|Return to Unit Three:MWF|
|Class Plan -- Unit Three, Day 34|
Reading - Review section in PHG about elements of argument (claims and appeals) for a quiz next class.
Daily - Have students write about their opinion on a controversial issue. Choose something current and relevant that everyone is likely to have an opinion (and perhaps strong feelings) about. Last fall, many of us used the Gary Lee Davis execution--the first execution in Colorado in 30 years--for a similar activity. I gave my students a copy of an article on the execution from the Coloradoan to read quickly, and I gave them the following prompt:
Capital Punishment is an issue that continues to be debated in our country. Last year, in a three-month span, 23 people faced the death penalty in Texas. The Davis execution last fall marked Colorado's first execution in 30 years.
For your daily writing today, read the article on the Davis execution from the Coloradoan. Then write a sentence in which you express your position on capital punishment, and list some of the thoughts, feelings, and reasons that lead you to take this position. After you have jotted down this list, try to categorize your responses, coming up with a word or two which appropriately name your type of position on this issue. (For example, someone writing on the abortion issue might say that he or she is "In favor of abortion for women's health reasons" or "Against abortion on a moral basis.") Write for about 10 minutes.
Debate Controversial Issue - Referring to the Daily, have students debate the issue. Start by addressing the last part of their daily first: How would they name the major category their position falls under? Resist student tendencies to boil everything down to two sides: "pro" and "con." The daily will probably set them up to give more descriptive or specific categories [like "anti-death penalty for human rights reasons" or "pro-death penalty on an economic basis"], but if this level of specificity isn't coming out naturally, push them to get to that level (perhaps even by asking them to write again). Get as many different categories on the board as possible, then begin listing some of the points (reasons, feelings, beliefs, ideas) from their dailies which fall under these various categories. This is also an opportunity to point out where the same point (reason, etc.) could be used to support positions from more than one category ("Are there any other categories we have up here which might argue this same point?") or how that point could serve as the distinction between two categories on the same general "side" ("So this point about the relative cost of life imprisonment is more likely to be used by someone supporting capital punishment for economic reasons than by someone supporting it for reasons of justice, right?").
Connect this to Students' Arguing Proposal Assignment (Cover Sheet) - The ultimate goal of this discussion is for the students to understand why using these categories is important. (You might begin wrapping up the conversation by asking them why they think this might be important.) For the purpose of their Arguing Proposal, being able to think about the positions their sources provide in terms of major categories allows them to be able to talk about how they function in relation to one another. How are they similar? How are they different? What arguments/reasons distinguish one group of arguers on the issue from another? [IT'S IMPORTANT THAT STUDENTS DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY'RE BEING FORCED TO DRAW CLEAR LINES BETWEEN CATEGORIES THAT DON'T SEEM RADICALLY DIFFERENT. EXPLAIN THAT THESE CATEGORIES OFTEN INTERSECT (AS OUR DISCUSSION SHOWED), BUT THAT IT IS USEFUL TO UNDERSTAND THE PRIMARY MOTIVATION OF ONE GROUP OF ARGUERS AS OPPOSED TO ANOTHER GROUP.] In looking at the major categories in this way, your students will be able to better understand the position they plan to take on the issue in relation to the range of possible categories of positions.
Get started on assignment for next class. In any remaining time, explain the different components of the assignment for next class, emphasizing that there will be a quiz, but that it will be simple if they just review and understand the material the section in PHG on the different types of claims and appeals. Then let students get started on the part of their homework which asks them to categorize the positions they have represented in their research so far.