Tuesday, September 16

Day 7 (Tuesday, September 16)

Lesson Objectives
Students will

Connection to Course Goals. Discussing the role of the writer furthers understanding of rhetorical situation, and discussion of article authors prepares students to approach Letter assignment.


For today’s class, spend time on Friedman's, Komanoff's and Specter’s websites, so you can add to the information students bring to class.  Reread and annotate “Whither Wind.”  Finish grading the Academic Summaries so that you can return them at the end of class.

Tip. Return assignments at the end of class, or students will think of nothing else during class.

Inquiry list
All three major articles we’ve read so far
Notes from your research on Friedman, Specter, and Komanoff's websites
Overhead transparencies:

Handouts with instructions for small group activity
Graded Academic Summaries


Students have researched Friedman and Specter and read one more piece—“Whither Wind,” looking critically at Komanoff, its author, as well.  They’ve practiced more critical reading and should have brought all three major articles that we’ve read so far.


Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)

Take attendance and introduce class as usual.

Conduct a general discussion of the homework (8-10 minutes)

Ask for reactions to “Whither Wind.”  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. 

Tip. Some students will forget all or some of the articles, but they can read with a partner.

Tip. Ask students how the visual representations of data helped them understand complex ideas—this will begin a conversation about visual rhetoric that will culminate in the final assignment.

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 reading 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.

Discuss the rhetorical situation, focusing on the writer (5-8 minutes)

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.).

Tip/Transition. Since students have just discussed their reactions to “Whither Wind,” you might prompt students to discuss Komanoff’s background and talk briefly about what affords him the credibility to make the argument(s) that he makes—this helps students begin to think about the Letter, and also introduces the ethical appeal, which comes up later.

Share author research (20-25 minutes)

Gather student research on the board by giving students a moment to review what they brought and 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 Friedman writes “Foreign Affairs” columns for the New York Times, for example, explains in part why “The Power of Green” takes such a global perspective, weaving issues of natural security in with energy and resource conservation; Komanoff’s background in energy policy analysis, economics, and environmental activism explains his interest in wind power and lends credibility to the data that he uses as evidence; etc. 

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 these writers, and how and why they make the rhetorical choices they make.  Ask students who the audience appears to be that each author is talking to, and see if they can find examples from the various texts.

Tip. You should have some lingering questions about these authors by the end—generate questions and see if anyone’s research can help you answer them.

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

Small group discussions (15-18 minutes)

In five or six small groups, ask students to consider Freidman, Specter, or Komanoff’s article in light of what they’ve just learned about these authors.  Ask them to answer the questions:

Give students about 10 minutes to discuss and jot down answers to the questions, and then ask each group to present their findings.

Tip. Since students will need to see the board, provide these questions as a handout or overhead transparencies with the questions already written out.

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

Letter strategies (3-5 minutes)

Review the Letter assignment with students, and ask for ideas about how they could use what they’ve just done as they write their letters. 

“Plan B”

Think through and write down your “if time” and “if I run out of time” ideas here.

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

Assign the following for homework, collect the inquiry list, and wrap up today’s class.

Homework for Thursday

Tip. Students will likely groan at the amount of work they’re doing at this point in the semester. Remind them that this is how it feels when your brain grows really fast. :)

Return summaries (2-3 minutes)

Tip. Many instructors have a “24-hour rule” requiring students to wait a day before asking questions about the returned assignment; this way they have the time to read and digest your comments.

Before you hand graded work back, it’s important to explain to students how to read your feedback.  For the Academic 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.  Also remind students of any relevant policies (such as revision), and explain the ways that the Academic Summary connects to the new assignment.

Connection to Next Class

Today, students have been thinking about what they read rhetorically, which they’ll need to do as they write their Letters.  Thursday’s class will focus on the student’s drafting plans, giving students an opportunity to discuss their secondary articles with some classmates.