backReturn to Unit 1: MWF

Unit 1, Day 6:  Friday, August 31


What you’ll do in class today:


-         Discuss reasons vs. evidence

-         Discuss main ideas and reactions to Hine

-         Discuss students’ homework reactions

-         Conduct a mini-workshop on focus and development


Connection to course goals:  The activities on reasons and evidence show students that in order to develop their essays effectively they’ll have to offer readers specific personal evidence to substantiate their points.   The mini-workshop emphasizes for students the importance of ongoing revision in the writing process and shows the value of peer feedback in making choices for their writing.



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


1.      Discuss reasons vs. evidence (apply to Wong) (5 minutes):  The goal of this discussion is to make important distinctions between a writer’s reasons and evidence.  Use Wong’s essay to illustrate the relationship.  First, review briefly with the students Wong’s thesis/controlling idea (that assimilating the mainstream culture brings with it personal loss in terms of sense of identity). Explain that one reason she believes assimilating mainstream culture can have negative consequences is that she developed an aversion to her native language.  But emphasize that Wong does not stop there with offering a reason.  Instead, she goes a step further to offer her readers specific evidence to support that reason:  she provides specific descriptions of how people reacted to her differently when she spoke English and when she spoke Chinese.  Emphasize that students will have to do the same in terms of providing specific personal evidence to support their reasons.  (You might briefly map out this thesis-reason-evidence relationship on the board for students.)


Transition:  “The distinction between reason and evidence is essential when you’re developing your reactions to an essay.  We’ll practice this today with Hine, but first let’s look at the main ideas and possible reactions to that essay.”


2.      Discuss main ideas and reactions to Hine (15 minutes):


Main ideas of Hine’s “Goths in Tomorrowland”


·        There is an “alienation of teenagers from adult society” that Hine sees as a significant issue in our culture.

·        We do not have one “youth culture” but instead a “range of youth subcultures” defined by more than racial, ethnic or gender markers (70).

·        These “tribes” or groups such as Goths serve as places where youth often find a sense of belonging but also perhaps an “escape” (i.e. Disneyland example) (71).

·        Most youths “embrace” an “extreme” form of “individualism,” leading many to look for extreme ways to express themselves (72-3)


Discussion questions for Hine


·        What does Hine’s opening Disneyland story suggest about the relationship between teens and adult society?

·        Why are terms such as “teenager” and “youth culture” no longer enough to represent and explain young people?  What “tribes” or groups have you noticed in high school and even in college?

·        Why do you think youths such as those who go for the Goth look often choose “extreme” forms of self-expression?  How might these types of choices influence their relationship to larger society, in your view?

·        What do you think Hine means when he writes that teens are often “caught in a paradox”?  To what extent do you agree, based on your experiences? Why?


Transition:   “Now that we’ve had a chance to react to Hine, let’s see whether we’ve developed those reactions with both reasons and evidence.”


3.      Discuss homework reactions (10 minutes):  Your goal in this discussion is to get students to begin thinking about how to support their reactions. Try to push students beyond "reasons" to actual evidence. Remind them that reasons are telling why they reacted the way they did (I think Hine is wrong because I wasn’t isolated or alienated from adult culture even though I chose a more “extreme” form of self-expression), while evidence is specific support showing why they reacted that way (expanding on the aforementioned reason by specifically describing for the reader their chosen attire or “look” and how they were treated by adults).


-         Solicit a few sample reactions from students that you can put on the board.

-         Review the difference between reason and evidence.

-         Talk out an example to make the distinction clear.

-         Ask students what type of evidence would be useful in supporting these reactions (i.e. evidence to show why they had this reaction).

-         Chart their responses on the board on a 3-column grid:



Transition:  “You've had a chance to write an initial reaction to 3 of the 4 texts we've read and consider how to develop those reactions.  The next step is to choose which one you'll develop into your Essay 1. To help you with that decision, we're going to get feedback from your classmates.”


4.      Mini-workshop on focus and development (20 minutes): Provide the following directions for students on an OH.


-         Have students exchange their three reactions with a classmate.

-         Ask students to read the 3 reactions they get, and then respond to these questions wherever

      there is room on the paper (or make a handout that students can use as a guide):


1.)    Summarize in your own words the writer's reaction, including the main idea she or he is  reacting to.

2.)    Where in this text do you see room for more development?  Where do examples need more detail?  Where could the writer do more "showing" to the reader?

3.)    What other types of examples or experiences do you think might be

useful as evidence for their reaction?

4.)    Which of these reactions would you recommend the writer use for Essay 1 and why?


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 8 (after Labor Day): 


-         Read “Evaluating” in PHG (320-22) and “Summary” in PHG (154-55) to prepare for discussion Wednesday.

-         Write/revise Essay 1 to hand in Wednesday.