work collaboratively to organize and evaluate research and help draft a response to their group's inquiry question,
consult with their instructor about their work-in-progress on the inquiry/research project,
explore strategies for writing the Critical Introduction.
Connection to Course Goals. Research and collaboration are essential skills within academic and nonacademic communities; today’s class should also help student groups begin planning their Critical Intros.
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Assess inquiries and explain activity options (5-10 minutes)
Determine which groups you need to meet with today. Explain that while you meet with each group, the rest of the class needs to work on one or more of the following activities (put the instructions on an overheads or make handouts):
Trade annotations with your group members, and give feedback by answering the following questions (explain all yes/no responses, please):
Is the source relevant, reliable, and current?
Does the annotation represent the source objectively, accurately, and briefly for members of the group and the class?
Will the evaluation convince the group and the class that the source is worthwhile?
Does the response show how the source influenced the annotation-writer’s opinions, thoughts, and ideas about the subject?
Will the MLA bibliography entry enable others to find the source? Will others be able to use the entry as is for their academic argument Works Cited page (i.e. is the entry 100% accurate?)? (Use the PHG to help answer this question.)
Negotiate answers to inquiry questions
If your group is finished with research, take time to share what you found by reading sources and/or bibliography entries. Discuss your opinions—now that you have researched, how do you answer your inquiry question? Compare your answers now to what they were when you started. What changed them? How did they change? If they seem unchanged, why is that? Are there subtle changes you’re not considering? Make notes about all of this, as you’ll need to use them as you write your explanation on Thursday.
Discuss what each of you has discovered from your sources. What do the sources each of you found add to the conversation on this questions?
Read and evaluate sample Critical Introductions
Take out your assignment sheet and review the strategies and criteria for the Critical Introduction. Read the sample Critical Introductions and discuss their strengths and weaknesses (using the grading criteria as a guide). As you discuss the samples, also discuss your plans for the Critical Introduction you will write on Thursday.
Work on drafting Critical Introductions
You can begin drafting your explanation even if your research is not 100% complete. Reread the assignment sheet to remind yourselves of the explanation’s purpose and audience. Begin drafting. Be sure to hold onto what you write today so that you can use it on Thursday as you draft the rest of your explanation.
Conference with groups (30-35 minutes)
As students work, you can conference with the groups you didn’t conference with last time. Aim to help them assess their inquiry: are they finding relevant, reliable sources? Are they finding a range of perspectives on the subject? Is anyone very behind (if so, how can you and the group help the person catch up?)? Are there group dynamic problems that you can ease? Also, be sure you have communicated that you understand where each individual student is with his/her research. This should help motivate anyone who is lagging behind and it should ease any concerns that the best-prepared students may have.
Tip. Aim to leave each conference having helped the group formulate a plan drafting the Critical Introduction on Thursday.
Take time to revisit the assignment sheet and to reiterate the purpose, audience and strategies for the Critical Introduction. Ask students who chose to read and evaluate sample Critical Intros last time and/or today to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the samples as well as to offer any advice about how to draft the explanation.
Conclude class and assign homework (3-5 minutes)
Wrap up class as usual, emphasizing the importance of bringing all sources and annotated entries so that groups have everything they need to begin drafting their Critical Intros.
Finish reading your sources and writing annotated bibliography entries. Bring all of your sources and all of your bibliography entries to class next time.