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Unit One, Day 7 - Tuesday, September 12

What they'll do today in class:

Connection to course goals: Practicing the skills of summary and analysis again shows students the need to meet the expectations of the context. They can also see the ability to make choices within that context because we focus on a different aspect of an essay this time (style, tone, organization). Introducing focus is the next step in meeting the expectations of an academic audience.


Today we'll look at the Dilbert essay to once again walk through the steps of evaluating, and we'll move one step further to begin using evidence to support our judgements about how well an essay meets our criteria.

  1. To begin, let's quickly summarize the main ideas of the Adams essay. (You'll probably just want to do this as a large class discussion and list the ideas on the board. Hopefully, they'll have the hang of summary by this point so it will come a little easier.) (5 min)

  3. Let's again practice analysis, but with this essay we'll focus on organization and style. (NOTE: When we talk about style, we're referring to things like voice, tone, how the author "sounds" to the reader, whether the essay effectively gets and keeps the reader's attention.)
  4. - Let's look at the organization of this essay first. To do that, we'll do what's called a "backwards outline." That is, we'll work off of the finished essay and "outline" what each section is doing in terms of the overall purpose.

    1. When you're filling out the first column on the worksheet, feel free to "group" paragraphs together if they accomplish the same purpose and make the same point.
    2. When you're filling out column 2, just try to give a quick summary of what's said…we're not looking for academic here.
    3. For section 3, look for various parts of an essay that we've seen so far - Is this section making a main point? Providing evidence? Getting the reader's attention? What does it do for the reader? (15 min)
    4. Make a class backwards outline on the board. (15 min)
    5. Then ask them to consider the following in terms of how well this "outlined" organization works

    Sum-up this activity by emphasizing that a backwards outline works well to really break-down the organization of an essay. (5-10 min)

    1. Return to the criteria list and see how some of these issues meet or fail to meet those general criteria. Where do these issues fit with our criteria list? How well does the essay meet the criteria? Where would it work well, where would it falter?(5 min)
    2. Transition: We've seen his organization, now let's take a look at a different aspect of the Adams essay, his style.

    3. WTL: Take about 5 minutes to respond to the following prompt:
    4. - Did you enjoy reading this essay? How would you describe the "voice" or tone in this

      essay? Did you like the "voice" in the essay? Why or why not?

    5. Discuss their WTL's to get at issues of style and tone.

    Emphasize while they're giving examples from the text of the places where they "see" the tone and style and this is one type of evidence that will be useful in developing their second essays. If they make claims about features of the text, they'll need to use specific textual evidence to support/show those claims.

    Transition: So far we've looked at how evidence, organization, style, and tone could all be areas to focus on in evaluating an essay. Let's spend some time discussing how you might choose which of these to focus on with an essay.

    If time…

  5. How do you choose the parts of an essay you want to focus on? In this discussion you're trying to get them to think about the choices they'll have to make in writing their second essay.
  6. - Once you have a list of possible questions, ask them to answer those questions in terms of the Adams essay. What would they focus on? What would be their purpose? What aspects of the essay stand out most?

  7. Conclusion



RC Schor, "The Overworked American" pp. 366-370

Hochschild, "Work: The Great Escape" pp. 371-381


A one-page response to one of these essays. Focus on how well the essay meets one of our established criterion, and then explain why you chose that criterion.