Monday, September 18th

Day 12 - Monday, September 18th

Lesson Objectives

To discuss mapping and unpacking claims; to check for understanding of key concepts and to give students feedback and suggestions for developing their P1B claims.

Connection to Course Goals

Any chance we have to discuss organizational tactics for essays helps highlight the importance of writing as an intentional process, constructed with the reader’s needs in mind. The “mapping” activity provides a visual way to discuss the importance of writing clear, specific claims, and giving students a chance to work on their claims in class offers a direct connection to students’ own writing as they begin to pull together a draft of their P1B essay.

Introduce Today's Class (3 minutes)

Make sure to take a few minutes at the beginning of each class to get students focused and preview the activities for the day.

Check-in for Understanding of Key Concepts (10-15 minutes)

Develop a short activity intended to begin class by making sure that students understand the difference between an agree/disagree response and an analytical/evaluative response. You might include a review of key concepts like establishing criteria, the elements of academic summary, and the importance of purpose, audience, and context for P1B.

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Practice Mapping and Unpacking Claim for Evaluative Responses (20-25 minutes)

Begin this activity by numbering students off in threes. Don't tell them what is coming next - this activity works best if it includes an element of surprise. Have students get out a blank sheet of paper and a writing instrument or, if you want to add an extra element of suspense, pass out crayons or markers. Ask the students with the appropriate numbers to draw a map of:

  1. U.S.A.
  2. Colorado
  3. from where they're sitting to the Lory Student Center

Give them a few minutes to draw their maps, but don't let them linger too much. Once they have maps drawn, have them trade with someone sitting nearby who has a different type of map than the one they drew. Ask the class if they can use the maps to get to the following locations (you're welcome to choose your own):

  1. Boston, MA
  2. Estes Park Brewery in Estes Park, CO
  3. the LSC

Ideally, students should respond by saying that the #1 maps are impossible to follow, some of the #2 maps sort of work, and the #3 maps all work. Ask the class why the #3 maps work (they're focused and specific) and the #1 maps don't (they're too broad and confusing). Now, ask students to think of their claim statements for their responses as maps - what type of map do they want to offer their reader?

Have a list of sample claims - good, bad, and ugly - ready on an overhead. Ask the class to identify which type of "map" each claim offers the reader. Remind students that their claims should be clear, debatable, and specific. Once you've settled on a #3 claim, spend a couple of minutes "unpacking" it by asking students what they expect the response to cover based on the claim at hand.

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?

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Practice Working with Student Claims for P1B (10-15 minutes)

After looking at a few sample student claims as a class, develop an activity that gives students a chance to examine and revise the claims they drafted as homework. You might have students pull out their claims, pass them to someone sitting near them, and have that person write down what they would expect an essay based on the claim at hand to cover (i.e. “map” out the essay based on the claim). The claims might be exchanged yet again, so that a second reader could offer suggestions about how to make the claim more specific (into a #3 claim) or ask questions about how the writer will unpack the claim.

Conclude Class (3 minutes)

Write a conclusion for class.


  1. Work on shaping your response to your chosen P1B article, keeping in mind our discussion of mapping and unpacking claims.
  2. Some texts include visual elements, and effective analysis and evaluation of those texts requires you to hone your observational skills. Read about techniques for observing in the PHG on pgs. 54 - 60. Note how writers use observations to make their descriptions vivid and interesting. You should apply the same techniques to your own summary/description of any visual elements in the article you’ve chosen to write about.