Thursday, September 14th

Day 8 - Thursday, September 14th

Lesson Objectives

To look at the rhetorical situation (context, audience, purpose) for selected P1B texts and to generate summary points for each article. To critically examine the effectiveness of each article. To construct evaluative claims for the P1B papers.

Connection to Course Goals

Discussing the rhetorical situation and main points for the assigned articles will help students prepare to write their academic summaries of one of the for P1B articles. Then, the discussion or debate involving the effectiveness of each article should generate ideas for developing thoughtful responses to the P1B articles. The work with claims should reinforce the earlier lesson on writing claims from P1A, but here the claims will take on an evaluative focus.

Introduce Today's Class and Review Key Terms (5-7 minutes)

You might begin by writing "analysis" and "evaluation" up on the board and asking students to recap how we used these terms on Tuesday. Remind students of your used car (or movie) example, and ask them if they noticed or thought of any other circumstances in which we use these critical thinking strategies in everyday life. You might have an example or two handy to help jump-start discussion (i.e. we use both analysis and evaluation when buying groceries, or a coach might use analysis and evaluation to come up with a game plan).

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Generate Summary Points for P1B Articles (15 minutes)

The goal of this discussion is to outline each article's purpose, audience, context and main ideas. Tell students that they should take notes on this discussion since they'll need to write a summary of one of the P1B articles.

You should outline the information for each article on the board in the same fashion we used for the P1A articles on Day 4. Ask: What are the context, audience and purpose for each of these articles? What other main ideas or arguments do the authors provide? Have a list of each article's main points ready to help prompt discussion, but encourage students to come up with the ingredients of summaries for the articles on their own as much as possible.

An alternative activity to try here might be to have students work in small groups to draft a short summary of one of the P1B articles. Provide each group with an overhead and a marker and ask them to use what they remember about academic summary as they prepare their drafts. Give groups about ten minutes to work up their summaries, then ask a couple of groups to share their drafts (try to look at one summary of each article). Have the class use their notes on academic summary to review the examples generated in class, making sure to highlight connections to purpose, audience, and context as they come up. Try to keep this discussion light-hearted, and remind students that since these are only drafts of summaries of the P1B articles, they will want to write and carefully develop their own summaries as part of P1B. Note: If you do this activity, you will need more time and will have to choose another place in today's lesson to cut down.

Sample Transition: "Now that we've established the key summary points, let's move into response. Please take out your homework responses."

Discuss Responses to P1B articles (15 minutes)

Here we are trying to get students to look at the effectiveness of each writer's argument. We want students to begin to locate the strengths and shortfalls of each article.

Begin with a general discussion. Call on a few students and ask them what they wrote about. Which article did they find more persuasive and why? During this conversation, try not to put students on the spot by questioning or criticizing their ideas. Right now, you're just getting a feel for how they initially reacted.

After some general discussion, you might put students into groups to share their responses and develop them further. You could create two groups for each article and place students in groups according to how they responded. For example, if students thought article X was more persuasive, put them in an article X group and have them discuss why. Or, have them focus on why they did NOT find article Y to be as persuasive. Do the same with those who wrote about article Y. Encourage students to use the terminology for an evaluative response (purpose, audience, clarity of ideas, evidence, logic, tone, etc…). And require them to support their ideas with clear examples from the text. Finally, explain that one student should keep notes and the group should plan on presenting their findings to the class.

Transition: Develop a transition here.

Presentations or Debate (15 - 20 minutes)

Here each group should present their ideas to the class. You might have them present formally in front of the class; or, you might lead a discussion and call on groups as your "expert groups"; or, you might engage students in a mini-debate on who was more persuasive. If you choose to have a debate, ask article X fans to sit on one side of the room and article Y fans sit on the other side. Ask each side to offer a persuasive idea (from the article); then encourage the other side to refute it, using textual evidence or their own logic. However you choose to conduct this activity is fine. The goal is to encourage students to think critically about the strengths and shortfalls of each article and to support their findings with clear textual examples.

Sample Transition: "Now that you've generated a lot of ideas for response let's begin to construct a formal evaluative response for whichever article you choose to work with for this second portfolio."

Practice Mapping and Unpacking Claim for Evaluative Responses (20-25 minutes)

Begin this activity by numbering students off in threes. Don't tell them what is coming next - this activity works best if it includes an element of surprise. Have students get out a blank sheet of paper and a writing instrument or, if you want to add an extra element of suspense, pass out crayons or markers. Ask the students with the appropriate numbers to draw a map of:

  1. U.S.A.
  2. Colorado
  3. from where they're sitting to the Lory Student Center

Give them a few minutes to draw their maps, but don't let them linger too much. Once they have maps drawn, have them trade with someone sitting nearby who has a different type of map than the one they drew. Ask the class if they can use the maps to get to the following locations (you're welcome to choose your own):

  1. Boston, MA
  2. Estes Park Brewery in Estes Park, CO
  3. the LSC

Ideally, students should respond by saying that the #1 maps are impossible to follow, some of the #2 maps sort of work, and the #3 maps all work. Ask the class why the #3 maps work (they're focused and specific) and the #1 maps don't (they're too broad and confusing). Now, ask students to think of their claim statements for their responses as maps - what type of map do they want to offer their reader?

Have a list of sample claims - good, bad, and ugly - ready on an overhead. Ask the class to identify which type of "map" each claim offers the reader. Remind students that their claims should be clear, debatable, and specific. Once you've settled on a #3 claim, spend a couple of minutes "unpacking" it by asking students what they expect the response to cover based on the claim at hand.

If you have time, ask a few students to write their claims on the board. Then, ask the rest of the class to "unpack" the claims. That is, they should discuss what they would expect the rest of the paper to look like to fulfill each claim. What would the paper need to do in order to fully support the claim? Also, how might the claim be revised or narrowed for greater clarity?

Conclude Class (3 minutes)

Write a conclusion for class. You might ask students to conclude the class by summarizing what was covered for today and reminding them about upcoming due dates.


  1. Using your notes from today's class, write a summary of the P1B article to which you chose to respond.
  2. Work on shaping your response to your chosen P1B article, keeping in mind our discussion of mapping and unpacking claims.
  3. Some texts include visual elements, and effective analysis and evaluation of those texts requires you to hone your observational skills. Read about techniques for observing in the PHG on pgs. 54 - 60. Note how writers use observations to make their descriptions vivid and interesting. You should apply the same techniques to your own summary/description of any visual elements in the article you've chosen to write about.
  4. Print and read the P1B sample essay. Bring a copy of it to class.