer provided well-developed evidence (showing us why)?

·      How tightly are the reasons and evidence focused?  That is, do they connect to each other and back to the overall point the writer is trying to make?


Concluding and Assigning Homework (2-3 minutes)

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Today you might have a student recapitulate the main objectives you discussed today or you might write your own conclusion.  Be sure to cover the main ideas in the articles discussed today and to highlight what aspects they'll need to revise to make their Agree/Disagree Responses most effective.  Remind students where they can access their homework.