Wednesday, September 23

Day 13 (Wednesday, September 23rd)

Lesson Objectives

Students will


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.



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)

Begin class by letting students know they are getting close to having all the resources needed to complete assignment 2.

WTL (8-10 Minutes)

We’ve now critically examined two blogs. Using your blog analysis you did for homework, consider the gristmill blog. What did you think was effective about this blog? What was ineffective? What about this blog would you use in your own blog? What wouldn’t you use? Which of the two blogs do you prefer and why? Remember your audience for this assignment. How will your blogging choices keep their needs in mind?

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.

Remember that blogs have the potential to be seen by anyone with an internet connection. While our blogs will most likely be limited to our class community, keep in mind your purpose and refrain from using this blog as a personal journal, diary or confessional.

When blogging remember Berry’s words from our reader introduction, disagreements are welcome and expected, as long as the conversation is kept alive, “Long live the conversation!” There will always be differing opinions. Remember to always respect other’s views and opinions. At this stage in our discussion, we don’t wish to change minds or points of view, only to initiate a critical discussion.

Blogging Tips

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.
  14. 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. 
  15. If you oppose some action, can you offer an alternative? Tell your audience what decision or action you believe would be best.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

Don’t blatantly promote your own blog. Especially if the entry is unrelated to your post.

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.

If you’re emotionally riled by a blog, pause before you hit submit. You might regret what you wrote.

Discussion of Bjorn Lomborg Talk (8-10 Minutes)

1. What topic does Lomborg cover in his talk and where have we seen this topic in other texts?
2. What is Lomborg’s frame of reference?
3. What issues does Lomborg discuss within the topic?
4. How is his discussion of the issue similar or different than what we’ve read, heard or seen in other texts?
5. What gaps in our inquiry does Lomborg fill?

Discussion of the Gristmill blog (8-10 Minutes)

General blog questions:

1. How is a blog different than a newspaper, or other genres?
2. What are some advantages of blogs, compared to other genres?
3. What are some disadvantages of blogs, compared to other genres?
4. Do you use or frequent blogs in your daily lives?
5. Do you think blogging is becoming an important means for discourse in our lives?

Gristmill blog questions:

1. What is the purpose of this blog?
2. Who are the readers for this blog?
3. Do you think that this blog effectively meets the needs of the intended audience? Provide some reasons and examples.
4. Consider the blogs organization. Was it easy to navigate? Enjoyable? Annoying? Explain.
5. Consider the reader comments to the blog post. What are some things you noticed? Is there a common “comment rhetoric”? Did you observe any undesirable comment behavior?

Assign homework and conclude class (2-3 mins)

Homework for Monday

Connection to Next Class

Next time, students will have all of the resources they need to create their blog for this assignment. The next class will focus on providing the synthesis students will need to make their own rhetorical choices in Assignment 2.