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
You should read and
provide immediate and substantial whole-class feedback on students'
Working Bibliographies and provide quick feedback to individuals
via the Writing Studio (the first goal for this week). You can
award simply a check for completion (or whatever mechanism you
have for recording homework) but is important that students are
held accountable for the steps of the research process.
To make the feedback
more interactive, create an activity that is based on what you
observe in the bibliographies so far. You can also simply
create an overhead with examples of what students are doing well
and what they could improve.
Analysis (create activities and allot time as you see fit)
are two main aspects of analysis that we need to solidify in this
unit. The first is a general idea of what it means to analyze
in general. Connecting this concept back to the Analytical/Evaluative
Response from Portfolio 1 will be helpful in solidifying this
aspect of the concept of analysis.
an activity that refreshes students' memories about the Analytical/Evaluative
was your purpose? What process did you follow when analyzing
the text? What did you need to establish before you could
begin that process?
aspect of analysis functions on a number of levels: In terms
of analyzing the sources students will use for their annotated
bibliographies and ultimately their arguments in Portfolio 3,
they will need to analyze the credibility and effectiveness of
the source. This should be familiar to them from Portfolio
1. However, we take this a step farther in Portfolio 2 in
that students must also be able to recognize and analyze the different
values, beliefs, and purposes writers hold when writing about
a publicly debated issue.
Adding the next level
second aspect of analysis is actually similar to synthesis--what
we do after breaking something down, how we put it back together. This
aspect asks students to find common themes or threads among various
sources' positions. Arranging different sources accordingly
is the ultimate goal of the Annotated Bibliography.
begin teaching these essential and challenging aspects of analysis,
lay the foundation by using the following activities (you may
want to revisit the Key Terms and Definitions section from Week
6 before doing them).
Two Examples of Activities
for Analysis (15-20
minutes each, but feel free to stretch or shrink according to
your additional plans)
1 taught us that analysis involves breaking a subject down into
its parts, so let's practice this again:
in a variety of objects (fruit, toys, poems, photographs, journals/magazines,
etc.). Have students analyze the different parts of the objects. For
example, if you are working with fruit, you might bring in a red
apple, a green apple, a tomato, a green banana, a pear, and an
on the board the characteristics that distinguish these items
as "fruit": have seeds, grow on trees or vines,
etc. Come to the conclusion that, yes, each of these items
qualifies as a fruit.
on the board what distinguishes these items from each other: color,
shape, where they grow, how they grow, type of skin, how we eat
the two lists on the board and while you are doing so, you or
a student might group the fruit according to the categories on
the board. You will end up with a variety of ways to "organize"
the fruit. For instance:
apples, the tomato and the orange are all relatively round
red apple and the tomato are red; the green banana, the pear and
the green apple are all green; the orange stand alone
can eat the seeds of a banana and a tomato; we can't eat the seeds
of the rest of the fruit
the pear, the banana, the orange and the apples all grow on trees;
the tomato grows on a vine
can do similar activities using other objects, but the goal is
to generate and answer the questions: What are the parts
of the object? What makes these objects different? Where
are they similar? How can we break the group apart and put
it back together in different ways?
activity takes the previous one a bit deeper as it connects values,
beliefs, purposes, and concerns to people who might be active
in the debate.
high school most of us learned to simplify approaches into two
categories, "pro" and "con," in order to examine
a debate. However, shared approaches typically run much deeper
than "pro" and "con" since every person's
views are complicated by various social and cultural factors.
Here's an example: Let's say we reduced the issue of legalizing
drugs to "pro" and "con"--then it could be
said that both government officials and members of religious groups
take the same shared approach toward legalizing drugs, since both
groups oppose making these substances legal. A closer examination
of the arguments made by members of each group indicates, however,
that they do not share the same views. Government representatives
are likely to oppose legalization because they claim that drugs
are harmful to society as a whole. In contrast, authors who oppose
legalization because of their religious beliefs might do so largely
because it goes against the teaching of their faiths.
consider another group--parents. Some of these individuals may
oppose drug legalization because their children have become victims
of drug abuse. These individual positions would differ from those
advanced by members of the previous groups due to different experiences
that have shaped parents' lives. However, depending on the specific
argument they make, a parent who writes a text protesting the
legalization of drugs might share the approach taken by a government
official or member of a religious group. Thus, although a parent
will have his or her own individual position on this issue, he
or she would take the same shared approach as that taken by certain
government officials and members of particular religious groups.
another group weighing in on the issue of legalization is civil
libertarians-who believe that individuals should be free to make
decisions about drug use free of regulation by the government.
These authors argue that drug use is an individual choice and,
even if it harms the individual, is nonetheless something that
the individual should be free to do. This argument is similar
in many ways to arguments about mandatory use of helmets on motorcycles
and even to some arguments that "risky" sports such as skiing
should not be regulated by the government.
additional groups interested in this issue adopt economic approaches.
One group argues that the amount of money the government is spending
attempting to combat drug use has largely been wasted. Since drug
use has declined only somewhat since the government began fighting
the drug war, the government should reconsider its tactics and,
as it did when it lifted the prohibition on alcohol, legalize
drug use. The core of this argument is that the money now spent
on the drug ware would be better spent on societal needs. The
other group taking an economic approach - albeit a very different
approach - are companies that would view the legalization of drugs
such as marijuana as a threat to their viability might include
representatives of alcohol and tobacco companies. It's fair to
say that alcohol and tobacco companies don't oppose drug use solely
because drugs are harmful to people (after all, the consumption
of both results in many deaths per year). It's also fair to say
that these authors would be unlikely to come out and say, "Don't
legalize drugs because it will cost us money." As a result, while
representatives of tobacco and alcohol companies might oppose
legalization of drugs for economic reasons, they would probably
avoid couching their arguments in those terms.
Connecting to Students' Own Writing (5-7 minutes)
these examples, clearly it would be inaccurate to clump these
very different arguments into "pro" and "con".
If we did, much of the meaning or truth behind the issue would
be lost. The goal for a "good" writer of public discourse
should always be to produce texts that seek to fairly represent
the issues (for the betterment of society). Thus, it can be viewed
as dishonest for writers to reduce the complexity of an issue
unnecessarily. In part, this is why you (student writers) are
being asked to think critically about these different individual
positions and shared approaches.
you've read and summarized your sources, look for common threads
that cut across sources as a way to group them into different
shared approaches. Here's what it might look like for the example
Legalization of Drugs
Approach 1: Oppose legalization because it is harmful to society
as a whole
Approach 2: Oppose legalization for moral reasons because it is
against religious teachings
Approach 3: Favor legalization for individual rights reasons
Approach 4: Favor legalization for economic reasons because the
war against drugs has been ineffective
Approach 5: Oppose legalization for economic reasons
course, you could argue that the government is also economically
motivated and that representatives of alcohol and tobacco companies
may legitimately believe that drugs are harmful to society. If
the support for these claims outweighs the others, you'd need
to group the positions of authors arguing about differently. Keep
in mind that grouping positions into approaches is far from an
exact science; you'll need to read various arguments before generalizing
views into approaches in order to represent each group fairly.
could have students "role play" the people involved
in this conversation/debate or create your own or an additional
debate that students enact to drive this point home. It's
a tough one!
Position Analysis (create activities and allot time as you see
the Personal Position Analysis as a way to begin analyzing a person
active in the debate about each student's issue; it should be
a short analytical paper. You can turn this worksheet into
an activity or series of activities that culminates in the paper. This
process allows students to experience what they will need to do
for the authors whom they are reading.
Position Analysis Worksheet
of now, what is your position on this issue?
is your tentative claim? (State as a complete sentence.)
are some reasons you'll use to support that claim? (State each
reason as a complete sentence.)
why you take the position you do—not so much your logic or reasoning
but the contextual influences that may have shaped your position.
Where did you grow up? Describe your neighborhood, school, hometown?
How might your local community have influenced the way you view
Describe your values and beliefs, your convictions and/or where
you get your morals or your sense of right and wrong. What helps
you to define what's right and wrong? Where do you think your
sense of values came from? How might these values, beliefs, convictions,
and morals affect your views of the issue you're writing about?
What people have been most influential in shaping your views?
How do they influence your ideas? How might they influence the
way you view this particular issue?
Describe any biases that you have that may influence how you view
this issue. Do you have something to gain personally from taking
the position you do? If so, what is it?
Can you think of any specific personal experiences (event, story,
film, book) that may have influenced the way you view this issue?
How might your education affect your position on this issue? How
were you schooled—at home, or in a public, private, religious,
charter, or alternative institution? Have you received formal
education or training from work or service-related affiliations?
Has your education extended beyond the classroom—via travel or
unique circumstances? How might your education—in and out of schoold--have
influenced your views on this issue?
How has the research you have done thus far on your issue affected
your position? Explain. What values, beliefs, purposes
or concerns do you share with the sources you have found? Where
do your values or beliefs diverge from your sources?
choose two or three of the most significant points from your responses
to discuss in a focused personal position analysis of approximately
Once you have introduced the analysis, you can give students
some time in class to work on it over 1-2 classes and then finish
it for homework.
use classroom discussion time to dig deeply into personal convictions
and where they come from. You might try using small groups to
discuss the factors or influences that students surmise have contributed
to the formation of their own positions on an issue. Students
might be urged to think of this as a "coming clean" exercise,
in which each student acknowledges the forces that have shaped
his or her opinions.
the Personal Position Analysis (create activities and allot time
as you see fit)
the NYT to help make a transition from personal positions (and
their associated values and beliefs) to others' values, beliefs,
several articles to demonstrate a few issues that are only issues
(debatable) because of the clash of values and beliefs. Ask students
to do the same with their articles. A WTL with a news clipping
attached would be a good way to obtain a sense of how all students
are doing with this analysis.
Personal Position Analysis to the analysis of other sources and
writers--their positions, and their contexts
the same sorts of context questions from the Personal Position
Analysis to sources and their authors. This is a good process
to demonstrate for your students. You might find a short
article that you find interesting in the NYT or use an
article from another source. Point out passages in the text
that indicate the values, beliefs or biases the writer holds (you
might tie this skill back to the Interpretive/Reflective Response
in that we will need to read between the lines sometimes for analysis).
However, since determining an author's values, beliefs, affiliations,
etc. is not always apparent from the text itself, illustrate how
you researched the author's background via the web or another
source. Inform students that, yes, this a fair amount of
work but it will pay off in Portfolio 3 and is necessary for the
type of analysis we are asking them to do.
a framework for applying the Position Analysis to outside sources
(You can use the Template for Position Analysis of a Single Source
located among the materials at the start of this portfolio.) Using
the board or the overhead, make a template of this grid for students
to draw on notebook paper and devote a few pages of their notes
to. They can use the grid to explore the relationships between
the contexts and positions. As students find sources and evaluate
those sources' contributions to the discussion, they can use the
grid to analyze the factors that influence the positions represented.
When students begin to see multiple sources with similar convictions,
guided by parallel values, beliefs and affiliations, or motivated
by similar purposes, then they are ready to start moving their
Position Analysis information into the Composite Grid, which is
also included among the introductory materials to this portfolio.
Students should obtain at least 15 substantial sources, which
can be pared down to a minimum of 10 sources and a minimum of
3 approaches for the Annotated Bibliography.
Position Analysis of a Single Source can be applied gradually
to sources over the course of a few weeks in class, and students
should be encouraged to include all such work in their process
materials for Portfolio 2, to return to it frequently in upcoming
classes, and to bring it (along with the Composite Grid) to the
student-instructor conference in Week 9. It is not necessary to
give the grid as a formal homework assignment. Instead, encourage
students to use it as an independent thinking tool. See the sample
below as well as the expanded one in the introductory pages of
title, publisher, other sources cited in the text
Write the claim/these here
Provide evidence of this here
Background, & Affiliations:
Provide evidence of this here
Interests, Biases, & Personal
Provide evidence of this here
Beliefs, Attitudes, & Convictions:
Provide evidence of this here
are indicators of affiliation:
Provide evidence of this here
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.