Wednesday, September 3

Day 4 (Wednesday, September 3)

Lesson Objectives
Students will

Connection to Course Goals. Students continue to practice close reading and learn to look critically at their own work; these skills will be useful when writing the Academic Summary.


Decide how you will prefer to keep your attendance record from here on out (you shouldn’t have any more roster changes), and prepare what you need in order to do so. Also, decide how you will hold students accountable for reading—quizzes? WTLs?  another activity? Review podcast “How Consumers…” Make sure you have notes about what needs to go into a summary of this piece. Make your own adjustments to the summary criteria and the assignment sheet as well.


Inquiry list
Attendance record
“Apocalypse Now” (annotated)
Your notes on and summary of the article
Academic summary assignment sheets
Overhead transparencies:
               Quiz questions or WTL prompt
               Summary criteria
               Self-workshop instructions
               Group summaries from Wednesday
Handouts for quoting and paraphrasing activity (unless you will direct students to the Writing Studio to find it and print it out themselves—they need this for Friday’s homework, either way.)


For today’s class, students have read /listened to the podcast (“How Consumers…”  and they have drafted summaries. They are expecting to discuss the podcast  and their summaries. Since podcast  is longer and more complicated than the individual  “Responses to the IPCC” essays from last week, and because summary writing may be new to many students, students might come  to class today with questions and uncertainties.


Agenda (before class begins)

Write the agenda on the board if that’s what you’ll prefer to do throughout the semester. 

Agenda. Future lesson plans won’t include this item, so add it yourself if you prefer.

Attendance (2 minutes)

After today’s class you should not have any roster changes, so you can begin to take attendance in the same way you’ll take attendance throughout the semester.  Be sure to keep an accurate record so that you can apply your attendance policy fairly.  Keeping accurate attendance records is essential. 

Attendance. If you lower a student’s grade for excessive absences, you must have an accurate record of the classes missed!

Introduce class (2 minutes)

Introduce today’s class by designating a student to be in charge of the inquiry list today.  Link back to last week (last week, we began to inquire and to learn about summary writing for example).  Preview the activities you’ll do today.

Give a reading quiz (5-8 minutes)

To reinforce accountability for reading assignments, conduct an activity such as a quiz or WTL.

Tip. You don’t have to always do the same thing, but be sure students are always accountable for reading and other daily assignments.

If you give a quiz, put three to five questions on an overhead transparency and give students a few minutes to answer using their own paper. Here are some sample questions that hold students accountable for the content of the reading and connect to today’s class:

Reading Quiz

Please use your own paper to provide brief answers to the following questions:

1.  According to Dr. Douglas Parr, what is “carbon footprinting”?
2.  How is “carbon footprinting” useful or important?
3.  According to the interviews conducted by Hobson, what should the role of government be in fighting climate change?
4.  According to Rebecca Willis, what is “Grid 2.0”?
5.  What is “choice editing”?

Transition. Let’s go through the quiz answers quickly and then talk about how you approached summarizing the interviews.

Generate summary points (18-20 minutes)

Take plenty of time to discuss what the parties say in the podcast. Start by brainstorming ideas on the board.  How do the podcast participants answer our question-at-issue: What should we do about climate change?  What perspectives are represented here?  Here, anything that is objective and accurate (even if it is a minor point, evidence, etc.) is worthwhile. Write student responses on the board (or ask a student to be your “scribe”). 

Once you have most or all of participants’ major points on the board, begin to label them: thesis, reasons, evidence, key points (such as counterarguments, questions-at-issue, causes and effects, solutions, etc.). 

Here’s an example of how a class might brainstorm:

Tip. Look through your own notes to see if there is anything to add to the list and then allow students another chance to add anything more.

Finally, determine what should go into a summary in order to accurately and objectively represent the main arguments (you really can’t go overboard in reminding students of the purposes of summary writing). It’s tempting to summarize in chronological order (_____says X and then X and then X, etc.), but that doesn’t enable one to restate the argument, which demands identifying a hierarchy of concerns. Take time to determine each participant’s thesis first. The format of the interview may obscure the theses or may help.  Be sure that students notice how the genre influences the format of the argument(s).

Tip. Here you’re modeling what students will do in the first assignment, so be sure students can see how an argument can be broken into parts with distinct functions.

As you talk students through these decisions, you don’t need to “give them the answers.” That is, you don’t need to write out The Thesis on the board for them, in part because that would be doing the work you want them to learn how to do. More so, though, because there is not just one way of stating each thesis. Though we ask students to be objective in the summary, identifying and rephrasing the thesis is, to a degree, an interpretive act that can’t be 100% objective.

Transition. The most important thing in academic summary is to accurately and objectively represent the writer’s argument, but let’s look at some other criteria now.

Hand out assignment sheet and explain criteria for academic summary (5-8 minutes)

Distribute the assignment sheet, then walk them through it (no need to read it word-for-word, but be sure to highlight the essentials, perhaps by calling on specific students to read key sections) and allow time for questions.  If a student asks a question you don’t want to answer right away, simply say, “let me get back to you about that” and then be sure to return to it on Friday. Be sure to include the rubric with the assignment sheet.  Make connections between the criteria on the rubric and in the PHG.  Ask that they read these documents carefully before next class and to bring questions they raise.

Tip. Point out that this is a hierarchy. That is, the items at the top of the list are more important to a successful summary than are the items at the bottom of the list.

Remind students of a summary’s purpose and audience as you present the following on an overhead transparency:


The summary convinces your audience that you have read the article closely and understand its argument because the summary accurately represents the author's central claim and key supporting points. The summary does not merely list the main ideas but shows how the reasons support the claim, and avoids specific details and examples.

The summary reports the argument objectively, avoiding anything subjective (such as personal reactions or judgments).

The summary cites the article’s author, title, place and date of publication. The summary writer uses author tags so that it remains clear whenever he/she reports the author's ideas and words.

The summary contains both paraphrases and quotes.The paraphrased and quoted passages are chosen appropriately and integrated well into the summary.

The summary is carefully proofread and edited to eliminate errors and maximize clarity.

Transition. Let’s use these criteria to workshop the summary draft you brought in today.

Summary self-workshop (10-12 minutes)

Present the following prompts on an overhead transparency, and ask students to work through them with their own summaries (anyone without a summary can work on drafting one now).  Explain how they reflect the criteria you just reviewed so that students don’t think of them simply as a checklist.

Summary Self Workshop

This workshop will help you determine how well you have accomplished the goals of representing the participants’ arguments both accurately and objectively. 

1. Underline the sentence(s) in which you have restated the text’s thesis.
2. Circle the author’s name, the date of publication, and the title of the magazine or newspaper in which the article was published.
3. Put a star by each reason or key point.
4. Draw a box around each author tag.
5. Draw [brackets] around anything superfluous: any of your own opinions or reactions and/or minutiae from the article (evidence, anecdotes, etc.).

Now, look over your paper.  You should have: an underlined sentence or two, three circles, a few stars, and a few boxes.  If any of those things are missing, make a note to yourself that you need to add them in revision.  If you have anything in brackets, be sure to remove them in revision.

Assign homework and collect the inquiry list (2-3 minutes)

Conclude class. Wrap up today’s class by saying something like, Next time, we’ll go over quoting and paraphrasing and you’ll get a chance to get some feedback from a classmate.

Today you can begin to assign homework in the way you will do so throughout the rest of the semester. If you plan to post homework to the Writing Studio, it is fine to remind students of that and simply talk through the homework assignment. You might continue to put the homework on the overhead and/or create handouts, but be aware that your students might come to rely on that and ignore the Writing Studio calendar. Some teachers choose to write the homework on the board with the agenda. Whatever you choose to do, today is the day to start the routine. Be sure to collect the inquiry list before students leave.

Homework for Friday

Connection to Next Class

Today you’ve emphasized the importance of close reading. You’ve gotten students used to bringing their own writing into the classroom and so some of students’ nervousness about peer response workshopping might be lessened.  Next time, you’ll review paraphrasing and quoting before students trade papers to give each other feedback and that will give you a chance to address concerns and misconceptions about what workshops will be like in CO150.