Day 6 (Thursday, September 10th)
To prepare for class today, you should have a stash of visual examples of green rhetoric just in case some students come unprepared themselves. Also, re-read the assignment 2 sheet to foresee any possible terms and concepts which you think your class will need to explicitly focus on in order to complete the assignment effectively.
For today, students have revised a summary and response and are preparing to turn in the first graded assignment of the semester. The class is moving quickly and before you introduce assignment 2, it’s a good idea to check in, assessing how students’ ideas about the rhetoric of green are expanding and changing. While it’s always a risk to introduce a new assignment on the day a major assignment is due, it’s a perfect way to begin laying the foundation for the next assignment.
Take attendance and introduce class (2-3 minutes)
Begin class as usual, being sure to preview activities and connect this class to course goals.
Discuss revision, assign a postscript, and collect summaries (15-20 minutes)
Chat with your students for a few minutes, asking them to talk about how they revised their assignment, what they did with the workshop feedback, etc. If your students don’t want to get specific, ask them to talk generally about the experience of writing and revising the assignment.
Next, put “postscript” questions on the overhead and give students a few minutes to answer them. You might ask them to write answers on the backs of the summaries they’re about to turn in. We do a postscript at the end of each graded assignment, and this allows students to reflect on the writing process as well as to communicate with you about their writing. Think about what kinds of things you want to hear as you grade your students’ writing. Questions like “what did you get out of workshop?” or “what should we do differently as we work on our next assignment?” leave students very open to give all kinds of feedback that’s not directly relevant to their writing process and/or the final product they are about to turn in, and can be saved for a mid-semester evaluation.
General postscript questions follow that tend to work well for most any assignment. Feel free to modify them to suit your students’ needs and to suit each assignment.
1. Are you satisfied with your final draft? Why/why not?
2. What was most successful about this project?
3. Where did you struggle most? How did you overcome that struggle?
4. What did you do to revise? How did you use your workshop feedback?
5. What else should I know about your writing process as I read your final draft?
Collect Assignment 1 from students and explain your grading practices—you use the same criteria for every student, you write comments that are intended to help them recognize their strengths and ways to improve for the next assignment, it’ll probably take about 1-2 weeks for you to grade the assignment, etc.
Visual Rhetoric Discussion & Group Exercise (30-35 Minutes)
In the next assignment students will be asked to synthesize information from various texts. This requires a new level of critical thinking, since not only will students be asked to respond to texts critically, they will be asked to make intertextual connections. Furthermore, students will be asked to broaden their definitions of what constitutes a text and an argument. It will be helpful at this time to introduce visual rhetoric so students can begin to build the necessary scaffolding for Assignment 2.
For homework, students were asked to bring in examples of the Rhetoric of Green working in popular life (this could be anything visual, from a magazine advertisement, to a shopping bag, to a Chocó flip-flop, which has “save the planet” rhetoric on the sole.) Either introduce visual rhetoric with the following Visual Rhetoric Guide, or move directly into the group exercise.
Visual Green Rhetoric Analysis
In your groups, share the example of visual green rhetoric. Each person should explain how his or her sample fits in the conversation. After everyone shares their sample, choose one to focus on as a group and answer the following questions on your overhead transparency. When you’ve completed the questions, share your findings with the class.
1.) List five adjectives that describe this visual rhetoric sample.
2.) What is the tone or mood for the visual rhetoric (funny, sarcastic, serious, cozy, mysterious…)?
3.) What is the visual rhetoric for? Is there a product being sold or some form of an argument being made?
4.) Where did this visual rhetoric appear? Was it in a publication or found in a store? What is the purpose of this publication/store (i.e. to promote fitness; to show fashions, sell cheap products in mass quantities)? Does it make sense to have this visual rhetoric dispersed through this venue and means? Provide reasons as to why or why not?
5.) Who is this visual rhetoric targeting for an audience (men, women, fitness enthusiasts, sports fans, environmentalists, health nuts…)? How can you tell?
6.) Where is the argument placed? Is it a prominent feature of the visual rhetoric, or is it more subtle? Is it given any human like qualities (i.e. a bottle of wine shaped like a woman's body)?
7.) If you’re analyzing an advertisement, where does the brand name appear in the ad? How many times does it appear?
8.) Are there any people represented in the visual rhetoric? What genders and races are represented? What are the people doing? What role does the argument play in what they are doing?
9.) If there are people represented, describe the visual rhetoric’s treatment of the subjects' bodies? For example, are some body parts cut off (i.e. a woman's body is shown but her head isn't in the picture)? Or are bodies fragmented or objectified? Which parts of the bodies seem most important and least important?
10.) What does the visual rhetoric’s text say? What feeling or idea is the text meant to convey? How does the text add to the ideas expressed by the images?
11.) Examine the font. How big is it? What type of font is it (typed letters or personally handwritten)? How do the details of the font contribute to the overall effect of the visual rhetoric?
12.) How is the camera used? Where does the camera appear to be? Is it close to the subject or far away? Is it above the subject, below the subject, or facing the subject head on? What effect does the camera angle have? How does it contribute to the visual rhetoric’s effect?
13.) What colors does the visual rhetoric use? Are they bright? Black and white? What associations are connected to these colors? What effect does the use of color have?
14.) In your opinion, does the visual rhetoric glorify being green or does it truthfully represent its qualities? Explain.
15.) Now, consider the readings we’ve though critically about this semester. Can your group make any connections between the visual rhetoric and our readings?
16.) Now, look back at your list of responses and notes. Highlight the points that you feel would be necessary to include in your presentation of this visual rhetoric to the class.
Group Presentations (5-10 minutes)
Have groups present their analysis to the class.
Introduce Assignment 2 (10-15 minutes)
As you introduce assignment two, consider what worked and didn’t work when you introduced the first assignment. You might revisit the comfort circle metaphor to generate new terms and assess terms they should be more comfortable with at this point.
An example of a potential three-columned list your class might generate for Assignment 2:
Assign homework, and conclude class (2 minutes)
Assign the following as homework, and then wrap up today’s class:
Homework for Tuesday
Connection to Next Class
Remind students that next week they will be required to view the screening of the 11th Hour Movie. Clark A101 and Clark A102 are both reserved at 7pm on Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16 for students to come and see the film for free.
If a student asks what to do if he or she is unable to attend either night, ask him or her to see you after class. The film can be found at Google video, Netflix, and various video rental places, and we try not to advertise these venues first just because it increases the possibility of “my computer broke” or “the internet in my dorm was down,” etc.