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Unit One, Day 14 - Thursday, October 5


What we'll do today in class:

Connection to course goals: Asks students to practice applying academic skills of analysis to the larger culture. Shows how the writing context for Assignment 3 requires close attention to various parts of the "text" they'll analyze.


  1. Collect Analyses of Essay 3 context.
  2. (NOTE: You'll be collecting these homeworks to see if students have a good sense of the essay and where they might go with it. Also, when you read these homeworks make a list of any concerns you think you need to address for the whole class.)

  3. Group Activity - analyzing a TV Talk-show. You'll need a 10 minute segment of a daytime TV talk-show. You can rent Jerry Springer tapes at local video stores, or just tape a segment at home. Make sure you view the show before using it in today's class so you can prepare for what students should be finding, and to be sure that it's appropriate for viewing in the class context. Don't pick sexually explicit segments of the shows for viewing!
  4. (5 min)

  5. Have students watch the Talk-show segment once just to see what's happening and to get initial reactions for their focus. Once they've seen the segment, generate a list of possible cultural messages or anxieties that the show addresses.
  6. Show the segment again, and this time, after they have seen the segment, ask the groups to come up with 2 claims for cultural analyses of this talk-show. Have them do a Function for Viewer claim and a Function for Culture claim. They can use any of the possible cultural foci or anxieties the class generated after first viewing the show.
  7. - (10-15 min)

    Transition: Now that we have possible claims for a cultural analysis of this segment, let's discuss the reading from RC to see what parts of the show we can look at to provide evidence to support our claims.

  8. Discuss what aspects of the show to focus on in third viewing.
  9. Before they view the segment a third time, Assign each group one aspect of the show - Content; guests and audience; Set; spacial arrangement; and camera space - to concentrate on from the reading in RC. (5 min)
  10. While they watch the show for the third time, have them write as many details as possible about their assigned aspect of the show. Don't worry about how it relates yet, just have every person in your group make as many observations as they can about your assigned focus. (10 min)
  11. Have groups compile their list of details, and then put the list on the board so you have a class list of numerous details from each aspect of the show.
  12. (NOTE: You should encourage everyone to copy as much of the list of details asthey can, since they'll need it for their homework assignment.) (10 min)

  13. Practice using these details as support for a claim.

If time…

  • WTL: Write a 1-page freewrite analysis (either function for culture or function for viewer) of the talk-show based on any of the possible cultural claims we came up with and use the observations we have on the board as your evidence. (15 min)
  • You'll be writing the other individually as a homework assignment for Tuesday.
  • Assignment:


    RC, William Bennett, "Announcing a Public Campaign…", 28-29

    RC, Donna Gaines, "How Jenny Jones Saved My Life", 29-33


    A one-page analysis of the segment we viewed today based on our observations. Write this one as a function for viewer or culture, whichever you didn't do in class today.

    (NOTE: you will read these homework assignments and select four or five that you think will work well for the Purpose /Focus /Audience activity on Day 16. Typically you'll want to look for homework that already have some focus, have used some evidence, but may have to be adjusted based on a new audience or purpose, or perhaps they aren't clearly focusing on Function for Culture or Function for Viewer, which they'll have to do to meet the context for essay 3. Make enough copies of each homework assignment for each student to have one.)