- Reading and writing about the Cohn essay.
- To discuss Cohn in terms of the central language issues.
- To discuss writing summaries.
- Read PHG pp. 173-75; 176-184-on writing responses. Pay special
attention to "Analyzing" on p. 184.
- Read Rodriguez (LM 365-374). Write a summary based on the
guidelines we discussed in class.
- Write out some notes on how Rodriguez addresses the five central
language issues. Be prepared to use them in class.
- Daily prompt.
- Copies of sample summaries of Cohn.
- Start the class with the following Daily prompt: (5 min)
Before we discuss the Cohn article, I'd like to spend the first part of
class talking about writing summaries. As we've already discussed, one
of the main features of expository writing is that it must communicate
to an audience. Assuming an audience of classmates who haven't read the
Cohn article, what would a summary of that article need to include in
order to help that audience understand Cohn's main ideas? How would a
summary you'd write for this audience differ from a summary you'd write
as notes to yourself?
- Start the class by asking for responses from the first part
of the Daily (main elements of a summary). Using these responses,
start to generate a list of essential elements of a summary on
the board. Be sure that the list of essential elements is complete
(main claim and supporting ideas, paraphrased, 1-2 relevant examples,
author tags, etc.). Don't be afraid to simply add elements that
your students have missed (or, better yet, prompt your students
for those elements with questions).
- You might include the ideas of claims, reasons
and evidence in this discussion as a convenient way of
identifying an author's primary points. To find the claim,
one simply asks, "What is this author trying to get me to
believe, understand, or agree with?" This can be either
implicit or explicit in the text. To find and author's primary
reasons, one asks, "Why does this author want
me to believe, understand, or agree with his/her claim?"
Evidence is found by asking "What evidence and/or
examples does the author give in support of each reason? Why
does the author say I should believe each reason?" Thinking
about an article this way can be a convenient way to understand
an authors' major points. (10-15 min)
- Then, give each of your students the handout with the three
sample summaries of Cohn. Ask them to read the summaries individually
and rank them on a scale of 1-10--10 being the best score--using
the criteria they just generated on the board.
- Give them a few minutes to complete the above, and when they're
done, put them into informal groups of 3-4. Ask them to come
to a group consensus of the rank of each summary. While they're
working, put a chart on the board that looks like this:
Rank Summary #1 Summary #2 Summary #3
- When the groups are done (give them about 5 minutes), go around
the room and have each group score each essay while you tally
the results on the above chart. The first essay will generally
turn out to be the weakest, the second the strongest, and the
third in the middle. Have the class as a whole comment on why
they ranked the essays as they did and write their ideas on the
board. You should come out of this exercise with a pretty good
idea of what makes the second sample a strong summary, and what
the weaknesses are in the other two.
- Finally, if you have time, have your students take out the
summaries of Cohn they wrote for today and ask how they would
rank them compared to the samples. (This gets 'em going, since
the first summaries are usually pretty sparse). If you're running
out of class time, just ask them to think about this same
concept. Ask your students to think about what it will take for
them to take what they have and revise them into summaries that
are as effective as the second sample. This should make an excellent
transition into the assignment, which is to try another summary
and start thinking about responding.
- Give the assignment for next time.