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).
Transition to Next Activity
might say something like: Now that we've shared topics we
have read in the NYT let's also share our Agree/Disagree
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.
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.
Review the concepts
of claim, reasons and evidence from the previous class session
What did we say was
important about claims when writing?
What reasons are most
effective when supporting a claim?
What makes evidence
Other points you might
wish to cover:
are the different types of evidence (think back to the PHG)?
might you need to use some evidence in your summary/response essay?
kind of evidence might you use in your summary?
the kind of evidence differ depending upon your response type
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
the writer clearly made a point (agree/disagree)
the writer is responding to a main idea from the original article
the writer has given a sufficient reason to support h/er opinion
(tell us why)
the writer has provided some well-developed evidence (show us
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
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?
a Transition to the Next Activity
might want to indicate that writing is not a solitary act and
other writers' feedback can be very beneficial to our own texts.
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:
Workshop Questions and Answers
Question: How effectively does the claim act as a map for
the reader? What might the writer do to make the claim more effective?
The claim is a good map. The writer should make the claim
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.
Question: Does my paper flow?
: Not really.
Question/Concern: Please point out to me the places where
my organization is confusing. I tend to jump around sometimes.
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
did the writer make a point (agree/disagree) in your response?
writer clearly responding to a main idea from the article?
writer given a sufficient reason (or reasons) to support h/er
opinion (telling us why)?
has the writer provided well-developed evidence (showing us why)?
are the reasons and evidence focused? That is, do they connect
to each other and back to the overall point the writer is trying
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.