always, remember to introduce and conclude your lessons with previews
and reviews. Use transitions to maintain a connection between
daily classroom activities, assignments, and portfolio and course
points from the Writing Situation Model: Be sure to cover the
following points (in whatever order feels right for you):
·Writers have purposes for writing
·These purposes usually emerge from the writer's
cultural or social context (something happens outside the writer
that creates a need to write - something to respond to)
·Writes make choices based on the context
they are writing for (writing a letter home to your parents asking
for money is a different than writing a letter to an organization
to ask for contributions for a good cause). Therefore, different
contexts will pose different requirements, limitations, and opportunities
for a writer.
·In addition to context, writers also need
to think about readers.
·Readers have various needs and interests,
which are likewise determined by their contexts (their background,
environment and experience).
·In order to communicate effectively, a writer
must anticipate what their readers' needs and interests are.
·Cultural and social contexts shape the writing
situation, acting on both writers and readers. Key elements of
cultural context include language/media, government, shared values
and beliefs, historical events. Key elements of social context
include organizations, universities, schools, churches, businesses,
environmental groups; family, friends, and neighbors; local events
and traditions; community concerns (such as planning for growth
along the Front Range).
Introduce The "Great
Circle of Writing"
This model helps students
see the shift in their roles as writers that takes place as they
join, learn about, and now contribute to a conversation about
a publicly debated issue.
Points to bring up about
the Great Circle of Writing Model:
We begin as readers who
encounter texts as a way to learn
and explore what is happing
culturally and socially. (Portfolio 1)
Then, we become informed
readers - drawn to certain specific
issues that we want to
learn more about. That is, we became accountable members of
the conversation. (Portfolio 2)
We read and research
various texts to locate the "conversation" that surrounds
the issue we're interested in (find out what groups or individuals,
who are active in writing about the issue, are saying). (Portfolio
Then, we analyze these
texts to figure out how they are shaped by cultural and social
influences. And in turn, we consider how the texts that get
produced are shaping society and culture. (Portfolio 2)
Once we've critically
examined the existing viewpoints on an issue, we become critical
thinkers and informed writers. We then use our observations
and critical thinking skills to construct new arguments. (Portfolio
We write our own arguments
for public discourse (a specific group of readers in society)
in the hope that our opinions and views will influence society
and culture. (Portfolio 3)
Through this process, we become active participants
in society and culture. (Portfolio 3)
Contexts of Portfolio 3 (create activities and allot time as you
There are 2 arguments
students will write for Portfolio 3. At the start of the
second context, you should compare/contrast the two contexts in
detail. For now, it is important to look closely at the
first context (arguing for an academic audience). Have students
read closely over the guidelines for the first context and discuss
logistics and answer any questions students have.
The reading in Chapter
10 of the PHG support the context of arguing for an academic audience
particularly well, so try to incorporate as much of the chapter
as you can during this part of the portfolio. Ultimately,
since we want to reinforce the course goal that writing is a series
of choices, you might create an activity that covers the following
What does an academic
audience expect in terms of an argument in general? (credibility,
fairness, relevancy, interesting style, etc.)
What does an academic
audience expect specifically in terms of a claim? (something unique
and new, believable and feasible)
In terms of evidence?
(current, scholarly, accurate, well-cited, etc.)
Also discuss what academic
arguments students have encountered in their careers as students.
You can also tie in the arguments we read from the NYT
in Portfolio 1 with a bit of compare and contrast (the readers
of the NYT are educated, but since the arguments appear
in a newspaper, they have different expectations and limitations
than students' arguments will have).
(create activities and allot time as you see fit)
Activity for Developing Claims and Arguments
Discuss the types of
claims described in the PHG: value, solution/policy, fact,
cause-effect. Try to put each claim into a writing situation
(when would you use a claim of fact? A claim of value?).
You might also create
an overhead of different claims than the PHG uses and have students
identify the type of claim each one is.
Generating Claims for
the Academic Context Argument
The goal of this activity
is to help students formulate possible arguments and claims for
their issue. This activity takes place in front of the class using
the white board. Lead students through one of the following strategies.
Strategy 1: Answer the question that you explored in Portfolio
II to form an argument for Portfolio 3. For example:
If your research question
for Portfolio II was:
Who is responsible
for intervening when child abuse is suspected?
Your argumentative claim
for Portfolio III might be:
The government needs
to impose stricter laws to deter child abuse.
Teachers need to
play a more active role in preventing child abuse.
Strategy 2: Brainstorm possible arguments by describing
which parts of your issue you feel most strongly about. Then,
imagine that you were involved in a conversation surrounding these
aspects with some friends; what viewpoints might you offer? Which
positions would you agree/disagree with? What overall arguments
would you make?
Connect the activity
above to the types of claims students come up with when they answer
their research question.
Unpacking Claims for
Using the claims from
the PHG or ones you create yourself, have students unpack claims
and outline development for the claims.
For example, "exams
do not accurately measure a student's intelligence; therefore,
portfolios should be used instead" may work well because
there are implied claims of value and fact in the solution/policy
1. the criteria for
2. exams fail at measuring
these criteria (fact)
3. portfolios will do
a better job of meeting the criteria (fact)
Development for this
claim would need address 1-3 above: what is the criteria
for intelligence? how do exams fail at measuring these?
how will portfolios do a better job of measuring?
Workshop Claims in
After students write
their own claims, do a mini-workshop where more than one student
provides another with feedback on the effectiveness of the claim
(what type of claim is this? what evidence will be needed
to support it? how will readers react to the claim?).
You can also have students answer workshop questions for their
the day’s activities (3 minutes)
to conclude each class session. When you or a student does
this, take special care to make clear their connection to both
Portfolio 2 and larger course goals. Take care to provide some
sort of conclusion to each class.