Week One -- Friday

Class Goal: Acclimate them to a low-key peer revision workshop; introduce principles of purpose, focus, and audience.

Connection to Course Goals: Establishes the "rules" and climate for workshopping each other's papers for the semester and the importance of considering purpose, focus, and audience in everything they write (and not just in this class!).


  1. Introduce importance of purpose/audience/focus. Read the material in PHG that they read for homework to see what you want to highlight here. Emphasize that no matter what you write, there is always a purpose, a focus, context, and an audience (which might be just you). (15 min)


Ask them to generate ideas about (and put on board under lists).

Here's a grocery list example:

What is your purpose in writing ?

To remember things you need to buy. . .

What's your focus?

What you need to buy, not the cost, or what you need at ACE hardware. Focus is determined for this purpose only.

Who's the audience?

Just you.

Complicating the categories:

Do this for each category and see how purpose/focus/audience/context differ in relation to one another (for example, you would probably focus on different things to tell your parents than your friends).

Goal: Emphasize the need to keep these aspects in mind for all your writing.

  1. WTL: on a separate sheet of paper, answer the following questions in regard to your homework (Have them ready on an OH):

(10 min.)

  1. Collect homework and people's suggestions for revision, explaining that this is typical of how a workshop will be conducted for drafts of their assignments.
  2. Transition: Since this unit focuses on work and the American dream, start with students' ideas and expectations about them.

  3. WTL On the board or on an OH, give them a prompt that asks them to write for ten minutes about what they want to do as a profession and why (what do they expect will be the rewards of this, personally, spiritually, monetarily -- however they want to define it.) (5 min.)
  4. Share answers to generate discussion. Call for volunteers or just call on people. Put their answers on the board, then discuss as a class:

Transition: We're about to begin reading a series of essays on success and the American dream, and they've written about it for homework. Right now you would like to generate some examples of who the class would define as successful, and then you'll distribute those for the whole class to share as examples. (2 min.)

  1. Group Activity: Have them break up into groups of 3-5 and fill out their own lists:

Who exemplifies the American dream?


Eg. Michael Jordan

Talented, succeeded against odds, dedicated to his work, makes a lot of money


After they complete their group lists, have someone from each group report their lists and make a master list on the board. Collect all the group lists. Explain that you're going to compile them all for the class if not every group got to present. (10 min)

Assignment: Read in PHG "Techniques for Reading: Summary and Response", pp 1470-58; in RA, "Introduction to `Money and Success'" chapter, pp. 304-6 and the Soto essay. Write a one-page summary of Soto's main ideas according to the guidelines in PHG.

If you have extra time: WTL about what fears you have about peer review? What was your reaction to today's peer review? Did it fulfill these fears or reassure you it's better than you thought?

Note: For the next class period, you will type up the variety of definitions of (1) success and (2) the American dream that the class presented in their homework assignment, and compile with it the examples of success stories they generated in class today. This will become a "class text" that you can refer back to for examples in class discussions and they can use as illustrations for support in their essays.