Day 9 (Tuesday, September 22nd)
You’ll want to begin analyzing the blogs we’ll be using in this assignment, if you haven’t done so already. As you read and prepare notes for “Climate Change: Now What?” make your own connections to the other texts to help model synthesis for your students. Today you will be introducing blogging: best practices, so read up on your notes. You will also continue to help students make connections between our expanding resources: essays & articles, blogs and films. It’s not up to you to make every possible connection for them, but modeling what you want from them by making some of your own connections will help them understand what’s expected for this assignment. If it is possible, return Assignment 1 to students today.
Students may come to class today unsure of their purpose in Assignment 2. Today’s activities should help to clear up any lingering confusion. Students are continuing to listen to the rhetoric of green conversation, which is expanding rapidly. They might be feeling overwhelmed, like they’ll have to cover the entire conversation in the upcoming assignment. Remind them that this couldn’t be further from their purpose, which is to make connections between texts and to comment on specific ideas and their implications.
Attendance and Introduction (2-3 minutes)
Take attendance and introduce class as usual. You might begin class today by asking about your students’ about similarities and differences in the issues within the various rhetoric of green topics.
WTL Creating Your Own Blog (5-10 minutes)
You might begin class today by asking students to write for a few minutes about the blog they analyzed for homework. What did they like about the blog’s layout and presentation, and organization? What did they think could be improved? Did they see any rhetorical choices that they would incorporate into their own blog? What wouldn’t they include?
If you want to collect this WTL to hold students accountable for the homework, be sure they incorporate telling details to display that they did the analysis work.
When students finish writing, have them share some of their ideas.
Blogging: Best Practices Overhead & Discussion (15-20 Minutes)
Blogging: an Overview
Blog is short for Web Log. In general, most blogs allow writers to make multiple, dated entries, and allow readers to leave comments. In the Writing Studio environment, you can use a Blog as a private journal, share a Blog with one or more of your Writing Studio classes or co-ops, share your Blog with another Writing Studio writer, and publish a Blog in the Writing@CSU Writing Gallery. For Assignment 2, you will be publishing your blog for the audience of your peers and your instructor.
A well-written blog is an effective way to communicate within our writing community. Writers often want to know how others feel about issues, especially when those issues are contentious within the public discourse.
Bloggers are very much like the rest of us in that they are unable to read everything on a topic before they weigh in on it publicly. A well-written blog will describe your experiences, observations, and opinions based on what you have read and viewed within the rhetoric of green. Your goal is to be helpful. You want to open up the conversation, not close it, by bringing ideas together (synthesis) to discuss their implications.
This guide is designed to help you prepare effective blogs. These are only suggestions to help you make your initial rhetorical choices for the assignment. You do not have to use all the numbered suggestions.
1. Always be respectful. This rule is essential and invariable. Your aim is to help, not to vent your frustrations. People don't respond well to abusive or condemnatory blogs.
2. Always write your blogs on the basis that the audience concerned is open to reason and discussion.
3. It is important to research the authors and the experts you are discussing. This shows respect for who they are, and what they do, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. This will add to your own reputation as a writer, making it easier to respond to your critical discussion.
4. Be clear and concise about your intentions for discussion. For instance do not include random appeals that will appear out of context or appropriate in another case.
5. Be wary of political jargon and media slogans. Often they effectively shut down discussion, rather than continue it. Don't give the impression that you are writing because you are ideologically or politically opposed to the ideas and experts in question. It is far more effective to stress the fact that your concern for your issue is not politically based in any way, but in keeping with basic principles of your values.
6. If you like, please explain a bit about your frame of reference, and how that has influenced your blog. This indicates that the letter is genuine, and also shows that people from varying walks of life are part of our writing community.
7. If you have any special interests or link with the ideas, authors and experts you wish to discuss, it is a good idea to mention this in your blog. For instance, you may have read an experts book for another class.
8. It’s okay to write something about yourself. Example: “I love travel. However, I’m concerned that with all the environmental and energy problems I won’t be able to do much traveling in the future.
9. Tell why you are writing the blog. Example: “I am writing to see if others are interested in the possibilities of a sustainable economy.”
10. Summarize your understanding of the topic being considered. But don’t rely solely on summarizing various texts. Remember it’s time to add your voice to the conversation.
11. Tell why you think an expert take on an issue is right or wrong. Describe in detail why you feel the decision made will lead to the impact you foresee.
12. Tell what any ideas mean to you personally. Describe the idea’s positive or negative effects for you.
13. If you think others will also be affected, identify them. Explain in your blog who and how many other people will be affected by a particular issue.
15. Describe what action you hope people take on an issue and explain why. State specifically what action you hope your audience will take – perhaps what you would do if you were in charge.
16. If you oppose some action, can you offer an alternative? Tell your audience what decision or action you believe would be best.
17. Tell your readers that you would be willing to continue the dialogue. Example: “If I can clarify anything I’ve written, please don’t hesitate to mention this in your response to my post.”
18. Conclude your blog. See the Beginnings and Endings Notes for ideas on how to conclude (Materials).
When Posting: Consider Your Title
A good title can act as an effective hook. While in this assignment we will be assigned to respond to our peer’s blog posts, in the blogosphere, a good title can determine whether someone reads your post or the thousands of other posts available at the click of their fingertips.
When Commenting on your peer’s blogs:
1. Make your comments thoughtful and informed, meaning you’ve done necessary research and are not basing your posts on your “gut feelings.” Be sure to reference what stood out to you in the post or in another's comments. Strive to keep the conversation alive in your comments, whether you agree or disagree with the post.
2. Post comments that are related to the entry. Save class small talk for e-mail or in-person exchanges.
3. Don’t blatantly promote your own blog. Especially if the entry is unrelated to your post.
4. Always behave with the utmost decorum! This goes without saying. If you don’t share a blogger’s opinions, don’t make it your mission to infiltrate his/her blog with personal attacks.
5. If you’re emotionally riled by a blog, pause before you hit submit. You might regret what you wrote.
Introduce the idea of Stakeholders (10 minutes)
Another way for students to make intertextual connections for their blog entries is by identifying and analyzing stakeholders. When we identify stakeholders, we come up with specific individuals, groups, states, countries, institutions, etc., who have something at stake in a topic or an issue. When we analyze stakeholders we examine their values in relation to the topic and issue. Stakeholder values can be shared or in opposition when it comes to a given issue. But even if values are shared, the means of means of achieving those values can be in conflict. For example, a businesswoman proposing to build a coal power plant on a piece of Indian land might value family. She may want the deal to go through so she can continue to support her family. An Indian living on the land near the proposed coal plant might object to the plant’s construction. The reason she might object to the plant could be because she values family. Both stakeholders value family, but have different ways of achieving their goal of supporting their families.
Introduce the idea of Stakeholders
Glade Reservoir Project: In phase 2 we will look at the local issue of the proposed Glade Reservoir which will damn unallocated sections of the Poudre River to provide water to Northern Colorado. This project is very controversial, which usually means it has various and conflicting stakeholders. Let’s create a stakeholder sun. At the center of the sun is the issue. The sun’s rays represent the various stakeholders: groups, individuals, institutions, etc. who have something at stake in the issue.
Stakeholder Sun: One model for introducing the idea of stakeholders is called a stakeholder sun. Draw a circle on the board and label the circle “Damming the Poudre.” Next draw “sunrays” or triangles shooting out from the issue circle. Have students label each of the sunrays with a specific stakeholder (examples include: City of Fort Collins, Northern Colorado residents, recreational enthusiast like kayakers and fisherman, farmers and ranchers, etc.) Next you might ask students to consider possible values that the stakeholders have in relation to the issue (Ex: farmers and ranchers value their livelihood which includes access to water, while kayakers value an undammed river, etc.)
Conclude by asking students to choose an issue within the conversation of the rhetoric of green and brainstorm specific stakeholders within that issue.
Pose this question to students: How can an understanding of stakeholders help you initiate a critical discussion in assignment 2?
“Climate Change: Now What?” Group Discussions (20-25 Minutes)
Today’s group discussion on Christine Russell’s “Climate Change: Now What?” students can share their critical reading of the text, while expanding the possibilities of making intertextual connections by learning about stakeholders. You might have the class form groups and divvy up the questions, but make sure that each group answers the stakeholder questions 5 & 6 and questions 14 & 15
Your Turn: For the last 5-10 minutes of this exercise, design a way for groups to share the information they collected with the whole class.
Assign homework and conclude class (2-3 minutes)
Conclude class by handing back assignment 1. You might announce that you are happy to discuss a student’s writing with them, but that if they want to discuss grades, they should take 24 hours to read over and think about your comments before coming to talk with you about it. In general everyone is always welcome in your office hours, for whatever CO150-related reason.
Homework for Thursday
Connection to Next Class
After completing the latest homework students will have all the data they’ll need to make choices for this next assignment. The next class will focus on providing the synthesis students will need to make their own rhetorical choices in Assignment 2.