What they'll do today in class:
- Introduction to concepts of context, purpose, audience, and focus.
- Introduction to Essay 1
- Practice critical thinking and reading skills
Connection to Course Goals: Introducing the terms starts to get students thinking of writing as a contextual act, and the grocery and homework activity shows that we make choices within writing contexts. Analyzing the context for Essay 1 encourages students to begin asking questions about a writing context in order to determine the most effective ways to meet that context. Critical thinking and reading skills are important parts of all of the various academic contexts we'll be looking at over the semester and are a main goal of CO150.
Introduction: Today we'll be returning to the idea of how context influences our choices and actions. We'll look specifically at how writing occurs within a context that influences a writer's choices. We'll then discuss and analyze the context for our first writing assignment and practice the critical reading skills that will be important in meeting that context.
- Introduce importance of purpose/audience/focus. Read the material in PHG that they read for homework to see what you want to highlight here. Emphasize that no matter what you write, there is always a purpose, a focus, context, and an audience (which might be just you).
- Ask students to each take just a minute to jot down their basic grocery list if they were to go shopping.
- Ask one student to offer their list to put on the board. After you have the student's list on the board, ask them how this list might change if they were writing the list for their mom to do the shopping for them. They should add more detail to this list, for example maybe "cool ranch doritos" on this list vs. "chips" on the first list. They also might adjust the list based on amount, location, health concerns (low sodium or cholesterol foods), etc. Do this with another student's list, and provide a different context again. (10 min)
Transition: Now let's take a look at a specific text, your homework assignments, and see how people conceived of purpose and audience.
Purpose, Audience, Focus chart with their homework. Now that you've shown how purpose, audience and focus are important in a simple writing task like a grocery list, let's see how they conceived of these three in regard to their own homework. On the board, make columns for Purpose, Audience, and Focus. Ask students to say who they envisioned as their audience for their homework writing - was it themselves? Was it the class as a whole? Was it simply you as an instructor? Next, ask what purpose they had in mind for that audience - Was it to show the teacher their writing skills? Was it to explain their cultural identity to themselves? Was it to let others in on what they think influences their lives? Was it just to fill a page to complete the assignment?
- Always try to think about why you are writing, what you're trying to accomplish with your text, and who you are writing to. That way you can more easily make conscious choices about your texts.
- Also, this shows that for any given writing context there are likely several different ways to meet the context -different audiences, different purposes, etc.
Transition: Now that we've talked a bit about how purpose, context, and audience in the writing process, let's examine the first essay assignment to identify these three concerns.
Introduce Essay 1
Handout assignment sheet
Let them read over it
To check their understanding of the terms in general, and the essay in particular, ask them to restate the purpose, context, and audience as a class…
What is the purpose of this essay?
Who is your audience for this essay?
- Then, move to discussing how these three responses will affect their choices when writing Essay1. Since they are part of the audience, include them by asking what type of response they would like to read.
- Given your audience, what will they want to know about your reaction?
- What will you have to do to successfully explain your reaction to the class?
- What type of reaction would you want to read?
- They should be able to generate such concerns as:
- A reaction that isn't a rant
- A reaction that doesn't go off on tangents or try to cover too much (focus)
- A reaction that has an appropriate tone
- A reaction I can relate to
- A reaction that explains why they react the way they do
- A reaction that doesn't offend the audience
- You can use this list of what they'd like to read as a basis for many of the activities we'll be doing over the next few days - We'll work on focusing on a main idea, supporting their responses, and other skills necessary to meet the goals they've set up above.
- (10 min)
(NOTE: Be sure to emphasize here, and later when you discuss essays, that their essays should respond to a MAIN IDEA from a text, not an author's actions or the events in a text.)
Transition to Next Activity: Since the first essay asks for a reaction to a main idea, it will be especially important to read critically and accurately to first decipher the author's main ideas. Let's now take a look at how to read closely and critically in preparation for finding main ideas in our readings for Essay 1.
Practice "critical thinking and reading".
Being a critical thinker and reader is important to our goals over the semester. This means paying close attention to texts you read. Let's think quickly about how we can become close and critical readers, and then we'll practice it quickly
What makes an effective critical reader?
How does one becomes a close reader of the text?
What can you do to be more active and critical when reading an essay?
You may want to emphasize that an important part of being a critical reader is turning that lens inward and examining your beliefs and influences and how they affect your reading of a text.
- Close reading - marginal markings, notes outside of text
- Consider the context in which the essay was written
- Consider your context - what am I bringing to my reading? Why do I react this way?
- Let's take a look at how one could be a "critical reader" of the Zoellner essay. Have an OH of the Zoellner essay prepared and then annotate as a class.
- Quickly have students skim the "Reading Strategies" on p. 20-21 of Reading Culture.
- Let's practice the first two suggestions here with the Zoellner essay.
- To connect this with your first essay, let's think specifically about reading Zoellner in preparation for writing Essay 1.
- What would you annotate? Underline? Mark in the margins?
Try to get them, here, to think about things like marking places where, as a reader, they reacted to something Zoellner said. Or perhaps places that seem key to his argument. (10-15 min)
Conclusion: Today we looked at how cultural contexts influence us as readers and writers, as well as how a writing contexts influences the texts we produce. On Tuesday we'll turn toward responding specifically to the context of Essay 1.
Read in RC:
Chapkis, "Dress as Success" pp. 211-214
Read in PHG:
"Techniques for Reading" 149-157