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Class Plan -- Unit Three, Day 21


Reading - In PHG, 409-420.

Research -

  1. Go to Morgan library (or use your computer at home), get onto one of the computers with internet access, then go directly to the library home page. [THIS PAGE IS BOOKMARKED IN THE LIBRARY, BUT THE URL (ADDRESS) CAN BE FOUND ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE RESEARCH PACKET.] Once you get to the library home page, choose "databases" or "full text online" and try out two or three of the databases referred to on the first page of your research packet.
  2. As you search these databases, record the search terms you type in, and list the different issues that seem to come up in the titles (and perhaps abstracts or full articles) that result from each search term. Try several search terms related to our course topic area, particularly ones that you think might be of interest to you.
  3. Find one article (either in the Current Periodicals Room or in one of the Full Text Online databases) about an issue which you find particularly interesting. Try to find an article from an academic journal or a magazine/newspaper which you would consider "reputable."
  4. On the first page of the article, write down all of the essential bibliographical information that you will need later (journal name, author, title of article, volume, number, date, page numbers, and (where appropriate) all relevant internet information. (See research packet.)
  5. Make sure you have two copies of this article, one to keep and one to contribute to the class topic area packet which I will put on reserve in the library.
  6. Come to class next time prepared to talk informally to the class about the issue the article is concerned with, the position the author takes (if any), and the other issues you encountered as you searched the databases.


Daily (Part I). [PREPARE STUDENTS FOR THE FOLLOWING DAILY BY GETTING THEM TO OFFER A GENERAL DEFINITION OF "CLAIM," PERHAPS LISTING BRIEFLY THE FOUR TYPES OF CLAIMS] Have students return to two of the articles they used in the text analysis section (texts with opposing viewpoints). Write a prompt which asks them to identify in each article 1) the position (articulated in the claim) taken by the author and 2) some of the reasons offered to support this position.

Discussion of one issue relevant to the class topic, using two articles which take different positions. You could begin this discussion by discussing two of the articles you used for text analysis AS arguments. To do this, you might return to student responses to the "topic/position" segment of the two analyses. You will also want to prepare discussion questions specific to the articles you are using. The discussion should serve the basic purposes of articulating the competing positions in the two essays and delving more deeply into the class topic area by examining one issue closely. (You will probably want to spend no more than 15 or 20 minutes on this discussion.)

Daily (Part II) What position do you yourself take on this issue and why? What are some other positions (other than the ones we've talked about already and your own position) which could be argued about this topic. (Push students to come up with more than just broad "pro" and "con" positions and to be specific with their responses.)

Discussion: Categorizing Positions List student responses about possible positions on the board, then proceed to talk about general differences and similarities between them. (Depending on how controversial or inflammatory the issue you're looking at is, you might want to avoid asking students to offer up their OWN positions on it, and simply limit the discussion to POSSIBLE positions that can be argued. [THE AIM HERE IS TO INTRODUCE STUDENTS TO THE IDEA OF CATEGORIZING POSITIONS, SINCE THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS THEY WILL NEED TO DO WITH THEIR OWN RESEARCH IN PREPARING THEIR ARGUING PROPOSAL PACKETS. FOR A MODEL OF HOW THIS ACTIVITY/DISCUSSION MIGHT BE CONDUCTED, REFER TO THE MONDAY/WEDNESDAY/FRIDAY SYLLABUS, DAY 34.]

Discussion of Issues - After generating and categorizing positions on this particular issue, broaden the discussion somewhat by doing the following brainstorm: As a group, brainstorm as many issues as possible which are relevant to the class topic and which are debatable. [You will probably want to go ahead and explain that "debatable" in this context means that it is possible to take more than one position on the issue.] The point of listing these issues is to give them some choices to consider as they begin their own research in the next few days. As you list issues, be sure to get students to name those you have read about so far (in the other Unit II readings) and to speculate on other possibilities.

Explain Research Packet quickly and give homework assignment - Hand out the research packet (See appendix) and explain to students the general purpose of the packet (providing them with resources and necessary items for their research process). Also remind your students that they should hang onto this, as they will be asked to use many of the materials in the packet. One of the ones they should start using immediately is the Search Log (which will need to be completed as part of their Proposal Packet). Explain to them how they are to use the Search Log and what purpose it serves (keeping track of the search terms they used and the details of their searches so that they can get back to useful sources of information if they need to). You will be explaining the research packet (and what is required of students in their research process) in more detail next class. Then go on to explain their library assignment and how it will contribute to next class's discussion of possible research topics.

If time permits, go ahead and introduce the annotated bibliograpy by using some or all of the following discussion. If not, save this introduction (or part of it) until after individual presentations next class.

Discuss Annotated Bibliography Move from the last discussion by explaining that the annotated bibliography is one way to collect your sources, one which allows you to see the different ways that they relate to your position on your topic and to each other. Hand out and walk through the Annotated Bibliography Guidelines (see Appendix) and the sample entry therein, then hand out the sample Annotated Bibliography. [AS YOU WALK THROUGH THE CITATION PART OF THE GUIDELINES, YOU MIGHT WANT TO REFER YOUR STUDENTS TO THE SECTION IN PHG WHERE THEY CAN FIND EXAMPLES OF CORRECT MLA WORKS CITED FORMAT (PP. 560-6, 588-9).] Have students read this bibliography silently, identifying as many different positions as they can. Ask students if they get a good idea of the range of positions this writer was going for in her research. Tell them that they will need to represent a variety of positions in their own research. Why is it important to have this variety? [If they don't, they are at risk of making an argument that seems not to be debatable or at least not well researched, and they will have trouble dealing with opposing viewpoints in their Arguing Essays.] Finally, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this sample, given the guidelines we just read? [You might want to point out (if your students don't first) that the MLA format is not always correct, particularly since some of these sources are full-text articles from online databases. They require a more complex format than this student has used.]