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
Zukin's and Gordon's Articles (10-12 minutes)
Design an activity that
allows students to apply the WSM to Zukin's and Gordon's articles
and flesh out the main idea and key points from each.
Divide students into
groups based on who summarized each article. Have each group
create a group summary based on the individual summaries each
Using the summaries
students wrote for homework, generate a class summary on an overhead
or on the board.
a Transition to the Next Activity
might focus on the purpose of writing a response and say something
like: The next response we will be examining is the Interpretive/Reflective
Response. This response draws on the same critical reading
and thinking skills as the Agree/Disagree Response but has a different
purpose. Your homework will be to write an Interpretive/Reflective
Response to Zukin's article.
the purpose of the Interpretive/Reflective Response from your
previous overhead or create a new one (2 minutes)
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.
Solidify Key Terms
of Interpretive/Reflective Response (3-5 minutes)
terms that you will need to solidify with your students for the
Interpretive/Reflective Response are "assumptions" and
"implications." It's a good idea to let students
know that the following definitions are how we will be using these
terms in class but that they might be used differently in other
an assumption is what a person believes to be true. However, assumptions
are not always true; they are not shared by everyone or supported
by unquestionable evidence. Writers make different assumptions
based on their background and experience. Subsequently, assumptions
inform a writer's argument. If you look closely at a writer's
use of language, tone, and evidence you can sense the assumptions
a writer is making about their topic and their audience (their
beliefs, their values, and their expectations).
an implication is a suggestion that is not directly stated. Writers
may imply something when they are hesitant to write a bold statement
or reluctant to make unsupported claims (for example, a writer
may not state that the Vice President is too old to be in office
or that Americans are careless and greedy, since this could be
viewed as inappropriate or offensive to a reader. But the argument
may suggest this none the less). This type of implication is usually
driven by the writer's opinions, so it tends to be hidden "between
the lines." In order to fully understand an argument, you'll
want to locate the implications a writer's argument makes.
can also be the logical ramifications of an argument that the
writer may or may not be aware of. For example, one of the implications
of making abortion illegal is that back alley abortions would
increase and the fatality rate, due to botched abortions, would
rise. One way to look for this kind of implication in an argument
is to ask, "What does this argument suggest is happening
or could happen in the future? Does the argument hint at an escalating
problem? Does it suggest anything in the way of "effects" or what
could result if a particular action is taken?
Have students practice
using the terms assumptions and implications
the following questions or devise your own to get students thinking
about what "assumptions"
assumptions might we make about:
who reads the Collegian?
who reads the Wall Street Journal?
who watches Dawson 's Creek?
who watches Star Trek?
who lives in San Francisco ?
who lives in Salt Lake City ?
this activity to reinforce the point that assumptions aren't always
completely fair and shared by everyone but that they can beneficial
to writing and reading texts. Also, remind them that assumptions
are shaped by one's own experience and environment. Include the
following questions to show students why it is important to examine
a writer's assumptions:
are readers likely to agree with a writer's assumptions?
When can assumptions be beneficial to a writer's text?
What risks does a write run if s/he makes an over generalized
or inaccurate assumption?
your own activity where you get students to practice using the
term "implications" (8-10 minutes)
might use advertisements, look at political cartoons/arguments,
or develop sample claims/arguments that contain various implications.
the end of the activity, make sure students understand the distinction
between assumptions and implications. If they don't fully understand,
inform them that assumptions already exist without the argument.
Assumptions inform a writer's position. Implications result from
the writer's argument. They might think of implications as the
possible or probable consequences of the argument's acceptance
a Transition to the Next Activity
Interpretive/Reflective Strategies to Zukin's and Gordon's Articles
(10 minutes total)
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.
Response is challenging for both students and instructors which
is why so much of today is devoted to its explanation. If,
however, you find that you and your students get on the same page
quickly, you might have students begin drafting their Interpretive/Reflective
Response at the end of class.