Day 5 (Wednesday, August 29)
Connection to Course Goals
During today’s class students begin to see summary writing as a rhetorical act (that is, as a set of choices made to achieve a particular purpose with a particular audience).
Connection to Students’ Own Writing
Introducing the Academic Summary assignment helps prepare them to write it. Students will continue to build the close reading and summarizing skills they need to write academic summaries.
For today’s class you need to have reread the assigned readings. Since today’s class includes a number of potentially time-consuming activities, you might take a moment to assess the way you have been customizing the lesson plans for yourself, and make any changes that would help you stay organized, focused, etc. during class.
Reading(s) for today with notes
Summary assignment sheets (if you plan to hand them out; if you assigned printing out the assignment sheet, ask those who forgot to look on with another student)
Directions for group activity
Reading quiz or WTL prompt
Quoting and paraphrasing
6-8 blank transparencies for group activity
For today’s class students have read another Pollan article, and they have drafted another summary. They may have questions about the summary assignment.
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.
Design an activity that will review the content of and hold students accountable for the reading homework. Remember to put questions/prompts on an overhead transparency.
As you did on Monday, take time to check in with students about the summary writing and their understanding of the reading. Return the summaries you collected Monday and make some general comments to the class about the common strengths and weaknesses you found. You might also want to remind students of how homework fits into their overall grade and explain any marks or comments you made on their summaries.
If you assigned both “Mass Natural” and “You Are What You Grow,” you’ll need more time for this activity, probably:
Generate summary points with students by asking two or three students to come to the board with their summary and write out the thesis statement they identified. While students are doing this, talk with the rest of the group about how they identified the thesis, and what key points they chose to include.
Note: you could ask two or three students to write on the board before class begins (just be sure you don’t have a quiz question about Pollan’s thesis!).
Once you have a few theses on the board, compare them to each other. It’s likely that they will be somewhat similar, though if they vary greatly you’ll need to spend time determining why that is. It might be a matter of scope (maybe one student looked more narrowly at Pollan’s argument than another student, for example), it could be a genuine misreading (if so, try to lead the class to an understanding of that rather than evaluating it on the spot), or it could be something else. In any event, work with your students to come to a consensus about which of the thesis statements on the board is both objective and accurate. Point out (again) that there is not just one way of representing Pollan’s argument (though there are limits to what passes as accurate).
Ask students to share the key points they chose to include. You don’t need to list these on the board as you did last time; students should be getting this concept by now.
Transition we’re getting pretty good at reading to understand a writer’s argument, and that’s key to writing a successful academic summary. Let’s look now the Academic Summary assignment.
Ask students to take a few minutes to re-read the assignment sheet. Then, walk them through it (no need to read it word-for-word, but be sure to highlight the essentials) and allow students time to ask questions. If a student asks a question you don’t want to answer right away, simply say, “let me get back to you about that” and then be sure to return to it on Friday. Since you’ve already looked at the criteria, you don’t need to do that again. Show students the letter-grade descriptions and ask that they read them over before next class.
Transition For Friday, you will revise one of the summaries you've written and bring it to class for a peer response workshop. Some of you have probably done peer response workshops before. Let's talk about your experiences.
Ask students if they have done peer response in previous classes and what their experiences have been. Move toward generating a list of helpful and not-so-helpful types of feedback. You can collect these on a blank transparency so that you can bring them back on Friday when you introduce the peer response activity. Remind students of your goal for peer response--to get reader feedback on work-in-progress. This would be a good time to remind them of your workshop policy, emphasizing the need to come prepared with a draft.
Homework for Friday
Revise one of the summaries you've written. Bring a printed copy of your summary draft for a peer workshop on Friday.
Reread the summary assignment sheet and email with any questions you have.
Read pages 205-206 about paraphrasing and quoting, and jot down any questions that come up.
Wrap up today’s class by saying something like, next time, we’ll go over quoting and paraphrasing, and you’ll get a chance to get some feedback from a classmate.
Connection to Next Class
You’ve gotten students used to bringing their own writing into the classroom and so some of students’ nervousness about peer workshopping might be lessened. Next time, you’ll do a practice workshop before students trade papers to give each other feedback and that will give you a chance to address concerns and misconceptions about what workshops will be like in CO150.