< Day 3 - Friday, August 30<sup>th</sup>

Day 3 - Friday, August 30th

What You’ll Do in Class Today

·        Facilitate a WTL where students respond to the main idea from Singer's essay

·        Introduce Portfolio I

·        Introduce the concept of summarizing

·        Discuss summarizing Singer's essay (collaborate on a list of what should be included)

Connection to course goals

The WTL will engage students in a discussion on Singer's essay by starting with their ideas. It also introduces them to the concept of responding (which we will be addressing later on in this portfolio). Applying the writing situation to Singer's essay will help students see that writing is situated among various contexts (understanding this will help them with the rhetorical analysis they do for Portfolio II and it will help them see how context shapes their own decisions about writing). Finally, it will also help them meet the immediate goal of summarizing an author's purpose/audience/context for an academic audience.


Note: The introduction for today's class will follow the first activity.

1.      Write To Learn (5 minutes): Have students expand on the message they posted to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum by providing specific support to show why they agree or disagree with Singer’s main point. (Note: Putting WTL instructions up on an overhead at the start of class is a great way to get students on task. You can invite them to take out some paper and begin writing immediately, even as others are still wandering in. You can also use this quiet writing time to take attendance and practice learning names).

2.      Briefly discuss responses to Singer (5 minutes): Ask students what the main idea from the essay was (have them refer directly to the text for accuracy). Then, ask them how they responded to this idea (you'll have time to hear from 4-5 students).

3.      Introduction: Introduce the rest of the class session using something like the following: Today we'll review the requirements for your first portfolio and Essay 1. To complete this portfolio, you'll be asked to summarize an author's text (including the main ideas) and provide a response to those ideas. The activity we just did models this process; however, to write Essay 1 you'll need to represent the author's argument fully and accurately and develop your ideas with substantial evidence. Let's take a look at the assignment sheet.

4.      Introduce Portfolio 1 (7-10 minutes):

·        Pass out the Essay 1 assignment sheet.

·        Let them read it over.

·        To check for understanding of the general terms, and the essay in particular, ask students to restate the purpose, context, and audience as a class:

o       What is the purpose of this essay assignment?

o       Who is your audience for this essay?

o       What will you have to do to meet the assignment goals?

·        Then, move on to discuss how these responses will affect their choices when writing Essay 1. Since the students are part of the general academic audience, include them by asking what type of response they would like to read.

o       Given your audience, what will readers want to know?

o       What type of reaction would you want to read?

They should be able to generate such concerns as:

o       a reaction that isn't a rant

o       a reaction that doesn't go off on tangents or try to cover too much (focus)

o       a reaction that has an appropriate tone

o       a reaction I can relate to

o       a reaction that is well supported with evidence

Model Transition to Next Activity: Even though your audience will mostly be concerned with your response, summary is still an important concept. If your summary is inaccurate or incomplete, your response could be misguided as well.

5.      Introduce the concept of summarizing (15 - 20 minutes): Use these questions as a guide for this discussion. You may pick and choose from this selection or add some of your own questions to meet the goal of introducing academic summary. (See page 160 - 161 in the PHG for summary guidelines, and view the Teaching Guide on Types of Summary and Response (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/summaryresponse/) when planning this activity). It helps to use the board to focus this activity. You can create two columns: General Summary and Academic Summary. Then, list generated responses beneath the appropriate titles. Note: possible responses and prompts are listed in parenthesis following the questions.

·        What is summary (in general)? When do you use it?

·        When was the last time you summarized something that you did or saw (perhaps in an e-mail to a friend or on the phone)?

·        What is usually your goal or purpose for summarizing? (to inform or entertain; to give an overall impression without all the boring details)

·        Are your summaries objective (fairly representing everyone/everything involved) or are they subjective, colored with your own opinions or point of view?

·        How do you think general summaries compare to academic summaries? What are the similarities and differences? (academic summaries are more objective and focus on main ideas rather than events)

·        What are the purposes for an academic summary (consider the context for Essay 1)? How is this different from a general summary?

Present an overhead with three types of summaries on it:

1.      Main Point Summary - is brief and gives an overall perspective on text

2.      Key Point Summary - represents an author's argument more fully by providing other key points and supporting evidence in addition to the main idea

3.      Outline Summary - is used to explore the structure of an article or essay. Shortened phrases are used in place of full length sentences.

Read through each type of summary and ask students which one they think will be most appropriate for Essay 1 (Key Point Summary). Then ask them why they made this choice (they are writing to an academic audience who has not read the essay and needs enough information to follow their response). Finally, ask them to imagine other contexts where a main point summary and an outline summary would be more appropriate. The point you want to make is that the content and organization of a summary will vary based on a writer’s purpose, audience and context.

Model Transition to Next Activity: Let's turn to Singer now so that we can apply some of these concepts for summarizing to his text. This discussion will help prepare you for your upcoming homework assignment as well as Essay 1.

6.      Begin discussing summarizing Singer's text (10 minutes): You may want to use the board to track this discussion and keep it focused. Be sure to include the following discussion points:

·        What would you include in a summary of Singer’s essay? (main points, key points, important evidence and quotes).

·        What is the main point that Singer makes? (Ask students to think back to the WTL at the start of class)

·        Singer includes other key points and different types of evidence as well (such as Bob and the names of specific charities). How do we decide which of these are most important to include in a summary? (Note: Allow students to interpret this; but also mention that we need to consider Singer's purpose. Then, we need to decide which points illustrate how he arrives at that purpose).

·        What is Singer's purpose for writing this essay? (To persuade readers to give a portion of their earnings to overseas organizations; to inform readers of the problem of world hunger and to show that Americans are not doing enough to help).

·        Which key points and examples best illustrate how he attempts to achieve his purpose? (see below)

Use the following points as a guide: Negotiate ideas around this question with your class until you agree on which points and evidence are most important to include in an academic summary. Some of these will be obvious while others may be more subtle and debatable. Feel free to add to or change the following points as you see fit. Remember - the question that should guide this discussion is: Which key points or examples from Singer’s text seem most important? That is, which points and examples best illustrate Singer’s attempt to persuade readers to donate money?

Key Evidence:

·        Dora and Bob's situations

·        Unger's phone numbers for charities

·        The US government is lagging behind other nations for not meeting the recommended target of donating 0.7 %

·        The average American only needs $30,000 for necessities, so the rest should be given away

Key Points:

·        American consumer behavior raises serious moral issues.

·        What is the moral distinction between one who deliberately kills a child versus one who refuses to send money to charities that save children's lives?

·        "Follow-the-crowd" ethics do not excuse consumers from giving. Singer states, "The problem is most [Americans] aren't doing it."

·        People should take it upon themselves to give without looking for a standard. "When it comes to praising or blaming people for what they do, we tend to use a standard that is relative to some conception of normal behavior."

·        "A $1,000 suit could save five children's lives"

·        "The formula is simple: whatever money you're spending on luxuries, not necessities, should be given away."

7.      Model Conclusion: Today we began discussing academic summary as a way to prepare for writing Essay 1. Next time, we'll deepen our understanding of summary by using the writing situation model to think critically about a writer's argument.


Review the guidelines for writing an academic summary in the PHG on page 160 - 161. Use these guidelines, along with our discussion from class, to write an academic summary of Peter Singer's essay. Post your summary as a message to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum. Bring a hard copy of your summary to class on Monday.