backReturn to Unit One: MWF

Unit One, Day 13 - Wednesday, September 20

What they'll do today in class:

Connection to course goals: Once again, in order to effectively evaluate an essay for a sociology professor, they'll have to focus their essay and support their judgements about the essay to convince the audience. This demonstrates writing as a response to context, and the first activity is specifically designed to show how part of the writing process is asking the right questions to show what they must do to meet the context and where they can make choices.


  1. WTL: focus activity - Generating questions to help focus an essay. Take about 5-6 minutes and make a list of questions you might ask about an essay to help narrow your focus for this assignment. That is, if you're sitting down to start draft #1, what questions could you actively consider in order to help narrow your focus and purpose? You might start by thinking about the context of the assignment, and then consider which parts of the assignment or essay you should ask questions about. You can use general questions that would help focus any essay, or questions that are specific to this assignment. (5 min)
  2. Generate a list of questions for focusing on the board. What you're after here is helping them develop the ability to consciously focus an essay. The questions should hopefully be things like:
  3. Focusing is really what the 1st step in Evaluation asks you to do - State your overall claim, which should include a judgement for each criterion you will use (i.e. which parts of the essay you've focused on as important and relevant to your purpose, and how they do or do not make the essay worthwhile for the professor's purposes). We also use the term "thesis" in regard to focus. A thesis will clearly and concisely state your overall focus for a reader. (10 min)

    Transition: Now that we've generated some questions that hopefully can help narrow the focus for essay 2 (or any essay) and complete step 4, let's practice focusing and also see how once you've focused your essay, the next step in evaluation - supporting the judgments you've made - becomes important.

  4. Before we practice focusing and supporting an evaluation, let's review the PHG reading on evidence.
  5. (10 min)

    Transition: Now let's go ahead and practice focusing an essay and developing the judgements you make with specific examples. And keep in mind that these parts of the writing process work together. You can't really have any effective development without a clear overall focus and purpose. Think back to the map activity - I didn't give you a clear focus and purpose in drawing the US and CO maps, and you consequently couldn't incorporate the right details.

  6. Practice focus and development with the Hochschild essay.
  7. (10-15 min)

  8. Present overheads. Look at their individual theses and then examine the evidence to see what type of evidence they used and if it is specific and effective. Again, when they're presenting their overheads, ask the class to evaluate how effectively the group has narrowed their focus and supported their points. Get the whole class involved so they actively have to learn exactly what they should be doing.

(10-15 min)


Complete the focus and development worksheet (Make sure it's legible because classmates will read it Friday)

(NOTE: The worksheet can be found in the appendix)

- Bring that worksheet and the homework writing you did for today back.

- Read: PHG, "Introductions and Lead-ins" p. 299-301