Lesson Objectives: Today we apply both critical reading and the writing situation model to Schemo’s front-page article—noting that Schemo is functioning as a journalist reporting on the news of Atkinson, a public figure with a significant proposal given in the form of a speech. We develop our understanding of academic summary writing by applying its principles to Schemo’s article.
Connection to Course Goals: Today we strengthen student understanding of the writing situation model by applying it to an example of public discourse, Diana Jean Schemo’s front page NYT article, which originally included a sidebar excerpt of Dr. Atkinson’s speech. Course objectives are further developed through application of critical reading strategies and discussion and application of the academic summary writing principles, which will help students meet the goals of all the portfolios, but especially Portfolio 1.
1. Apply critical reading strategies learned last time to Diana Jean Schemo’s article—engage class in a critical discussion of both the issue and the article by Schemo
2. Apply the writing situation model to Schemo’s article
3. Introduce summary principles
4. Apply summary principles to Schemo’s article in preparation for homework
1. Critical reading applied to Schemo (15 min)
What is the essence of Atkinson’s proposal and why does he say he is making it?
What will be the immediate repercussions of his proposal, if it is applied?
What are the possible long-term repercussions if his proposal is followed?
What are the probable long-term repercussions even if his proposal is not enacted by the California Board of Regents?
Besides Atkinson’s proposal, whom else does Schemo represent in her article and for what purpose? [Instructors: Try to get students to articulate as many of the individual positions as possible.)
If you were to group the perspectives represented by Schemo, how might you name and characterize them? [Instructors: Aim for three or more shared perspectives or approaches to the discussion of the SATs. Because students may at first be inclined to simplify the debate (a debate that ‘s only hinted at here, of course) into a mere pro-con discussion, it is essential to the goals of this portfolio and course that we get them to see that the shared perspectives or approaches are more complicated than a simple polarization of views.]
Can you see more than a pro-con debate at work here? What motivates people who maintain these differing perspectives? What are their loyalties, beliefs, values, affiliations that contribute to their positions?
Sample Transition: Now let’s take what we know of the article and apply the Writing Situation Model to the discussion of Schemo’s article.
2. The Writing Situation Model Applied to Schemo (10 min)
What is Schemo’s role in reporting this news?
As a journalist for a major national newspaper, what are Schemo’s obligations to her stories and her readers?
What her reasons for reporting this news or why does she consider it nationally news worthy?
What is Schemo’s role in making this news? When was her report written? How can you tell?
Why is there such a rush to print news that hasn’t even yet occurred? What do
you think about such practices? What larger writing situation is Schemo part
of? What pressures is she under? What ethical principles is she bound to?
We will read the speech
in its entirety from the web site of the President of the
Here’s a Possible 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 will no doubt be misguided as well. Today (and for our homework next time) we are going to practice some restraint and only summarize ideas from the document in question.
3. Introduce the concept of summarizing (15 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.
Present an overhead with three types of summaries on it as follows:
Main Point Summary - is brief and gives an overall perspective on text
Key Point Summary - represents an author's argument more fully by providing other key points and supporting evidence in addition to the main idea
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.
4. Apply Summary Writing Principles to Schemo (10 min)
Conclusion: Write your own conclusion that summarizes the goals of the day and connects the classroom activity to their current assignment.
In preparation for the introduction of the New York Times, assign PHG reading on the shaping of journalistic stories using the “inverted pyramid” (page 253), and on the reporter’s collecting/investigating heuristic, which utilizes “Wh” questions (pages 245-246).
Review the guidelines for writing an academic summary in the PHG on page 160 - 161. Using these guidelines, along with our discussion from class about the writer’s purposes and key ideas, write an academic summary of Diana Jean Schemo’s article about Atkinson’s proposal, applying the conventions of summary writing and taking care to give the proper people credit for ideas—that is, Schemo is not responsible for all (or arguably ANY) of the ideas that she is reporting.
Post your summary as a message to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum or post it to your file on Writing Studio.*
Bring a hard copy of your summary to class next time.
Note to Instructors: A fundamental decision you will need to make about the summaries (and other writing assignments) that your students generate is whether you want them to post their writing to the public forum of Syllabase (risk: copying by others; benefit: a public forum of ideas) or whether you would prefer that students post to the Writing Studio where documents are more secure but, conversely, less available for reading and reply.