backReturn to Unit 3: MWF

Unit 3, Day 36:  Friday, November 9


What you’ll do today in class:


-         Have students write a zero draft to define their context

-         Workshop zero drafts

-         Practice audience analysis

-         Examine possible counter-arguments


Connection to course goals:  Today’s class asks students to begin defining and analyzing the context for their final paper more closely, which is part of the larger process of academic argumentation.




1.      Have students write a Zero Draft of their context (15 minutes):  The aim of this activity is to have students begin to define the positions they’ve found on their issue as well as some possible exigencies and audiences for writing on that issue.  A “zero draft” is much like a focused freewrite, a draft written quickly with little attention to organization or coherence.   Explain to the class that the purpose of writing this zero draft is to get them thinking and writing based solely on what they know or have found so far, without any immediate concern about writing for a particular audience or developing an argument.  


-         Have students write their tentative focused issue in the form of a question on the top of a sheet of paper.


-         Ask students to respond to these types of questions as they write a zero draft on the same sheet:


·        What are the various positions on this issue?  Start with the 3 you generated as homework, but also add any others you think might be possible.  Also, why do people take each of these positions?

·        Why is your issue one that needs to be written about?  That is, given all of the issues that exist related to education, why is this one especially important or pressing?  Why are you interested in it?

·        Who (what groups or types of individuals) is interested in your issue?  Who could do something about your issue?  Why are they interested in this issue, and what personal investments might they have in it?

·        Who could you write to on this issue, and why?


2.      Workshop zero drafts (10 minutes):   Have students exchange their zero draft with a classmate and then respond to these types of questions in order to provide the writer with a variety of possibilities for positions, exigencies and audiences, and also perhaps some sense of possible purposes in writing to particular readers:


·        What are some other possible positions that might exist on this issue that the writer has not included?  That is, how might the issue question be “answered” in different ways?

·        Of all the possible issues we’ve generated in this unit, do you think the issue the writer has chosen needs to be written about?  Why?  How might there be a cultural need to write to others about this issue?

·        Based on what the writer has written in the zero draft, what other possible audiences might be suitable for writing to in regard to this issue?  Why?


3.      Have students get their own zero draft back with peer responses and update what they wrote for positions and possible exigencies and audiences (5 minutes):


·        Which of these positions have you actually found in your research so far?  Which do you still have to make sure are really valid?

·        What is your tentative exigence in writing about this focus issue?

·        Who do you now think would make a good audience, and why?  What purpose might you have in writing to this particular audience?




4.      Audience analysis activity (15 minutes):  This activity should emphasize the importance of audience analysis as students define their writing context and begin planning their argument.  Design an activity that asks students to choose a tentative audience for their Essay 4 (if they didn’t decide in the previous activity) and then consider what values, concerns and interests this audience will have that they should be aware of or address in their essay. (See the “Questions for Audience Analysis” sheet in appendix for more ideas.)


5.      Have students consider possible counter-arguments (5 minutes):  Ask students to identify some counter arguments or “objections” their defined audience would offer that students need to be respond to refuted in their argument.  Then have students write a brief response to each counter argument.





Assignment for Day 37:


-         Read “Claims for Written Argument” (434-438), “Interviewing” and “Writing Questionnaires” (241-243) in PHG.

-         Research to find new, credible articles on your issue that represent other positions you needed to locate.  Be sure that you’ve evaluated each source based on the criteria we’ve defined.

-         Write your Position Analysis using the feedback you received today and the new sources you’ve found and evaluated.  Bring 2 copies of your Position Analysis to class Monday.