Week 9: Monday, October 21st - Friday, October 25th
Goals for this Week
Connection to Course Goals
Experienced researchers and writers learn to draw connections between sources and make choices when organizing ideas for their writing. The issue analysis grid helps students think in more complicated ways (like these researchers and writers) by asking them to critically examine their sources and synthesize ideas. Since this kind of thinking might be new to college students, modeling the process will prepare them for this activity.
Required Reading and Assignments
Potential Activities for this Week
Assign Part 3 - Issue Analysis Report - of Portfolio 2 (10 minutes): Give students a few minutes to read over the assignment sheet and address any questions or concerns they may have. Review the purpose for writing the Issue Analysis Report. Have students brainstorm a list of reasons that support the purpose for writing this report. Ask them:
o Why is it important to show that an issue is complex (based on what you've learned so far from researching and writing in Portfolio 2)?
o Why is it especially important for college students to see the complexity of an issue?
Tell students that they should use this discussion as a way to think about how they'll introduce their issue in the analysis. Ask them to consider how they will appeal to their audience and give them a reason to read their analysis. This conversation will help students understand their purpose for writing (beyond completing an assignment). In turn they will produce more thoughtful and focused essays.
Model how to analyze the "conversation surrounding an issue" (you decide): Since the issue analysis report will pose a new challenge for students, begin this portion of Portfolio 2 by modeling how writers critically examine their sources. Many students have never been asked to think or write analytically, so they'll need to see some examples in order to succeed with this assignment. This activity could take anywhere between 40 - 75 minutes, depending on which parts you complete in class and which parts you assign for homework.
Outline for this activity:
a.) Choose a debatable issue that interests you.
b.) Tell students that this is "your own issue" and that you'd like to use it as a class model before having them analyze their own issues. (Try pitching it as if you're also writing for Portfolio 2 and you need their help). Let them know that this process will clear up their confusions and also set the standard for your expectations.
c.) Find a range of sources on your issue beforehand (3 - 5)
d.) Pick 3 of these sources for students to read, and link them to your class reading list on SyllaBase (please don't make hundreds of copies). Also, if some of your students don’t have access to computers/printers, put copies in the library on reserve. Have students make copies of the readings beforehand and read them for homework (or in class)
e.) After students have read all three articles, apply each of the articles to the Issue Analysis Grid. Do this activity as a whole class (at the board or on an overhead) so that you can model the process.
Suggestions for modeling the grid:
· Encourage students to look closely at the texts when filling in responses.
· Define phrases such as "readers' needs and interests" and "cultural norms and beliefs" along the way (suggest that they take notes).
· Construct questions that ask students to "read between the lines" looking at reader and writer assumptions, cultural influences, historical events, etc…
· Ask them to do further research. For example, if a writer doesn't come out and say, "I believe that Mickey Mouse is the axis of evil…" some students will be quick to respond with, "This writer has no values, beliefs or biases." Try not to let them get away with surface responses without doing some digging first.
f.) Be sure that you've filled in the grid before doing this activity in class, and that you've done some research and digging yourself. Having done so, you can set a standard and model your expectations in class (e.g. "Since I couldn't tell from this article who Joseph Biden was or what he believed in, I visited his website. Turns out that he's the Democratic Senator of Delaware and he supports such issues as fighting crime and drugs, protecting women from violence, and nuclear arms control. This information helped me decide which approach to group him with).
g.) Explain that your model is only a small sample to illustrate the process of thinking critically about texts. Students will need to include 8 - 15 sources or their grids. Let them know that he grid aims to help them organize viewpoints so that they can write a focused Issue Analysis for their target readers.
Assign Issue Analysis Grid (5 minutes): Explain that students will need to complete a grid for at least 3 approaches that include a total of 8 - 15 sources. To avoid making 3 copies for everyone, give students 1 copy in class and then paste the grid onto SyllaBase for students to print at home.
CO150 - Issue Analysis Grid
Name of Approach _____________________________________
Part I: The Writers
Part II: The Readers
Part III: Social and Cultural Influences