To review & develop understanding of key terms for P1B; to practice analyzing & evaluating texts.
Connection to Course Goals
Analyzing and evaluating the P1A articles helps students see the difference between agreeing or disagreeing with the content of a text and critically analyzing and evaluating it. Applying these key concepts - analysis and evaluation - prepares students to read the P1B articles critically in order to prepare their own analysis and evaluation of one of them.
Introduce Today’s Class and Review Key Terms (5-7 minutes)
You might begin by writing “analysis” and “evaluation” up on the board and asking students to recap how we used these terms on Friday. Remind students of your used car (or movie) example, and ask them if they noticed or thought of any other circumstances in which we use these critical thinking strategies in everyday life. You might have an example or two handy to help jump-start discussion (i.e. we use both analysis and evaluation when buying groceries, or a coach might use analysis and evaluation to come up with a game plan).
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)
Write a conclusion for today’s class and remind students to check the Calendar for their homework.
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.
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.