backReturn to Unit 2: MWF

Unit 2, Day 17:  Wednesday, September 26


What you’ll do today in class:


-         Have students write Essay 2 Postscript responses and hand in their papers

-         Introduce Unit 2 goals and purposes: media analysis and writing

-         Discuss television shows as “cultural texts” (TV show challenge activity)

-         Introduce Essay 3


Connection to course goals:  The transitional activities are designed to get students thinking about television shows as texts that people read.  Our goal here is to expand students’ notions of text and to show students how writing can be used to gain a voice in culture.


1.      Write Postscript responses for Essay 2 and hand in folders with all process work (5 minutes):  See the appendix for sample Postscript questions.


Transition to Unit 2:  Introduce Unit 2 to students by connecting this new unit to the goals of Unit 1.  (e.g. “We’ve just completed the first unit in which we learned to write to an academic rhetorical situation.  The second unit will again focus on academic strategies and approaches for writing, but within a cultural context.  To begin defining the context for this unit and Essay 3, we’ll begin to expand our notions of ‘texts’ and ‘reading’ to the larger culture in the form of television programs. “)


2.  Brainstorm activity—exploring the relationship between TV and culture (5 minutes):


-         Have students write for about 4-5 minutes in response to the following related questions:


·        Why do we watch TV?

·        What do we as viewers/society get out of it?  What does TV tell us?

·        What effects does TV have on us/society?

·        Why might it be useful to analyze TV (or other forms of media)?


3.      Discuss responses as a class (10 minutes):  Try to get students to articulate social reasons for watching TV, and some possible effects or influences television may have on viewers/culture. You’ll no doubt get some responses along the lines of “we watch TV for entertainment.” Try to challenge such responses quickly and move beyond this initial response. 


Transition: Prepare a transition that connects the more abstract discussion above to the “real life” scenario in the next activity.


4.      Small group activity on challenge to TV show (15 minutes):  This activity is designed to get students thinking about how arguments concerning the value of television recur in culture and demonstrate how different groups assume that television does affect our beliefs and actions. 


-         Put the following instructions on the board for small groups of 3-4 students:


·        Imagine that one of your favorite TV shows is being challenged by a politically-motivated group who wants it removed from television because it denigrates their values.  Write for about 5-7 minutes in response to the following questions.


-         What is the name of the group trying to censor your show?

-         What is the group protesting?  What messages from this show would the group find objectionable? (What topics does the show tend to address or take on?)

-         What specific values does this group see perhaps being compromised by the show?

·        How would you argue in favor of keeping your show on television?  (Think of the audience, here.  What reasons would the challengers consider convincing?)  What assumptions are they making about the TV show that you’ll have to consider?


5.      Discuss group findings (10 minutes): In this discussion, try to get students to see how challenges to television programs already assume that TV is more than “just entertainment.” Make sure you get at least two examples that talk about how these public groups object to the values or messages portrayed in the show.


-         Divide the board into three columns:  TV SHOW/GROUP/VALUES PROTESTED.

-         Get three or four groups to offer their show, group, and objectionable material.

-         Discuss possible defenses for each example show offered. Some possible discussion questions:

·        How would you defend this show?  How might this show have value, and for whom?

·        What assumptions does the protesting group make about what TV does for its viewers, and for culture as a whole?


Transition:  Create a transition that shows students how the concepts of the public reacting to “messages” TV shows communicate that we addressed in the previous activity connects to what they’re being asked to do in Essay 3.


6. Introduce Essay 3 assignment (5-7 minutes):


-         Have students read through the assignment sheet and note/mark any places they feel are especially important or want to ask about.

-         Highlight key points, including main goals, strategies, and important distinctions between the context for this assignment and Essay 2.  Emphasize how this assignment asks student to define a purpose in relationship to the exigence they see themselves responding to. 




Assignment for Day 18: 


-         Re-read the “Introduction” to Reading Culture (1-4).