Class 3 Notes for 2/16: TSIS Ch 1 and 12, Academic Conversation, and Active Reading

Entering the “Academic
Conversation,” Effective
Discussion, Engaging With
They Say, I Say Chapter 1 and 12
Quickwrite #2
How do you usually approach essay-length
writing assignments? Walk me through your
usual writing process. You might tell me about
how much time you spend brainstorming or
researching your topic, how much time you
spend outlining and/or drafting, and how much
time you spend revising.
There is NO “RIGHT ANSWER” to this question.
Whether you usually procrastinate and write
entire essay in one caffeine-fueled marathon or
start brainstorming the moment you receive a
prompt, I want to know about YOUR current
writing process.
Goals for class today:
1. Discuss how to contribute thoughtfully to
class discussions.
2. Understand the characteristics of academic
writing and prepare to participate in the
“academic conversation.”
3. Prepare to engage meaningfully with
4. Practice using a template from They Say, I
Encouraging Effective Class Discussion
• Have respect for your classmates, even when you disagree
with their ideas.
• Take time to gather your thoughts. There is no prize for
having your hand in the air first.
• Build our class’s understanding of the topic at hand by…
– Adding an additional point or example to what someone else has
– Connecting two ideas that have been discussed separately.
– Challenging what someone else has said by countering his or her
– See p. 164-166 in Ch. 12 of They Say, I Say for more pointers.
• Ground your discussion of a text by quoting specific, relevant
passages of the articles we read.
Discussion: Small Groups to Whole Class
• Often, when we do class discussion, I will have you
brainstorm and talk about the topics in small groups
before moving the discussion back to the whole class.
– You can elect –or volunteer– a representative of your group to
share the ideas, issues, and answers to questions that your
group discussed with the wider class and myself.
– Although not everyone will be comfortable talking in front of
large groups, I do want everyone to try to contribute
something. All opinions and perspectives have value!
– Also, if you aren’t sure what to say ask questions! Sometime the
best thing a group member can do is ask a classmate to clarify
or further explain their perspective or point!
What is “Academic Writing”?
• Academic writing follows a set of conventions
(remember, those are rules/expectations your
readers will have of your writing in an
academic setting), and it is appropriate for a
school or research setting.
• Academic writing is a WAY of writing, and is
not limited to certain subjects or topics.
What is Academic Writing?
• Academic Writing is NOT…
– Being perfect the first time
– Always having “original” ideas that are not influenced
by anyone else
– Being better than others around you
• Academic Writing IS…
– A process
– Developing ideas in connection with other ideas
– Being part of a community of writers and engaging in
the ongoing academic conversation.
Discussion of They Say, I Say Intro and
Chapter 1
• According to the authors of They Say, I Say,
why is it important to position yourself and
your ideas in relation to what other writers
have said about the topic? (Review the Intro
and Ch. 1 to prepare for class discussion.)
• What do you think of the idea of using
templates? Do you agree with the author’s
arguments in favor of templates?
Writing As A Process or a Journey
• Writing develops both recursively (as a process) and socially (interacting with
other texts).
• The process of rhetoric in both reading and writing means thinking about
how to use language for a particular audience, within a particular context,
and how to use appropriate conventions (grammar rules, spelling,
punctuation, etc).
• It is important to note that reading and writing are connected to each other.
• All writers enter conversations and communities through their words, so
writers must be readers of many texts, and should also be aware of context
and culture.
• This class aims to help you understand all these writing techniques and use
them successfully in your own writing.
Writing as Exploration and Connection
• We will read and analyze many kinds of writing that are a part of
the academic conversation.
• We will use outside sources to inspire and inform our own
• We will workshop our own essays.
• These activities, along with student-instructor conferences, peer
work, and discussions, will demonstrate the social nature of
• What is truly essential in this class is the ability to communicate
a given message through writing, reading, and speaking in class.
• So, get to know your classmates, your professor, and most of
all, yourself. We will support each other to grow as students,
writers, readers, communicators, and individuals.
How to Read our Textbook
• When the schedule tells you to read a certain amount of pages
(9-17 for example) you might not technically need to read the
whole page. Rather, you should look for section headings and
start with the first section on that page.
– For example, on page 9, the section heading “A Critical Perspective:
Strategies for Thinking, Reading, and Responding” starts about
halfway down the page, but it is the first section that STARTS on
page 9. Therefore you should start there.
– Likewise, the only thing on page 17 is an exercise. Since you have
not been instructed to do the exercise, but rather only to read and
think about the information, you can ignore this part.
• When I ask you to read an Essay or Article in your Textbook, I
will usually list the page numbers the essay covers (p.139-143,
for example). Be sure preview the essay, see how long it is,
and give yourself enough time to read the whole thing.
Engage With What You Read
• Reading Actively
– What does it mean to read actively?
• Pay attention
• Take notes (Annotate)
– See p. 12 of Pop Perspectives for a checklist.
• Look up unfamiliar words
• Reading Critically
– What does it mean to read critically?
• Think carefully about the ideas presented in what you are
– Ask questions
– Relate the ideas to your own experience or knowledge
– Come to class with questions to ask and opinions to share
Practice Using Templates
• We are going respond to a piece of writing using ideas from They Say, I Say.
• You may choose to respond to the editorial “Back Off on the Broccoli” on p.
18 of Pop Perspectives, one of the editorials linked on the course
discussions page, or another opinion piece that has been approved by me.
• Identify an idea in the essay that you would like to respond to.
• You might start with the template:
• In the article “Your Article Title Goes Here,” Author Name makes the point that
________________, which is particularly important because
• Try to use at least one other template from Chapter 1.
• If you are talking about ideas you have held for a long time, you might want to
consider the templates on p. 24 under “Making something “they say”
something you say”
• If you are talking about ideas that you feel lots of other people (the “general
public”) have, you might want to consider the templates on the top of p. 24.
• When you are finished, consider how using a template worked for you. Did
you find it easier than coming up with your own structure? Harder? Why?