By referring to your agenda on the
board or by previewing the day's goals/objectives, introduce the
class session for your students. Today is also probably
a good day to remind students of the limited add/drop period for
the class, to be sure you have all New York Times subscriptions
filled out and faxed, and to finalize entries into your grade
Up: For each class you teach, you should
write an Introduction. It is important
to establish in students' minds what the goals for each
class meeting are. You can provide an overview or forecast
of the day's activities and connect these activities to
the class, week, portfolio and course goals. If you do so,
students will know what to expect, can begin to connect
past and future classes, and can see plainly what you have
in mind for the day.
There are any number
of ways to do this. To start with, you might provide a title
or theme and then list the activities you have planned for
the day on one of the sides of your marker board, leaving
room for other purposes you might have for the board including
use of the overhead projector. You can put a check by each
item as you accomplish it, or you can just proceed through
the list. Doing a forecast can help both you and your students
stay on track. Another advantage of this technique, especially
in the first few days of class is that your writing on the
board provides something purposeful for you to do as students
arrive at class. Your materials will already be organized
and ready on the table. Writing on the board, you will appear
to your students to be in charge and to have a plan! Then
be sure to stop your board writing at the correct start
time of class. Doing this will establish right up front
that you start class right on time and expect them to be
there at the beginning, too.
session (2-3 minutes)
who you are/introduce yourself for those who missed the
previous class session or just added the course.
Provide an overview
of what you'll cover during the class session and/or refer
to the agenda you have put on the board.
Or you might say
something like the following: Today we'll be returning
to the idea of how context influences our choices and actions.
By understanding how writers are influenced by various contexts,
you will hopefully learn to make more confident and accurate
choices with your own writing (in both academic and non-academic
situations). Also, we will discuss the specifics of the
Portfolio 1 assignment and will learn critical reading strategies
that will help you in CO150 and beyond.
Take roll (3-5
Call out names
and record attendance on your roll sheet or using the note
cards you received during the previous class session.
Once you've gotten through your roll, ask if there is anyone
Be aware that there may
a number of new faces today.
As with the previous class session, do not promise any
extra students that they will be able to enroll or "override."
Firstly, the English department works hard to keep our
writing courses capped at low numbers. Overriding extra
students into sections jeopardizes this and also creates
extra work for you. Secondly, even if someone is
on your roll but isn't in the class the first day, the
add/drop policy requires only students who don't attend
the first TWO classes to be automatically dropped (you
will receive a note from the department administrative
assistants regarding automatically dropping "no shows"
by the end of the week). Thus, you might have students
who don't come the first day but show up for the second
class. Suggest that students who wish to get into
your section that they are welcome to stay for class but
dialing in through RamWeb (the online student enrollment
process) provides the best chance to enroll.
Remind students that they
cannot drop the course after the date on the orange add/drop
sheet you handed out--no
if's, and's or but's. They also cannot withdraw
from CO150 as they might from other courses. If they
want out, they must do it by the drop date, which is generally
the end of the first week of classes.
Hand out materials to new students
Hand out the New
York Times subscription form to new students. At this time,
you can also a note card for students to fill out if you
are doing so. You may want to ask new students to stay a
moment after class so that they can do this as well.
transition to next activity
that you have read through your students' expectations (from
the WTL from the previous class session) and you would like
to address some of the expectations as well as remind them
of your policies/expectations.
might say something like the following:
that I've read the rest of your expectations from the previous
class session, I would like to address some in more detail
and remind you of some of the class policies and my expectations.
responses from the WTLs completed on the first day of class.
any student concerns
that didn't come up on the first day. Also, you can explain
dual focus for
Writing is our primary concern, so we'll spend a lot
of time emphasizing things like purpose, audience, and
context. (We tend not to focus on skills, such as grammar
and mechanics, as much as we do on larger concepts and
approaches to writing; however, we will work individually
with students who face some challenges with grammar and
mechanics and can address whole class concerns in this
area when there appears to be a pattern of error.
Public discourse is our secondary focus (since it is
an ideal topic for exploring the complexity of writing
situations), so we'll also be looking at important social
and political issues.
You may wish at this point to also address any expectations
they 've articulated that you believe will clearly
NOT be covered by CO150. This helps to clarify what the
course will and will not do and it allows you to legitimize
their goals, even if these goals lie outside the bounds of
this composition course.
Transition to Next Activity
off of yesterday's discussion about context, we need to consider
how context influences the writing you did for class today.
Spend some time discussing the experience
of writing the homework for today. You should apply the
Writing Situation Model to students' experiences.
What influenced students
to make the choices they did?
What was their purpose
Their perceived audience?
Did anyone stray from the prompt?
Why or why not?
Transition to Next Activity
about our choices for reading is just as important as thinking
about our choices for writing. For homework, you read an
article by Lizabeth Cohen and you read about critical reading
strategies in the Prentice Hall Guide. During the
next few activities we will focus on these.
students to identify what it means to be a "critical reader."
What makes an effective critical reader? How does one become a
close reader of the text? What can you do to be more active and
critical when reading an essay?
the following from the PHG:
or survey your reading. This means looking over the reading
before you begin it. With the NYT that would involve reading
the news summary on page 2 before you read articles. Previewing
allows you to estimate length/time requirements, activate what
you know about the topic, prepare yourself for the content by
reading the introduction and conclusion before your read all
the way through.
reading strategies (marginal markings, notes outside of text)
that challenge the ideas in the text
the context in which the essay was written
your context (what you are bringing to your reading and why
you react the way you do)
cultural context influences your reading (turn the critical lens
inward and examine your beliefs and influences)
Transition to Next Activity
let's apply our critical reading skills to Cohen's article.
As you discuss Cohen's
article, demonstrate critical reading skills and strategies.
To get the discussion going, you might put the following questions
(or some of them or questions of your own) on an overhead or have
students do a Write to Learn that answers questions about the
What is the essence
of Cohen's position on the issue of consumption in America?
Where in the text do
you see her position most clearly stated?
How does she support
What type of conversation
in our society do you feel Cohen's article is most likely a part
of? That is, who might discuss this issue and/or where would
it be discussed?
Do you think Cohen makes
a valid point about consumption in our society? Why or why
Does this article strike
a chord with you as a consumer? Explain.
Transition to Next Activity
using a transition such as the following: Now let’s take what
we know of the article and apply the Writing Situation Model to
the discussion of Cohen’s article.
Our goal here is to help students
see the connection between the WSM and Cohen's choices in writing
her article and publishing it in the New York Times.
(You may want to do some background research on Cohen to have
up your sleeve. Be sure students note the date of the article--before
the holidays and after 9/11--as this level of social and cultural
context plays a role in Cohen's influences and argument.)
As an historian in the
U.S., what might motivate Cohen to write about this issue to begin
What larger writing
situation (beyond the New York Times) is Cohen part of?
Apparent through the
byline, Cohen has written a book about this issue. Why do
you think she chose to publish an article version as an editorial
in the New York Times?
Who do you think Cohen
imagined as her audience for her book? For this article?
What choices did Cohen make to meet
the change in expectations for those differing audiences?
What limitations did she accommodate for both audiences?
How does our culture
influence her position on the issue? How does our culture
influence how we, or her intended audience members, read her work?
Transition to Next Activity
using a transition like the following: For Portfolio 1,
your purpose is to provide a summary and response to an article
we will have read. So even though your audience will mostly
be concerned with your response, summary is still an important
concept. If your summary is inaccurate or incomplete, your response
will no doubt be misguided as well. Today (and for our homework
next time) we are going to practice some restraint and only summarize
ideas from the document in question.
Have students look over
pages 160-161 in the Prentice Hall Guide for a few minutes.
You should also prepare an overhead since some students may
not have purchased books yet.
Then use these questions
as a guide for this discussion. You may pick and choose from this
selection or add some of your own questions to meet the goal of
introducing academic summary. (See page 160 - 161 in the PHG
for summary guidelines, and view the Teaching Guide on Types
of Summary and Response at: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/summaryresponse/
when planning this activity). It helps to use the board to focus
this activity. You can create two columns: General Summary
and Academic Summary. Then, list generated responses
beneath the appropriate titles. Note: possible responses and prompts
are listed in parenthesis following the questions.
What is summary (in
general)? Where do you see summary used in our society?
When was the last time you summarized something that you
did or saw (perhaps in an e-mail to a friend or on the phone)?
What is usually your goal
or purpose for summarizing? (to inform or entertain; to give
an overall impression without all the boring details)
Are your summaries objective
(fairly representing everyone/everything involved) or are they
subjective, colored by your own opinions or point of view?
How do you think general
summaries compare to academic summaries? What are the similarities
and differences? (academic summaries are more objective and
focus on main ideas rather than events)
What are the purposes
for an academic summary (consider the context for Essay 1)?
How is this different from a general summary?
On the board or on an
overhead, have students compile the components of summary they
learned about in their homework reading. This is a good
opportunity to use a student scribe particularly if you are writing
on the board. Once the components are on the board, discuss
each one briefly and answer questions students have about them.
Summary Principles to Cohen's article (10 minutes)
Our goal here is to give students a good
foundation for writing their summaries for homework.
How will you introduce
the article and its writing situation to your audience?
What is the main idea of Cohen's article? What are the
key points she uses to support that idea? Where do you
find these in her article? [Engage students in writing
these down in preparation for their homework.]
What details do you feel are okay to leave out in this summary?
How will you credit Cohen's
ideas or words within your own words?
You might have students
get into pairs groups and practice writing a summary of Cohen's
Today you might have
a student recapitulate the main objectives you discussed today
or you might write your own conclusion. You might say something
like, "Today we discussed Cohen's article and her position
on one issue of public discourse. We also began preparing for
the summary aspect of Portfolio 1. Your homework will be
to put the summary skills we discussed today into action in your
Assign the homework
due for the next class session.
You should also let
students know that, after this week, they should begin accessing
homework via the Calendar feature on your class page on the Writing
Studio. You should provide instructions for how they can
do this (an instructions handout is available in the Appendix).
You should also decide if you want students to create Writing
Studio accounts before you enter them into your Studio Class or
if you want to enter them first. If you want enter students
first, it is helpful to get their email addresses in class as
soon as possible.