Portfolio 1 Guidelines
Portfolio 1: Summarizing and Responding to an Article
Since our world is changing so quickly, it is important to keep up with conversations that are going on about publicly debated issues. One way we can do this is by following the news. For this portfolio, we will examine a series of articles about a current hot topic in our society: consumerism and consumption in America.
Over the next few weeks, we will read seven articles from the New York Times about the issue of consumerism and consumption in America. We will begin with an article by Lizabeth Cohen that provides some background on the issue. We will discuss strategies for summarizing and responding to Cohen and the subsequent articles in preparation for the first part of this portfolio: the Summary and Response Essay. Then we will look more closely at Letters to the Editor of the New York Times to prepare you for revising your Summary and Response Essay into a Letter to the Editor of your own.
Your goal in this portfolio is to display your understanding of an article and convey your response to that article's content in the form of Summary and Response Essay for an academic audience and then as a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times . Unlike some responses you might encounter in your academic and civic lives, however, your response will go beyond mere opinion because throughout the portfolio you will learn how to effectively use reasons and evidence to support your opinion so that your reaction is informed and responsible.
The audience for your Summary and Response Essay is an academic one consisting primarily of our class. As a result you will need to be aware of your audience's needs and expectations concerning a Summary and Response Essay; you will learn these as we progress through the portfolio. For your Letter to the Editor, your audience will include the editor of the New York Times but will also extend to the paper's readers. Consequently, you will need to be aware of your audience's needs and expectations for a Letter to the Editor. Although your audience is broad for the Letter to the Editor, there are a few reasonable assumptions you can make about the audience members. You can assume that your audience has a general education. You can assume the audience has as much knowledge of the issue of consumerism and consumption in America as Cohen's article describes. You cannot assume, however, that your audience has read the additional article toward which you're responding. To that end, you will want to briefly summarize the article to which you are responding to bring your audience up to speed in terms of your response.
Requirements: The polished draft of your Summary and Response should be typed in a readable 12-point font, double-spaced with one-inch margins, and approximately 750-1000 words in length. Since the context of your Summary and Response Essay solicits the use of evidence, you will need to use accurate MLA documentation within the text and in a Works Cited page.
You will then revise this initial version into a compressed version that would be appropriate for submission as a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times . This version should be typed in a readable 12-point font, double-spaced with one-inch margins, and less than 200 words in length.
Due Dates: Summary and Response Essay:
Letter to the Editor:
Complete Portfolio 1:
Grading: The complete Portfolio 1 will be worth 25% of your overall grade for the course ; it and its components will be graded on a +/- scale. The Summary and Response Essay is worth 70% of your grade for Portfolio 1 and the Letter to the Editor is worth 30%. Workshops, Clippings Journal entries, and daily assignments will be graded as homework.
The most effective text will effectively meet the needs and expectations of your audience(s). It will also accomplish its purpose to clearly, accurately, and fairly convey the main ideas of the article to which you are responding (summary). It will also contain a clear statement of your position about the article's content (your opinion/claim) and support that opinion with appropriate reasons and evidence (response). The response will also be focused and effectively organized so that your audience can follow and comprehend it with ease.