Thursday, September 27

Day 12  (Thursday, September 27)

Lesson Objectives
Students will

Connection to Course Goals
We are adding collaboration and research skills to the close and critical reading skills we have already established.  Today, individual students negotiate adding their voices to a group conversation on a question-at-issue.  These activities move students toward the goal of entering academic discourse.

Connection to Students’ Own Writing
During today’s class groups will generate/collect material that they can use when they write their explanations. 


To minimize confusion, put the list of groups and inquiry questions on an overhead transparency.  Direct each group to a particular part of the classroom, and give students an opportunity to introduce themselves.

Have students write about their initial opinions about their group’s inquiry question.  A WTL will ensure that every student gets to voice his or her ideas.  This is important for establishing group dynamics.  Put these or similar questions on the overhead:

Write-to Learn

Ask groups to share their initial opinions through the following interview activity (if you have large groups (4 or more students), consider cutting down on the number of questions):

Inquiry Interview

Goals: Your aim here is to learn about your own and your group members’ frames of reference regarding your topic.

Take turns interviewing each other.  You may ask any of the following questions and any others that you think of.  Take notes as you talk so that you can refer to these initial thoughts as your group drafts an explanation at the end of this project.

Possible Questions:

  • What interests you about this question?
  • How much do you know about this subject?
  • How do you answer your group’s inquiry question right now?
  • Where do you think your views on this subject come from?
  • Where did you grow up?  When did you grow up? How might this background affect how you think about your subject?
  • What do your family and friends think about this subject?  Do their opinions influence you at all?
  • How do you identify yourself politically?  How do your political leanings affect how you view your subject?
  • What sorts of values do you hold that might influence your opinions on this subject?
  • What else about you might influence what you think?

Just doing this activity will help students get to know each other and assess their starting point.  Students should hold onto the notes they take during these interviews so they can incorporate them into the explanation’s introduction.

Next, demonstrate how to plan out an inquiry using one of the questions from your inquiry list that groups didn’t choose.  For example:

Inquiry question: “Does fast food advertising work?”
Interested disciplines: Psychology, business, marketing, food science
Search terms: fast food, advertising, marketing, commercials, convenience foods
Related questions: What kinds of advertisements feature fast food? What do marketers do to sell food?  What are the economic risks and benefits to businesses when they advertise?  How do fast food advertisements affect viewers?  Who pays for fast food advertising?  (etc.)

Give groups time to plan their inquiry using this heuristic. Once groups have compared ideas about all of the above, they can designate responsibility (perhaps each student will research the inquiry question from a different perspective, or perhaps groups will divide up the related questions).

Part of students’ homework will be to find one source, which they will most likely do through google.  Explain three basic criteria for a source for this project: relevance, reliability, and currency.  The source needs to help answer the inquiry question, it needs to come from a credible author or organization, and it needs to be current enough that its contents still matter.  In addition, the source needs to be useable in an academic paper (therefore, no Wikipedia).

Revisit the assignment sheet and the annotated bibliography sample to remind students of what they should do once they have found the source (they should read it closely to write the summary and they should read it critically to write the evaluation and the response).  Tell students that you will collect bibliography entries next time to provide feedback.