Week 14: Monday, November 26 - Friday, November 30
Your goals this week are to workshop letters to incoming freshmen, to collect letters to incoming freshmen and to introduce the public argument. If you teach on MWF, it will be best to hold the workshop on Wednesday. If you teach on TR, you might send a reminder email on Monday morning, so students remember that they need to bring a draft to Tuesday’s class. The week’s chronology, then, heavily depends on your students’ needs. As you choose from the following activities, be aware that your students may need alternatives.
Conduct an explanation workshop
Design a workshop activity that reflects assignment goals, grading criteria and classroom instruction. It has been a while since students did a workshop, so it may be useful to do a practice workshop before you ask students to provide feedback for each other.
Assign a postscript and collect explanations
As usual, before you collect the explanation (and any accompanying work), assign a postscript that allows students to reflect on their writing process and their rhetorical choices. You can get students thinking about the next project by including a postscript question such as, “what needs to change about the aspect of CSU you have inquired into?”
Introduce the public argument assignment
Distribute and review the assignment sheet. Allow time for students to ask questions.
Discuss possible approaches to the public argument
Start by asking students to share any problems they uncovered as they researched. Perhaps something needs to be made more visible, perhaps students need to use an organization or service more, or perhaps something needs to change in another way. You might assign a WTL to prompt students to gather their opinions on their topic.
Point out that students have a lot of choices to make for this assignment—they choose their argument’s purpose, its audience and its genre. Ask students to offer their ideas about who needs to hear their opinions about their topic, encouraging them to be as specific as possible.
Take time to brainstorm genres. Here’s a sample list of different kind of texts that aim to convince or persuade people:
letters to individuals
letters to the editor
Would any of these not work for this assignment? The only one that wouldn’t is the "academic argument" because students need to target a specific audience, and an academic audience is very general.
The choices of purpose, audience and genre are interrelated, and they have to make sense together. If you have time, you might allow students to work in small groups to brainstorm their own ideas, or, if you have a lot of time, you might go around the room and talk with each student, asking the class to offer their ideas.
Homework for Week 14:
Use your workshop feedback to help you revise your explanation. Consider going to the Writing Center for further feedback. Prepare your explanation to turn in along with other materials specified in class.
Reread the public argument assignment sheet and decide on an approach for this assignment. Begin drafting.