Writing@CSU: Composition Teaching Resources

Day 9 - Monday, September 16th

What You’ll Do in Class Today

·        Review and Summarize Bailey’s essay on global warming

·        Introduce third type of response - analyzing the effectiveness of a text

·        Begin discussing how to write an analytic response to Bailey’s argument

Connection to Course Goals

As with the agree/disagree and interpretive responses, we want students to think critically about written texts and provide thoughtful responses. We want them to move past gut reactions to provide well supported ideas. Introducing three types of response also helps us meet the goal of presenting writers with choices based on purpose and audience. We want students to see that there is no single “correct” way to respond to a text, but that certain types of texts lend themselves to different kinds of responses.

Model Introduction: “Today we’re going to shift from writing an interpretive response to writing an analytic response. We’ll review the characteristics of an analytic response and begin to apply these to Bailey’s text on global warming. This is the last type of response we’ll discuss before drafting essay one.”


1.      Review the main points of Bailey’s argument (15 minutes): The goal here is to see that students have critically read and understood Bailey’s essay. Explain to students that you will only be discussing Bailey’s article and not the article from NASA. The NASA report was only intended to prepare students for Bailey’s argument. When reviewing main ideas, you may want to list points on the board as a reference for later (when you teach analytic response).

  • What is Bailey’s purpose for writing this? (to undermine the IPCC’s estimations concerning global warming - specifically, to suggest that we shouldn’t worry about changes in climate because there are some scientific uncertainties - also, to oppose measures taken to prevent greenhouse emissions such as the Kyoto Protocol)
  • Who is Bailey’s audience? (Readers of the National Review “America’s Premier Conservative Website”) This clip is from the National Review Website Subscription Page. Feel free to use it to elaborate on Bailey’s readers:

You’ll find that National Review is your best alternative to the slanted “news” served up daily by the liberal media. If you want to be “spun,” stick with Time, CNN, The New York Times, Dan, Peter, Tom, Bryant, and Al (Hunt, of course!). But if you want your news with no liberal bias, then get National Review. We’re experts at tipping over the Left’s sacred cows (what else would you expect of a magazine founded by William F. Buckley Jr.?). And you’ll find that National Review is written for people who have common sense. Who want to know what’s really happening, and why. Who don’t want major issues glossed over. Who like their news laced with wit. Who are offended by patronizing, dumbed-down journalism. National Review has only intelligent readers, and we respect their intelligence.

·        What main points does Bailey raise for his audience? Here are some points you’ll want to cover:

o       That temperature and sea-level predictions estimated by the IPCC are unreliable because they’re based on speculations and computer models.

o       The computer findings contradict reliable satellite data from the past 22 years.

o       The computer models “don’t agree with reality” (that is, there is inconsistency between the IPCC’s predictions for atmospheric temperature increases and what is actually happening which leads to uncertainties).

o       According to Roger Pielke, there are other factors (besides greenhouse gas) that could account for changes in surface temperature.

o       The Kyoto Protocol is ineffective because it fails to consider technological changes.

o       The IPCC’s findings are not a scientific consensus but a “selective advocacy document” intended to motivate politicians to reduce greenhouse emissions.

o       The climate will only increase about 1 degree Celsius in the next 100 years.

Model Transition to Next Activity: Now that we’ve summarized Bailey’s argument and the situation he’s writing for, let’s consider how we might respond to this for essay one.

2.      Review the third type of response - analyzing the effectiveness of a text (10 minutes): Begin by telling students that they could write an agree/disagree response or an interpretive response for this essay to turn in with portfolio one. However, for your immediate purposes, you’re going to focus on writing an analytic response.

Review the following definition. Put this on an overhead or refer students to the responding section in the PHG.

The goal of an analytical response is to determine a text's effectiveness by examining its parts. You might look at the purpose, the intended audience, the thesis, the main ideas, organization, evidence, language, and style. Your objective for writing an analytic response is to point out a text’s strong points and/or where it falls short. Analyzing the text's effectiveness allows you to make more informed decisions about the usefulness and credibility of a writer's argument.

Transition to Next Activity: Write a transition linking these two activities (for assistance, look at the section on writing transitions from the guide on “Planning a Class” located in your appendix).

3.      Begin discussing how to write an analytic response to Bailey’s argument (20 minutes): Review each of the elements or criteria for analytic evaluation. Encourage students to refer to the text when responding to the following questions. Try to push them beyond giving surface responses (remind them that in their essays they’ll need to develop answers with reasons and evidence rather than generalizations). Use the following questions as a guide to review the elements for evaluating a writer’s text analytically (feel free to add to these):

·        Did Bailey effectively accomplish his purpose in this text? Why or why not?

·        Will his argument meet the needs and interests of his intended readers? Who are they? What are their values? What are their beliefs? Would they oppose or support the Kyoto Treaty? Why or Why not? (Probably not, since Kyoto creates new environmental standards and increased finances for big conservative businesses).

·        What can you say about the organization of Bailey’s argument? Was it easy to follow? Did it progress in a logical order?

·        What about the evidence he uses to support his argument? (Since this is the most questionable part of Bailey’s argument, you may want focus students’ attention here)

·        How does he support his main points? Who are his sources? Are they reliable? Does he support all of his claims? What kind of evidence does he use? Which claims doesn’t he support?

** Explain that analytical responses can serve to: praise a writer for the effectiveness of their text; point out the problems or shortcomings in a writer’s argument; praise some parts of a writer’s argument and challenge others.

4.      If Time Permits: Have students begin the assignment for next class.

5.      Conclusion: Write a conclusion for today’s lesson. For assistance, look at the section on writing introductions and conclusions from the guide on Planning a Class located in the Teaching Guides on Writing@CSU (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/planning/). You can also find a copy of the Guide in your appendix.


Write a two page analytic response for Bailey’s argument focusing on one or two of the criteria we reviewed in class. Once you’ve decided which criteria you’ll look at (i.e. use of tone and use of evidence) construct an overall claim to map out your response. Begin your response with that claim and develop reasons and evidence to support it. Post your summary and response as a message to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum. Bring a hard copy of your draft to class.