backReturn to Unit 1: MWF

Unit 1, Day 5:  Wednesday, August 29


What you'll do today in class:


-         Practice finding main ideas

-         Discuss using personal evidence to support a reaction

-         Prewriting activity to generate ideas for writing Essay 1


Connection to course goals:  The initial activities highlight focusing a reaction on a main idea and ask students to analyze what makes effective personal evidence for Essay 1, while the prewriting activity begins to show writing as an ongoing and recursive process.


INTRODUCTION:  Devise a brief introduction that explains what students will be doing today in class and why.


1.      Group activity on ideas and evidence in Wong (10 minutes):  Divide the class into four groups. Each group should respond to the following questions:


·        What are the main ideas of Wong’s essay?  Point to specific parts of the text that show these main ideas (provide page numbers).

·        Find two examples of places in the text where Wong uses detailed personal evidence effectively to support her points.  Mark the places and be ready to explain why those examples are effective. 


2.      Discuss main ideas and responses to the Wong essay (15-20 minutes). Generate a list of the main ideas on the board based on the groups’ responses.  Be sure to push students to articulate what the thesis or controlling idea is in her essay. 


Main ideas of Wong’s “The Struggle to be an All-American Girl”


·        Pressures of the dominant (American) culture moved Wong to cast aside her Chinese heritage.

·        The idea of “cultural divorce” is connected to assimilating the dominant culture, which often involves some kind of loss.

·        Being “American” is connected to things such as language, smells, types of knowledge, perceptions, etc.


Discussion questions for Wong


·        Which school did Wong prefer and why?

·        Why does Wong make such an effort to favor “American” scents or “multicultural” holidays and foods?

·        What kind of pressures does Wong face?  Who wants her to do what and why?

·        What does she mean by the term “cultural divorce”?

·        How does Wong ultimately feel about the decision she made?  (What might she have lost?)


Transition: “We've fleshed out Wong's main points, so now let's take a look at how she develops her experiences with detail to support those points.”


3.      Have each group give an example of an effective piece of personal evidence in the Wong essay (10 minutes):  Ask the following questions to get students thinking about what makes personal experience effective as evidence.  At the end of the activity, remind students that it is just this kind of evidence you will expect in their own essays.


·        Why is this example effective?

·        What does Wong do to make the point clearer to the reader?  How does she help the reader understand her experiences?  How does she "show" the events here? 


Transition:  “The next activity is designed to help you generate ideas for a possible focus and support for a reaction no matter which text you choose to respond to for Essay 1.”


4.      Prewriting activity (5 minutes):  Orally, or on an OH, provide the following directions.


·        Take about 5 minutes to free-write your personal reaction to one of the main ideas from Chapkis or Wong.  Pick one, and keep writing. Don't stop. Just generate any thoughts or feelings you have about what the texts are saying, experiences that might relate, any observations that seem to comment on the idea, etc.


5.      Looping” (5 minutes):   Orally, or on an OH, provide the following prompt:


·        Look back at your prewriting. Underline any points you think you could use as a focus for your first essay.  Underline any examples you might be able to use. Choose one point and begin a new free-write.  Or choose one example and describe it in detail and then explain how it relates to the author's point.



CONCLUSION:  Summarize, or perhaps ask a few students to summarize, the main

concepts from today's class. What did they learn? How does it relate to their assignment?  Be sure to re-emphasize a focused reaction and evidence supporting that reaction.


Assignment for Day 6: 


-         Read Hine’s “Goths in Tomorrowland” in RC (68-73).

-         Write a 1-page reaction to Hine that includes the main idea you’re reacting to, your reaction, and some explanation of why you react that way using personal evidence.

-         Bring your previous homework reactions to Chapkis and Wong with you to class Friday.