backReturn to Unit 1: MWF

Unit 1, Day 9:  Friday, September 7


What you'll do today in class:


-         Review academic summary with Wong

-         Establish criteria for responding to the Essay 2 context

-         Introduce different types of responses

-         Connect types of responses to criteria


Connection to course goals:  Practicing summary reinforces the skills students will need to meet the context for Essay 2.  Establishing possible criteria for evaluating a text and how the different types of response connect to those criteria helps students see different ways to effectively respond to the context for the second assignment.




1.      Review academic summary by looking at students’ homework assignments (10 minutes):  On the board compile a list of what should be included in an academic summary of Wong’s essay.  Make sure students are on track with the main ideas and that they can articulate Wong’s thesis or overall claim.  Also, check to make sure they’re not summarizing too many details from her text.


·        What did you summarize out of the Wong essay? What were her main ideas?

·        Which quotes did you include or mark that you thought were ESSENTIAL?


Transition: “We’ve just practiced the second step in the process of evaluating:  describing the object/text you’ll evaluate.  Because academic summary is a key part of meeting the context for the Essay 2 assignment, we'll be practicing summary more in the next few class periods.   But now let's turn to the third step of evaluating—establishing viable criteria.”


2.      Establish criteria for Essay 2 by analyzing the audience and considering their own in-class experiences (15-20 minutes):


-         Assign WTL as a way to lead into this activity:

·        Take about 5 minutes to think about the following issues:  Based on your experiences as students, what makes a text effective?  What types of texts work well? Which parts of a text are important?  What might a professor want to do with a text in class?  What are the different reasons/purposes for reading a text?


-         Discuss the WTLs to generate a class list of possible criteria for evaluating the essays for the seminar professor. Make sure to have someone keep a list of the criteria students generate so you can type it up for the next class period.  Or write it on an overhead as you discuss criteria so you have a record.  Here are some possible criteria:

·        strength of evidence

·        text keeps (or doesn't keep) reader's attention

·        text is good for starting discussion

·        text has too much jargon for intro level class

·        text makes reader think about their own views

·        text uses solid (or faulty) logic

·        text fits theme of course or will meet course goals


-         Explain to students how they can employ criteria:  Point out to students that many of these criteria could produce either a "use the text" or a "don't use the text" claim.  For example, if the evidence is strong, it might be useful to help students understand important themes or ideas the professor wants to convey.  However, if the evidence is strong but tends to dominate the text, it might cause the reader to lose interest and thus be less effective.  In short, be sure to emphasize that the criteria can probably be used in a variety of ways to meet the overall context of the Essay 2 assignment.


3.      Introduce the types of response from PHG (5-7 minutes):


-         List the types of response on the board.


·        Analysis—looking at the effectiveness of the text—how strong/credible/relevant the evidence is, how effective the tone or organization is, etc.

·        Agree/Disagree—why do you agree or disagree with what the author says?

·        Interpretation/Reflection—explaining key underlying assumptions and implications of a text, often utilizing a writer's personal experience. 


-         Emphasize to students that these approaches are modes of development for supporting a judgment.  We do not want students to think of them as simple “forms” that they can use as a structure for their paper.  Here it might be useful to juxtapose how development of their response in Essay 2 differs from Essay 1.


Essay 1:  reaction / reasons / evidence

Essay 2:  evaluation / reasons—using modes of analysis or development / evidence


4.      Connect types of response to criteria (10 minutes):


-         Lead a discussion on how types of response might be used to develop the criteria students generated in #2. 


·        Which type(s) of response seem most applicable to our context for Essay 2?

-         Probably analysis

·        How might the other types of response be used?

·        Which of our criteria might involve showing how a reader might agree or disagree?

·        Which of our criteria might involve looking at the author's assumptions or implications?


-         Summarize the discussion:  Emphasize how the context for Essay 2 certainly requires some sort of analysis, but the other types of response can also be incorporated as well.  Each approach is only a way of explaining their evaluation.  For example, students might be able to use an agree/disagree response to show how a text elicits an energetic response from a reader. Perhaps an essay is so controversial that it would make readers especially emotional about the issue, and thus they would want to talk about the essay. Thus, the agree/disagree response could be used to show how the essay would make an effective discussion generator, which could be a goal of the seminar professor.  Also, a text with well-founded or problematic assumptions might serve or not serve the goals of the seminar professor, providing other options for response here.




Assignment for Day 10:


-         Read Molloy’s “Dress for Success” in RC (252-56). 

-         Write a paragraph summary and 1-page analysis of Molloy’s evidence.


Optional Technology (Forum):  Some instructors have found it useful to have students generate and revise an ongoing list of potential evaluation criteria on a web forum provided in SyllaBase.  You might post the list of criteria the class generated above in #2 and assign them to add to it later, based on further class discussions.  If you’re comfortable with using this technology at this point you might consider designating part of one forum for this purpose.  (See the appendix for a handout that provides sample instructions for how to login to SyllaBase, access the forums, and post/edit messages.)