backReturn to Unit One: MWF

Unit One, Day 5 - Wednesday

Class Goals: Introduce Personal Reflective Response Assignment. Get out main ideas necessary to a summary of Terkel's oral history narrative. Reinforce IDEAS not EVENTS in summary. Begin response techniques.

Connection to Course Goals: Gets them working together on summary so they have to generate the important points themselves and not have them presented to them through the instructor-directed class discussion (forces them to practice the skills themselves). Begins discussion of necessity of support and evidence in all essays for educated readers, not just in responses, and identifying and defining thesis statements.


  1. Group discussions of their homework. (Before, you may need to explain oral history narratives so they can recognize that there IS a main point)
  2. Put directions on board or on an OH:

    Get into groups of 3-4, and, using what each wrote for homework,

    generate a group list of main points for a summary of Terkel's essay,

    providing a quote to support each of the points you identify. Give them

    a specified amount of time to work within. You may want to have

    them assign a timekeeper, reporter, and someone to write the ideas.

    (stop after 10 min.)

  3. As a class, make a master list on the board from their group summaries (have one member of each group report back). If they are missing important points, direct them to key passages again and discuss in relation to an overall thesis or main idea. (Also see page 49 of grey-edged pages in RA for suggestions):

Main ideas:

Cruz bought into the myth of meritocracy (paras. 3-4) but then realizes that he got his jobs through government-mandated job quotas (paras. 5-9: '`getting wise to the ways of the American Dream'")

Cruz was a more '`acceptable'" minority because: he is not black (Para 8), plays the "game" (para. 18-19)

He eventually sees the "`flaw[s] in the American Dream'": ingrained racism, businesses care more about money than people (para. 14), oppressed groups internalize racism and treat each other badly (para. 16)

Discussion questions:

than . . . )

Have them turn to paragraph 25 of text for a close reading, and underscore that they should always turn to the text for support:

  1. CSOW: WTL a one-sentence summary of the main point of Cruz's narrative. What is his thesis? Collect. (5 min.)
  2. Go over PRR assignment sheet. You may want to have students read passages aloud. It's cheesy, but it makes them listen more and pay attention to it. Be sure to emphasize that the bulk of the essay is response here, not summary. (5 min.)
  3. Transition: you're going to practice response now, since this is the main point of the PRR assignment.

  4. Discuss the main points in PHG about response. Can put on board or have a handy OH made up:

Types of response:

*analyzing the effectiveness of a text

*agreeing/disagreeing with the ideas in the text (This is what they'll do in the first paper!)

*interpreting and reflecting on the text

Kinds of evidence:

*personal experience

*evidence from the text

*evidence from other texts

(10 -20 min.)

  1. Collect homework.

Note: Some people prefer to do this in the beginning of class. It prevents students from furiously trying to do the homework in class, when they should be listening!

Assignment: Read Nelson in RA and write one-page responses based on the techniques discussed today and in The PHG.

If you have extra time: Have them annotate their homework to add in anything they might want to after the discussion of the summary points for Terkel.