Daily Class Plans

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22
23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44


Day 1 - Wednesday

1) Class Roll (5 minutes)

2) Review Rules and Regulations (10)

3) Introduction to ENWR 110 and to our theme. (10)

* Begin discussion of autobiography. What defines this genre? What are the uses and purposes of autobiography? What are some forms of autobiography? (Journal, diary, memoir, novel, poem, interview, etc.)

4) Index Cards (10)





Prospective Major

Childhood Injury

* Collect cards, shuffle, redistribute (make sure no one got their own).

* When I say "Go," you must find the classmate that goes with the injury on the card. Once you’ve found the owner of the card spend a few minutes getting to know one another. You will introduce this person to the rest of the class. "Go!"

* Introductions: Ask for volunteer to start us off, then have the person being introduced stand with the student doing the introduction.

* Collect the cards.

5) Discuss the Formation of Personal Histories (10)

* How do these stories frame our perceptions/ beliefs about your past?

* How has your perspective of the event changed on this re-viewing?

* Story-telling forces us to direct our audience to a very narrow view — how can we complicate this view? Tell the whole story? How is your personal history documented? In your yearbook? In your baby book? What would your history sound like if it was narrated by your mother? Your sister? Your best friend? Can anyone ever know your whole history? Why or why not?

6) Distribute course schedule (5)

* Discuss how to read syllabus.

* Discuss journal assignment.

* Skim first 5 weeks.

* Discuss assignment for Friday.


Day 2 - Friday

  1. Class Business (5)

    * Roll (Practice matching names with faces.)

    * Discuss assignment for Monday, emphasize toolkit use for readings.

  2. Introduction to Problem Statements (20)

    * Reiterate goal of the course: give students the tools to write for various sets of readers on numerous types of assignments.

    * Why do we write papers? What is the purpose of a paper? (Expect answers to move from "Because our teachers make us" to "In order to discuss a question or problem".) What are the uses of papers? Why do people without teachers write them? Why do biologists write papers? Business men and women? (To answer questions and solve problems for their readers.) We’re going to talk a bit more about the problems around which you frame your papers.

    * Emphasize Tangible Problems: Lecture and Terms


Lecture Notes:

I. All papers need to address a problem — this is what motivates readers to take your paper seriously (or not!).

    A) Describing Problems (word, phrase, question)
      1) Have students brainstorm problems facing 1st years. Group them as words, phrases, or questions. (Examples: Roommates, not enough sleep, how do you do laundry?)

    B) Rhetorical Problems

      1) Transform these problems into arguments.

II. Parts of a Rhetorical Problem

    A) Status Quo

    B) Destabilizing Condition

    C) Consequences That Matter

    D) Readers Who Care

    E) Solution/ Hint of a Solution

      1) Run through these parts with one of the 1st year problems.

III. So What?

    A) Consequences Must:
      1) Affect your readers.

      2) Be recognized and accepted by your readers.

IV. What does your paper do?

    A) Convince us the problem is a problem.


    B) Offer us a solution (aka thesis).

      1) Offer example: SAT scores have declined again.
        a) Lack of sleep causes declining grades.

        b) So, we should enforce a curfew.

      2) If b, the cost must be worth the trouble of fixing it (which, in this case, it’s not).

      3) You may want to focus on a benefit of solving/ addressing the problem, rather than on costs.

V. Draw Costs/ Benefits Diagram (see LRS materials)

VI. So What?

    A) Importance of Audience (Must agree with costs or desire benefits).

    B) Importance of Consequences (You can tailor these to your audience).


* Break class into 6 groups: Practice Tailoring Consequences to your Readers (How do you ask for money from your parents? Siblings? Best Friend? Grandparents? Boss? Teacher?) (15)

-- Have each group write a brief letter to their designated persona. Share letters. What are the consequences in each of not providing the necessary funds? Are they stated or implied? Why are they different in each letter?

* Importance to Reader: Perceived Problems Worksheet (10)

-- Hand out: Read these statements and then rank them from most to least significant problem. Discuss the role of consequences. (How significant are the consequences for the reader? Can you imagine a reader to whom statements 4, 6, or 7 would be an interesting problem?)

  1. Workshop Personal History Paragraphs * Take out your introductions. When I say, "Go!" I want you to find a partner, put your desks together, then look back at me. "Go!"

    * Now, read each other’s introductions. Underline the context, double underline the tangible problem, put the consequences in a box, and circle the connection to the life history (the answer yet to come).

    * Discuss and compare. Have volunteers share the parts of their paragraphs.

    * Write your name on your partner’s paragraph, then hand them in to me.

4) Play the SO WHAT? Game (If time allows — minimum of 15 minutes)

*As a class, brainstorm problems facing first-years. Write on board.
* Ask for 3 volunteers (to serve as judges and timekeepers); Divide remaining class into two teams.
*I will select a problem. Team A then has 20 seconds to offer a consequence of that problem to you. Team B then has 20 seconds to offer another consequence. The round ends when one of the teams cannot think of a consequence. The second round requires you to think of consequences important to your parents.


Day 3 - Monday

1) Class Business (5)

* Roll

* Individual Conferences Sign-up Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 9/5

* Return Personal History Paragraphs

2) Fairy-Tale Structure (20)

* Introduce by having the class recite a well-known fairy tale (or tales). Sketch these on the board.

* Show the problem statement structure (or ask for a reiteration of last Friday), and how it fits the fairy tale. (Label the parts. Distribute LRS Handout.) What kind of problem does the fairy tale employ?

* Divide class into 6 groups of 3. Each group should transform one of the group member’s personal histories into a fairy tale. In order to do this, you will want to revise your consequences — making them as fantastic as possible — and your solution — similarly making it as fairy-tale sounding as possible.

* Share fairy tales (have groups read their fairy tale out loud). Make sure the parts of the problem statement are still present.

3) Discuss hooks’s essay "writing autobiography" (25)

* Begin with general reflections: Did you like hooks’s essay? Why or why not?

* Ask for a summary of hooks’s views. Is there any disagreement re: her views?

* What is her idea of autobiography? What does autobiography do for its author/ subject?

* Do we agree? Disagree? Why? In what ways?

* Finally, does hooks’s essay contain the parts of a problem statement? (If time permits, break the class into groups to identify the parts of a problem statement in the first few paragraphs of hooks’s essay.)  

Day 4 - Wednesday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Friday 9/7

* Conferences Reminder

2) Tangible and Conceptual Problems Lecture (10)


Lecture Notes:

I. Review: Problems in Our Papers/ Assignments

A) Before we can plan an argument, we need to understand what we want it to achieve. In other words, what problem the claim/ thesis/ main point of the argument solves.

B) To motivate readers to read and take our claims/ thesis seriously, we must articulate the cost/ consequences of the problem clearly.

C) Problem Statement — covered in the introduction of the paper.

II. Definitions/ Differences — 2 Types of Problems

A) Tangible/ Pragmatic

Focus: a predicament.

Goal (Solves Problem): get readers to act, to eliminate a cost they find intolerable; physical actions.

So What? ----- Oh no, what do we do about it?

B) Conceptual Problem

Focus: a question.

Goal (Solves Problem): get readers to believe a claim we propose; mental actions.

So What? ----- Tell me more.

III. Conceptual Problems

A) Status Quo: Old, accepted information; what we assume to be true.

B) Destabilizing Condition: Some form of question; something your readers don’t know/ understand, but should; a sign that our current knowledge is incomplete, incorrect, or both.

1) What is destabilized?

-- Readers’ minds, when you force them to think differently.

2) How do we signal a misunderstanding if we’re writing?

-- Brainstorm on board. Distribute handout.

C) Consequences: Can be difficult to state.

1) Cost of no resolution: readers’ ignorance/ misunderstanding.

2) Benefit: readers’ understanding.

D) Readers Who Care

1) Your readers must share basic knowledge of the status quo to care about this type of problem (Francis Bacon example from Perceived Problems sheet).

2) Remember: You can only count something as a consequence if your readers recognize it and accept it as a cost or lost benefit.

E) Answers: Answer question you’ve raised.


3) Conceptual Problems (15)

-- Review the "Perceived Problems" handout (distribute extra copies, if necessary). Which are tangible problems? Conceptual? Identify parts of the Problem Statement in each (usually only status quo and problem).

-- Distribute handout. Ask students to read the assignment and the three introductions. Which one is most likely to motivate its reader to read on because she cares about what the paper says? Least likely? Which do you predict would get the best and worst response from the teacher? Why?

-- When I say "Go" find a partner. "Go." Now, working together try to identify the parts of a problem statement in each introduction. Note: some of the parts may be missing from some of the introductions.

-- Ask for volunteers to share their findings. What kind of problems do these introductions address? (Conceptual)

4) Finding a Problem Worth Writing About (5)


Lecture Notes:

I. Tangible Problems

A) Do you nee readers to help you address the problem?

B) Are the costs of the predicament to the reader > than the costs of action?

C) Are the costs of the predicament to you > than the costs of writing and resolving the problem?

II. Conceptual Problems

A) Name your topic:

I am working on …

B) Describe what you or your readers don’t know about it:

because I want to find out …

C) Add a rationale for finding out what you don’t know:

in order to understand better how/ why/ whether…

D) Change perspective from yourself to your reader:

show you …

explain to you …


5) Begin Discussion of McCarthy (15)

* Use student questions and paragraphs to frame discussion.

6) Return Papers


Day 5 - Friday

Handout: Introduction Workshop 1

  1. Class Business (5) * Sign-in Sheet

    * Discuss Assignment for Monday 9/10; Hand out information on Fever Pitch Selections

2) Introductions and Conclusions Lecture (15)


Lecture Notes:

I. Goal: What does an introduction do? What is its purpose?

A) Sets the stage for readers.

B) Readers use introductions to set up a mental framework for the argument they will encounter in the body of the paper; readers use introductions to create a cognitive framework of concepts, story lines, attitudes — it establishes expectations.

II. If introductions establish expectations, what does a good intro do? (Sets up proper expectations.); A bad intro? (Sets up expectations which the body of the essay doesn’t deliver.)

III. So, the introduction controls the reader’s developing sense of coherence and meaning. How? By using the Grammatical Structure of Introductions:

A) Connecting Threads: You provide your reader with connecting threads — linking the introduction to the body/ rest of the essay. 1) Characters: who play the principal roles in the "story" your sentences/ essay tell.

2) Key Concepts/ Threads: here you introduce the concepts and themes that will be central to your argument.

B) What’s At Stake: Establish "what’s at stake" for readers (i.e., problem statement).

C) Launching Point: The launching point it always the last sentence of the introduction, whether you use it with this in mind or not. You should place the answer/ solution/ thesis (or an anticipation of the answer) here.

D) Purpose of this structure:

1) Characters: threads for a coherent story.

2) Themes: threads for a coherent argument.

3) What’s At Stake/ Problem Statement: So readers know how what they read relates to their lives and concerns.

4) Launching Point: reader gains a sense of where the document is taking them.

IV. Review Problem Statement Structure

A) Prelude (new element: anecdote, quotation).

B) Status Quo

C) Destabilizing Condition/ Question

D) Consequences

E) Solution/ Answer/ Thesis

V. Handout: The Problem Structure of an Introduction

A) Use handout to show the parts of an introduction.

VI. What about conclusions? What do they do?

A) Mirror of Introduction: The conclusion locates your discussion with respect to further questions and problems in the way that your introduction locates the discussion with respect to previous questions and problems.

B) Gives you one last chance to put your discussion in a context that helps your readers:

1) Make sense of it.

2) See why it’s important to them.

C) Parts of the Conclusion:

1) Answer/ Solution

2) Implications of Answer (that lead to further consequences)

3) Remaining Ignorance (reflection of introduction’s problem)

4) Opportunities for Further Research (reflections of introductions’ status quo)

5) Coda (reflection of introduction’s prelude)

VII. What happens in the body of this essay?

A) Development (of themes, characters, question)

B) Resolution (response to question/ problem)

C) Fulfillment of Reader’s Expectations


3) Introduction/ Problem Statement Workshop (15)

* Everyone take out your introduction. When I say, "Go," I want you to find a partner and put your desks together. Ready? "Go!"

* Now, exchange intros. Once you’ve read your partner’s introduction, I want you to fill out the workshop sheet.

* Hand in sheets and introductions.

4) Conclude discussion of McCarthy (15)

5) Return e-mails with comments.


Day 6 - Monday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for 9/12

2) Discuss Fever Pitch and Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (45)

* Use student questions to frame our discussion.

3) Return Student Papers


Day 7 - Wednesday

Handouts: Paper #1; Introduction Workshop 2

1) Class Business (10)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Sign-up for Paper Workshops

* Discuss Paper #1

* Discuss Assignment for 9/14

2) Workshop Introductions (40)

* Hand out intro workshop papers.

* Play music while they read and work.

* Discuss results.

* Have pairs merge: swap intros and worksheets; discuss additional recommendations

* Have volunteers share with the class.

* Hand in introductions.

3) Return E-mails


Day 8 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 9/17

2) Discuss Anne Frank, Virginia Woolf, and Personal Diaries (45)

* Discuss diary as form.

* Use student’s personal responses to generate discussion.

3) Return Introductions


Day 9 - Monday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 9/19

* Remind students they can come to my office hours to discuss their papers.

2) Begin discussion of BJ’sD (45)

* How does this compare to the real diaries?

* How does this compare to other texts/ autobiographies that we’ve read?

* Use student papers to expand discussion.

3) Collect Papers

5) Return Responses


Day 10 - Wednesday

Handouts: Introduction Workshop 3

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Friday 9/21

2) Workshop Introductions (25)

* Select Partners.

* Distribute workshop sheet.

* Collect Introductions.

3) Making v. Having an Argument (20)

* Argument is War

-- Distribute "Talking About Argument" handout. Have students brainstorm individually for 1-2 minutes.

-- When I say "Go," find two classmates and arrange your desks into circles, then look back to me.

-- Brainstorm more ways of describing an argument.

-- Using worksheets, describe winning, resisting, and building up evidence for an argument.

-- Reconvene: share responses on board (expect war and persuasion models).

* Discuss relevance to costs and consequences.

* Goal: We shouldn’t treat argument as war, where the goal is to destroy our opponents. Instead, our papers are negotiations between the writer and the reader. We make arguments in our papers, we don’t have them. (Argument as conversation.)

* Aims of Argument:

-- Persuasion/ Agreement

-- Understanding

-- Mutual Respect

-- Further our own thinking

4) Return Papers


Day 11 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 9/24 (Note: Remind students about workshops, bringing 3 copies of their paper.)

2) Discuss Bridget Jones’s Diary (45)

* Use student questions and paragraphs to frame discussion.

3) Return Introductions


Day 12 - Monday

Handout: Paper #1 (Workshop)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Distribute "Class Schedule" for the rest of the semester.

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 9/26

2) Workshop Paper #1 (Six Students; Groups of Three) (45)

* Collect Papers

* Assign Groups (Will remain the same for the rest of the semester.)

* Hand out worksheet.

* Have everyone in the group read through the paper, filling out the worksheet.

* The members should then discuss their results.


Day 13 - Wednesday

Handouts: Paper #1 (Revision)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Reminder: No Class on Friday 9/28

* Discuss Assignment for Monday (Personal Journals Due; Revision and Corrections; Bedford Exercises)

2) Finish discussion of Bridget Jones’s Diary (40)

3) Return Papers and Discuss Revision Instructions (5)


Day 14 - Friday (Individual Student Conferences)


Day 15 - Monday

Handouts: Paper #2; Paper #2 (Argument Outline)

1) Class Business (10)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Collect Revisions, Bedford Worksheet, and Journals

* Discuss Paper #2 (Hand out assignment and argument outline)

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 10/3

2) Introduce the 5 Questions of Argument (15)

Brief Statement of Goal:

* In this exercise I want you to see that arguments are composed of five parts, each with its own function; I want you to see how these parts come up in ordinary conversation; and I want you to see that these questions will strengthen the arguments you make in your papers.

Worst Teacher Game (See LRS Sheet):

* Have class select partners. Now, tell your partner who your best or worst teacher was, and why.

* When the chatter dies down, reconvene the class and ask who heard a really good story from their partner. Ask partner to volunteer the story (more reliable response). If you get multiple volunteers, have all reveal their stories. Have the class select the worst teacher (and best story).

* Ask student if he/ she would mind elaborating on his/ her story by answering some questions: (Write answers on board in order of the parts of argument.)

1) Who was your teacher? Was he/ she good or bad? Claim

2) Why do you say that? What made Mr. X such a bad teacher? Oh? That’s all? Any other reasons? (When evidence is offered instead, ask "What’s so bad about that?") Reasons

3) What makes you say that Mr. X was Y? What do you mean by Y? Examples? Evidence

4) How do you know Y? Could this just be your impression? Did others think the same thing? Are you biased? Further Evidence

5) So you’re saying that any teacher who Ys is a bad teacher? (When students narrow statement, then agree, write on board.) Warrant

6) Raise alternatives: Could it be that X did Y just to …? (Write down summary of question and response.) A & R

* Discuss results: Why are these questions those a rational person would ask when asked to believe something that person otherwise would not. How might these questions be more pointed if Mr. X were a colleague or friend. If student anticipated questions and offered evidence or qualifications before I asked, point out that this displays the "naturalness" of the questions. Label the parts of argument on the board.

* Hand out the five questions of argument: read and discuss. For every paper you write for the rest of the semester, I want you to make someone ask you these questions (a classmate, a roommate, a friend).

* Finally, I want you to get into groups of three. Now, draft a brief letter of complaint to the principal of your school making the argument against Mr. X. You have 3 minutes.

* Share the letters with the class. Discuss the strategies.

3) Jigsaw Learning: Groups of 6, Parts of Argument Stations (20)

* Have class count out 1-6 into three groups. (Each 1-6 is a group.)

* All the ones to station one, twos to two, etc.

* The study groups need to learn the information. Give them only 2-3 minutes. Then, after they leave their station, they have 1 more minute to take notes.

* Then, the 1-6 groups should get together, teaching each other the parts of argument.

4) Discuss the Five Parts of Argument (Remain in Groups) (5)

* Check their understanding: ask for volunteers to explain what a Claim, etc. is.

* Review the 5 Questions

* Emphasize that the Claim=Thesis=Answer/ Solution to Problem Statement and should be located in the Launching Point of the introduction.

5) Argument Game (Still in Groups — More practice, if time allows.)

* Pass out index cards with parts of argument. Each group will receive 6 cards, each with a different part of argument written on it.

* Tell students: you will receive your role in an argument on an index card. You may not have the role that you taught your groupmates.

* With your teammates, construct an argument on any topic which interests you. Begin with the Claim card, then move to Reasons, Evidence, Warrants, Acknowledgment, and Response.

6) Return E-mail Questions and Paragraphs


Day 16 - Wednesday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Friday 10/5

2) Argument Game (Review of Monday’s concepts, if time allows.) (10)

* Pass out index cards, each labeled with one of the parts of argument. Each group will receive 6 cards, each with a different part of argument written on it.

* Tell students: you will receive your role in an argument on an index card. With your teammates, construct an argument on any topic which interests you. Begin with the Claim card, then move to Reason, Evidence, Warrant, Acknowledgment, and Response.

3) Making and Supporting Claims (10)


Lecture Notes:

I. Review: Questions of Argument

A) What do you think?

B) Claim: statement readers don’t already accept, and won’t accept without good reason.

II. Claim

A) Not obvious or accepted.

B) Contestable (disagreement is possible).

C) Supportable (not, for example, a matter of faith such as, "There is/ is not a God.").

III. What makes a good claim?

A) It is specific, reasonable, rich, and thoughtful.

1) Specific: the claim does not leave it to the reader to believe (or not), to act (or not).

2) Reasonable:

a) Significant (about something we don’t know).

b) Can be proved/ disproved (not about something we can’t yet know).

3) Rich: claim expressed in explicit terms that point to important elements of its support or important conditions and qualifications on its truth.

a) Frames reader’s expectations; tells readers what concepts to look for in the body of the argument and commits the writer to developing those claims.

4) Thoughtful: qualified with words limiting its certainty and range. May leave room for other views. For example, words such as may, perhaps, some, most probably, appears.


4) Claims Game (15)

Claims Game:

1) Ask for three volunteers. These volunteers will serve as judges. Divide remaining class into three groups of five.

2) Divide board into three areas.

3) Announce question/ problem/ topic. Give teams 3 minutes to brainstorm hypothetical claims to resolve the problem. (Explain scoring to judges, see the LRS exercise: quantity or quality.)

* Round One Topic: Alcohol on Grounds, Rush, or Britney Spears

4) Reconvene class: teams take turns proposing claims, writing them on the board. Players should avoid proposing duplicate claims, since they will later be disqualified. Number the claims in the order proposed.

5) If a team cannot offer a new claim in 30 seconds, it must pass. The game is over when all three teams pass consecutively.

6) Judges score the claims.

5) Discuss Student Claims (10)

* Break into six groups of three.

* Have students rank each other’s claims. Which are best, why?

* Select the best claim from each group and write it on the board. Be prepared to explain why your group picked this claim, and how this claim would be the basis for a good argument.

* We will discuss these claims.

* Turn in claims.

6) Return Bedford Exercises, Journals


Day 17 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 10/8

* Discuss A&E Biography Selection

2) Claims Review (15)

* Return Claims

* Distribute Claims Handout. Have students rank the claims in each group, from most to least interesting.

* Discuss Claims

3) Claims Workshop (15)

* Distribute Claims Workshop Sheet

* Have students get into groups of 3. Share final claim with your group and fill out a claim worksheet based on the group’s comments/ feedback.

* Keep worksheets, turn in final claims.

4) Begin Discussion of Biography (15)

* Biography as Genre

1) What is a biography? What does it do?

2) Why write biography? Why read biography?

3) What are the possible forms of biography?

4) What kinds of materials do biographers use to construct the biographies?

5) What kinds of materials do biographers use to construct the biographies? Why are they worth writing about? Are they living or dead? How does this affect the materials we use?

6) How is biography different from autobiography?

7) What sorts of issues are worth discussing in relation to biography?

a) Form

b) Bias (of author, witnesses, evidence, memory)

c) Fact/ Truth v. Fiction/ Invention

d) Distance between author and subject

e) Purpose of Bio

f) Narrative Structure

* How is the story told? Progress? Victory? Chronologically? Thematically?

* How are events treated? Selected?

* How is time handled?

* Narrative voice (author/ subject/ reader relationship)

5) Collect Claims and Papers


Day 18 - Monday

Handouts: Paper #2 (Argument Outline Workshop)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 10/10

2) Biography Discussion, continued (20)

* Use student papers to frame discussion.

* Middlebrook’s Essay

1) Is this essay helpful or not?

2) What is it concerned with?

a) "What is an Author? What is a Reader? What is a Subject" (155).

b) Discuss the "controlling point of view" (160).

3) How do you balance the subject’s public and private lives?

4) According to Middlebrook, what is the role of gender (for the subject, the kind of narrative)?

5) What does Middlebrook say about materials? (159, 164)

6) How do you shape a biography? What themes do you use? (159)

* Sexton and Capone

1) What do we learn about Capone? Sexton?

a) Title

b) Contents

c) Prologue

d) Introduction

2) What’s the role of the author here?

3) What are the themes?

4) Are these introductions like our own? (Set up key themes, characters, make a claim, etc.)


3) Workshop Introductions and Arguments (25)

* OK, so let’s move on to a discussion of your introductions.

* Take out your introductions. When I say "Go," I want you to find a partner. "Go!"

* Hand out Paper #2 (Argument Outline Workshop).

* Exchange and read introductions. When you’re done, take 10 minutes to discuss your introduction with your partner (and vice versa). Then, work with your partner to draft an argument for each claim. Fill out your argument outline.

* Keep your outlines, and hand in your introductions.

4) Collect Bedford Worksheets

5) Return Biography Papers


Day 19 - Wednesday

Handouts: LRS The Five Maxims of Quality Evidence

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Friday 10/12 (Paper #2 Due with Argument Outline)

* Paper #2 Workshop Reminder

2) Evidence Lecture (15)


Lecture Notes:

I. What makes good evidence?

II. Why do we use evidence in our papers?

III. When is this evidence effective, then?

A) Evidence is effective when it convinces/ is accepted by the reader.

IV. How do we decide how much evidence to include in our essays?

A) Depends on our reader: if he/ she wants to believe our claim, then he/ she does not need as much evidence as when he/ she wants to disagree with our claim.

B) Stronger/ more contestable claims need stronger/ less contestable evidence.

V. The 5 Rules of Good Evidence

A) Evidence must be accurate.

1) Why? In what ways?

2) Your trustworthiness at stake.

B) Evidence must be precise.

1) It’s 100% accurate to say the population of Detroit is between ten and ten million, but it’s not very precise.

C) Evidence must be sufficient.

1) What determines this? (It depends on field, reader, etc.)

D) Evidence must be representative.

1) Drawn proportionally from the full range of potential data.

E) Evidence must be authoritative.

1) What about conflicting sources? Books? Professors?

2) How do you evaluate conflicting evidence?


* Distribute and Discuss The Five Maxims of Quality Evidence

3) Discus the "Profile" and Acocella’s "The Soloist" (30)

* Focus on uses and types of evidence. Use student assignment to expand discussion.

1) What is a "Profile"?

a) Brief biographical sketch of a famous subject (usually one in the recent media spotlight); based on interviews with the subject.

2) Where might we find a "Profile"?

a) In a popular, arts-based medium, such as The New Yorker or Bravo.

3) Did you like this profile of Baryshnikov, or did you hate it? Why?

4) How does the author position herself with respect to the subject? Why is there an "I" in the profile?

a) The profile based on interviews with the subject.

5) What are the profile’s organizing claims?

a) What claim is Acocella making about Baryshnikov? (62-3)

b) How does the title fit in with these claims?

6) What types of evidence does Acocella use to support her claim(s)?

a) Interviews with Baryshnikov (by others, previously published; her own interviews).

b) Traveling to Riga with Baryshnikov (an observer of his actions, facial moves, conversations and interactions with others, including his family).

c) His performances.

d) Information from other witnesses (interviews with family and friends).

e) Articles and books.

f) His movies.

4) Reasons and Evidence Game (if time allows) (15)

* Ask for 3 volunteers (people who have not volunteered before). These students will serve as judges and moderators. Divide rest of class into two teams.

* As a class, brainstorm some claims about Fall Break.

* Give the teams one of the claims: their goal is to provide rapid fire reasons and evidence in support of that claim. Team A will start us off by providing a reason to support the claim. Team B then has 20 seconds to provide evidence to support this reason (Dr. Jerry Punch evidence is permitted). Team A then has 20 seconds to provide another piece of evidence to support their claim. Team B then has 20 seconds to provide a new reason to support the original claim, etc.

* The judges will decide if the reasons and evidence given support the claim/ reason being argued. Each team can challenge the other’s response. If a team has not provided a sufficient reason or evidence, the other team will receive 1 point. The team with the most points gets a treat.

5) Collect Evidence Paragraphs

6) Return Bedford Worksheet, Paper #2 Introductions, and Revisions of Paper #1


Day 20 - Friday

Handouts: Paper #2 (Workshops)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 10/17

* Collect Paper #2

2) Workshop Paper #2 (45)

* Divide class into workshop groups (Six groups of 3).

* Distribute workshop handout. Have students read paper, fill out worksheets, and discuss their findings.

* Give author the workshop handouts.

* Merge two groups of 3. Have them select one of the papers workshopped by the groups. Using this paper, they will play the argument card game, presenting the parts of argument (from the paper) to the rest of the class. (In total, three arguments will be presented.)

3) Return Evidence Paragraphs


Day 21 - Monday

Reading Holiday


Day 22 - Wednesday

Handouts: LRS Issues and Points Diagram

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Friday 10/19

2) Issues/ Discussion/ Points (20)


Lecture Notes:

I. We’ve talked, several times, about the parts of argument. Today I want us to start thinking about where we can locate these parts in our papers.

II. Issue

A) Definition: the opening part of a unit of discourse (essay, section, paragraph) that readers use to create a framework of expectations; controls reader’s sense of coherence.

B) An issue does/ should do/ should tell us three things:

1) Characters (who?)

2) Key Concepts (what?)

3) What’s at stake?

C) Sound Familiar? What is the issue of an essay?

1) The introduction is the "global issue" of your paper.

2) But, your paper has other "issues."

a) beginning of a section (several paragraphs on one concept)

b) beginning of a paragraph

c) these can be 2-3 sentence issues, or the traditional "topic sentence"

3) Every larger unit of discourse is composed of smaller units. Each level has an issue which informs readers of the characters/ themes of that level (and how they relate to the next highest level).
D) Key Terms should come at the end of the issue (in the launching point, to anticipate discussion).

III. Discussion

A) Definition: segment of text that explains, describes, illustrates, contradicts, or otherwise develops the matters announced in the issue; explores/ discusses the key concepts and characters introduced in the issue.

B) Issue and Discussion are in fixed positions.

1) Issue controls coherence whether you realize/ intend it or not.

2) Use strategically.

C) If the introduction is the global issue, what is the global discussion? (Body, but sections and paragraphs also have discussions.)

IV. Points

A) In the introduction, or global issue, what is our main point? (Claim) And where do we put this claim? (end of the issue/ launching point) This is our global point/ claim.

B) Definition: a point is the most important idea or claim in a unit of discourse; it helps readers create coherence by showing all elements of a text subject to some point.

C) Where do we put our points? (Essay, Section, Paragraph)

1) Issue = Point; 1-sentence, prototypical topic sentence paragraphs

2) Multi-sentence Issue with Point in the Launching Point

3) Issue/ Discussion/ Point ( point as last sentence)

4) Point First and Point Last

* Point first helps readers deal with unfamiliar or difficult content; point first also better if readers are unwilling to read. Point first and last clearest, but most redundant.

D) Can you place the global point at the end of the discussion (body of the essay)?

1) Yes, if the launching point promises to reward the reader for the attention you’re demanding.

2) Yes, if the launching point establishes rich thematic strings that will lead the reader to the global point.

E) Illustrate for Essay/ Paragraph — Distribute LRS Diagram

F) How do we signal a point? (Brainstorm on board.)

1) The point is …

2) In short …

3) Most significantly …


3) Parts of Argument Placement Game (10)

* Divide class into 3 teams of 5.

* Each team should select a representative to head to the board and follow the team’s directions.

* Draw three versions of the Issues/ Discussions Essay Diagram on the board. List parts of an argument (C, R1, E1, R2, E2, R3, E3, WC, WR1, WR3, A&R-C, A&R-E2, A&R-R3).

* Teams help their representative match the parts to places they might occur in a well-formed text (and in terms of I/D placement).

* Discuss choices.

4) Discuss Sample Claim and Reason Paragraphs (15)

* Distribute Locating Reasons in Our Paragraphs handout. (Use to emphasize the importance of placing your reasons with an eye to your reader’s sense of coherence.)

* Have students read the claim/ issue and the five discussion paragraphs that follow. Each paragraph develops the same reason in support of this claim. Rank the paragraphs in order from most coherent to least coherent, then locate the reason in each.

* Discuss. Which paragraphs are most effective? Where is the reason/ point located in each of the paragraphs? Which of these locations makes the paragraph most coherent?

1) Options: R-1st, R-last, R-1st and last, R-middle, no R.

6) Begin Discussion of "Show Dog" (5)


Day 23 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 10/22

2) Finish Discussion of "Show Dog" (20)

* Use e-mail questions to prompt discussion.

1) Did you love or hate this profile? Why

2) Who is our subject?

3) When do we know, for sure, who and what this subject is? (3rd paragraph)

4) How does the author position herself in the profile?

a) When does she first appear? (2nd word)

b) What is her relationship to the subject? (499)

5) What makes this profile funny or ridiculous? (499; interviews; treats an animal subject as if it were a human subject; personification)

6) What are the similarities and differences between the treatment of Biff and the treatment of Baryshnikov? (mock v. serious)

7) What claim(s) does Orlean make about Biff? (500, 503 "just a dog")

8) What kinds of sources/ evidence about Biff does Orlean use?

a) Compare with sources for Baryshnikov.

b) Interviews, personal interaction, dog magazines, competitions, dog’s suitcase.

9) What happens to the humans in the story/ profile?

a) They are made to seem ridiculous, at times. They are as dog-like as Biff is human. (501)

b) Is this a profile of Biff’s owners, as well as of Biff?

10) How does the type of subject affect the form of the profile? Does this account for the length?


3) Discussion of "Forty-One False Starts" (25)

* Use student e-mails to organize discussion.

1) Did you love or hate this profile? Why?

2) Who is our subject?

3) Who is our author? What is her relationship to the subject? Does she play an active role in the action of the profile?

4) What is the form of this profile?

a) Why use 41 "false starts" or introductions to form a "whole" profile?

b) What is a false start?

c) Is this a "whole" profile? A "true" picture?

d) Why 41? (his age, no. 34)

5) Let’s look at the individual false starts:

a) What are the differences between these starts?

b) What are the claims? How do they differ? Are they stated or implied?

c) What kinds of evidence does Janet Malcolm employ to support her claims?

d) What information gets repeated? What information is new, from false start to false start?

e) Why are there differences in length? (1 is one of the longest, 26 the shortest.)

f) Is there, finally, an over-arching organizing claim here? If so, where? Related Question: Do we get a unified picture of David Salle?

g) How do these starts start? What hook is used?

6) Take a few minutes to review the false starts. Which is your favorite? Why? Which gives the fullest picture of Salle? Why?

7) What is the effect of this form on reliability (of author, subject, and/or evidence)? Ultimately, is the profile focused on facts or on impressions? Why might this be?

4) Return E-mails


Day 24 - Monday

Handouts: Paper #2 (Revisions)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 10/24

2) Preparing for A&E Biography Screening (5)

* How do we take notes on a video? (Brainstorm)

a) Pay attention to the form: Write down information about form, types of sources used, images, etc.

b) Write down the possible claims.

c) Note any moment or information that is particularly unusual or striking.

3) Biographer’s Assignment — Reflection (10)

* Everyone take out your outlines, something to write on, and something to write with.

* Spend 5 minutes reflecting on and writing about the experience you had as a biographer. What is it like to be a biographer? What are some of your challenges? Do you have a sense of responsibility (toward the subject, for example)? How is this different from writing about yourself?

* Share and discuss.

4) Biography Outlines (15)

* Divide class into 6 groups of 3.

* Have students "present" their bios to one another.

* As you listen to one another, make sure that the author’s claim is actually supported by all of his/ her reasons and evidence. Discuss.

* Select one of the arguments to share with the class.

5) Share Biographies (15)

* Have representative from each group present their biography outline.

* Discuss the claim:

a) Is it focused and specific?

b) Is it contestable?

c) Is it supported by reasons and evidence, acknowledgment and response?

d) Could it be improved?

* Hand in biography outlines.

6) Return Paper #2 and Paper #2 (Revision) Handout


Day 25 - Wednesday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Friday 10/26

2) View Episode of A&E Biography (50)

3) Return Biography Outlines


Day 26 - Friday

Handouts: Paper #3; Paper #3 (Argument Outline)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 10/29

* Discuss Paper #3

2) Create Biography of Capone (10)

* Use student e-mails from 10/23 to sketch a standard Capone biography.

* Almost every biography begins with "he was born." Why?

3) Discuss A&E Biography (35)

* Capone Discussion

1) Did you love it or hate it?

2) Was the biography what you expected?

3) How does it begin? What is its "introduction"?

a) View the introduction.

b) Discuss

4) What claim/ main claim do you think the biography makes? Did you change your mind while watching? (Most famous gangster in the world; rose to power with brawn and brains.)

5) Do we have an author here? Narrator?

a) How does he/ she function?

b) Frame our view of the subject?

6) What is the framework or plot of this Capone story? (Starts with introduction, then his birth; ends with "to me he was a bum.")

a) How is the biography organized and structured?

b) What gets left out? (Personal life.)

7) What evidence, sources, material, etc. does the biography use? (Laurence Bergreen, biographer; Robert Schoenberg, biographer; John Binder, President of the Merry Gangsters Literary Society; Contemporaries — dancers and reporters; Tony Berardi, photographer; Son of George E.Q. Johnson, the prosecutor; Art Petacque, crime reporter; John O’Brian, crime reporter.)

8) Do you question any of this evidence?

9) How does this biography reflect and/ or deviate from the standard biography we generated at the start of class?

10) How is this TV program/ video unique? Define the genre.

a) Music

b) Images

c) Repetition

d) Commercial Breaks

11) How does this biography compare to other texts we’ve read this semester?

a) Use student papers to generate discussion.

4) Return E-mails

5) Collect Papers


Day 27 - Monday

Handouts: LRS The Language of Acknowledgment and Response

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 10/31

* Film Presentation Sign-up Sheet

2) Discuss Acknowledgment and Response (10)

Now let’s brush up on A&R so you’ll be ready for the Q&A session after your presentations.

* What are Acknowledgments? Responses?

* How do we signal an Acknowledgment? What words do we use? Write on board. (Despite, regardless, although, while, even though, seems, appears, may, some evidence, it is easy to think that. . .)

* Once we’ve stated our acknowledgment, how do we signal our own response to it? What words do we use? Write on board. (But, however, on the other hand.)

3) The Bad Boyfriend Exercise (20)

* Okay, now let’s practice using these signals. When I say "go" I want you to find 3 other people, make your desks into a circle, and then look back at me. Ready? Go!

* Hand out instructions for the Bad Boyfriend Exercise. Assign a role to each group. Have groups appoint a secretary to write down the letter.

* Starting now, you have 6 minutes to write your letter.

* Stop! Have a volunteer from each group read the letter. Discuss language of A&R in each.

* Give them the handout on "The Language of Acknowledgment and Response." Read through and discuss.

4) Brainstorm Claims for Wednesday (15)

* Ask for 3 volunteers to serve as judges. Divide rest of class into 3 groups of 5.

* Each group has 2 minutes to brainstorm claims that begin with the statement "We should watch Forrest Gump."

* Judges eliminate duplicate claims. Determine winners based on quantity and/ or quality.

5) Collect Revision #2

6) Return Capone Papers


Day 28 - Wednesday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for 11/2

2) Warrants Exercise (45)

I mentioned in the assignment for these presentations and third paper that warrants might be particularly important. You may select a shorter film because you assume that the class thinks shorter=better. What if this is not the case, however, and everyone in the class likes long films? Unlikely, perhaps, but this is why you need to consider your warrants. Alternatively, how many of you have thought that we should watch your movie because it contains both action and romance, so it will be appealing to guys and girls? Show of hands? Is this a common argument? What is the assumption here? Guys like action, and girls like romance. In reality, we deal with warrants like this every day, probably without even knowing it. To demonstrate this, I want you to take out your magazines (if you forgot a magazine, pair up with someone who has one).

* I want you to spend 2-3 minutes flipping through the magazine until you find an advertisement that catches your eye. Ready? Go!

* OK. Now that you’ve found an ad, take a minute to write down a sentence or two explaining why you found that particular ad appealing, eye-catching, etc. Does the ad make you want to buy the product? Why or why not?

* When you think about it, every ad makes an argument. What is the basic claim of almost every ad? (You should buy this product/ service.) Where do we find the reasons that support this claim? What are they? (In order to enjoy whatever the ad depicts, we must purchase the product.) Now I want to ask you something else: what makes these reasons apply to us, if they do? (Warrants — assumptions that the advertisers make about our likes and dislikes.) On TV, do all channels show the same ads? Do ads on MTV air on CNN? Why not? (Demographics, assumptions the advertisers make about the wants of MTV viewers different from the assumptions they make about CNN viewers.) Can we think of some examples? (Britney Spear’s ad for Pepsi v. an ad for a financial services company/ Maalox/ etc.)

* All right, now that we understand these ads are making an argument, I want you to find two people and get into groups of three. Share your ad and your reflections on it with your group. Then pick the most appealing or repulsive/ unappealing ad in the group. What does this ad assume about you or about its audience of potential customers? Write down your thoughts.

* Share the 6 most appealing ads with the class. Discuss the warrants/ assumptions made by these advertisers. (Ex. In a tobacco ad we often see cowboys: assumes smokers or potential smokers will be turned on by cowboys who smoke.)

* Select best ad of the 6 (vote as a class). Then have each group brainstorm another reason advertisers could use to get someone (not necessarily us) to buy this product. Give each group an audience to target (your grandparents, your parents, a 5 year old, a 30 year old office worker, a 50 year old farmer, an 80 year old widow).

* Share reasons (and audience); write on board.

* Ask for 3 volunteers to be judges (one to write down the warrants on the board); break class into two teams. Team A will have 30 seconds to articulate a warrant underlying Reason #1. Team B will have 30 seconds to find a warrant for R#2. Once each R has one W, try going through a second time, if time allows.

3) Hand in Claims for Paper #3


Day 29 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 11/5 — Friday 11/7

2) Workshop Arguments for Film Presentations (25)

* Review assignment for presentations: stress the Q&A session.

* Everyone take out your film choice/ claim.

* When I say "Spider" find a partner and then look back at me. Ready? Spider!

* OK. You and your partner are going to work together to construct your film choice argument for next week.

* Begin by filling out the Claim, Reasons, and Evidence on the argument outline worksheets that I’m handing out. You can do this individually, or by consulting with your teammate. You have 10 minutes starting right now! (Announce 1 minute left; 30 seconds.)

* Stop! Now I want you to turn to your partner and practice delivering the bare bones of this argument. When you finish, discuss what worked and what needs to be improved. Partners should recommend areas where warrants need to be explained or where potential concerns need to be acknowledged and responded to. Then let your teammate practice his or her delivery, and discuss.

* Keep your worksheet for use when working on your presentation.

3) Argument Game: Where Arguments Fail (20)

* Divide class into 3 groups. Give each group an assignment (on a note card).

* Each group should construct and then present an argument about why we should view the film that appears on your note card. But each of your arguments needs to fail. So, each note card also includes the way your argument will fail.

1) Blair Witch Project: Claim, your film is not relevant to our theme.

2) JFK: Reason, your reason must not support your claim.

3) Austin Powers: Evidence, your evidence must not support your reason.

* You will present your failed argument to the class. The class will try to determine where your argument fails, and how to fix it.

* Discuss results. Why is this relevant? How is this exercise connected to your upcoming presentations?

4) Return Claims


Day 30 - Monday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

2) Persuasive Presentations (45)

* Take notes during presentations (to determine grades).

* After each presentation, devote a few minutes to Q&A.

3) Return Paper #2


Day 31 - Wednesday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

2) Persuasive Presentations (45)

* Take notes during presentations (to determine grades).

* After each presentation, devote a few minutes to Q&A.


Day 32 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 11/12

* Paper #3 Workshop Reminder

2) Persuasive Presentations (30)

* Take notes during presentations (to determine grades).

* After each presentation, devote a few minutes to Q&A.

3) Vote for Film (10)

* Put all of the choices on the board.

* Have students write down their top two choices on two index cards.

* In case of a tie, have a run-off vote between those two movies.

4) Announce Film

5) Discuss Paper #3 (5)

* Reminder: This paper deals with a tangible problem. Problem: We need to watch a movie for Paper #4. Solution: Your film. Make sure your introduction includes the problem statement.  

Day 33 - Monday

Handouts: Paper #3 (Workshop); Paper #4; Paper #4 (Argument Outline)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Reminder: Film Viewing Tonight

* Discuss Assignment for Wednesday 11/14

2) Workshop Paper #3 (40)

* Hand in your papers.

* Break up class into workshop groups.

* Distribute workshop handout. Read the author’s essay; fill out the worksheet; discuss results.

3) Discuss Paper #4 (5)

* Distribute assignment and argument outline.


Day 34 - Wednesday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for 11/16

2) Discuss Film (Rudy) (30)

* Show introduction. Discuss as an introduction. Compare to our own introductions, relate to biography theme, questions of narrator, etc.

* Use student e-mails to generate discussion.

1) How do we know this is a biography?

2) What kind of biography is it? What kind of story does it tell? What claim does it make?

3) What is the relationship between the subject — Rudy — and the audience?

a) We see the world as Rudy, through his eyes.

b) Show the stadium scene.

4) What creates this identification/ perspective?

a) Plot and dialogue create sympathy for Rudy (picked on, told he can’t do something, mean brother, friend’s death).

b) Music (creates in us the feelings experienced by Rudy).

c) Camera angles (we frequently see the world from Rudy’s physical perspective).

5) How does this biography claim to be true and/ or authoritative?

a) Pre- and post-film biographical information ("based on a true story," etc.).

b) Attention to Notre Dame football history.

c) Show the film’s conclusion and discuss.

6) What is the purpose of this film biography? Is there any bias?

7) How is this film like or unlike other biographies we’ve studied? Autobiographies?


3) Generate Potential Claims for Paper #4 (15)

* Have class get into 6 groups of 3.

* In the next 5 minutes, brainstorm Rudy claims.

* Write claims on the board.

* Share and discuss.


Day 35 - Friday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Reminder: No Class Next Week (Happy Turkey Day!)

* Discuss Assignment for Monday 11/26, plans for the rest of the semester

2) Finish Discussion of the Film (25)

3) Claims: Paper #4 (20)

* Pull out or write down your claim for Paper #4.

*Find two people, and arrange your desks in a circle.

* Share your claims; brainstorm ideas — reasons, evidence, possible opposition.

* Appoint a secretary: write down all three claims and at least 1 reason for each. You will turn this in to me.

* Pick one claim to share with the class. Then, share and discuss.

4) Return E-mails


Day 36 - Monday through Day 38 - Friday

No Class (Thanksgiving Recess)


Day 39 - Monday

Handouts: Introduction Workshop 4

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for 11/28: Paper #4 Due (2 copies with Argument Outline)

2) Workshop Introductions (40)

* Have class get into groups of 3.

* Distribute workshop handout.

3) Return Paper #3 (5)

* Discuss my comments, revisions for final portfolio.


Day 40 - Wednesday

Handouts: Final Portfolios; Paper #4 (Workshop)

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for 11/30

2) Discuss Final Portfolio (5)

* Hand out assignment, discuss.

* If you want to discuss your paper selection, come to my office hours.

3) Paper #4 Workshops (40)

* Hand out workshop sheet.

* Exchange papers and workshop sheets with a classmate. Have them fill out your workshop sheet (on your paper). Read each other’s papers. Fill out the sheet. Discuss. Reclaim your paper and workshop sheet.

* Exchange papers again, with another classmate. Repeat process.

* By the end of class, you will have two opinions on your paper combined on one workshop sheet. You will also have given advice on two papers.

* Collect Paper #4.


Day 41 - Friday

Handouts: LRS Old to New Passages 5 and 6

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Assignment for 12/3

2) Old to New Information (45)


Lecture Notes:

I. We’ve spent most of the semester talking about argument. Now I want to move to sentence-level and paragraph-level work. In particular, I want to work on "transitions."

II. Write "537" on the board. Gradually add more information, having students raise their hands when they have enough old information to understand: B-G, 537; GWB-AG, FL, 537; GWB over AG, FL, 537; Bush over Gore in Florida by 537 votes.

A) When did you recognize what I was describing? Why? (You needed enough old information — such as the state of FL, the candidates’ names, etc. — to interpret/ understand the new information.

III. Let’s look at some more examples:

A) Write the three LRS examples on the board (LRS Old to New Information pp1-2: TXO 3 … TXU 3 7/8 … TX 3 _ …; PLEASE SEND FIFTY AMERICAN EXPRESS EXPLANATION FOLLOWS LOVE LOU; Classified Ad: LG Elivr M2b Rbsm T$700). Can anyone decipher this information. Explain.

B) Use explanations on page 2:

1) Repeated, old information is important to those who don’t know what to expect.

2) Old information is important to those who don’t know the context or situation.

3) Old information is important for guarding against errors in transmission.

IV. What is old information?

A) Definition: Old information is what your readers already know and understand. New information is what your readers do not already know, but could understand with the assistance of old information.

B) Clinton/Bush and British Open Examples (LRS Old to New Information page 3).

1) Read Clinton/ Bush Example: Raise your hand if what I say is old information. What sentences contain new information? What is new? What is old?

2) Read British Open Example: Raise your hand when you hear old information and therefore understand the new information.

C) So, why can’t we just give our readers new information? (Coherence.) Old information? (Duty to inform.) Two Keys:

1) In order to inform, you must give readers new information.

2) In order to inform, you must give readers old information.

a) These keys refer to your papers as a whole, of course, but just as importantly they refer to your transitions between paragraphs and sentences.

V. Distribute LRS Old to New Information Passages 5 and 6 Handout

A) Read and discuss.

1) Which paragraph is easier to understand, a or b? Why? (Moves from old to new information; b uses familiar characters.)

VI. Three Types of Old Information

A) Information readers bring to the text.

B) Information readers learn as they read.

C) Information the text implies.

1) Locate these three types in the passages we just discussed.

VII. Writing Clear Sentences

A) Readers will more easily understand the new information in your sentences when you introduce it in the context of something old and familiar.

B) So, organize your sentences so that they open with short, specific subjects naming one of your cast of characters. Start with more familiar, rather than less familiar, information. Look again at the Breton Lai example.

VIII. Problems with Information Flow

A) Distribute handout and discuss.

B) Distribute Old to New Information handout. Have students get into 6 groups of 3. Each group should revise the Mendel passage, using the instructions on the Problems with Information Flow handout. Structure as a race to revise.


3) Return Paper #4


Day 42 - Monday

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss assignment for 12/5

2) Coherence V. Cohesion (15)

* As readers we look for the flow from old to new information, but we also look for coherence. We’re going to do a little exercise to see what we need to do, besides starting our sentences with old, rather than new, information.

* Designate three groups of six. You need to arrange your desks into nice circles.

* Now, I’m going to give everyone a blank slip of paper. Then, I’m going to give one member of each group a piece of paper with one sentence written on it. The person who gets this sentence should write on their blank slip of paper what they think the next sentence in a paragraph could be. Once you’ve finished, you’re going to pass your sentence, and only your sentence, to the person on your right. Repeat this process until everyone has written a new sentence.

* Possible sentences to use:

a) Over the last fifty years, the movies have been an effective vehicle of propaganda for dogs.

b) Because roses are available in so many forms, few plants can rival their benefits in the home landscape.

c) One way to begin planning a wedding is to select the style of the cake.

* Now let’s read these sentences out loud and in order, first to last. Let’s start with the first group.

* When the first group has read their sentences, trace the characters (i.e. topics) in the paragraphs. Repeat the reading, and tracing, for each group. Write on board for later discussion.

* Do these paragraphs make sense? Sound good? What’s wrong with them? These paragraphs are cohesive, but not coherent. They flow from old to new information, so why is it is hard to orient yourself? New characters are being introduced at all points of the paragraph, why does this make the paragraph hard to follow? What would be better? (The story should focus on one character or related set of characters, that should be connected throughout the paragraph.)

3) Topic Strings Lecture (30)


Lecture Notes:

I. Old to New

A) Last week we talked about information flow in our sentences, paragraphs, and papers. We saw that we need to move from old to new information in order to inform our readers, but our exercise just proved that this doesn’t guarantee a coherent narrative.

B) We also saw that it helped make paragraphs clearer when we used a small group of nouns or characters to tell our "story." Short subjects are usually better than long subjects.

II. Selecting and Organizing Characters

A) Now I want to talk about how we select and organize these characters or subjects. To do this, we will talk about topics in our sentences.

B) Definition: The topic of a sentence is the particular word or phrase on the page that the writer goes on to say something about. This is sometimes, but not always, the subject or our "characters."

C) The topic frames the reader’s sense of coherence. It establishes a point of reference for the rest of the sentence.

D) The topic should:

1) Be clear, simple, direct, and familiar (old information).

2) Appear in the first 6 or 7 words of the sentence.

E) Two Principles:

1) Keep your topic as simple, short, and Old as possible.

2) Make your topic the subject of the sentence as often as possible OR keep your topic as close to the subject of your sentence as possible.

III. Topic Strings

A) We can string these topics together in three ways to create coherent and cohesive paragraphs and papers.

1) Focused Topic Strings: Tn = Tn+1

a) Same character appears in topic position in each sentence.

b) Easiest to follow, but boring. (See Breton Lai example from Friday.)

2) Chained Topic Strings: Stressn = Tn+1

a) Subject in stress position becomes the topic of the next sentence.

b) Hard to orient yourself. Best used with readers familiar with the characters.

c) Suggests progress, causality.

3) Mixed Topic Strings

a) Easier to follow than chained.

b) Return to most familiar character several times throughout the passage.

4) Incoherent Topic Strings

IV. Topic String Patterns

A) Now I want you to find a partner. Hand out Topic String Patterns worksheet. Students should underline the topics or characters in each paragraph. Then, with your partner, determine what kind of topic string is used in each example.

B) Discuss as class: What kind of topic strings are being used in each paragraph? How do you know? Looking back at the board, what kind of topic strings did our telephone exercise produce? What kind of topic string seems most coherent? Why? What are the functions (advantages and disadvantages) of each kind of topic string?


Day 43 - Wednesday

Handouts: Final Portfolio Workshop

1) Class Business (5)

* Sign-in Sheet

* Discuss Final Portfolios and Last Day of Class

2) Topic Stress Lecture (20)

* Now I want to talk about another aspect of all of our papers, paragraphs, and sentences that we can use to our advantage. What I want to talk about is how we stress ideas, consciously and unconsciously, in our essays.

* Discuss role of the stress position. What’s the most important part of your introductions? (Claim) What’s the best place to locate this claim? (Launching Point) Why? (Because the last thing we read in the introduction emphasizes this idea and frames our expectations for the rest of the essay.) OK. Is this usually true? Do reader’s expect to find the most important idea last? What about in our sentences? Where do we place the most important idea?

* Now I want you to look at some sentence pairs. (Refer to examples on the board, taken from LRS Stress page 1. Sentence Pairs: He’s rather strange, but people like him. People like him, but he’s rather strange. Times are hard, but you deserve a raise. You deserve a raise, but times are hard.) What does each sentence mean? What’s the difference? OK. So, you see that whatever is placed in the end position is emphasized. How might we use this in our papers?

* Editing contest at the board. Now I want to see how you can use this stress to your advantage. Break class up into six groups of three. Distribute the "Using the Stress Position" handout. Groups have 3 minutes to write revised versions on the board. Team with best revisions gets a prize.

3) Titles (5)

* Discuss the role and importance of titles. I’ve noticed this semester that you’ve been pretty hesitant to supply titles for your papers. For your final portfolios, however, I want you to try to put a title on each paper you include. So, today we’re going to talk about titles, what they do, and what makes them good.

* Let’s start with an easy question: Why do we put titles on things? (So we know what to expect, what they’re about, whether we’ll be interested in them.) What does a good title do? (Creates proper expectations; sets the tone; gives us an idea about themes, characters;) Based on these criteria, which is a better title for a paper on biographical elements in The Patriot: The Patriot, or The Patriot: Fictional Biography and Film. Why? (Explain the wonderful colon.)

* Titles Game (if time allows): OK, now I want to get you guys to brainstorm some titles. Ask for 3 volunteers to serve as judges. Divide rest of class into three groups of five. Write a topic up on the board. Give groups 5 minutes to brainstorm titles of papers on that topic. Titles will be judged based on quality, creativity, relevance, and their ability to frame reader expectations. (Talk to judges about scoring: eliminating duplicates, they will rank the top five titles, giving 5 points for 1st, 4 for 2nd, etc..) The highest scoring team will get a surprise. Once the five minutes has expired, teams should come to the board and write down their titles, numbering them as they go.

* Round One: Topic — Forrest Gump’s use of an individual perspective to present historical events.

* Distribute candy to the winners, ask if they want to share.

4) Workshop Portfolios (20)

* Review Portfolio Instructions

* Take out your papers. Find a partner.

* Handout Workshop worksheets: write down the problem you want to deal with today on this handout.

* Share the problem you want to work on with your partner: this is your last chance to get advice.

* After a few minutes, I will come and you can ask me questions about your portfolio.


Day 44 - Friday

1) Class Business (2)

* Sign-in Sheet

2) Evaluations (15)

* Explain Evaluations; Instructions: Please comment on 1-15, as well as 16 and 17, on the back of the scantron if you like.

* Ask for volunteer to collect evaluations and to take them, after class, to Pam Marcantel in Bryan Hall 236c.

3) Turn in Final Portfolios

4) Final Argument Game (OK, this is your last act as ENWR students.) (10)

* I need 3 volunteers. OK, you guys are going to serve as judges for our last class game.

* Now, when I say "No exam!" I want you to form into groups of five and to put your desks in a circle. When you’re done, look back up here. "No exam!"

* All right. I’m going to give you guys a claim, and each group will need to construct an argument around that claim. (Write on board) This argument must include at least 3 reasons; at least one piece of evidence for each reason; one acknowledgment and response; and one explanation of a warrant that underlies your argument. You will have 7 minutes to construct your argument. When time is up, your team will read its argument to the judges. These judges will then select the best argument of the three. Ready? Your claim is "We should get out of class early today." The team with the best argument will get to leave class early.

* Judges verdict (explain to judges that I will let everyone go early, but I want the groups to really sweat it out for a while, so push them hard).

5) Well, all of those arguments sounded pretty convincing to me, so instead of letting the winners go home early, you can all leave. But first I want to say that you’ve been a great class, and I’ve really enjoyed having you this semester. If you need any help or advice over the next few years, feel free to come talk to me. That said, have a great summer! And come get a lollipop before you leave.

6) Remind student to take evaluations to Pam.


Back to MWF Calendar