Create an activity
that allows students to share topics/articles they've been following
and reading about in the NYT
You might make this
sharing or writing about topics a standard way to start classes
from here on out. You can vary the activity as much or as
little as you please; just keep in mind that repetitiveness or
activities without reward can squash student motivation.
a Transition to the Next Activity
Up Interpretive/Reflective Concepts (5 minutes)
essential aspects of workshop etiquette, etc. if needed
students into workshop partners* and have them add their own question
to your workshop questions.
questions you might use for this workshop include:
is the writer's claim? Circle the claim.
effectively does the claim reflect our purpose (to interpret/reflect
on the article)? Explain what the writer might do to make
this more effective.
What assumption(s) or implication(s) is the writer examining?
If the assumptions/implications are not clear, indicate what
the writer could do to strengthen them.
effectively has the writer developed the supporting evidence
for whether the assumption or implication is accurate or problematic?
*If you'd like to provide students with more than one other
set of eyes for workshop, you can have each student bring two
copies of h/er work so that more than one person can look at
the draft, or have students rotate drafts in small groups (3
usually works) in a round-robin fashion, or set up workshop
forums through the Writing Studio.
a Transition to the Next Activity
Brooks' and Krugman's Articles (10 minutes)
Apply the WSM and solidify the main
idea and key points from each article
Now that students have
read a significant amount of articles on the issue of consumerism
and consumption in America, you can work on fleshing out the finer
points in these last two articles. You might also return
to the previous articles in a general summary form and begin to
make comparisons between all of the articles.
Split the board or an
overhead in half, compile the main idea and key points from each
Divide the class into
groups and split the groups in half, assigning each half either
Brooks' or Krugman's article. Have the groups compile the
main idea/key points on an overhead to present to the class.
Introduce the purpose
and concepts of the Analytical/Evaluative Response
You might return to
your previous overhead or create a new one:
The three ways we can respond are by:
with the main idea or key points in a text
on the ideas, assumptions or implications in the text
the text's effectiveness
goal of an Agree/Disagree Response is to emphasize one important
idea from a writer's text and support or refute that idea using
reasons and evidence. Here, you want to convince a reader that
your position is a favorable one.
The goal of an Interpretive/Reflective Response is to look
critically at an argument in order to explain what it fully
means. Looking critically at a text requires you to inquire
beyond what the text actually says. One way to do this is to
locate the assumptions that inform a writer's argument and find
out what the writer's argument implies. Along the way, you may
find yourself agreeing with or refuting the writer's ideas and
the assumptions and implications that are tied to these ideas.
goal of an Analytical/Evaluative response is to determine a
text's effectiveness by examining its parts. You might look
at the purpose, the intended audience, the thesis, the main
ideas, the organization and evidence, and the language and style.
Here, your aim is to point out an essay's strong points and/or
where it falls short. Analyzing the text's effectiveness allows
you to make more informed decisions about the usefulness and
credibility of a writer's argument.
Discuss the concepts
underlying analysis and evaluation (10 minutes)
The PHG tells us that
analysis is breaking a thing into its parts so that we can closely
examine those parts. The parts themselves are then measured
against criteria (a standard of shared judgment) and our goal
is to make a convincing argument out of the value judgment we
make on the parts of the subject we're analyzing.
Create an activity that
gets students analyzing something they are familiar with.
Two examples that have worked well in the past are:
Buying a Car
What things do we look
for when buying a used car? (list the responses on the board;
responses should include things like cost, safety belts/airbags,
good tires, low-mileage, radio, clean interior, little damage
on exterior, power windows/A/C/sunroof, etc.)
Be sure students reach
a consensus about how they will judge these things (what makes
Match the list on the
board with a few hypothetical cars (1. a 1998 VW Jetta GL with
70,000 miles, excellent body condition, tape deck, new tires,
synthetic interior, A/C: $3800) 2. a 2002 Audi A4, with
Bose stereo system, leather seats, power everything including
sunroof, 120,000 miles: $10,000--you can add an excessively
"beater" car or an excessively "perfect" car,
Have students walk through the process
of evaluating: which car will they buy based on their value
Evaluating a Brief Article,
Short Story or Political Cartoon for a University Class
Select a short article or story that
can be read in class or a political cartoon. Have students
evaluate how effective the article, story or cartoon would be
for a university class (you make up the class theme, etc.).
Be sure students determine clear criteria based on the text's
appropriateness to the course.
Find 4-5 works of art
from a similar movement (realism, impressionism, self-portraits,
still-lifes, etc.) that you can share with the class.
Divide the class into
groups. Establish the criteria you will use to evaluate
how well the art would fit into a particular exhibit at the Denver
Have each group present
its rationale to the rest of the class with a claim, clear criteria
and reasons and evidence as support.
You can create similar
activities to these using movies, music, etc.
Generate a discussion
on what parts of writing we have discussed so far (purpose, audience,
focus/claim, reasons, evidence).
Ask students what other
aspects of writing are important to consider for effectiveness
(tone, style, level of language, voice, ability to generate interest
and/or discussion, organization, relevancy to readers' lives,
might put these on an overhead so that you can apply them to Brooks'
and Krugman's articles the next class session.
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 use to write their Interpretive/Reflective
Responses. Remind students where they can access their homework.