By referring to your agenda on the
board or by previewing the day's goals/objectives, introduce the
class session for your students. You might say something
like: Today we're going to review summary and the Writing
Situation Model. We'll also work on some revision strategies
for summary writing. Hopefully this will help you with some
of the challenges you may have experienced in writing your summary
of Cohen's article.
On an overhead, instruct students to reflect
on the process of writing their summaries for Cohen's article.
What did they find most difficult or challenging? What did
they find easy or more accessible? What previous skills
did they draw on? What skills do they feel they'd like to
Discuss WTL responses
Have students get into
groups of three or four and ask them to discuss their responses
to the WTL. Then open the discussion up for the entire class.
As you discuss, be sure to highlight the concepts of summarizing
from the PHG. You might put these on the board or on an
overhead as a point of orientation.
Transition to Next Activity
using a transition such as the following: Now that we've reviewed
the process and concepts of summary, let's expand on those by
looking at the Writing Situation Model again.
may wish to review this section carefully since you have probably
already applied the writing situation model to Cohen in the last
class, but use this opportunity to cover any points you didn’t
get to, to quickly review past points relating to the Writing
Situation Model’s application to Cohen, or to enlarge upon the
points with the substance provided below. The goal for this activity
is to help students learn to summarize by considering an author's
purpose, audience, readers, and context. The PHG suggests
that an academic summary should include the main points from a
text, but students often have trouble locating these. Sometimes
their attempts at representing main ideas result in incoherent
summaries that read more like a "list of semi-related ideas."
We find that students represent arguments with much more accuracy
when they address the writer's purpose (the main points seem to
emerge from this).
this activity then, you might draw the Writing Situation Model
on the board or put your overhead up (the same one you introduced
on Day 2).
time: Can you describe Cohen's text?
was this text was written and where did it appear?
Cohen's intended audience for the article? For her book?
were her purposes for writing this text? What was she trying to
cultural phenomena or larger cultural trends, currents, or pressures
is Cohen's criticism a response? (Possible answers might include:
issues like identity and material status, effects of consumption
on the environment, effects of advertising on consumers--e.g.
childhood obesity--affluence in America, taxation, "democratic"
To what extent is the controversy over consumption in America
a part of Cohen’s readers' cultural environment or experience?
How might this affect the way they read and respond to Cohen’s
assumptions might Cohen have made about her readers’ needs or
interests? What did she think they needed?
right to assume these things? Why/why not?
whom her readers are and what she was trying to accomplish, how
effective is Cohen's article?
Transition to Next Activity
using a transition like the following: Looking at the responses
we've just compiled, why is it important to think critically about
a text's writing situation? Why is it especially helpful
to do so before writing an academic summary and response to an
author's text (like you'll do in Portfolio 1)?
the importance of purpose, audience, readers, and context for
writing summary/response essays by using student responses to
your transition questions
Some possible responses:
important for us to understand the writer's situation in order
to treat his/her text accurately and fairly.
us maintain greater objectivity and represent the writer's
key points rather than our own interpretation of these points.
about purpose and audience helps us find the main ideas and key
points in a text.
an author's context (his/her relationship to a topic and the cultural
need to write about it) helps ward off emotional reactions such
as, "I don't know what Cohen is talking about--what I buy
doesn't affect anyone but me!"
ask students if there is any information listed on the board that
they should include in their academic summaries:
and audience (where/when it was written and for whom)
for writing (why the writer has produced this text and to what
it is responding)
Be sure to emphasize purpose. Tell students that knowing a writer's
purpose will help them locate key points and evidence (you might
even have them add "State the writer's purpose" to the
criteria in the PHG). Also, tell them that it is not enough to just list key
points and evidence when summarizing. They should explain how
key points and evidence function in the text (or how they help
serve the writer's purpose - this should be clearer once you've
discussed quoting and paraphrasing in more detail).
Transition to Next Activity
we summarize, it's not enough to merely list key points or string
quotes together. We need to explain how key points and evidence
support the author's main idea. We also need to quote and
paraphrase the author's ideas accurately.
effective use of paraphrasing and quoting (10 minutes)
an activity where you model effective and ineffective use of paraphrasing
and quoting. You might prepare examples beforehand OR have students
help generate ideas using Cohen’s article. Cover the following
points (Use page 194 in the PHG as a guide):
1. Discuss when it is
necessary to use author tags and how students should attribute
other writers' words (as a rule of thumb the PHG indicates that
we should attribute anything we did not know prior to
research, etc.). Also discuss the concept of paraphrasing
in detail. Paraphrasing is NOT using the thesaurus to change
every other word of another writer's sentence, it is restating
the author's ideas in your own words.
2. Discuss where and
how often students should use paraphrasing and quoting in their
summaries. (For example: It is ineffective to string together
several quotes, as this infringes on the writer's voice and can
become what is known as a "quotation quilt" [see PHG for more
explanation of this notion]; but it is also ineffective to paraphrase
too often, as ideas need to be supported with textual evidence).
3. Explain that quotes
need to logically fit into the sentence structure. For example (feel free to revise and add your
Ungrammatical: Cohen reports that the Macy's Annual
Report "for 1955 called "middle income groups"
explicitly distanced themselves from consumers deemed undesirable
because they were too poor, black, or young and unruly."
Cohen reiterates the 1955 Macy's Annual Report's indication that
"'middle income groups' explicitly distances themselves from
consumers deemed undesirable because they were too poor, black,
or young and unruly."
Quilt: Cohen says that "a lack of encouragement"
for "public transportation" for the "low-paid,
urban workers who now dominate shopping center sales forces"
is causing inequality.
More Effective: Cohen
indicates that a lack of support for public transportation provided
to underpaid, commuting mall-workers contributes to social inequality.
any other points on quoting and paraphrasing mentioned in the
PHG or that you
feel are important here at the beginning.
Example of how to summarize
key points and evidence and incorporate quotes and paraphrases
You can use the example
provided here (and revise it as you see fit) or one of your students'
own summaries to illustrate this. If you use a student's
writing in class, try to clear it with h/er before you show it
to the rest of the class. Also introduce the piece as having been
written by a peer. Doing so can avoid any inappropriate
comments and also make the showing of student work a goal or privilege
to which students can aspire.
Cohen makes an argument
about the detriments of consumption on equality in America.
She is responding to the government's and businesses' call to
"spend more" after 9/11 to help boost our economy.
Cohen's goal is to show that consumption, as it is currently,
is problematic and that we, as consumers in America, need to think
more carefully about it.
According to Cohen,
the problem is historical and dates back to the recovery from
the Depression in the 1930's. Then, as now, the government
and business leaders and workers called for more spending and
increased consumer credit to enable this. As a result, a
pseudo-democratic idea that spending more would create more equality
among classes in the U.S. was born. "Citizens, living
better than before, would be on equal footing with their prospering
neighbors" (Cohen). Cohen does not believe spending
more creates more inequality. In fact, she argues just the
opposite and cites many examples of the negative effects increased
shopping and malls have had on society, and she concludes by saying,
"So before we praise consumer spending too lavishly this
holiday season, it is worth recognizing that totaling up the dollars
spent is not enough" (Cohen). Cohen wants us to think
about some of the less tangible effects our holiday shopping and
make a change.
Transition to Next Activity
is an essential part of the writing process and one of the goals
of our course. Now that we've discussed summary in more
detail, let's talk about how you revise your summaries to be as
effective as they can be.
In small groups or in
a WTL, have students make notes about how they will revise their
summaries for homework. Facilitate the application of the
prior activity as they are doing this.
Transition to Next Activity
now you should be receiving the New York Times.
Your homework for tonight is to read an article that was published
in the New York Times, so I want to talk a bit about
how the paper is laid out and how we're going to be using it for
should be receiving the New York Times by today.
You can have them bring it to class starting today or next session.
Tell students that they
will be responding to current debatable issues in their writing.
Explain that the reading of a national newspaper is one way to
begin to understand not only current events and the discourse
around publicly debated issues, but also the trends and cultural
contexts that these issues are part of. Indicate that reading
of the Times should begin immediately. Quickly show them the summary
on page 2 of the Times and indicate that a quick skim of the summary
is like reading a menu at the restaurant or like viewing the directory
at the mall. The summary provides a quick overview, preview, or
survey of the material in the entire newspaper and can quickly
direct one's reading for the day. Reassure them that most people
do NOT read the entire newspaper cover to cover but that quick
skimming, scanning, and previewing can be applied to the paper
the layout of the newspaper page (backwards 6) and the story structure
(inverted triangle/pyramid) essential story components—the 5 W’s—funneling
down to the detailed information so that the story can be cut
where space demands.) Students should be familiar with these features
of the newspaper after reading the assigned pages in the PHG.
everyone survey the paper for something of interest (articles,
ads, anything). Review the special features of each day. Point
out the editorial and Op-Ed pages and the Letters to the Editor.
the notion of the News Clip Journal and how we’ll collect a minimum
of10 articles on issues of interest, actually
physically clipping and pasting or taping them to notebook paper, culminating in a topic
proposal at the start of Portfolio 2, which comes in Week 5. They
will submit their clippings as homework atthe start of Portfolio 2.
should aim to collect an article a day. Point out that they will
need a minimum of 10 articles and a minimum of 3 issues of interest
as suggested by the newspaper by the third week of September or
start of Portfolio 2.
can have students bring their NYT to class every day,
and if there’s time before class, read a section they haven’t
gotten to yet. You can also arrange to set aside 5 minutes
at the start of each day for students talk about and share what
they're reading with you and the rest of the class.
you might have a student recapitulate the main objectives you
discussed today or you might write your own conclusion.
Remind them about where they can access their homework.
You might say something like:
Today we reviewed the guidelines for summary and discussed
how thinking about purpose, audience and context can help you
write a stronger summary/response essay.
One of the things we hope you’ll pay attention to in these
opening days and weeks of the course is the way that we are
following a conversation on a topical debate, in our case,
media and consumption in America. We are building our knowledge
base on the issue and the ongoing discussion, debate, or conversation.
As we learn more about this issue, we will discover that while
most people hold different positions on the issue for varying
reasons. These differing reasons are at the center of our discussions
and will help us to understand how people can essentially agree
(be opposed or be in support) while also holding differing positions
or differing rationales for their perspectives on a topic.
Take note of the fact that the news article by Cohen
gave us a fairly good overview of the issue and its historical
prevalence. Recommend that students refer back to Cohen from time
to time to ground themselves in the essential debate, to reflect
upon the varying contexts of the involved parties, and to consider
how their understanding of the debate has enlarged with reading.
Recommend that students use the articles that they’re
collecting in the same manner, paying attention to not only the
debate but the vested interests of the engaged parties.
A final point: As we develop our understanding of
perspectives, we learn what it means to hold a stake in an issue,
to have a vested interest, and we learn of the inevitability of
perspective, or what some may call bias. We learn to account for
perspectives, or approaches to arguments, rather than to fear,
dismiss, or disdain them.