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Unit One, Day 1 - Tuesday, August 22

What they'll do today in class:

Connection to course goals: Establishes communication with each other necessary for peer revision workshops and class discussions. Introduces them to concepts of context and the rhetorical situation. The interview activity also introduces the idea of how culture creates contexts that influence our actions - awareness of this situation is key to eventually being able to use writing critically toward culture.


  1. Introductions -- Make sure everyone is in the right course and section. Putting the course number, name, and section number on the board helps weed out students who have wandered into the wrong room. Expect students to drift in late on the first day --many are getting used to a new campus and still can't find their way around yet. (2 min)
  2. Introduce yourself and take roll. Call names and record attendance on your roll sheet. Also write on roll sheet nicknames and even phonetic pronunciations of difficult names. While you'll probably use some other attendance-taking measure in the future (such as collecting homework), taking the time to call roll in the first few days will help you learn students' names.
  3. Writing to Learn (WTL) Have students take out a piece of paper and write for 5 minutes or so about what they expect out of CO150. You can put this prompt on the board or on an overhead (hereafter abbreviated as "OH").

Transition to next activity (use these explanations to connect activities for students. They'll benefit from knowing how the activities build on each other) -- now you're going to talk about the particulars about what they can expect, which will address (hopefully) some of the issues they brought up in their writing.

  1. Syllabus: Briefly discuss how to read the assignments due (especially if you are using a grid), the types of assignments in more general terms -- save specifics for later. (5 min.)
  2. Note: You will have made your own syllabus based on these lesson plans. They don't need the whole packet and you will want to make some changes.

  3. Explain Policy Statement: Show the books used (many will have bought older editions that won't have the same readings in them). You can present the course policy statement yourself, choosing to emphasize the policies that you will consider the most important. Be sure to explain at least the following policies:

You'll probably also want to cover the course topic and the required materials. One good strategy is to have a copy of your policy statement for the OH that has highlighted or annotated the essential ideas you want to convey. If not on the OH, just having your own highlighted copy can help quell those first-day jitters and prevent you from forgetting anything really critical you want to convey. Or you can delegate some of the responsibility by having students read sections. (10min.)

Transition to next activity: You're going to begin examining the larger culture (the United States in terms of identity, the media, and education) by examining the culture of this classroom in this next activity.

  1. Interview activity: Have students pair up and ask each other questions about one another and record their answers so they can report back. (10 min.)
  2. Report results of interviews by having students introduce each other. As they do so, put their questions on the board. Generate a list of categories (20 min.)
  3. Discuss the interview activity. Your goal in this discussion is to highlight how Context and rhetorical situations define what we can say and how we can say them. Our context and rhetorical situation here is a college composition classroom and that affects how we asked questions and what questions we asked.
  4. Conclusion (these sections are designed to summarize and review what the students were supposed to have learned in today's class. Again, it's often helpful to have these goals made explicit so the students know what they're trying to learn. It can also be a good way to check their understanding of the day's concepts and lessons. Each day, try to give them some sort of ending summary)

- Today we examined how context influences our actions and choices (interview activity). We'll continue with this idea on Thursday and connect this idea more directly to culture and writing. (2 min)

If you have extra time: Discuss their responses to the WTL. Generate a list on the board to show commonalities and differences between answers and how those expectations will (or will not) be met in this course. It's okay to address issues like "I think this class will suck." A lot of times it helps to let them express these views on the first day so they can see that you are willing to listen (although not necessarily believe) their views.

Assignment for Day 2:

Read in RC:

"Introduction," pp. 1-4

Read in PHG:

"Purpose and Audience" pp. 20-26

"Writing Process" pp. 124-133

Zoellner, "I'm O.K., But You're Not" pp. 28-29


A one-page response to "What is my cultural identity? In what ways do I define myself? What or who influences my identity?