Wednesday, September 10

Day 7 (Wednesday, September 10)

Lesson Objectives

Students will

Connection to Course Goals. Practicing critical reading strategies will help students prepare for the Letter assignment, which you’ll distribute and talk about next time.


To prepare for class today, you will need to have re-read “The Power of Green,” both closely and critically.  This text is longer and a bit more complex than the previous articles and students will be making a first attempt—in most cases—to read a text rhetorically.  You will need solid notes and a fresh contact with the process to be able to effectively guide and support students through today’s activities.


Overhead transparencies

Rhetorical situation
Rhetorical analysis questions
Directions for group activity

Inquiry list
Group work instructions
Writing a Letter assignment sheet handouts
“The Power of Green” (annotated)


For today’s class, students have read a longer piece (“The Power of Green”) and reviewed the concepts of rhetorical situation and critical reading.  They will need the guided practice with rhetorical reading that today’s activities provide to help them understand these concepts.  Because these concepts are crucial to success in the course, take the time to support students’ learning today by listening carefully to their questions and responses. 


Take attendance and introduce class (3 minutes)

Begin class as usual, being sure to preview activities and connect this class to Monday’s.

Transition. Let’s begin today with a fun quiz.

Conduct a reading quiz or assign a WTL (8-10 minutes)
With longer, more complex readings such as Friedman’s on the schedule, be sure to hold students accountable by giving them a quiz or WTL that you can collect and record.  Keep in mind that such activities not only encourage reading but also provide a nice opportunity to review the main ideas of the text and reinforce close reading before you launch into the critical reading activity.

Transition. We talked about a lot of new terms last time; let’s take some time to work through them as we discuss “The Power of Green.”

Read “The Power of Green” critically (25-27 minutes)

Depending on your class, you might be able to work through the questions one by one, discussing them as a whole class.  If your class is timid, you can avoid feeling like you are pulling teeth by designing an activity in which small groups take on one of the categories above and then report back to the class.  If you do this, consider working through the thesis and main ideas as a class first, since that can be more time consuming than the other categories.  Also, since you have just begun to introduce rhetorical terminology, each group will need detailed instructions as well as their textbooks (they can refer to chapter 2 for further explanations of the rhetorical terms they’re responsible for), and they’ll probably want your input.  Consider handing out customized instructions to each group.  After groups have had time to work, ask them to present their ideas.  It’s ok if their ideas are incomplete at this point, as students will be reading more about these concepts for homework and you will continue to cover them in class.

Transition. Critical reading isn’t easy, but it’s an essential part of inquiry.

Take stock of Friedman’s inquiry and assess your own (8-10 minutes)

Remind students what it means to inquire, and generate a list of ways in which Thomas Friedman inquires.  How does he decide what to inquire into?  How does he find answers to his questions?  Where does he position himself as he inquires?  What does he do with his inquiries once they’re complete?  How do his inquiries spring from other inquiries?  Etc. 

Next, point out that we are inquiring as we’re reading and discussing these articles.  Generate a list of ways in which we have been inquiring.  Add to this list any ideas students can think of for ways in which we could push our inquiry further. 

Transition. Next time, we’ll discuss another article, this one by Michael Specter.

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

Assign the following for homework, collect the inquiry list, and wrap up class by reviewing key concepts from today and explaining what students can expect next time.

Connection to next class
Next time you’ll come back to the rhetorical terminology you introduced today, and you’ll discuss another longer article.  Students might start to identify common strategies Friedman and Specter use as they write while comparing the two pieces.