- Final copies of Literacy Essays.
- To use the students Literacy Essays to begin to highlight
language and literacy issues as a basis for the outside readings.
- To begin to build a sense of community among your students.
- To generate ideas students can use as prompts for thinking
and writing as they read each others' Literacy Essays.
- Carefully read your set of Literacy Essays from classmates.
For each essay, write a paragraph on how the essay addresses
whichever of the four relationships we discussed in class today.
Feel free, in addition, to come up with even more categories
and write down any other ideas the essays bring to mind.
- The idea for this class is to help your students generate
themes and ideas that they can look for in each other's Literacy
Essays and in the upcoming Summary/Response readings. This session
should have several effects: it should set up the idea of Inquiry
(since you'll generate the themes here that will eventually tie
the Inquiry Essays together), it should help your students to
see how the ideas about language they've already discussed relate
specifically to their own lives, and it should form a clear basis
for discussion of the Literacy Essays in the next class session.
A good setup here means that the whole remainder of the unit
should follow naturally from the themes you generate in class
- Have your students start by getting out a clean sheet of paper
and a pen or by logging in to their computers and bringing up
a blank file.
- Start out by reiterating the sequence and movement of the
essays in unit one (it's likely that your students will have forgotten
by now--so it's time for a quick refresher). A good way to do
this is to put the following chart on the board:
Literacy Essay "I" search
Summary/Response "He/she" search + "I" search
Inquiry Essay "They" search + "I" search
- Then you can explain the movement of the essays in those terms:
the Literacy Essay had them explore issues of language and literacy
in terms of themselves alone; the Summary/Responsewill have them
explore those same issues in terms of some outside authors--one
at a time--and how they respond to those authors; and the Inquiry
Essay will have them look at and respond to those same authors
as a set. The purpose of the class today is to set up
the themes that your class will use to talk about the essays they
will read for the Summary/Response, which will eventually become
the themes they'll use to tie their Inquiry Essays together.
And, as they work on the Summary/Response sequence, your students
will learn the critical reading and analytical skills they need
and apply them to the authors individually before they have to
apply them to the authors as a set. (5-10 minutes).
- Once you've done the preceding setup, give your students
the following writing prompt verbally: "List some words
that represent the things that really matter to you, your major
- Give your students a couple of minutes to think and write,
and then go around the room and get a list of these words on the
- Then, give your students another prompt to write about: "Look
at the list of concepts on the board and on your own paper. What
do these have to do with language? How does language affect them?"
- Start listing responses to the second question on the board.
As you go, help your students put their responses into the following
five categories: the relationship between language and the individual
or self, between language and community, language and
power, language and perceptions of reality, and
what it means to switch to the language of an audience.
Your students will likely come up with several of these on their
own, but don't be afraid to mention ones they don't generate themselves
and ask them which words on their lists fit into them. If they
come up with words that don't fit in any of these categories,
make new categories. (15 minutes to here).
- DO THIS SECTION ONLY IF YOU HAVE TIME--OTHERWISE, SKIP TO
- Look back at the list and ask which words in each category
on the board have positive and negative associations. You'll
probably get some mixed reposes to the various words on the board--which
is exactly what you want. Once you have some of those responses,
ask your students WHY they seem to have different associations
with the same words. Let this lead to a discussion about how
those different associations come from things like background,
experiences, culture, etc.
- Once you're at this point, ask your students to respond to
one of the following phrases: "Words, like stories, carry
traces of the places they have been," and/or (if you're looking
for something more heavy-duty) "Language is a system of arbitrary
symbols defined by a group." Given the discussion they've
just had, do they agree or disagree with this definition? Why?
- Let this lead to the conclusion of this whole process: the
idea that language can have many different associations within
those five key areas for different people, depending on all sorts
of variables in their history and culture (you might ask your
students, if there's time, what some of these variables are).
- END OF OPTIONAL PORTION.
- Finally, circle what you think are the most important categories
(for instance, self, power, community, and perceptions of reality),
and flag back to your own Literacy Essay that you read a few class
sessions ago. Ask you students what THAT essay suggested about
each of those four relationships. Get some ideas on the board.
- This discussion should lead naturally to the assignment for
next time. You can simply say something like, "What I'd
like you to do for next time is take home several classmates'
Literacy Essays and do the same things we just did with my essay--look
for relationships to these four categories."
- Finally, have your students get into groups to exchange Literacy
Essays before they leave. (For a class of 24, have them count
of by fours to get four groups of six).