Week Three - Thursday, September 8th

Thursday, September 8:  Daily Class Outline

Lesson Objectives

To review strategies for writing an evaluative response and to allow students time to practice these strategies with articles previously read.

Connection to Course Goals

Teaching students to write evaluative responses contributes to their "tool box" of response approaches. It also helps them become critical readers by asking them to examine a text closely and evaluate its parts.

Complete a Postscript for Portfolio I (5 - 10 minutes)

While you take attendance, have students complete a postscript (reflective writing) for Portfolio I - Part A. Ask them to comment on what they view as the most successful part of their portfolio and what areas could still use improvement. If they had more time to complete the portfolio, what would they work on? What did they learn from completing this portfolio? Which assignments or class discussions were most helpful? You might also ask them to comment on the usefulness of the workshop.

Collect Portfolio I - Part A (Explain that you will return portfolios next Thursday so they may take your feedback into account when they write Portfolio I - Part B).

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Introduce Portfolio I - Part B (5 - 10 minutes)

Distribute the assignment sheet for Portfolio I - Part B and ask students to read through it. Take any questions they have and highlight important parts. Ask them to compare the similarities and differences to Part A. What skills have they already gained? What skills/concepts will they need to learn to complete this portfolio?

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Review: Analyzing the Effectiveness of a Text (5 minutes)

Remind students that the 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.

Analyzing a text is not completely separate from agreeing/disagreeing. Typically, if a reader disagrees with a writer's argument, he/she will show why their text is ineffective (illogical, poorly supported, offensive, confusing, etc…). Likewise, if a reader agrees with an author's ideas, he/she is more likely to show why their text is effective (logical, well supported, clear, fair, etc…). However, this is not always the case (a reader may agree with a writer's points but argue that they made their points ineffectively); but it's often the case. You might ask students to discuss why this is (i.e. we're more likely to see the flaws in an argument we disagree with and overlook the flaws in an essay we agree with).

Remind students that they may bring in outside material for this type of response, but that it is more common to use the text itself as support. (i.e. If I'm claiming that Elmasry's tone is offensive, I need to show examples from his writing to support this).

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Practice Analyzing the Effectiveness of a Text (20 minutes)

In groups, have students look at one of the texts they've read so far (they should have brought these to class) and analyze the effectiveness of the writing. Each group should use a different article (you decide which groups work with which article). The articles that are likely to work best are: the NBC article, Katz's article, Denizet-Lewis' article and Elmasry's article. You might decide to just use these four.

Ask students to take notes on an overhead and present their findings. In addition to making observations/claims, they should support their ideas with textual evidence.

Things to look at with each article:

Present Findings (15 minutes)

Each group should present their findings on an overhead. After each group has gone, you might mention that when writing an evaluative response, they only want to look at one or two aspects of the text (i.e. logic and evidence). Otherwise, the focus is stretched too thin and the paper reads more like a list than a response. So, unlike the previous activity where you asked them to consider the many ways in which a text was effective or ineffective, their response should only focus on a couple of ideas.

Sample Transition: For this second portfolio, we're going to look at articles that address the issue of whether or not advertisements contribute to the problem of underage alcohol abuse. But before we look at these articles, let's begin with our own opinions.

Write To Learn (10 minutes)

On an overhead, ask students to respond to the following prompts:

If you have time, discuss the WTLs with students. If you don't have time for discussion, tell them to keep these ideas in mind as the read the articles for Tuesday's class. Also, let them know that you'll collect this WTL with their next portfolio.


  1. Read "Alcohol Advertising" by Dr. …Hanson and "Alcohol Advertising:Are Our Kids Collateral or Intended Targets?" by George Hacker.

  2. Type a 1-page informal response to the following questions: Which of these articles do you find more convincing? Why specifically do you find it convincing? In what ways is it effective? Bring the articles and your response to class.