To review assignment goals from Portfolio I, Part B and to work with Portfolio, Part B. To construct evaluative claims for the Portfolio I – Part B papers. To conduct a mini-workshop to prepare for the longer workshop on Friday.
Following Monday’s work with developing responses to Hanson and Hacker, today’s work with claims should reinforce the earlier lesson on writing claims from Portfolio I – Part A, but here the claims will take on an analytical/ evaluative focus.
Have students take out and read their assignment sheet for Portfolio I – Part B. Ask them if they have any new questions/concerns. (You might even do a short WTL asking students to write out what they understand about the assignment and one or two questions they have about their own work so far.) Tell them that they have now gained the tools to successfully complete this assignment and highlight any important requirements. You may also choose to review all portfolio materials that you plan to collect so students can start to organize their work and prepare to turn it in. If you have a workshop policy (i.e. paper grade is lowered for missed workshops), remind them of this as well.
You might have a student write at the board while you ask students to take out their notes and put some of the major responses in the last class to Hanson and Hacker.
Remind students that their claim is directly connected to their purpose. Then, ask them to jot down in a sentence or two what their purpose would be in responding to Hanson or Hacker. Although their claim can be a mix of positive and negative points, their purpose should clearly lean toward commending or criticizing the argument (don’t flip flop…”It’s good, it’s not good, it’s good…”). Feel free to share these and other sample purpose statements below:
Some sample purposes for evaluative response might include:
Once students have a clear purpose, ask them to write a claim that reflects that purpose. For example:
If their purpose is to show that Hanson’s argument is illogical and diverts a reader’s attention away from the real problem of alcohol abuse, their claim would be:
"Hanson’s argument is illogical and diverts a reader’s attention from the real problem of alcohol abuse."
Remind students that their claims should be clear, debatable, and specific. The above claim is clear, debatable and specific. From it, a reader knows that the writer plans to show where Hanson’s logic falls short and how he diverts a reader’s attention away from the problem of alcohol abuse.
The following claim is not as effective:
"Hanson’s essay is effective because it is well written."
A reader isn’t sure what is meant by well-written. This could refer to any number of things. Before finalizing this claim, the writer would need to clarify what they specifically want to address in the paper. Then, they could revise their claim to be clearer and more specific.
If you have time, ask a few students to write their claims on the board. Then, ask the rest of the class to “unpack” the claims. That is, they should discuss what they would expect the rest of the paper to look like to fulfill each claim. What would the paper need to do in order to fully support the claim? Also, how might the claim be revised or narrowed for greater clarity?
Sample Transition: Now we’ve looked at some sample claims, we will do a short peer workshop to focus on the parts of your essay you should revise for Friday’s workshop.
Explain that you are going to do a mini-workshop today and then a longer workshop on Friday. Take a few minutes to remind students of the criteria for workshop (those developed during the last workshop). For example, they should be honest, specific, and thorough with their comments.
Group students in pairs to trade their drafts. Before you assign the pairs, however, post your workshop instructions on an overhead or at the board. Always carefully go over the instructions before you break students into pair groups. For this short workshop, concentrate on just a few of the essentials: Having a clear evaluative claim, using substantive evidence from the article, clearly and accurately citing quoted material, etc.
Write a conclusion for class. You might explain the expectations for workshop and for Portfolio I – Part B.