Monday, September 10

Day 9 (Monday, September 10)

Lesson Objectives
Students will

Connection to Course Goals
Discussing the role of the writer furthers students’ understanding of rhetorical situations both as they read and as they write.

Connection to Students’ Own Writing
The discussion of Michael Pollan will give students another way to discuss a text in the letter they will be drafting soon. 

For today’s class, spend time on Pollan’s website so that you can add to the information students bring to class.  Reread and annotate “Power Steer.”  Finish grading the summaries so you can return them at the end of class, or by next class.

Inquiry list
Notes from you research on Pollan's web site
Overhead transparencies:
            Rhetorical situation
            Blank transparencies for small groups (optional)
Overhead pens (optional)
Graded summaries to return (unless you will return them Wednesday)

Students have researched Michael Pollan and read another piece—“Power Steer.”  They’ve practiced more critical reading as well.


Take attendance and introduce class as usual.

Ask for reactions to “Power Steer.”  Having read the piece critically, students should have more to say than “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.”  They can talk about the ways in which it appealed to them (or not) and the questions it raised for them. 

Check in with students about the critical reading work—be sure they understand that they need to turn in one double entry log and one critical rereading guide with their Writing a Letter paper.  Now that students have had a chance to practice both, they can discuss which they prefer, and why.

Transition write a transition here that will connect this activity to the next.

Show the rhetorical situation model once more, and explain why it’s important to consider the writer as you read (so that you can evaluate a text’s credibility and authority, so you can understand why a writer says what he/she says, so you can make better decisions about how the text fits into the conversation, etc.).  Also, explain how you can consider the writer as you read (research him/her; use the text to infer the writer’s experiences, values and beliefs, etc.).

Transition write a transition here that will connect this activity to the next.

Gather student research on the board by giving students a moment to look through what they brought from Pollan’s website and to choose a few pieces of information to share.  Ask students to think of ways in which the information they have found illuminates the text in some way.  Knowing that Pollan is a journalist, for example, explains why his writing appears frequently in periodicals. 

Go around the room, asking each student to contribute something that hasn’t already been said.  Write their ideas on the board.  When you finish, assess what you’ve learned.  You can probably make some general statements about Pollan as a writer, and how and why he makes the rhetorical choices he makes.  You may have lingering questions about him, too. Generate questions and then see if anyone’s research can help answer them.

Transition write a transition here that will connect this activity to the next.

Before you hand graded work back, it’s important to explain to students how to read your feedback.  For the summary, tell students about how you commented, where they can find the grade, etc.  Remind them that this is a small assignment and that you’re available to talk about the summary with them.  Many instructors have a “24-hour rule” which requires students to wait a day before contacting the teacher about the paper.  Some instructors more casually ask students to take a day to read over the comments and the summary.  The point is you don’t want to discuss the summaries right away for many reasons, the most rhetorical of which is that students need to take time to read and understand your comments before they can discuss them. 

Also remind students of any relevant policies (such as revision), and explain the ways that the summary connects to the new assignment.

Assign the following as homework, collect the inquiry list and then wrap up today’s class:

Homework for Wednesday

Connection to Next Class

Today, students developed a better sense of rhetorical situation by thinking about the author and his role in addressing purpose and audience.  Wednesday's class will ask students to look at all of Pollan's work they've read and to think more about how he responds to rhetorical situation.