Tuesday, September 8

Day 5 (Tuesday, September 8th)

Lesson Objectives

Students will


To prepare for class today, you might re-read the assignment sheet to foresee any possible terms and concepts which you think your class still needs to work on to complete the assignment effectively.



For today’s class, students have begun to revise their summaries and have drafted their responses for Assignment 1.  You might introduce the class by asking about possible problems students may have had in the revising or drafting process.

Take attendance and introduce class (2-3 minutes)

Begin class as usual, being sure to preview activities and connect this class to Monday’s.

Conduct a workshop review (10-15 minutes)

With a short workshop under their belts, students are far from being expert peer reviewers—few of us ever are—so a review and some introduction of more workshop best practices is still very important. In fact frontloading all of your peer-review sessions with a review of goals and objectives will help to prevent bad habits from developing and ensures fruitful workshops. Here are a few sample exercises to reinforce Workshop Best Practices.

Sample Exercise 1: Workshop Focus


Often times we feel pressed for time in our classes and so we skip seemingly trivial corners in order to move onto the next big thing. One place we often cut corners is in prefacing a workshop. After the initial detailed lesson covering effective workshop procedure, we forget to return to preface, emphasize, and provide focus on workshop goals, opting instead to assume our class has become professional peer-editors.


To get students into a focused state of mind for peer review sessions by highlighting concrete goals.


At the beginning of class, hand out index cards. On the cards have students anonymously respond to the following questions and prompts using concrete and specific language. Collect the cards, shuffle them and then read them aloud to the class, allowing the responses to initiate a brief discussion centered on strategies for an effective workshop. 

Index Card Question & Prompts


Sample Exercise 2: But Nothing Feedback
(Source: Brian Cole Miller)

When to use: This is a quick verbal activity that you can do with your students before a workshop to get the in the right frame of mind for peer review. This is especially useful when feedback is not being received well or when students are reluctant to “criticize” a classmate.


1. Have the students pair-up.
2. Each student has 30 seconds to think of something she/he likes about the other’s outfit, shoes, major, backpack, or something else altogether, and one way the “thing” could be improved.
3. The first student tells the other what she/he likes first, then says, “but…” and finishes the sentence with how it could be even better.
4. The other student then does the same to the first student.
5. Finally each student repeats what they said, replacing “but,” with “and.”


“I like your Che Guevara T-shirt, but it would bring out the blue in your eyes better if it were a darker color.”
“I like your Che Guevara T-shirt, and it would bring out the blue in your eyes better if it were a darker color.”

Questions to consider:

Assignment 1 Workshop Part 2 (30-45 minutes)

In the summary workshop, students worked in pairs. For this workshop, you might try groups of three to expand the collaboration. You can split the workshop questions so that the first reader is covering question 1-5, the second reader 6 -10, with both readers answer questions 11 & 12. Remind students to read through their peers’ drafts once with their pens down before reading it a second time actively marking up the text.

Writer: Write two questions or concerns you'd like your workshop partner(s) to address at the top of the first page of your draft. 

Readers: Put your name and email address on the top of the writer’s draft so that they can contact you if they have any questions about your comments.  Read through the writer's essay first without making any comments. Then read through the questions on the workshop sheet below. Address these questions when you re-read the essay, providing a thoughtful and detailed response.

Response: Answer the following questions on the back of the writer’s draft.  Please be sure to number your answers.

 1.  Write down the writer's claim for his or her response. Then look back at the response and circle where the claim is stated. Explain to the writer how effective the placement of the claim is in the response (is it apparent from the beginning?). If the writer doesn't include a claim for the response, point this out.

2. How effectively does the claim act as a map for the reader? What might the writer do to make the claim more effective?

3. Label where the writer uses REASONS and EVIDENCE to support his or her response. Point out where the writer needs to develop more reasons and/or evidence to make the claim valid.

4. How clearly does the body of the response (development of reasons and evidence) connect back to the claim (focus)? Are there any surprises in the body? Is anything promised in the claim that isn't fulfilled? Explain.

Overall:  Again, answer these questions on the back of the writer’s draft or, if necessary, on a piece of scratch paper.  Make sure to give any extra sheets of paper to the writer. 

5. Does the beginning of the response have a clear transition from the summary (which may or may not be included in this draft)? What language is used to signify a transition to a subjective tone?

6. Is it clear when the author is describing elements of the essay and when the author is responding to the effectiveness of what is being described?

7. Is it clear from the tone that the author is offering her/his opinions?

8. Has the author continued using appropriate paraphrases and direct quotations to make clear points?

9. Are there any places where attribution is unclear, tags are missing, or you generally become confused as to whose ideas are being expressed?

10. Offer any suggestions you may have to improve the writer's focus, organization, or development. Rank/order your top three recommendations.

11. Note two strong points from the essay. Try to be specific (rather than just writing "good" or “it flows”). What is working well? Why?

12. Respond to questions or concerns the writer has for you.

Assign homework and conclude class (2-3 minutes)

While students are busy workshopping, you might take the time to put on the board what materials you expect students to include in their Assignment 1 folders. Remind students of your office hours and let them know your availability in case they have questions during their revision process.


1) Reread the Academic Summary/Response grading rubric.
2) Using suggestions from your workshops, revise your summaries and responses into polished, final drafts.
What to include in your pocket folder for Assignment 1:

3) Bring in a visual example of the rhetoric of green. This could be some rhetoric on your cereal box, an advertisement in the magazine, or a t-shirt. It can be just about anything, but it must relate to green rhetoric and be something concrete you can bring to class.

Connection to next class

Next time students will continue to build their critical thinking base by expanding critical strategies to visual texts.