Day 5 . Friday, September 5th

Wednesday, September 1:  Activity Ideas

Discussing Krugman's and Frank's Articles

Introducing Responding

Creating Claims

Developing Responses

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.  You might say something like:  Today we're going to discuss Nat Ives' article and how we would summarize it.  Then we're going to expand on our skills thus far and discuss the concepts of responding and evidence you read for homework.


Discussing Krugman's and Frank's Articles

(15-20 minutes total)

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Generating the main idea and key points (3-5 minutes)

Begin by outlining the application of the WSM to each article.  Then, on an overhead or on the board (you can use a student scribe for this activity if you'd like), have students compile the article's main idea and key points. 

Creating a summary from the main idea and key points (5-8 minutes)

Have students get into groups of three or four, split the groups down the middle and assign either Krugman's or Frank's article to each half.  Have each group create a summary of its assigned article from the points listed on the board on an overhead.   

Presenting group summaries (5 minutes)

Have each group put its summary on the overhead projector and read it to the rest of the class.  You should facilitate a brief discussion of what each summary does well/could improve upon after each group presents.

Sample Transition to Next Activity

Let’s shift our focus now from summarizing to responding. For homework today, I asked you to read about the different types of responses, given on pages 162- 163 in the PHG. If you recall, your audience for Portfolio 1 will be open and interested in your response. So it's important that we start thinking about the different types of response we can provide.


Introducing Responding (5 minutes)

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Introduce the concept of responding

The goal of this discussion is to briefly introduce students to all three ways can respond to a text:  agreeing/disagreeing with the text's ideas, interpreting/reflecting on the text's implications or assumptions, analyzing/evaluating what makes the text effective or ineffective.  Review the points on page 163 in the PHG, highlighting important concepts and phrases, and check out the teaching guide on Types of Summary and Response (  You can also provide students with the link to the writing guide for writing response located at

You may want to make an overhead like the following:

The three ways we can respond are by:

Agreeing/Disagreeing with the main idea or key points in a text

Interpreting/Reflecting on the ideas, assumptions or implications in the text

Analyzing/Evaluating the text's effectiveness

The goal of an Agree/Disagree Response is to emphasize one important idea from a writer's text and support or refute that idea using reasons and evidence. Here, you want to convince a reader that your position is a favorable one.

The goal of an Interpretive/Reflective Response is to look critically at an argument in order to explain what it fully means. Looking critically at a text requires you to inquire beyond what the text actually says. One way to do this is to locate the assumptions that inform a writer's argument and find out what the writer's argument implies. Along the way, you may find yourself agreeing with or refuting the writer's ideas and the assumptions and implications that are tied to these ideas.

The goal of an Analytical/Evaluative Response is to determine a text's effectiveness by examining its parts. You might look at the purpose, the intended audience, the thesis, the main ideas, the organization and evidence, and the language and style. Here, your aim is to point out an essay's strong points and/or where it falls short. Analyzing the text's effectiveness allows you to make more informed decisions about the usefulness and credibility of a writer's argument.

Once you discuss these broadly, focus more narrowly on the agree/disagree response since they will do that for homework. Our goal here is not to show students that these types of responses exist simply as responses devoid of writing situations.  You should ask students when/why they would choose to write a given response and/or provide examples of this.

You can point out that they will practice all three ways of responding through upcoming essays. For now, it's only important that they understand the differences between each type. Also, let them know that a combination of responses is possible for Portfolio 1. If they choose a combination, they simply need to be sure that their response makes an overall, focused point.

For the agree/disagree response, discuss what students feel the focus of the response will be (with what and to what extent they agree or disagree).  Ask them when they've used this response (either in speech or writing) and ask them what made that response (or another agree/disagree response they've encountered) effective or not.

Sample Transition to Next Activity

Now that we understand the types of responses and why/when we would use them, we need to establish the backbone of each response--and just about anything we write.


Creating Claims (10 minutes total)

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Map Activity (3 minutes)

Have students count off by three's.  Place the following on the board or an overhead:

According to your number, draw the following:

1. a map of the United States

2. a map of Colorado

3. a map that takes us from our classroom to where you live

Once 3 minutes is up, have students look at the different maps around them
(2 minutes)
Then ask the following questions (2 minutes)

On the map of the United States, who can find my hometown of....(use your hometown or a rather obscure location in the U.S.)?  Students won't be able to find it.

On the map of Colorado, who can find...(again, use a rather obscure location in CO--the Brass Ass Casino in Cripple Creek is usually a good one)?  Students won't be able to find this either.

Now look at the map that takes us from our classroom to where someone lives; would we be able to get there?  Most students will say "yes."

Draw a parallel between this activity and how claims function in writing
(3 minutes)

If we lack a clear map in our writing, the text will be vague and hard to follow like maps #1 and #2.  The #3 map is more specific and therefore more effective. Also in the #3 map, we had a clear purpose (take us from the classroom to where you live).  Just like the #3 map, claims should reflect our purpose when we write so that we can support them most effectively.

Sample Transition to Next Activity

In our responses, we must have a claim.  We'll need to support that claim with reasons and evidence.  Most of us understand what evidence is. But often, writers mistake evidence for reasons. They think that if they simply tell readers why they make a claim, it is enough to support that claim. However, most readers need REASONS and EVIDENCE to feel convinced. In addition to telling readers what you think, you need to show them WHY you think it. Let's look at an example…


Developing Responses (10 minutes)

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Show students how to develop a response with reasons and evidence
(5 minutes)

Discuss the types of evidence on page 163 in the PHG.

The goal of this activity is to help students distinguish between reasons and evidence. Another objective is to help them see how reasons and evidence connect back to a writer's response. (Often students interpret evidence as "any personal experience that relates to my topic" which leads to stories and experiences that stray from their original point). See if students can draw connections between the evidence and the main idea from the sample (to reinforce the need for focus in a response). Also, warn them that phrases such as "this reminds me of" can lead to ideas that don't qualify as support.

In a nutshell, a reason tells why and evidence shows how or whyTo illustrate this, you might do a brief role playing activity.  Have one student play the role of a parent and another play the role of a teenager who just received h/er license. 

Teen:  Mom/Dad, can I use the Escalade to pick up my friends for the movie tonight?

Mom/Dad:  No.

Stop the "actors" here and ask the rest of the class what the teen is going to say next.  They should respond with "Why not?"  Then have the actors pick up again.

Teen:  Why not?

Mom/Dad:  give reasons like: you don't have enough experience to take the car on your own yet; you're not responsible enough; when your sister took the car for the first time she scratched it; you shouldn't drive after dark yet, etc.

Stop the actors again to discuss the scenario:  The parent here has provided the teen with reasons why s/he can't take the car out.  So, just like the scenario, our reasons in our responses should answer the reader's initial "Why" questions.  But it's not enough to stop there. 

Further the scenario by illustrating what would happen if the parent did not have any evidence/proof as to why the teen wasn't experienced enough or responsible enough or what the sister's scratching of the car has to do with the teen h/erself, etc. 

Connect the previous activity to your students' own writing by showing a written example  (5 minutes)

You might do the following:

For this activity, use the sample below or create your own. Put the example on an overhead and read over it with the students. Then, highlight the differences between reasons and evidence and ask students to draw connections between the evidence, the reasons, the response, and the main idea. Pose questions like, "Is the focus effective? Does the writer come back to their main point? Where? Could the focus be improved?" You might use an overhead pen to illustrate these responses. You may also want to spend a few minutes discussing how reasons and evidence might look different for other types of response (analytic or reflective).

One key point from Frank's article:  Frank states that "because kids are not thought to be capable of acting in their own interest, the state justifies protective policies, such as the restricting [of] advertising aimed at them."

Reaction and Reason


I agree with Frank's solution of a "progressive consumption tax" to an extent.  I think taxing people who spend excessive amounts on unnecessary items may help reduce the overspending in America and this would benefit everyone.  However, I don't think a mere tax is enough--it won't change the effect of advertising on on consumers and Frank needs to deal with this in order for his solution to work. 

Personal Evidence to Support Reaction


I believe Frank's solution isn't enough because it's hard to be 9 years old.  When I was 9, I was insecure about just about everything from my glasses and clothes to the cars my family drove ("Dad, please don't pick me up in the Plymouth!" I'd say).  But I was also obsessed with Barbie.  I watched Barbie cartoons and memorized all the Barbie commercials. My friend, Emily, had the Barbie Dream House, and she was one of the coolest girls in my class.  All I wanted was the Barbie Dream House because in Barbie's house, everything was pink, sparkly and perfect, so if I had it, maybe I would be, too.

On Christmas morning when I was 9, I woke up before everyone else.  I just knew my parents had bought me the Barbie Dream House; it was number one on my list and I had been very good that year.  I crept down the hall to the living room with Barbie clutched in my right hand.  My eyes scanned the presents spread around the tree...there was no Barbie Dream House.  I rubbed my eyes and straightened my glasses.  I must be missing it, I thought.  I looked harder.  Still no Barbie Dream House.  There was just this doll bed--it wasn't even the Barbie Dream Bed!  Just this doll bed with a pink canopy.  I went back to bed until my parents woke up.

This may seem like a minor point in the grand scheme of life, but I'll never forget how disappointed I was that Christmas (and now how I can't escape feeling guilty for acting so selfishly toward my parents).  And I was only 9 years old.  The sad thing is that this phenomenon happens to all the time to adults, too.  While there are many commercials and ads aimed at children, adults make up a huge part of the advertising target audience.  Why else would Super Bowl Comerica spots sell for millions of dollars?  They are bombarded with ads that say they must have the two-story house instead of the one-story, the Lexus instead of the Saturn; they must eat at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse instead of Country Buffet.  Frank hasn't addressed the major social forces like advertising that play a role in our consumption of things in America (although he does mention the Tim-Robbins'-Range-Rover-effect) and a tax won't change this.  In short, I disagree that a tax would fix our problem.

Note:  While this sample clearly shows what we mean by "showing" and not just "telling" by using personal experience, it contains some deliberate problems whose improvements you can discuss with your students.


Concluding and Assigning Homework (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 highlight what aspects they'll need to cover in their responses (claim, reasons, evidence and showing not just telling).   Remind students where they can access their homework. 


If you have more time...

CSOW:  Practicing Developing Reasons with Evidence (5 minutes)

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Have students practice creating a claim and developing it with reasons and evidence using Ives' article about children and obesity

Create an overhead that asks students to create an agree/disagree claim and then support it with reasons and evidence in response to Ives' article.