Wednesday, October 11th

Day 22 - Wednesday, October 11th

Lesson Objectives

To practice narrowing topics down to focused issues; to review using MLA in-text and bibliographic citations. To ensure that students have a clear work plan in place for Reading Days.

Connection to Course Goals

Today’s class is designed to make sure that students have narrowed, debatable topics and research plans in place to work with over Readings Days.

Introduce Today's Class (3 minutes)

Discuss Narrowing Topics into Issues (20 minutes)

The goal for this activity is to help students think about narrowing the topics they just chose into specific issues. Inform students that some topics are too broad for the Inquiry Essay and that they'll need to narrow their topics in order to focus their writing for Portfolios 2 and 3. Use the grid below (or one you develop) to illustrate the differences between topics and issues. Clarify that issues are often defined in the form of a debatable question.

Topic Focused More Focused Debatable Question
Nuclear Waste Where should we store it? How should we transport it across the country? Should we continue to use nuclear energy when we don't have a reliable solution for storing its waste?
School Violence What is the cause of school violence? What should teachers' role be in managing school violence? Should we implement counseling programs in schools to reduce violence?

Once you've gone through narrowing a couple of sample topics as a class, practice with a few of the student topics that are listed on the board. You might think of a way to do this as a group project - perhaps have groups narrowed two or three topics from students who are not in their groups, put the narrowed topics and research questions on an overhead, and then present them.

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Review Using MLA Format and Avoiding Plagiarism (10 minutes)

Remind students that they will need to include a bibliography with their papers. Use pages 655- 665 in the PHG as a guide for developing a lesson on documenting sources. Carefully explain how to cite sources in-text, but simply refer students to the additional pages for guidelines on citing sources at the end of their essay.

Use this time to also discuss the importance of avoiding plagiarism. Refer to pgs. 643 - 644 in the PHG as a guide for this lesson.

Transition: Develop a transition here.

WTL - Reading Days Work Plan (5-10 minutes)

Remind students that English Dept. Reading Days are this coming Thursday and that you will not be meeting as a class. Tell them that this is not, however, a day off but rather time to work on the Inquiry Essay researching and drafting outside of class.

With this in mind, ask students to formulate a work plan for reading days. What do they need to get done for this class? Remind them that, at minimum, they should finish their research for P2B, and if they get started drafting, they will be ahead of the game. Give the class a few minutes to draft their work plans, then either have them get a partner to read over sign off on their work plan, or do so yourself.

Conclude Class (2 minutes)


  1. Complete the tasks listed in your work plan.