This exercise, especially useful for an Arguing paper, requires you to make large posters, depicting the Example Organization List below. Then, have your students hold the posters while the others tell them where to
stand. For example, "Jeff, you go to the right of Gina." Students think
this is dorky, but it works.
First, ask students to order only #1 through #7. Encourage them to explain their reasoning, as well as to
consider alternatives. It's important here to point out that some
of these items may not be essential. For instance, a paper might
not have an essay map, or #6 and #7 might be the same thing.
Next, take out #5, #6, And #7 and add #8 through #10 to illustrate
the importance of organizing to highlight strengths and minimize
Third, take those three out and put in #11 through
#16, and students begin to see that they can break their argument
into a point-by-point format. A similar strategy works well
with organization on a paragraph label. You can literally cut up
a piece of writing and have students put it back together. This
works with weak as well as strong samples. Students see that weak
writing lacks clear metadiscursive cues and a logical,
chronological, or hierarchical sequence of ideas. Typically, visual exercises work best for teaching organization.