Note to GTAs: You will notice that each of the lecturers has chosen a different set of articles to focus on for P1B. We've done this for a couple of reasons. First, having CO150 students work with different texts in different sections helps cut down on any potential academic integrity issues. Second, we want to illustrate that just as you will all develop unique teaching styles, each of the lecturers approaches this material in slightly different ways. Finally, we want to encourage you to begin making choices about how to shape your class, so we've provided four different sets of articles (one from each lecturer) for you to choose from. It's important to us that, while we do teach CO150 from a common syllabus, we neither expect nor want all CO150 classes to be exactly the same - each teacher is different, each set of students is different, and so each section of CO150 is unique.
To wrap up and collect P1A. To introduce analysis and evaluation; to analyze and evaluate sample texts; to begin work on P1B.
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 P1A (Explain that you will return portfolios next Thursday so they may take your feedback into account as they're polishing P1B).
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?
Define "Analysis" and "Evaluation" (10-15 minutes)
You might begin by putting both terms on the board and asking students to explain the difference between them. Try listing things in everyday life that we analyze (relationships, TV shows, problems, etc.) and things that we evaluate (products, media, classwork, etc.) The key here is to emphasize that there are two separate processes at work in this type of response: first, when we analyze a text, we look at its component pieces, which then leads us to an evaluation of its effectiveness.
One approach to introducing these concepts is to bring in either a page of movie reviews or classified auto ads (the Collegian is a great source for material like this). Tell students that you are looking to purchase a used car (or choose a movie to see with your significant other). Ask the class what aspects of a car you should look at (or analyze) and then list their responses on the board. Then, ask them how you should evaluate potential vehicles based on the factors (or criteria) listed on the board. Some questions should come up about your particular needs in a vehicle; answer them however you like, but make sure to point out that thinking about the reader's context is part of the process of analysis & evaluation. Finally, put up your sheet of auto ads on an overhead and ask students to choose a car for you based on the discussion. Point out to them that they've just practiced both analysis and evaluation - now it's time to apply the same process to texts.
Note: You can also do the preceding activity in small groups. In that case, you might begin by asking the whole class to list aspects of a used car that you should look at, list those on the board, and then ask each group to come up with a ranked set of specific criteria. Give each group a copy of the Collegian or a page of auto ads you've downloaded from the Web (try Vehix.com or even denverpost.com for more ads) and have each group choose a car for you based on the criteria they established. Have the groups present their criteria, either on an overhead or just verbally, and then explain which vehicle they chose for you and why.
Transition: Develop a transition here.
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 Wilson'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: Boyden, Wilson, Early and "New Orleans Blues". 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 in each article:
Who the author is writing to?
The author's purpose. Is it clear what the article seeks to accomplish? Could the author have made their purpose clearer?
The author's intentions or bias. Is the author's argument or purposes clouded or complicated by an outside experience or bias? Does the author's bias help or hurt the credibility of their argument?
The author's use of evidence. How well supported is the argument? Do you find the evidence credible and convincing? Why/why not? Does the article have enough support or does it make unsubstantiated claims?
The author's use of logic. How reasonable do the author's points seem? Are they addressing the issue in a straightforward and logical way, or are they using false logic to distract the reader from the topic at hand? Are there gaps in the logic - things the writer may have missed or intentionally left out?
The author's tone. Is it engaging or interesting? Is it offensive? Is it sarcastic or dramatic? Do you find the tone to be appropriate for their target audience?
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.
Conclude Class (3 minutes)
Devise a conclusion for today's class. You might:
Remind students of resources like the Writing Center.
Forecast what you'll be working on in Portfolio I - Part B.
Read the assigned articles. Note to GTAs: You will need to fill in the appropriate details in the next few lessons once you decide which set of articles you'd like to use for P1B.
Read pgs. 362-363 and 396-405 in the PHG.
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.