Day 6 (Friday, August 31)
Connection to Course Goals
During today’s class, students will, on a small scale, engage in an academic community by participating in peer workshop.
Connection to Students’ Own Writing
The work students do with quoting and paraphrasing will help them write effective summaries. Student writing becomes the focus of today’s class during the peer workshop.
For today’s class you need to have recorded the quizzes or WTLs from last time and to have made a list of discussion questions in case you have extra time at the end of class.
Reading(s) for today with notes
Paraphrasing and quoting
Peer response guidelines you generated on Wednesday
For today’s class students have drafted another summary. They may have questions about the summary assignment, and they may be apprehensive about the prospect of peer workshopping.
Take attendance in the same way you did on Monday.
Designate a student to add on to the inquiry list for today. Link to last class and preview your activities for today.
Introduce the concepts of quoting and paraphrasing first (use an overhead transparency to save yourself having to write everything out on the board):
Quoting and Paraphrasing
Both quoting and paraphrasing are methods of representing another writer’s language and ideas in your own writing. Since summary is a condensed version of another writer’s ideas, summary depends heavily on quoting and paraphrasing.
Quoting: inserting another writer’s exact words into your writing. The exact words are contained within quotation marks. For example:
Peter Singer says, “Going vegetarian is a good option, and going vegan, better still. But if you continue to eat animal products, at least boycott factory farms.”
Paraphrasing: rephrasing another writer’s language into your own language, voice, and style. For example, the quote above could be paraphrased like this:
Peter Singer wants us to become vegetarian or vegan but he says that if we still want to eat meat, eggs, cheese, etc. we should avoid those that come out of factory farms.
Or like this:
Peter Singer asserts that many of the nation’s food problems would be helped were U.S. citizens to become vegans, vegetarians, or, at minimum, unwilling to purchase food from factory farms.
Paraphrasing can be tricky because it requires true understanding of the passage’s original meaning. Some paraphrases are better than others. The following is a poor paraphrase because it misrepresents Singer’s point:
Peter Singer says that people really need to become vegan or vegetarian but since many people refuse to do that, they could help out a little by not buying things that come from factory farms.
The following paraphrase is poor because it doesn’t fully rephrase Singer’s idea:
Peter Singer hopes that people will choose to go vegetarian or vegan or at least boycott factory farms.
Next, lead students through an activity that allows them to practice these concepts.
Choose an important phrase or sentence from one of the articles we’ve read already and copy it out on an overhead transparency (since it will be a quote, be sure to use quotation marks).
Paraphrase the language in at least two ways. Write your two paraphrases on the transparency below the quote.
Give an example of a poor paraphrase as well.
Choose someone (or two) from your group to present your transparency to the class.
This kind of activity can take up tons of time, so keep an eye on your watch. If you tend to run out of time during class, you might select phrases or sentences ahead of time and write them on the transparencies yourself. Allow students time to work, and when all (or most) groups are finished, call groups up one at a time to present their work. It’s ok if every group does not have time to present. If your students are more interested in their transparencies and each other than they are in the presentations, you might collect the pens (you’re probably thinking that this would be unnecessary; pens and transparencies do, though, inexplicably fascinate some students!).
After the presentations, sum up with the following guidelines on the overhead:
In a summary, quote when:
- You want to capture the writer’s tone
- The writer has said something particularly memorable
In a summary, paraphrase when:
- It’s the idea and not the tone, voice, or style that is important
- You can rephrase the writer’s ideas both accurately and briefly
We’ve incorporated peer workshops into the syllabus in a number of different ways; we use workshop to help students engage in an academic community as well as to learn more about writing and its processes. The aim of a workshop is not to have a paper “pre-graded” by a peer (there are more problems with that idea than we have room to explain here) and so, more often than not, we ask students to describe the text they are workshopping and to explain their reactions as readers (not evaluators). Based on their prior workshop experiences, students may also believe their job is to "correct" their peer's paper, editing it for spelling, punctuation and grammar. We want students to avoid focusing on editing in most workshops. In addition, rarely do we ask students to evaluate their peers’ writing, though that is what many students will expect out of workshop. When we do ask for some evaluation, it is always linked to criteria such as, in this case, accuracy. Our aim, therefore, is to give students an idea of how their writing could be read. We encourage students to consider every reading and response as valid to some extent, and to make their revision choices as carefully as they read.
Still, many students expect that their peers will tell them that their paper is either “good” or “bad” and, depending on past experiences, some students will be eager for this kind of praise or will dread this kind of criticism. Refer back to the discussion of helpful and not-so-helpful peer response comments from Wednesday to set your expectations for effective peer response.
Distribute copies of the workshop instructions (it’s worth it to make a handout so that students may refer to it as they revise and as they seek more feedback from others). Give students a moment to read over them, and then practice on the sample summary. You don’t have to go through all of the workshop questions on the sample; go through enough of them so that students get to see how to construct meaningful feedback as well as what kinds of comments are useful, and what kinds are not so useful.
Then allow students time to find a partner. They should trade summaries, work through the workshop prompts on the handout, and then take time to consider the feedback they receive. After most everyone is finished, talk for a bit about revision. Explain that students don’t have to make every change that their partner suggested, nor are they limited to making only the changes their partner suggested. Remind students that revision is different from editing and proofreading, and that after revision their summary might be very different from its current state.
Students are likely to ask if you'll grade their paper based on whether or not they follow peers' workshop advice when revising their papers. This is a good opportunity to explain your workshop policies. We usually tell students that we evaluate the final paper on its merits when assigning a grade; however, we may comment on how they may have better used peer advice.
Summary Peer Workshop
In this workshop, one of your classmates will give you feedback on your summary’s accuracy and objectivity. (Accuracy and objectivity are the first two grading criteria for the summary, so the feedback you give and receive will be especially valuable!) as well as on attribution and quoting and paraphrasing.
First, trade summaries with another student. Take out your copy of the article your partner has summarized. Re-read the article. Read your partner’s summary and then:
1. Underline your partner’s restatement of the author’s thesis and then check it for accuracy. Does it fully capture the author’s main message? Is it worded fairly? On the back of your partner’s summary, explain your ideas. If you recommend revision, be specific.
2. Put a star next to each reason or key point and then check these for accuracy. Do they fairly represent the writer’s ideas? Are any key points/reasons missing? On the back of your partner’s summary, explain your ideas. If you have time, make note of anything extra (minor points, evidence, etc.).
3. Read back over your partner’s summary, looking closely for subjectivity. Has your partner included his/her opinions at all in the summary? (Look for moments of response: agreeing or disagreeing, supporting or refuting, etc.). Has your partner passed judgment on the writer or his/her ideas? (Look for adverbs and adjectives in phrases like “Pollan outrageously suggests that. . .” or “Pollan’s wise advice is. . .”). Suggest ways for the writer to revise any subjectivity out of the summary.
4. Circle moments of attribution. These include information about the article such as its title, when and where it was published, and author tags. Let the writer know if at any point you lost track of the fact that he/she is writing about another writer’s ideas or if the writer needs to vary the author tags.
5. Thinking back to the quoting and paraphrasing activity we just did, identify quotes and paraphrases by writing a “q” next to each quote and a “p” next to each paraphrase. Is there a good balance of quoting and paraphrasing? Are quotes copied word-for-word? Are any of the paraphrases too close to the original phrasing? Can you suggest any revisions?
When you receive your paper back, take time to consider your partner’s understanding of your summary: is the sentence he/she underlined what you intended to be read as your restatement of the author’s thesis? What about the key points? Assume that your partner read carefully. What, in the writing, might have allowed the misreading? How can you revise it?
Finally, read over what your partner wrote on the back of your summary, ask your partner any questions you have, and then write a revision plan for yourself so you remember what you want to do when you sit down to revise.
Transition now that you have a revision plan, I want to make sure you understand what is due next time.
Ask students to take out the assignment sheet you handed out last time, to re-read it and to ask any questions they have. If your students don’t have any questions, verify that they understand what you are asking of them by posing questions like, “what is due next time?” and “what are the top two criteria for an academic summary?” Reiterate how you want students to turn in their work (electronically (and if so, by what time?) or hard copy, etc.).
Use any extra time you have to discuss where you are now with your inquiry. Call to mind the WTLs from the second day of class, and ask students to compare what they knew then with what they know now. What new questions have come up? Is the question “what should we eat?” more complex than the students thought at first? If you have a lot of extra time, ask students to share their opinions about recent readings. You could project into next week by bringing up the term “animal rights” and asking students their current ideas about that topic. If you tend to have extra time in class, you might prepare a list of questions to refer to as you facilitate discussion.
Assign the following as homework using the method you established last time:
Homework for Wednesday
Choose one summary to turn in for a grade on Wednesday. Revise and polish it and print it
out on a good printer. [Refer students to syllabus and assignment sheet guidelines for submitting assignments, late paper policy, materials to submit with final paper, etc.]
Read pages 17-29 and pages 157-163 in the PHG.
Remind students of office hours and/or email and encourage them to come to you if they are struggling. Also, remind students of any policies (late work, attendance, etc.) that could impact their grade on the summary assignment. Wrap up today’s class by explaining that next week, you will move from close reading (reading to understand a writer’s argument) to critical reading (reading to understand how a text works and how well a text works). You might also tell students to look ahead to anticipate the longer reading assignments due next week. Some may choose to get started on those.
Connection to Next Class
Today’s class has gotten students as ready as possible to turn in a summary on Wednesday, and it has suggested a shift into more complex work next week.
At some point soon you should consider how to manage your normal prep work and lesson planning along with the grading work you will get on Wednesday (not to mention the work you have for the classes you are taking). You might get ahead a bit with your prepping and lesson planning so that grading doesn’t seem to take over your life.