backReturn to Unit 2: MWF

Unit 2, Day 27:  Friday, October 19


What you’ll do today in class:


-         Practice “unpacking” claims

-         Workshop and revise claims

-         Critique Essay 3 samples


Connection to course goals:  Unpacking and workshopping claims shows students a process to go through to make sure they are effectively supporting their claims.  Analyzing the Essay 3 samples asks students to evaluate how effectively an essay meets the context and highlights options for how students might write their own papers.




1.      Practice “unpacking” claims with sample theses (15 minutes):  The main goal of this activity is to show students how any claim typically implies sub-claims that must also be proven.  Students need to be able to analyze their overall claim to see everything it implies that readers would expect to be addressed or supported.  Explain to students that this activity models the type of process they’ll need to go through in making sure they are effectively supporting their claims.  Put the following overall claims on an overhead and “unpack” them one by one as a class.


·        Peanut butter sandwiches are healthier than turkey sandwiches because they have a higher fat content.

-         (Implied claims to prove:  PB has more fat than turkey; more fat is healthier than less fat)


·        ER responds to the dominant cultural belief that our health care system is in a state of crisis by offering viewers mixed messages about that concern.  That is, while the program acknowledges this belief by showing that doctors are fallible, overall ER works to rebuild public confidence in our health care system.

-         (Implied claims:  Many viewers today are anxious about the current health care crisis and what it means for the quality of patient care.  ER partly reinforces this cultural belief that health care is in a state of crisis but also challenges this belief by giving viewers competent, caring doctors.)


·        The Brady Bunch appealed to traditional family values but ironically did so through a non-traditional family.  Thus, the show could have potentially worked against some prevailing social norms for family life in 1960s and 1970s to show that other types of families can also function successfully but instead ultimately reproduced those traditional norms by not addressing real tensions brought on by the fusion of two separate families.

-         (Implied claims:  People in the 1960s and 1970s were concerned about the changing structure of the American family.  The Brady family conforms and doesn’t conform to the traditional representation of a family. The way the show portrays the Brady family should be viewed as problematic because it is “unrealistic”; the show ignores or glosses over problems that would come about with step-children and parents, etc.  )


·        Create one of your own examples that includes an overall claim about another TV show and implied sub-claims for that claim.


2.      Small group activity to workshop claims (15 minutes):  After they’ve practiced unpacking claims, have students write their tentative overall claim at the top of two half-sheets of paper.  Then have them exchange those sheets with two classmates, and unpack each others’ claims.


A.     Have group members offer feedback:


·        What implied claims are there here?  What sub-claims would the writer have to prove?

·        Based on those claims, what would you expect in terms of evidence?  What types of evidence will the writer need to have in order to support each sub-claim?


B.     Once students have unpacked each others’ claims, have them return the sheets to the writers and have everyone in the group look at the feedback they received.  Encourage students to make notes on the sheets they get back for what they need to consider as they develop reasons and evidence for their thesis.




3.      Discuss Essay 3 goals and expectations students’ papers need to meet (5 minutes):  Before coming to class, create your own list based on the Essay 3 assignment sheet and all of the main “components” you have emphasized that need to be part of this paper.  Lead a brief discussion that gets students to identify and discuss each of these expectations for what their paper should include and write those expectations on the board.


4.      Critique Essay 3 samples (15 minutes):


-         Give students a couple minutes to read back over the Essay 3 sample papers.

-         Then, break them into groups of 3-4 and have them use the criteria list you generated earlier to critique the samples.  Each group should come up with a list of 2-3 contextual strengths and 2-3 contextual weaknesses.  They should be ready to share their findings with the class.

-         Whole class discussion:  Have each group present their findings and ask other groups to respond.   Did the other groups see this as a strength/weakness?  Why?  Be sure that as a class you come to some consensus about the main strengths and weaknesses of each paper.




Assignment for Day 28:


-         Read “Paragraph Transitions and Hooks” in PHG (301-303).

-         Draft Essay 3 for Workshop on Monday.