Day 6 . Monday, September 8th

Tuesday, September 21:  Activity Ideas

Discussing Letters to the Editor

Choices for New Writing Situation

Revision Notes


Group Activity

Concluding and Assigning Homework

If you have more time...

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Introduce the Class Session and take roll (1-2 minutes)

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By referring to your agenda on the board or by previewing the day's goals/objectives, introduce the class session for your students.  Today, write your own introduction.

Discussing Letters to the Editor (25 minutes total)

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Return students to Portfolio 1 Guidelines (3-5 minutes)

Point students back to their Portfolio 1 guidelines and discuss the Letter to the Editor aspect (5 minutes)

Remind students that their letter to the editor will be a revised version of their Academic Summary/Response. Cover the differing limitations between the Academic Summary/Response and the Letter to the Editor. Be sure that students are clear that both versions of their work need to be turned in with Portfolio 1.

Letters to the Editor Activity (10-15 minutes)

 Drawing on letters to the editor from the Appendix or ones you have found interesting recently as well as the letters students brought in today, design an activity that highlights the choices writers make when writing a letter to the editor. 

Discuss the sample Letters to the Editor (10 minutes)

Since we have read the extended version of these letters, foreground the choices the writers made in condensing them into their letters.

Create a Transition to the Next Activity

Choices for New Writing Situation (5-10 minutes)

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Help students make choices for their letters to the editor

Design an activity where you help students make and discuss the choices they will need to make in order to revise their Academic Summary/Response papers in order to meet the expectations of a letter to the editor.

Create a Transition to the Next Activity

Revision Notes (5-10 minutes)

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Help students begin to revise

Design an activity or WTL that lets student begin to make revision notes and revise their Academic Summary/Response papers

Create a Transition to the Next Activity


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Allow students time in class to incorporate their revision plan into their Letters to the Editor.  You can use a brief version of a backwards outline to help them find the most important aspects of their Summary/Response essay or can create an overhead that helps them flesh out their claim, their most important reason(s) and evidence that will feasibly fit into the limitations of a 200 word letter.

You could try a looping/focusing activity here, too, where students would look back over their Summary/Response Essay and choose the most important reason and focus on elaborating on it for their Letter to the Editor.

Letter to the Editor Group Activity

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Design an activity that allows students to help each other create their Letters to the Editor.  You might do a version of the following:

In groups of 2-3, have students discuss their claims, main reason(s) and most important evidence from their Summary/Response essay and help each other draft their Letters to the Editor. 

Or, you might have students read each other's Summary/Response essays and identify what they think the backbone of the essay is and what parts should be in the Letter to the Editor.

You should design an overhead or worksheet that guides students through the activity.

Concluding and Assigning Homework (2-3 minutes)

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Today you might have a student recapitulate the main objectives you discussed today or you might write your own conclusion.  Be sure to cover the main ideas in the articles discussed today and to highlight what aspects they'll need to use to complete their Analytical/Evaluative Responses.  Remind students where they can access their homework.

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Establish Grading Hierarchy (5 minutes)

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Establish the hierarchy of criteria you will use to grade student work

By now, you've probably already heard many versions of the question "What exactly are you looking for in this paper?"  While we realize we have been teaching all along what we have been "looking for," part of this question stems from students usually being excluded in the process of evaluating the work they've done for a piece of writing.  The goal here is to give students a voice in establishing the hierarchy of criteria against which their work will be evaluated and also to open our eyes to what we've taught to be sure we grade fairly and accordingly. 

You can structure this activity similarly to the way we created a hierarchy for the Academic Summary/Response is structured.  Be sure to acknowledge the shift in audience and slight shift in purpose as well as the new limitations (primarily length) in the hierarchy.