< Week 9: Monday, October 20<sup>st</sup> - Friday, October 24<sup>th</sup>

Week 9: Monday, October 20st - Friday, October 24th

Goals for This Week

·      Assign Part 4 - News and Issue Analysis- of Portfolio 2 (due at the beginning of Week 10)

·      Discuss the purposes for the News and Issue Analysis and reassure students that all the processes they’ve been involved in the past four weeks will contribute directly to their success with the final paper.

·      Model how to analyze the "conversation surrounding an issue" by reviewing sample essays they’re familiar with, applying them to the Composite Grid, and making a connection to writing the final essay.

·      Review with students what they saw in the student introductions of issue analyses published in Talking Back as well as what they learned from the chapter on “Explaining” in the PHG. Work in class to write the overall claim for the paper and to launch the paper with a solid introduction. Put a few examples on the overhead to working on crafting these to a higher level.

·      Continue to collect news clips about issues in the contact zones.

Remember to connect daily lessons with portfolio and course goals. Remember also to provide an introduction (preview) and a conclusion (review) for each lesson and to make clear transitions between activities and themes you’re developing.

Connection to Course Goals

Experienced researchers and writers learn to draw connections between sources and make choices when organizing ideas for their writing. The Composite Grid helps students think in more complicated ways (like these researchers and writers) by asking them to critically examine their sources and synthesize ideas. Transferring this analysis to a full paper may be new to first-year college students, so modeling the process will prepare them for drafting their final papers for Portfolio 2.

Required Reading and Assignments

Instructors: Carefully read through the major activity that is shown in today’s lesson plan and decide how best to prepare your class for this activity.

Potential Activities for this Week

Assign Part 4 - News and Issue Analysis - of Portfolio 2: 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 News and Issue Analysis. Have students brainstorm a list of reasons that support the purpose for writing this report. Ask them:


·       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)?

·       Why is it especially important for an academic audience such as the college students in your class 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 (or peers and their teacher) and give them a reason to read their analysis. This conversation will help students understand their purposes for writing this essay (beyond completing an assignment). In turn they will produce essays that are more successful in meeting their purposes and being responsive to their audience. Reassure students that at the end of class today, we will discuss and practice thesis statements, introductions, conclusions, and transitions so that they can visualize what their papers will look like.

Model how to analyze the "conversation surrounding an issue": Since the news and issue analysis 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 30 minutes. Consider using the following outline for this activity:

1.     Go back to the SAT discussion. You might supplement the discussion and your understanding of the issue by reviewing the optional readings given in the Portfolio 1 assignment information and by making sure that students have read the additional readings provided in the NYT electronic reserve readings.

2.     Tell students that you'd like to use the SAT discussion as a class model before having them analyze their own issues. (Try pitching it as if you're writing on the SAT debate 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.

3.     Identify that the SAT sources used in Portfolio 1 represent a range of sources on the issue and that the optional readings extend this discussion even further.

4.     After students have noted the authors and titles of all the articles, apply each of the articles to the Composite 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.


5.     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 Walter Williams was or what he believed in, I looked him up on the Web. It turns out that he's a Black conservative who is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He writes a regular column on a variety of issues, publishing his conservative views in a conservative publication. This information helped me decide which approach to group him with).

6.     Explain that your model is only a small sample to illustrate the process of thinking critically about texts. Let them know that the grid aims to help them organize viewpoints so that they can write a focused News and Issue Analysis for their target readers.

Address introductions, organization and development (10 min), and transitions: Recommend that students read the PHG on introductions, essay maps, transitions and hooks in the Explaining chapter, from the bottom of page 314-318.

By this point, students are probably asking, "What should my analysis look like?" In CO150, we generally try to avoid prescribing forms for writing. We tell students that purpose and audience should guide the choices they make; and that they should focus on questions like, "What am I trying to accomplish in writing this? Who are my readers? What are their needs and interests? How can I best reach them?" Yet, many students have only been taught to write using forms, so they feel lost at sea when writing for a purpose. Here are a few points to address for those who need more direction. Explain that this is only one way to approach this assignment. Creative individuals with a strong sense of purpose may develop variations and still write a successful essay.

Suggest that students do the following in their introductions:

·       Address your target readers, gain their attention and respect, show that you know who they are

·       Briefly introduce the issue, providing as much background as they will need, as suggested by your mini audience analysis that was done way back in the first week of this portfolio. Engage readers and demand their attention

·       Address the purpose for writing and explain why this purpose should interest readers (this will serve as your claim or essay map)

Have students plan their introductions right now with the idea in mind of making the paper of interest to their audience of classmates and instructor. Do a whole class examination and discussion of one or two introduction plans. (10 min)

Have students write a transition into the “discussion of the conversation.” This transition will serve as a thesis and essay map for the rest of the paper. As with the introductions, “workshop” a few of the transitions students write. (10 min)



·      Help your reader by creating smooth transitions between the shared perspectives/approaches, reminding the reader of the your overall focus as often as seems reasonable. (You might prepare an overhead on common transition phrases, such as “In contrast to the economic approach, the social welfare approach…” or “Unlike the environmental focus, …”)

·      Help your reader follow your development of each perspective’s discussion by providing connectives that maintain unity and coherence (“For example,” “An example,” “To illustrate,” “Another piece of evidence”)

Discuss the application of MLA in-text citations as discussed in the PHG pages 594-601 and Works Cited conventions, pages 601-608.


Assign students to draft their News and Issue Analysis and to bring two copies for the class workshop next time, reminding them of the models located at Talking Back, 2002-03 volume. Also you can make available to them the example of a finished product provided in this course’s appendix.

Last Class of Week 9 and Portfolio 2: Workshop the News and Issue Analysis Reports.

·       Give students nearly a full class period to exchange and read drafts in groups of three or four. For assistance with this activity, read the guide on Planning Workshops and Peer Review located on Writing@CSU.

·       If possible, allow students to read an example of the News and Issue Analysis—perhaps yours.

·       Reserve 15 minutes at the end to (1) provide time for students to write a revision plan and (2) to develop the grading criteria for Portfolio 2.

·       Make sure to have an overhead prepared on the necessary inclusions to the Portfolio 2 folder so that you’re not rushing to list these items at the end of class. Here’s a list you could use for that purpose:



  1. News and Issue Analysis (drafts, including workshop draft, and final)
  2. In-class audience analysis (posted)
  3. Topic proposal (graded and returned)
  4. Personal Perspective Analysis (graded and returned)
  5. Position Analyses of Single Sources (process work done independently)
  6. Composite Grid (process work done independently)
  7. Annotated Bibliography
  8. News Clippings about issues in the “contact zones” with brief marginal annotations
  9. Any other process materials