To address students’ remaining concerns about Portfolio I – Part C. To examine three sample essays as a means to discuss purpose, thesis, and support. To conduct an activity where students workshop their own papers.
Connection to Course Goals:
Today’s activities primarily encourage critical thinking and revision. Students are encouraged to think critically about other writers’ analyses and then apply the same careful attention to their own writing. During this process we hope to direct their attention to the importance of constructing a clear purpose and thesis, as well as maintaining strong focus and developing detailed support.
Write to Learn (5 – 7 minutes)
Ask students to respond to the following questions: What do you like about your draft so far? What questions or confusions do you still have? What challenges are you facing in writing this essay? What steps could you take between now and Wednesday to address these obstacles?
Discuss the Write to Learn (5 - 7 minutes)
Call on students to see what their responses to the WTL were and address their concerns. If their questions are too specific and don’t pertain to the interests of others, ask them to talk with you outside of class (otherwise you can get bogged down in a 10 minute, isolated conversation with one student).
Sample Transition: Some of your questions and concerns may be addressed as we examine and discuss the sample analysis essays you’ve read for today.
Discuss Sample Essays (20 minutes)
Discuss all three essays that students read for today’s class - Adam Forrest, Karyn Lewis and Jean Kilbourne. (If you already did one of these essays last week, you would discuss just two.) You might facilitate this as a whole class discussion or put students in groups and have each group focus on a different essay. If students work in groups, ask them to take notes and prepare to report on their findings to the class.
Cover these points:
What is each writer’s purpose?
How well does each writer summarize or describe the ads they are analyzing? Are their descriptions thorough and clear? Are they engaging? Why or why not?
Locate the thesis statement for each essay. Does the writer stick to their thesis claim throughout?
How does each writer support their arguments (find two specific examples of support from each)?
Do you find their support effective? Why or why not?
After students share responses to these questions, highlight the strengths from each essay and remind students that they will want to demonstrate similar strengths in their own essays. You might also explain that students may use points from Kilbourne, Hanson, and Hacker’s articles to support their own analysis wherever appropriate.
Transition: Develop a transition here.
Conduct a Writing Workshop (30 minutes)
Students have already had some practice work-shopping each other’s papers. Now they will have the opportunity to workshop their own papers. This activity is useful because students often don’t read and revise their own work. This workshop allows them to examine their writing carefully and consider how to revise it.
Ask students to take out their drafts. Before beginning the workshop, they should read their papers silently. Then, ask them the following questions and give them a couple of minutes to respond to each question:
What is working in your draft so far? Highlight the sections of your paper that you think are particularly effective. Then, in the margin, write out why you think these areas are effective.
Look at your summary. How interesting is it? Does it captivate a reader’s attention? Which parts keep you interested? Which parts seem dull or uninteresting? How could you make your summary more engaging?
In your summary, consider your use of detail and development. Do your details give a reader a clear image of your ad? Where do you use details well? Where could you use more detail and development?
Now, look at your analysis. Where does it begin? How can the reader tell where it begins? Is it clear?
Underline your thesis claim. Where do you best state it?
Examine your thesis claim. Is it interpretive? Is it debatable? Is it too vague? Too narrow? If you think your thesis needs work, put a note beside it.
Consider your focus. Do the paragraphs that follow the thesis connect back to your thesis or do the ideas in the paper stray from your focus? Mark the places where your writing drifts away from the thesis claim.
Revise your focus if necessary. Do you need to change your thesis claim to better reflect the ideas in the paper? Or, do you need to connect the ideas in the paper back to your thesis claim? Make a note to yourself.
Examine your support. What details do you provide to support your thesis claim? How do you back up your interpretation?
Look at your response to the ad. Where do you give the reader a reason to care about your analysis? In other words, where do you respond to the ad’s messages or implied arguments? Mark your response.
How do you support your response? Kilbourne uses outside evidence to support her argument, while Lewis uses her own opinion and cultural observations to support her reaction to the Fila ad. Should you include evidence to support your response? How could you make it more convincing?
Given the notes you’ve generated, what revisions do you most want to make to your paper in the next day or so? What resources do you have available to guide you in making these improvements?
Review Portfolio I, Part C, Materials (10 minutes)
Take a few minutes to review the contents of Portfolio I – Part C. Let students know what you plan to collect with this portfolio.
Write a conclusion for class. You might remind students to use the Writing Center (in Eddy 6) and to visit your office hours if they’d like assistance with papers.
** Note to GTAs: You will need to make a sample Inquiry Essay available to students through The Writing Studio before assigning today’s homework. You can access the sample essay in the appendix section of this online syllabus.
1.) Review the Portfolio I – Part C assignment sheet one final time to be sure that you are aware of all the assignment requirements.
2.) Revise your Portfolio I – Part C essay so that it is polished and credible.
3.) Prepare to submit all portfolio materials.
4.) Print off the sample Inquiry Essay and bring it to class.