Day 1 - Tuesday, August 27th
What You’ll Do in Class Today
· Take attendance and introduce yourself and the course
· Have students learn each other's names during an interview activity
· Introduce the course goals and skills students will develop
· Begin considering the role of context in influencing rhetorical choices
· Review your policy and everyday expectations (in terms of homework and other assignments, class discussions)
· Introduce the writing situation model
Connection to Course Goals
The interview activity establishes communication necessary for peer revision workshops and class discussions. This activity, along with the introduction to course goals, also introduces the idea of how contexts influence our actions; awareness of this situation is key to eventually being able to write within academic, cultural and civic contexts.
1. Introductions (2 minutes): Make sure everyone is in the right course and section. Putting the course number, name, and section number on the board helps weed out students who have wandered into the wrong room. Expect students to drift in late on the first day—many are getting used to a new campus.
2. Introduce yourself and take roll (5 minutes): Call names and record attendance on your roll sheet. Also write on roll sheet nicknames and even phonetic pronunciations of difficult names. While you'll probably use some other attendance-taking measure in the future (such as collecting homework), taking the time to call roll in the first few days will help you learn students' names.
· Because students may have added or dropped since the time your roll sheet was generated, you will most likely have students who have registered for your class whose names do not appear on the roll. Ask them to stay after class and give you their names and ID numbers. Others will think they are enrolled in your section, but that must be confirmed through the registrar. (We have a laptop computer in the main office—Eddy 359—to give you current rosters for your sections.)
· Do not promise any extra students that they will be able to enroll. The add/drop policy requires only students who don't attend the first TWO classes to be dropped. Thus, you might have students who don't come the first day but show up for the second class.
· Also emphasize that they cannot drop after the date on the add/drop sheet. They also cannot withdraw from CO150. If they want out, they must do it by the drop date.
3. Write to Learn (WTL) (5 minutes): Have students take out a piece of paper and write for five minutes or so about what they expect out of CO150 and also what they hope to contribute. You can put this prompt on the board or on an overhead.
4. Collect their writing and explain WTL (5 minutes): Tell students they can expect to do some in-class writing like this to help them collect their thoughts, jump-start a discussion, reflect on a text they read for homework, or generate ideas for their papers. Let students know that you'll discuss their answers today if there is time, but if not you'll address them in the next class period. Also, you may want to let them know that you won't always collect their WTLs on a daily basis but will at some point (with their portfolios). (See the “Collecting Homework” section in the introduction to the syllabus.)
Model Transition to Next Activity: Consider using a transition such as the following: “The course syllabus and policy statement will help you understand the expectations for this course. Hopefully, these will address some of the concerns you brought up in your writing.”
Note: Use these suggested model transitions as opportunities to connect activities for your students. Your students will benefit from knowing how the activities build on each other. You should construct your own transitions - either before class or in an impromptu fashion - rather than reading a script prepared by someone else. Most teachers write down a few notes on their lesson plans to remind themselves of what they want to say between activities, then weave the transition into the natural flow of conversation during the class session. We have provided model introductions, transitions, and conclusions not because we want you to read them aloud but rather as examples of what a teacher might say during class.
5. Discuss syllabus and explain policy statement (8-10 minutes):
· Briefly discuss how to read the assignments due (especially if you are using a grid), the types of assignments in more general terms—save specifics for later.
· Show the books and program used (the PHG and Hyperfolio Software).
· Discuss the class SyllaBase page and the CO150 Room in the Writing Studio. You'll also want to discuss access to thematic readings (located under “Class Notes and Lectures” on the class SyllaBase page ). Tell students that they will be using Hyperfolio for Units II and III and that you’ll give specific instructions for logging on to SyllaBase and locating the CO150 Room in the Writing Studio during the next class.
· Explain that the course theme is, "Participating in the Discourse Shaping Public Issues" and tell students that they will be responding to current debatable issues in their writing.
· Present the course policy statement, emphasizing the policies that you consider most important. Be sure to explain at least the following policies:
o Grading (for major assignments and overall class)
o Grading for homework assignment
One good strategy is to have a copy of your policy statement on an overhead with essential ideas highlighted or annotated. If not on the overhead, just having your own highlighted copy can help quell those first-day jitters and prevent you from forgetting anything critical you want to convey. Or, delegate some of the responsibility by having students read sections.
Model Transition to Next Activity: Community is important in a writing classroom (where we hold discussions, work in groups and use peer review with the writing process), so let's take some time to get to know each other.
6. Interview activity (5 minutes): Have students pair up and ask each other questions about one another and record their answers.
7. Ask students to consider what kinds of things people were willing to ask (5 minutes): Then generate a list of categories on the board.
8. Discuss the interview activity (10 minutes): Your goal in this discussion is to highlight how context and rhetorical situations define what we can say and how we say it. Our context and rhetorical situation here is a college composition classroom and that affects how we asked questions and what questions we asked.
You can use these questions or write your own:
· What wasn't asked and why do you think that is?
· Why are these things that people will ask and will tell?
· What does this say about our expectations of social interaction? Of a composition classroom and what can be said there?
· How would our questions have differed if you were interviewing your instructor? Why?
· How would your questions and answers have differed if you were talking to someone you met at a fraternity or dorm party? Why?
· How would your questions and answers have differed if you were just meeting your host family for a semester in a foreign country? Why?
9. Introduce the writing situation model (10 minutes): The goal for this discussion is to illustrate how context shapes the interactions between writers and readers. Writers make choices based on their physical, social and cultural contexts as well as their purposes for writing. In the same sense, readers come to a text by way of their own needs and interests. Thinking about interactions between writers and readers helps to ensure that meaning is clearly communicated.
For this activity then, use the model from, "Understanding Writing Situations: Writing as a Social Act" to show students how readers and writers interact. This model is available on Writing@CSU (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/writingsituations/). It’s also available as a linear document in the Lectures and Class Notes section of your SyllaBase class page. You can either draw a diagram on the board or use and overhead (you may want to do this before class begins). Explain to students that you will first review the model in general terms, and then they will discuss it with more detail in relation to their homework.
Be sure to cover the following points (in whatever order feels right for you):
· Writers have purposes for writing
· Usually these purposes emerge from the writer's cultural or social context (something happens outside the writer that creates a need to write - something to respond to)
· Writes make choices based on the context they are writing for (writing a letter home to your parents asking for money is a different than writing a letter to an organization to ask for contributions for a good cause). Therefore, different contexts will pose different requirements, limitations, and opportunities for a writer.
· In addition to context, writers also need to think about readers.
· Readers have various needs and interests which are likewise determined by their contexts (their background, environment and experience).
· In order to communicate effectively, a writer must anticipate what their readers' needs and interests are.
10. Model Conclusion: Consider closing class with something along these lines: “So just as social situations can influence what we say and do, different writing situations can influence what we "say" and "do" with our writing. In this class "good" writing can only be defined in terms of how well a text responds to a particular purpose and context. We'll continue with this idea next time and connect it more directly to culture and writing.”
Logon to the SyllaBase Class Page (https://writing.colostate.edu/syllabase/), locate the class forum (Communication Tools/Discussion Forum), and post a 250-to-500 word message that addresses the following prompts: Part I - Describe yourself as a writer. What kinds of writing do you most enjoy and why? What kinds of writing do you think are most important and why? Part II - What influences you as a writer? What in your background or environment might shape your choices about content (what you like to write about) and style or approach (how you write)? When you have finished posting your message, print a hard copy and bring it to class. Note: You might find it useful to compose your message in a word processor and then paste the final version of the message into the discussion forum’s compose message box.
Note to Teachers: In addition to its obvious value as a first writing activity, this assignment is designed to get students up and running with the technology components of the course. You can learn about using online discussion forums in three teaching guides on Writing@CSU: Conducting Online Discussions (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/onlinediscussions/), Integrating Technology into the Traditional CO150 Classroom (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/olwc_guides/), and Using Student Peer Review (https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/peer/). You can help your students access and use the SyllaBase discussion forum by preparing a handout providing them with instructions for accessing and using your class page. You’ll find an example handout in the Conducting Online Discussions teaching guide.