Wednesday, August 30th

Day 5 - Wednesday, August 30th

Lesson Objectives

To briefly discuss the conventions for quoting and paraphrasing texts; to continue discussing the issues brought up in the readings; to once again highlight how purpose, audience, and context influence a text.

Connection to Course Goals

Looking at the conventions for quoting and paraphrasing sources emphasizes the importance of being accountable as writers to our sources and to the larger conversation. By the same token, the discussion of homework articles is connected to our goal of helping students become

Take Attendance and Introduce Class (3 - 5 minutes)

After taking roll, you may want to announce that the first portfolio is due a little more than one week from today. Remind students that you are available during office hours to meet with them if they have questions about their writing. Also, remind them that the Writing Center (in Eddy room 6) is a great resource.

Transition: Develop a transition here to move into the next activity.

Discuss Effective Use of Paraphrasing and Quotes (10 minutes)

Design an activity where you model effective and ineffective use of paraphrasing and quoting. You might prepare examples beforehand OR have students help generate ideas using either Boyden's or Wilson's article. Cover the following points (Use pgs. 205 - 206 in the PHG as a guide):

  1. Explain that it is necessary to use author tags frequently when quoting and when paraphrasing. Also, explain that when using author tags, students should try to avoid sounding repetitious by alternating verbs (Boyden states, suggests, explains, reveals, implies, laments, demonstrates, etc…). You might generate a list of these verbs on the board.
  2. Discuss where and how often students should use paraphrasing and quoting in their summaries. (For example: It is ineffective to string together several quotes, as this infringes on the writer's voice and can become what is known as a "quotation quilt" [see PHG for more explanation of this notion]. Summaries should mostly consist of the writer's own voice (via paraphrasing) BUT the writer must demonstrate that their interpretation is accurate by pulling in a few key quotes to support their writing.
  3. Explain that quotes need to logically fit into the sentence structure. Ask students to discuss why the following examples are effective or ineffective (feel free to revise and add your own examples):
  4. Explain how to adapt quotes to fit the needs of the writer. For example, a writer may use an ellipsis to show where they've excluded part of a quote. Or the may [include a bracket] to indicate where they've inserted their own words into a quote. These strategies will help students integrate quotes more naturally into their summaries and responses.

Transition: Develop a transition here to move into the next activity.

Collect Summaries of Martin (3 - 5 minutes)

Let students know that you'll return their summaries in time for your feedback to be useful as they prepare their P1A final essays.

Transition: Develop a transition here to move into the next activity.

Discuss Homework Articles (15 minutes)

The goal of this discussion is to help students see how the articles we've read so far fit into the conversation regarding racial and cultural issues precipitated by Hurricane Katrina. Remind students that you did a similar activity on Tuesday, and encourage them to think of this process as a useful critical reading tool.

Begin by breaking the class into four groups. The easiest way to do this initially might be to have them form groups with the people sitting nearest them; or, if you want to mix them up a bit, have them count off by 4's and designate a quadrant of the room for each group to gather in. While students are getting settled into their groups, draw the following grid on the board or put it up on an overhead you prepared for this activity:

  Purpose: What was the author's purpose? What were they trying to accomplish? Audience: Who was the article written for? How does this audience differ from us? How is the article still relevant to us? Context: Where and when was this article published? What else do we know about the context that could help us better understand this article?

"New Orleans Blues"


"Wake Me When It's Over"


"American Dilemma"


"A Desperate Sense of Optimism"


Once the students have gotten settled into their groups and had a chance to look at the grid, tell them that their task as a group is to fill in the blanks for their assigned article. Give each group an article to discuss, and let them know that they have about five minutes to work through all of the questions. Make sure to remind students to discuss what they found out about the context of these articles through their research. Once groups have analyzed the purpose, audience, and context of their assigned article, they should send a group member up to fill in the appropriate spaces on the grid. (Note: Make sure to have multiple markers or pieces of chalk available to avoid a bottleneck at the front of the room.)

As groups are working, you should walk around the room and check in with each group. You might ask groups a follow-up question or two about their analysis of the articles, or you might answer any questions that they have about purpose, audience, and context in general.

Once all four groups have filled in the chart, ask each group to briefly talk through their findings. You might remind the class that this is useful information to take down in their notes, as our discussions of these articles will continue for several days yet. This would also be a good moment to link back to the overall concept of writing as a conversation by discussing how each of the author's add their own "voice" or perspective to the discussion about racial fallout in New Orleans precipitated by Hurricane Katrina.

Sample Transition: Now that we have a clearer sense of where these articles are coming from and how they fit into the larger conversation, let's discuss your reactions to them.

Discuss the larger conversation (15 minutes)

In groups or as a whole class, ask students to share their responses to "New Orleans Blues". Do they agree with the concept of a "people's reconstruction"? If so, why? Did they disagree? If so, why? What support can they think of for their positions? How does the idea of a "people's reconstruction" differ from the positions of Early and Wilson?

Use this initial discussion as a springboard to explore the larger conversation about racial and cultural fallout in New Orleans precipitated by Hurricane Katrina. When conducting a large class discussion like this, it's useful to come prepared with a list of questions about whatever it is that you want to discuss. You can use these questions to guide discussion (though it's important to let the conversation develop on its own as much as possible). Make sure, too, to have follow-up questions ready to help generate conversation. Follow-up questions might ask students to explore why they had a particular response; they might also, in this case, take the form of asking students about their own reactions to the devastation caused by Katrina, or perhaps any relief efforts they took part in. You might even ask them what they think should be done next -certainly the articles we've been reading present a range of views on possible reconstruction techniques. Taking notes on the board of the points raised in the discussion will also help guide and shape this activity.

This might also be a time to bring in any supplementary materials about Hurricane Katrina that you think will help generate discussion. If you have a smart room, you could show news clips from the event, or you can check out a projector and laptop from the English office and look at resources on the Web. The lecturers have a variety of materials available, too, so don't hesitate to ask for resource or ideas.

Conclude Class and Assign Homework (3 minutes)

Write a conclusion for today’s class


  1. Read about subject, purpose and thesis on pg. 24 of your PHG text.
  2. Re-read “Wake Me When It’s Over” by Gerald Early, “New Orleans Blues” from The Nation, and “American Dilemma” by James Q. Wilson. Apply your critical reading skills and think about which article you’d like to focus on for your P1A essay.