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
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
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
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
Required Reading and
Instructors: Carefully read through the major activity that
is shown in today’s lesson plan and decide how best to prepare your class for
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
Why is it especially important for an academic
audience such as the college students in your class to see the complexity of an
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
writing about shared perspectives or approaches describe each
perspective/approach and who holds/takes it; then explain what their
purpose is, who their readers are, and what social, historical and
cultural factors have shaped their views on the issue.
your goal is to attempt to describe the situation as whole, rather than to
focus on the particular situations shaping each approach. You may
distinguish among approaches and use specific positions as examples to
illustrate the differences, but the goal is to look at the conversation as
a whole. Use the details of your analysis to serve this larger purpose,
rather than getting caught up in the analysis (and losing sight of the
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
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
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
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
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:
and Issue Analysis (drafts, including workshop draft, and final)
audience analysis (posted)
proposal (graded and returned)
Perspective Analysis (graded and returned)
Analyses of Single Sources (process work done independently)
Grid (process work done independently)
Clippings about issues in the “contact zones” with brief marginal
other process materials