reflect on composing the letter and their inquiry so far
see connections between Phase 1 and Phase 2,
begin to narrow the list of inquiry questions.
Connection to Course Goals: Reflecting on the Letter emphasizes that writing is a process, and our continued focus on inquiry helps to initiate students into academic discourse generally and the Phase 2 writing assignments specifically.
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Take attendance and introduce class as usual.
Assign a postscript and collect student work (6-8 minutes)
Put postscript questions on the overhead and instruct students to answer them, then turn them in with the other things that are due today. Here are some sample postscript prompts:
Explain which aspect of your Letter was most successful and why.
Explain which aspect of your Letter was most difficult and how you addressed it.
Describe an idea from the workshop—a peer’s suggestion or something that occurred to you while reading other Letters—that you used in revision.
Be sure to explain to students that it may take you a bit longer to grade these Letters than it took you to grade the Summaries. Remind students that as you grade you’ll use the grading criteria that are listed on the assignment sheet. You might give them an idea of when they can expect the Letters back (probably next Thursday—you’ll be doing a grading conference with one of the lecturers, and its timing may affect your grading schedule for this assignment).
Transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 (8-10 minutes)
Take time to reflect on where you’ve been and discuss how it relates to where you’re going. Bring back the writing as a conversation idea (you likely have an overhead of this from week 1):
Tip: We are at the end of the first stage: reading what others have written. That is, we have listened in on the conversation. We have set aside our own biases and preconceived ideas and listened to what others have said about climate change from a variety of perspectives.
Ask students to describe how the writers we’ve read so far find answers to questions about climate change. Some of this will be review from Day 7. Your list might include things such as: They get involved with something they care about; they talk to other people; they think about the questions raised by their research; they read books, popular magazine articles, scholarly articles, newspaper articles, etc.
Now, we’re moving to the second stage of the conversation model: the stage during which we form our own opinions and find ways to support our ideas to prepare for "entering the conversation" by writing an academic argument. We’ll be working in small groups to research answers to some of the questions we formulated during Phase 1.
We can take direction from the writers we’ve been talking about as we go forward with these inquiries: We should inquire into something we care about, we should remain as open-minded as possible, and we should aim to become as informed as possible as we try to find answers to questions. Also, we need to allow ourselves to leave some questions unanswered.
After the research, each student will write an academic argument based on his/her own inquiry or on another group’s inquiry.
Distribute and review assignment sheet (8-10 minutes)
Do this the same way you did for the letter and the summary assignments. Highlight what students will be doing and what they will be asked to produce. You might ask students to identify which processes and skills will be similar to and different from the previous two assignments.
Review inquiry list and discuss occasion/exigence (8-10 minutes)
Students will be choosing a question for inquiry based on the inquiry list they created during Phase 1. Distribute copies of the inquiry list. Ask students to look it over and talk about which questions are the most interesting to them. Which questions are most urgent? Which questions are they least interested in finding answers to? Do any questions need to be added? Rephrased?
Two criteria for choosing a question for inquiry are:
Occasion: the writer needs to be motivated to find out answers to the question.
Exigence: there needs to be a reason to give the question attention. That is, finding out answers to the question needs to matter to many more people than just the inquirer him- or herself. This also means that there are reasons to pursue this question, such as timeliness, urgency, significance, etc.
Are there any questions that have little to no exigence? Another way of asking this question is: Are there any questions on the list that have been written about so much that there’s not much to say about them that hasn’t been said many times before?
Consider the inquiry list from multiple perspectives (20-25 minutes)
Another criterion for choosing a question for this inquiry is that it needs to be of a manageable scope. Groups will be gathering 15-20 sources about the question. To help gauge the scope of the questions on the inquiry list, ask students to pair off and read over a description of one of the colleges at CSU (Agricultural Sciences, Applied Human Sciences, Business, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Natural Resources; you can access descriptions of each of these colleges, which include descriptions of majors, here).
Once students have had a chance to read the description of the College, choose one of the questions on the list and ask, “Who cares about this question?” For example, people in business, marketing, psychology, and environmental sciences care about the question “Does green advertising work?” People in just about every discipline imaginable have some kind of stake in the question “Does climate change matter?” The green advertising question, then, is much more manageable than the broader question about climate change. Test out questions in this way until you have just 10 or 15 minutes left in class.
Tip: It’s possible to have a question that is too narrow in scope, too. If just one or two fields might care about a particular question, it may be too small for the upcoming project.
Tip: Students will pick from these “top” questions for homework (you’ll create a separate Writing Studio Forum for each question so that students can comment on three of them).
Vote on the top 6-8 questions (5-7 minutes)
It’s inevitable that some questions will have to be left unanswered. Ask students to indicate the questions that they are most motivated to research, and that seem to be the most urgent and that seem the most manageable.
Conclude class and assign homework (3-5 minutes)
Wrap up class as usual. Be sure students understand that you will be organizing groups based on the homework, so they should give it a lot of thought and complete it by Wednesday night.
Homework for Thursday
By Wednesday night, choose three of the inquiry discussion forums to post to, writing about what interests you in each case and what existing opinions you have (if any) about the subject.
Your instructor will use the forum postings to organize groups for the inquiry/research project, so please give your postings a lot of thought and complete them by Wednesday night. Email your instructor about any concerns/preferences you have so that he/she may consider them while organizing groups.