Goals
• Practice organizing and classifying information in preparation for writing a paper.
• Practice synthesizing SPECIFIC points from course readings, personal experience, and peer-authored texts.
• Practice formulating topic sentences and main ideas based on rough classifications.
• Begin constructing a rough outline
• Discuss possible organizational structures for the Inquiry Essay.

Assignment for Day 15

Writing - Finish your outline. Write a draft of at least 3-4 pages for next class's workshop.

Related Handouts

Activities:
Finish Classifying Activity students began for homework.- You might preface this activity by explaining that it is meant to help students practice one possible way (among many) of moving from the point of having lots of information to the point of knowing how (and where) to use that information. This is an activity that will help them group, classify, and organize ideas from various sources. For homework they were to have completed Steps 1 and 2 of this process. You might field questions to see if they had difficulty with this, then move onto the next two steps. [IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE ALL FOUR STEPS ON THE OH, THOUGH, FOR THOSE STUDENTS WHO, FOR WHATEVER REASON, DID NOT COMPLETE THE OTHER TWO FOR HOMEWORK.] Ask them to take out their lists of "raw material" and the work they did for homework on Steps 1 and 2, then to begin steps 3 and 4.

Step 1 (10 minutes)
Number each piece of information you have in front of you. On a separate piece of paper, write a quick note that corresponds with each number (each piece of information). The note should be a two to three word classification that helps you to understand what the importance or relevance of this piece of information is. It should be a shorthand way of denoting the general topic the information refers to.

Step 2 (10 minutes)
Again, read through your list of information, this time along with the list of classifications you've come up with. As you read, make a list of any patterns you see emerging. What are some of the most frequent classifications? Do any of the classifications seem closely related enough that they should be merged under one classification? This list that you are making will more than likely become the main ideas/topic sentences of your essay, so give a lot of thought to the patterns or groupings that you are seeing as you go through your information.

Step 3 (10 minutes)
Go through this list of classifications you made for today and assign a different color to each classification. Then return to your list of information and underline or highlight each item with the appropriate color. In which category does that item best belong? Is there more than one category that it could fit into? (You might have to use more than one color.) Are there any bits of information that can be eliminated because they seem not to fit into ANY of your categories? Are there new categories that need to be made to accommodate some of the items that don't fit easily into the ones you already have established?

Step 4 (10 minutes)
Once you have everything on your list "color-coded," Read through the groupings you have devised color by color. Read everything that is marked by the same color, then see if you can draft a rough topic sentence that would represent the relationship between these ideas. This topic sentence (once it is refined) will serve to provide focus for a paragraph or set of paragraphs devoted to that main point (or category) in your essay.

BE SURE TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE AIM HERE IS NOT TO STRING TOGETHER QUOTES (THE "QUOTE QUILT" PHENOMENON) BUT TO DEVELOP ORGANIZED DISCUSSIONS OF YOUR OWN MAIN IDEAS/TOPIC SENTENCES USING EXAMPLES AND IDEAS FROM THE TEXTS AND FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

A SECOND POINT THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO MAKE IS THAT THIS IS ADMITTEDLY A VERY LINEAR AND FORMAL WAY OF ORGANIZING. IT CAN'T HURT ANYONE TO PRACTICE IT, BUT IF PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES STRUGGLING WITH THIS METHOD, THEY SHOULDN'T DESPAIR. OFFER THEM ALTERNATIVES LIKE 1) FREEWRITING OR CLUSTERING AFTER THEY FORM THEIR INITIAL LIST OF "RAW MATERIAL" AS A WAY OF LAUNCHING AND DIRECTING THEIR THINKING, 2) BRAINSTORMING A ROUGH OUTLINE AFTER READING THROUGH THEIR LIST OF "RAW MATERIAL" IN ORDER TO GET AN IDEA OF WHERE ALL OF THIS IS GOING BEFORE THEY CATEGORIZE INFORMATION, THEN REVISING THAT OUTLINE AS THEY GO ALONG (A MORE RECURSIVE METHOD). ALSO ENCOURAGE THEM TO ADAPT THE PROCESS THEY PRACTICED TODAY TO INCORPORATE THE STEPS OF THEIR OWN COLLECTING/ORGANIZING PROCESS IF THEY ALREADY HAVE A GOOD SYSTEM IN PLACE.

In-class Outlining. Based on the topic sentences they have just written, students can now begin to draft a rough outline of their Inquiry Essays. The point of this in-class outlining is to move students to the point where they can discuss possible organizational strategies for this essay. Assure students that this doesn't need to be a "formal" outline with Roman numerals and letters. It simply needs to be a listing of main points and details that they want to cover in their essay in the order in which they want to cover them.

Discussion of other possible organizational structures - Ask one or two students to volunteer to talk through informal outlines of their essays as they envision them right now. (Mention to them that this is a great opportunity for a couple of people to get a head start on organizing this essay and to get some feedback on their organizational structure.) How will they open the essay? In what order will they put their main points? How will they conclude the essay? What other ideas (other than main points) might they include, and how will they connect them in without distracting from their focus? Try to record at least one possible organizational structure (informal outline) for each of the two essay options on the board. IF STUDENTS ARE NOT WANTING TO VOLUNTEER, YOU MIGHT ASK ONE PERSON TO VOLUNTEER HIS OR HER INFORMAL "THESIS" STATEMENT, THEN HAVE THE CLASS HELP TO REFINE AND SHAPE THIS THESIS STATEMENT AND BUILD AN OUTLINE TOGETHER ON THE BOARD.

OR

In lieu of outlining, you could have students read a sample Inquiry Essay, chart the organizational structure of that essay using a "backwards outline," and come up with alternatives on the board.

REMINDER ABOUT OFFICE HOURS? (And explain requirements for next class's workshop draft.)