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Unit 1, Day 8:  Thursday, September 13


What you’ll do today in class: 


-         Review finding main ideas with Kilbourne’s text

-         Practice using other criteria to evaluate a text for the Essay 2 context (organization and assumptions/implications in Kilbourne’s argument)

-         Practice developing a claim in evaluating a text for the seminar professor


Connection to course goals:  Practicing skills of summary and analysis again shows students the need to meet the expectations of the context for Essay 2.  But they can also see the ability to make choices within that context because we focus on different features of a text this time (organization and assumptions/implications).  Completing the reverse outline for Kilbourne’s article is an analytical skill that can help students read others’ texts more critically, as well as their own.  Considering the assumptions and implications of her argument offers another approach for analysis and also involves analysis of the rhetorical situation for Kilbourne’s text.




1.      Discuss the main points of Kilbourne’s argument (7-10 minutes): Before class, create your own list of main points you want them to cover, as well as Kilbourne’s thesis.  You’ll probably want to do this activity as a large class discussion and list the points on the board.  Hopefully, students will be comfortable with academic summary by this point so it will come a little more easily.


-         Have students summarize the article’s main points.

-         Define the context for Kilbourne’s argument: 

·        What is the rhetorical situation for this text (where published, when, etc)?

·        Who is Kilbourne writing to, primarily?  Why—what is she hoping to accomplish?


Transition:  “Now that we’ve defined Kilbourne’s argument and context, we’re going to again walk through the process of evaluating but this time use a new approach that you can use to develop your Essay 2: analyzing a text based on its organization.  Then we’ll move one step further to begin using textual evidence to support judgments about how well Kilbourne’s text meets our criteria.”


2.      Group activity to analyze Kilbourne’s organization (10-15 minutes):  In this activity we want to show students how a “backwards outline” can be a tool for analyzing a text’s organization.  Explain to students that completing a backwards outline basically involves working from the finished text to “outline” what each section is doing in terms of the overall purpose. (See the appendix for backwards outline worksheet.) You may want to have half of the groups start half-way through the text, to ensure that you'll be able to get through the whole text as a class. Put these guidelines on an overhead or on the board so students can follow them easily:


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 summary here.

3.)    For section 3, look for various parts of a text 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?


3.      Make a class backwards outline on the board (10 minutes):


4.      Discuss the backwards outline (10 minutes):


-         Ask students to consider the following in terms of how well this "outlined" organization works:

·        Does the organization effectively make the author's point? What are the main points and where are they made?  How well are the sub-points connected back to the overall point or thesis?

·        To what extent does the organization work for her audience and purpose?  To what extent does the organization work for our audience in Essay 2 (seminar professor)?

·        Are the points clear? Are they interrupted or obscured by any of the organizational features we see in our outline?  Would the main ideas be more effective if placed elsewhere?

·        Does the organization lend itself to an easy or entertaining read? What works well for the reader? Were you ever lost? Did you ever lose interest because the organization was confusing? What other ways could Kilbourne have organized her article?

·        Where does the text use evidence? What kind of evidence is used? Is it effective?

·        What pattern or structure of organization can you identify?

·        Is the structure effective? Does it work? Why or why not?


-         Sum up this activity by emphasizing that a backwards outline works well to break down the organization of a text.


5.      Return to the class criteria list to see how some of these issues meet or fail to meet those general criteria (5 minutes):   


·        Where do these issues fit with our criteria list?

·        How well does the essay meet the criteria?

·        Where would it work well and where would it falter?


Transition:  “Now that we've analyzed her text’s organization, let's take a look at a different aspect of Kilbourne’s texts—the assumptions and implications of her argument.” 


6.      Discuss assumptions and implications in Kilbourne’s argument (10-15 minutes):  You’ll probably want to begin by defining these terms, or asking students to define them.  It also might be useful to choose what you see as the most important questions from the following list and have students do a WTL on them to spark discussion.  Also, while it’s difficult to have students point to specific places in the text for assumptions and implications, have them connect back to key passages that imply the assumptions/implications they offer.


·        First, what is Kilbourne trying to accomplish in this argument?  What’s her purpose?

·        To what audience is she writing?  (And what does she assume about her readers’ interests, values and beliefs, etc.?)

·        What are some underlying assumptions of her argument (about the relationship between advertising and culture, for instance)?  Upon what premises is her argument based or founded?  What presuppositions allow her to make this argument?

·        What are some implications of her argument?  That is, if we carry Kilbourne’s argument to its logical conclusion, what does it mean in terms of the types of “change” she wants to see made in our society?  How realistic or viable is her argument?

·        How effective would this text be in the freshman seminar based on the assumptions and implications of Kilbourne’s argument?

·        Why might the professor you’re writing to want to use a text that makes these assumptions about culture and media?  What might it accomplish well for the professor’s purposes in the course?  What might it be less effective or suitable in accomplishing?  (Return to the class criteria list here.) 


7.      Summarize possible modes of development for Essay 2 (5 minutes):  


-         Emphasize that where students gave examples from the text in the preceding discussion shows the reader where they “see” these assumptions or implications suggested.  This is exactly the type of textual evidence they’ll need to provide readers in developing their claims for Essay 2.

-         Add these 2 approaches for analysis—organization and assumptions/implications—to your list and put them on the OH for students to copy down in their notes.  Remind them that these are OPTIONS and modes of development but not “formulas” or templates from which to organize their papers.




Optional Activity (if time)—Have students practice narrowing their focus and purpose with the text they are planning to evaluate for Essay 2.  You can do this as a combined listing and free-writing activity.


-         First, have students write the title of the text they’re going to write about on the top of a sheet of paper.

-         Then have them list as many aspects or features of the text as possible that could serve as possible criteria to focus on in their paper.

-         Finally, ask them to free-write for 5 minutes in response to these questions: 

·        Thinking in terms of criteria, which of these possibilities do you think would be most productive to work with and why?

·        What about this feature of the text is effective or ineffective? 

·        What would you explain to the professor about this aspect/feature of the text?


Assignment for Day 9:


-         Read “Paraphrase and Direct Quotation” in PHG (184) and “Kinds of Evidence” in PHG (157).

-         Choose the text you’ll evaluate for Essay 2. 

-         Write a 1-page free-write on the following, providing as much detail as possible:  Looking at the text you’ve chosen, what could you write on for Essay 2?  What do you want to say about this text, and which criterion or related criteria will you focus on for your evaluation?  Should the text be used for the situation, given your audience and purpose? Why or why not?  What specific textual examples or features could serve as evidence to support why you think this text should or shouldn’t be used?  Why?


OPTIONAL TECHNOLOGY (Forum):  Consider using the web forum feature provided by SyllaBase to have students write and post this free-write as a “prospectus”—a tentative plan for how they will approach Essay 2.  Using the forum will help students plan and choose how they can write to the rhetorical situation in Essay 2 by considering how their audience and purpose influence their focus (claim and criteria), organization and support/evidence.  The benefits of the forum include these:  the forum allows you to see and anticipate concerns for how students understand the assignment and what they’re being asked to write in response to it; this approach also allows you to respond briefly to each student’s plan/prospectus as it is posted; finally, a forum posting may also get students to begin outlining Essay 2 sooner.  (See the appendix for a sample SyllaBase instruction sheet and a way to set up the “prospectus” posting as a homework assignment.)