Before today’s class, re-read “A Path of Hope for the Future,” read the WTLs from Wed., and write your own lesson plan.
Bring your ROG Reader or printout of “A Path of Hope for the Future,” annotated for thesis and reasons
12 blank overhead transparencies (you can get these from the mailroom in Eddy)
6 overhead markers, such as Vis a Vis (you'll need to supply these yourself)
For today’s class, students have read Daniel Quinn’s “A Path of Hope for the Future,” and are expecting to discuss the reading. To hold students accountable for the assignments, plan a WTL that will not only do so but will also allow check students’ understanding of the article.
Write the agenda for today’s class on the board, if you have decided to make this part of the routines for your class. The agenda might look something like this: WTL/Discussion of “A Path Of Hope”/Academic Summary
Attendance (2-3 minutes)
Take care of any remaining registration issues (such as new students or students that were absent on the first and second day), and be sure to note which students are absent. Don’t use class time to catch up new students. Instead arrange for them to stick around after class or visit your office hours.
Reading comprehension WTL (5 minutes)
It’s important to consistently hold students accountable for class reading assignments, and a quiz focused on close reading or a WTL are both good methods of doing so. Whatever you choose, introducing your preferred method during the first week of class is a good way to signal that students need to keep up with their reading.
Possible quiz questions:
What does the title “A Path of Hope for the Future” refer to?
Who is Daniel Quinn addressing?
What does Quinn think we can do to make a difference?
What are Quinn’s rules for changing our thinking?
What would happen if Quinn addressed a different audience, such as Obama’s cabinet members?
OR try this WTL:
Are you familiar with what Quinn refers to as “commencement rhetoric?” Do you ever feel cheated that it is all “up to you,” to “save the world”? What advice would you give to the next generation? How is this similar to and/or different from Quinn’s advice to the Houston Environmental Youth Conference?
Discuss “A Path of Hope for the Future” (10-15 minutes)
Collect the WTL’s and discuss the answers with students. This will give you an opportunity to review the main ideas of the article and for students to check their understanding of it. Refer students to the text as questions arise and reinforce the idea of reading closely. Move the discussion from simply comprehending the article to students’ responses to it.
Introduce summary writing (10-15 minutes)
Introduce academic summary by explaining that summaries require one to set aside one’s own biases and preconceived ideas and really listen. On the board, write:
Purpose: To offer a condensed and objective account of the main ideas and features of a text; to demonstrate accurate comprehension of a text. Audience: Your instructor
Make sure students understand what "objective" means, and then ask students to talk about how they might go about writing a summary that accomplishes the above purposes for the audience. That is, how can students write a summary that will show you, the instructor, that they have understood what they have read?
Give them time to think through your question, and be encouraging about even minor suggestions (provided they apply—if a student says "write about why I disagree," for example, don't validate that because it will confuse everyone in the class). Below "Purpose" and "Audience" on the board, make a list of "Strategies." Once students have offered everything they seem to have, take time to assess the list of strategies. If there's anything that seems off, clarify it. If anything essential is missing, add it and explain why you are adding it. It's ok if this list isn't 100% complete because students will read more about writing summaries for homework, and you will cover it more in class next week. In a perfect world, the following would be on the list in some form (explanations you might give are in parentheses):
Include the writer's thesis (this shows that the student has understood the main point of the article)
Include main points that support the thesis (this shows that the student has read closely to understand why the writer holds his/her thesis statement to be true)
Don't offer your own opinions or reactions (this would show that the student is not able to "listen" to a writer without responding)
Use some quotes (this shows that the student has looked closely at the language and at the writer's voice)
Include the author's name, the title of the text, and where it was published (this shows that the student is aware of the writing situation--more on this next week).
Use Quinn’s “A Path of Hope for the Future” and model the process of summary writing for students. On the board put the headings of the summary outline up and as a class, put pieces together. Start with the context, and then help students identify the thesis and key points.
Summary: The stuff you’ll need to identify
Publication Information you’ll need to begin summary:
Title of Text
The overall argument the author is trying to get across (this can be implicit or explicit)
It is a statement, not a question, and it is typically rather concise (but packed with meaning)
How the author supports her thesis. They can sometimes be seen as “because” statements. These are usually followed by supporting details (which you may choose to include if it is indeed striking or illustrative)
Main Point 1
Main Point 2
Continue on in this fashion until all key points are identified
Often, main points are reasons or "because" statements that support the thesis. Sometimes they are not phrased with the "because" conjunction, though they could be. Ask students to find specific language in Quinn’s essay that explains why he thinks we should, indeed, change our “cultural vision.” Possibilities include: "To end a vicious cycle of passing on the responsibility to save the world to future generations," "you will set an example for other people," etc.
How do these statements differ from ones like "it means we have forty years to find a new path for ourselves " and “back in the eighties, a lot of eight-year-olds-came home and told their parents, ‘By God, we’re going to start recycling aluminum cans!’—and they made it stick”? The difference, mainly, is in scope—the statements quoted in the paragraph above are broader and use general language; they are reasons. The statements quoted in this paragraph are narrower and give specifics; they are evidence that support the reasons. Writers often offer several pieces of similar evidence to prove a reason; Quinn has done so in this essay.
With a thesis and some reasons listed, you’ve got a good start. But does this cover all of Quinn’s main points? Not really; arguments often contain more main points than just a thesis and reasons (sometimes they offer concessions, refute counter arguments, or suggest solutions; these things do not offer direct reasoning for the thesis, but still they are integral parts of the argument). In Quinn’s case, he has included a few “fundamental notions” for saving the world. These notions are important key points, though it is not a reason for the thesis (stop continually waiting for someone else to solve the world’s problems by passing on the responsibility through the generations). Leaving the fundamental notions out of the summary altogether, though, would be misrepresenting the text.
On the board, now, you should have the basic things that would need to go into a summary of Daniel Quinn’s essay. Ask students how they would turn this list into paragraphs. How long might the summary be? Might you incorporate quotes?
Group summaries (20-25 minutes)
From outline to paragraph form.In this activity, students will work in their small groups to complete the same tasks you just worked through on the board, and to write the summary in paragraph form. Explain the group work instructions (on an overhead transparency) and then give groups time to work.
Work with your group to write a summary of Quinn’s essay.
Come up to the front of the room to get a blank transparency and an overhead pen.
Write an academic summary in paragraph form. Please write your summary on the overhead transparency so that we can look at it next week during class.
Once all (or most) groups are finished, collect the transparencies and markers. Talk about the writing process, and ask if students have questions about writing summaries.
Homework for Monday
Read “Green, Greener, and Greenest” by Daniel Stone and Anne Underwood (Reader). Mark up the text and margins with appropriate annotations.
Using your notes from today’s class as well as the summary example and guidelines on pages 190-198, draft a summary of the article. Print out your draft and bring it to class with you.