Class Plan -- Unit Two, Day 23
Assignment for Day 24
Reading - [Assign reading of a second article from your packet, this time a more academic piece.]
Writing - [DEVISE GENERAL QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS TO USE--OR PERHAPS SELECT A FEW BASIC QUESTIONS FROM "ANALYZING A WRITTEN TEXT". THE PURPOSE OF THIS HOMEWORK: TO PREPARE THEM TO DO A MORE IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS IN THE NEXT TWO CLASSES.]
Discussion of Text Analysis - Enter Text Analysis by way of the idea of academic conversation. Remind students that they have been participating in such a conversation by writing their Inquiry Essays (an academic conversation about the issues involved in learning school language). [Academic conversations can thus be driven by a particular topic that is of interest to groups of scholars.] Introduce students to the idea that conversations like these are also conducted within "discourse communities"--groups of people who discuss certain topics in certain ways. [Example: Internet chat rooms or newsgroups.] Just like families or subcultures, different fields, businesses, etc. have language conventions. By examining texts in a field, we are able to understand some of the values, assumptions, purposes of that particular community. This becomes useful to us if and when we want to join into an academic conversation/discourse community by taking a position on an issue or topic of interest to that community (written argument). [You might want to ask students to speculate on WHY text analysis could be important to their own writing--particularly their argumentative writing. They might have very little idea of why this is so at this point, but our hope is that they will understand the importance of text analysis and its relevance to written argument by the end of Unit II.]
Daily - Give your students at least 15 minutes for this daily, and tell them
that you will follow it with a discussion of the reading for today and the text analysis assignment
Quickly re-read the article you read for today [be sure to name the article you had them read for today]. Then answer the following questions. Take about 15-20 minutes to respond.
Discussion of the Reading for Today Begin by discussing the answers to the daily questions AND to the questions (on audience and purpose) which you gave students for homework. Focus particularly on how they came up with the answers. Emphasize aspects of the text as well as other parts of the publication (table of contents, cover, ads) that help them answer the questions. The main goal is to get them to think about who the target audience is, what underlying values and assumptions the text and its context reveal, and how this text/context might differ from other texts/contexts dealing with similar (or the same) subject matter.
In this discussion, you might also emphasize that their ability to respond to at least SOME of the daily and homework questions indicates that they already know something about how to analyze a text. On one level, they do it intuitively every time they decide to read (or not to read, as the case may be) a piece of writing. This process of text analysis becomes more complicated and difficult as students' familiarity with the type of text lessens. Explain to them that they will be looking at different types of texts, all of them arguably more complex than this one.
Give Text Analysis Report Assignment. - Distribute the Text Analysis Report Assignment sheet, and do a brief overview of the process they will use in the next two weeks. Explain that you will begin by doing a full text analysis in class in the next two days, but that they will then be expected to do this on their own. Spend some time going through the assignment sheet in detail, emphasizing important points (particularly goals, strategies, and grading criteria) and answering student questions. Distribute the text analysis handout (the instrument for text analysis) and do a brief explanation of its contents/purpose. Explain that it will be the instrument they use in doing all of the three text analyses they will do in the next two weeks.
Explain reading assignment and questions for next class, emphasizing in particular how the questions will prepare them to do the full text analysis in class next time.