Review expectations for the course. Discuss WTLs from Day 1 and homework done for today. Discuss strategies for critical reading. Introduce the concept of summary and its conventions and apply them to the article read for today.
Connection to Course Goals
The homework discussion builds off the concepts reviewed in class on Day I (Purpose, Audience, and Context) by inviting students to consider what influences them as writers. Addressing their responses to the Boyden article lays the foundation for the theme of the first portfolio: racial and cultural issues in post-Katrina New Orleans. Critical reading prepares students for closely examining the texts they'll write about it this course and summary provides students with a key skill for this class and courses beyond CO150.
Introduce Class and Take Attendance (5 minutes)
For each class you teach, you should write an Introduction. It is important to establish in students' minds what the goals for each class meeting are. You can provide an overview or forecast of the day's activities in a brief list on the board and connect these activities to the class, week, portfolio and course goals. Or you might just use a statement that loops back to the previous class, (i.e. Last time we …. And today we'll…). Introductions let students know what to expect so they can begin to connect past and future classes and can see plainly what you have in mind for the day.
Remind students who you are/introduce yourself for those who missed the previous class session or just added the course.
Take attendance in whatever manner makes sense to you. It's a good idea to call out names for the first few class sessions to help familiarize yourself with students' names. If you feel like you have time, you might try a short icebreaker activity, like a survey question (try something like: what has been the most surprising thing about your first week of classes so far?), to help students feel more comfortable talking in class and to help you remember their names. Once you've gotten through your roll, ask if there is anyone you missed. Some students may have added your class. Take down their names and check to see if they are on your class roll on the computer in the English Department Office.
Hand out class materials to new students.
Sample Transition: I've read your responses from the Write to Learn last class, and would like to take a few minutes to address your concerns.
Discuss WTLs from Day 1 (3 - 5 minutes)
Address any student concerns that didn't come up on the first day. Also, you can explain the dual focus for the class:
Writing is our primary concern, so we'll spend a lot of time emphasizing things like purpose, audience, and context. We tend not to focus on skills, such as grammar and mechanics, as much as we do on larger concepts and approaches to writing; however, we will work individually with students who face some challenges with grammar and mechanics.
Joining public conversations is our secondary focus, so we'll also be looking at important social and political issues.
You may wish at this point to also address any expectations they've articulated that you believe will clearly NOT be covered by CO150 (i.e. writing poetry, reading Shakespeare, giving speeches, etc…). This helps to clarify what the course will cover.
Sample Transition: Does anyone have other concerns about the course and what we'll cover (if so, address these)? Then, let's move on to discuss the homework responses you wrote for today.
Discuss Homework Responses (15 - 20 minutes)
First, apply students' work to the concepts covered in class on Tuesday (Purpose, Audience, Context). You might ask the following questions. Possible responses are mentioned in parentheses.
What was your purpose for writing this homework? (To voice an opinion, to respond to the article, to appease the teacher, to identify Boyden's main point, to get a good grade in CO150…)
What did you perceive as your audience? (Most likely the teacher). How did this affect what you wrote or how you wrote? How might your response been different if a friend has asked you to share your opinion on the issue of racial tensions brought forward by Hurricane Katrina?
How would you describe your context for writing (2006, college classroom, new semester, possibly new to college scene…)? How did this context affect what you wrote and how you wrote it?
Here it may be useful to remind students that their context for writing extends beyond just where and when they're located to include their background, values, cultural heritage, etc. This is a tricky concept to get across - it may be useful to talk about the idea that writing doesn't happen in a vacuum, i.e. that there are always all kinds of factors working in the background that influence the way that we read and write.
Sample Transition:Now that we've considered how purpose, audience and context may have shaped your writing, let's talk about what you wrote. What are your initial assessments of Boyden's article?
You may choose to lead this discussion as a whole class, or you might ask students to get into groups of 3 - 4 and discuss what they wrote. The focus of the conversation should be on the question, "Are racial and cultural issues really a factor in post-Katrina reconstruction?" You might also ask them to discuss what they know about the "conversation" surrounding Hurricane Katrina. For example, how much do they know about the destruction - physical and otherwise - caused by the Hurricane?
Other questions you might ask:
Did they participate in any relief efforts?
What's their perception of how the reconstruction efforts have progressed?
What should the federal government's role in reconstruction be?
Were the initial responses of the federal government to the hurricane sufficient and timely?
What do you think should be the primary focus of reconstruction efforts at this point in time?
Collecting Homework: You may decide whether or not to collect students' homework. We suggest that you ask students to hold on to their homework assignments and turn them in with each major portfolio. Then, you can grade students' homework as process work when you look at their major papers. We recommend this approach because we urge you to spend the bulk of your evaluating time on providing feedback for the major assignments rather than on process work.
Sample Transition:We'll talk more about this issue of the effects of Hurricane Katrina in the upcoming classes. Now, I'd like to introduce the first major portfolio assignment.
Introduce Portfolio I - Part A (5 - 7 minutes)
Distribute the assignment and ask students to read it over. Ask students if they have any questions and address their concerns. Highlight important parts of the assignment and let students know that ALL the work you do in the next two weeks will prepare them for completing this portfolio.
Sample Transition: Writing an effective summary and response will depend, in part on your ability to read texts closely and critically. So let's discuss critical reading and what it involves.
This activity asks students to think about how they can become close and critical readers. Use the PHG (pgs. 153 - 154), the Critical Reading Guide on Writing@CSU and the points below to guide discussion:
You might begin this discussion by asking students what they identified as Boyden's main point. You could list a few responses to this question on the board, and then point out that there are several possible ways to read his article. Ask students how they determined what Boyden's main point was, and what strategies they used to help them carefully read this article (these can also go on the board in a list). Use this conversation as a segue into a short discussion of the why's and wherefore's of critical reading. You might put the following on an overhead and go through it by comparing their list of critical reading strategies to "your" list.
What is critical reading?
Critical reading is "active" and usually happens when you're trying to learn something. It enables you to gain a deeper understanding of what you've read. (You're "actively" interpreting a passage you read. You're "actively" asking questions once you've finished reading a text) Casual reading is passive and usually happens when you're just reading for enjoyment.
Why read critically?
It will help you understand the texts you're reading and help you remember what you read (this is especially useful when you're later asked to write about these texts).
Strategies for Critical Reading
Preview or survey your reading. Look over the reading before you begin it. Read the introduction and scan the subheadings. Previewing allows you to estimate length/time requirements, activate what you know about the topic, and prepare yourself for the content in the article or book.
Reconstruct the text's rhetorical context: Give some thought to where the article is coming from. Who is the author? Why is s/he writing this? Who is his/her target audience? Putting the article in context will help you make more sense out of it.
Rereading: If you've ever watched a movie several times, you know that each viewing reveals something new. The same goes for reading. The first time through, you might just try to get a sense of the bigger picture - what's it about? On the second or third read, you may need to do more critical thinking to gain a deeper understanding of the text.
Dialoguing: ALWAYS read with a pen or pencil. Mark anything that stands out, such as:
Something you relate to
Questions or confusions
Ideas that seem important
Dialoguing involves more than just underlining or highlighting. You should also jot down notes to help you interpret the meaning of a passage and remember it for later on.
Glossing: When glossing, write down the main idea of each paragraph (either in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper). Glossing leaves you with a mini-summary of the entire reading. It also helps you to see the overall structure of the writing. This strategy will be especially useful when you write academic summaries.
**** See pgs. 159 - 162 in the PHG for additional ideas on how to teach critical reading.
Sample Transition: Critical reading strategies will help you to effectively write academic summaries.
You could begin this lesson with some discussion of summary in general and then compare this to academic summary. You might create two columns on the board: General Summary and Academic Summary. Then, list generated responses beneath the appropriate titles. Note: possible responses are listed in parenthesis.
What is summary in general? Where do you see summary used in our society?
When was the last time you summarized something that you did or saw (perhaps in an e-mail to a friend or on the phone)?
What is usually your goal or purpose for summarizing? (to inform or entertain; to give an overall impression without all the boring details)
Are your summaries objective (fairly representing everyone/everything involved) or are they subjective, colored by your own opinions or point of view?
How do you think general summaries compare to academic summaries? What are the similarities and differences? (academic summaries are more objective and focus on main ideas rather than events)
What are the purposes for an academic summary? How is this different from a general summary?
After generating some responses, have students turn to pgs. 167 - 168 in the PHG and review guidelines for academic summary. You might add these points to the academic summary column on the board.
If Time: Generate Summary Points
If you have extra time, use this activity to get students started relating the idea of summary to the articles we're reading. Ask them to list out the points that they think would have to go into an academic summary of Boyden's article.
Conclude Class and Assign Homework (3 minutes)
Explain that we will use the concepts from today's class to write an academic summary and to read an article critically for Tuesday. Then, in class on Tuesday, we'll also continue addressing the discussion of racial and cultural issues precipitated by Hurricane Katrina.
Note: Let students know that, after this week, they should begin accessing homework via the Calendar feature on your class page on The Writing Studio. You should provide instructions for how they can do this (instructions are available online under the Help button, or at http://writing.colostate.edu/help/index.cfm?helppage=studentclass). You should also decide if you want students to create Writing Studio accounts before you enter them into your Studio Class or if you want to enter them first. If you want to enter students first, it's helpful to get their email addresses as soon as possible.
Homework (put this on an overhead):
Logon to the class Writing Studio and locate the class calendar.
Read the Anderson Cooper 360° blog selections and "American Dilemma" by James Q. Wilson. Print both articles and apply critical reading strategies (read the articles with a pen or pencil, underlining important parts and jotting notes along the way). Bring both articles to class on Tuesday.
Type a 200 - 300 word academic summary of "American Dilemma". Make sure to identify the article's context (writer, publication, etc.) and main point.