Friday, September 5

Day 5 (Friday, September 5)

Leseson Objectives
Students will

Connection to Course Goals. Students see writing as a rhetorical act with choices geared toward a specific purpose and audience, and they practice engaging in an academic community via workshop; practice with quoting and paraphrasing will also help them write effective summaries.


Today you will need to mark and record the quizzes or WTLs from last time and generate a list of discussion questions in case you have extra time at the end of class.


Workshop handouts


For today’s class, students have completed the quoting and paraphrasing activity and revised one of the summaries they’ve written for a peer workshop.  They may have questions about the summary assignment and/or the workshop process


Tip. Today’s class includes a number of potentially time-consuming activities, so 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.

Attendance (2 minutes)

Take attendance as you have in previous classes.

Review paraphrasing and quoting activity (8-10 minutes)

Tip. At some point in this discussion, you will want to take up how to choose whether to paraphrase or quote. Emphasize the purpose of each and how your choice will affect achieving it with the audience. For example, good paraphrasing shows you understand the material.

When you arrive at class, give overhead transparencies to 2-3 students who are already in the room.  Ask them to copy the quote they chose (include author/title of text) and their “answer” onto the transparency.

Now present at least a couple of these to the class and engage them in a brief discussion of what makes a paraphrase ethical (not plagiarized!) and effective (accurate representation of the quote’s meaning).

After the presentations, sum up with the following guidelines on the overhead:

In a summary, quote when:

In a summary, paraphrase when:

Collect this homework assignment.

Transition. To prepare for the revision work you’ll do this weekend, let’s give you an opportunity to get some feedback from a classmate.

Summary workshop (30 minutes)

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 major criteria such as, in this case, accuracy and objectivity. 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 and personalities, some students will be eager for this kind of praise or will dread this kind of criticism. It’s useful, then, to work through a workshop with a sample summary (one of the group summaries from last week will work well) and discuss the kinds of comments that one could give.

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. Take a moment to describe useful comments vs. not-so-useful comments (useful comments are specific, thoughtful, point out both strengths and weaknesses, etc. while not-so-useful comments are vague, hasty, too “nice,” too “mean,” etc.).

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. 

Tip. You don’t have to go through all of the workshop questions on the sample—just go through enough so that students get a sense of how to provide meaningful feedback.

Tip. If you run short of time, you can skip the practice workshop or just ask students about their past workshop experiences—things that were useful, things that weren’t—and record these on the board for the students to use as a reference.

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 quotations surrounded by quotation marks? 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.

Tip. Students might ask if you’ll grade their Summary based on whether or not they follow their workshop advice. This is a good opportunity to explain your workshop policies and grading practice.

Transition. Now that you have a revision plan, I want to make sure you understand what is due on Monday.

Review assignment sheet (3-5 minutes)

Ask students to take out the assignment sheet you distributed last time, to re-read it (especially the grading criteria) 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 on Friday?” 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.).

If time: assess your inquiry

Use any extra time you have to discuss where the class is now with its inquiry in how to address climate change.  Call to mind the WTLs from the first 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 do about climate change?” 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 “carbon footprint” or what "green" really means, and asking students their current ideas about those topics.  If you tend to have extra time in class, you might prepare a list of questions to refer to as you facilitate discussion.

Assign homework and collect the inquiry list (2-3 minutes)

Assign the following as homework using the method you’ve established:

Homework for Monday

Conclude Class

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.  Whether you've had a Writing Center consultant drop in to introduce the Writing Center service or not, remind students of its existence and hours.  Encourage them to seek additional reader response from a Writing Center consultant as they revise their summary.  Remind students that the Writing Center hours are posted at

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).

Connection to Next Class

Today’s class has gotten students as ready as possible to turn in a summary on Monday, 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 Monday (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 now so that teaching doesn’t seem to take over your life when the papers come in!