Archive for the ‘Integrating sources’ Category

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The Super Secret Formula: Still Super If Not So Secret

posted: 11.6.09 by Barclay Barrios

When I think back on all of the little class activities I’ve developed in my time as a teacher I don’t think any have spread or persisted as much as the Super Secret Formula.  It’s on my mind because one of our former teachers (now in Georgia pursuing her PhD) mentioned using it with success in a recent e-mail.  That same week the waiter at my favorite breakfast place (who also happens to be a freshman at school) also mentioned loving it.

So what is the Super Secret Formula?  Well, simply, it’s

Cl > I > Q1 > E > T > Q2 > Ce

Students start their paragraphs with “Cl,” a sentence that states the claim of the paragraph.  Then with “I,” they introduce a quotation from the first author, adding a sentenced that explains it (“E”).  The next sentence makes a transition (“T”) to a quotation from a different author, “Q2.”  Finally, students take a sentence or two to explain the connection between the two quotations (“Ce”) and how it supports the argument they’re making in the paper.

The concrete structure of a “formula” provides a good scaffolding for students to build a solid paragraph that works with quotation use but the risk is, of course, that all their paragraphs will becomes (literally) formulaic.  When using this exercise, I start by having groups use the formula to make a sample paragraph.  Then I challenge groups to come up with other formulas for working with quotations.

This is my Golden Tool of my Lore Bag—it always seems to work and students love it.  I think of course they love having a concrete pattern and set of instructions to learn how to think connectively and thus to synthesize while working with quotations.  But I always find that taking the writing class out of the writing classroom has some near magic effect.  There’s something about a scientific-looking formula that taps into some other region of students’ brains and bypasses any anxiety they may have about writing.

So, still super if not so secret.

(If you’d like to see more ideas for working with quotations, read my older post “5 ways I help students to work with quotations.“)

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Integrating sources, Student Success, Working with Sources
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Discussing Intellectual Property Rights

posted: 6.15.09 by Traci Gardner

Teaching about Copyright
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently released their “Teaching Copyright” curriculum and website. Created in part as a response to The Copyright Alliance’s “Think First, Copy Later” collection, the EFF curriculum focuses on 5 lesson plans:

You may find the lesson plans are too scripted for the classes you teach, but the ideas and the linked materials are great resources for college classrooms.

In fact, you might skip the lessons altogether and go directly to the Resources Tab, where you’ll find the handouts, articles, and related information all on one Web page. Here are some examples:

Teaching How to Avoid Plagiarism
If your intellectual property rights unit also includes a discussion of avoiding plagiarism, visit the St. Martin’s Tutorial on Avoiding Plagiarism. It’s a free resource that explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. The tutorial includes everything you need, from readings to practice exercises.

For a fast review of plagiarism with your class, be sure to take a look at The Bedford Researcher’s Checklist: Avoiding Plagiarism. The one-page handout makes a simple outline for class discussion and provides a handy take-away resource that students can use as they write.

Additional Information
If you want to learn more about copyright and fair use in the classroom, check out the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Media Literacy Education. This report and the related resources from the Media Education Lab at Temple University should answer any lingering questions you have about intellectual property rights.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Integrating sources, Plagiarism
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Draw the Argument

posted: 1.7.08 by Barclay Barrios

Switching to a visual register is a great way to get students thinking about a text in new ways. When discussing an essay, put students into groups and ask them to draw the argument, finding quotations from the text to support their representation. Groups can then re-draw these on the board to prompt class discussion.

Listen to this Post! An Audio Bits Podcast (0:31 min)

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Categories: Argument, Integrating sources, Visual Rhetoric
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Colorful Quotation Marks

posted: 12.3.07 by Barclay Barrios

Students often forget to use single quotation marks for quotations within quotations. Have students search for quotation marks using their word processor. Ask them to find the first one and change the font color for that quotation mark to green; then have them find the next one and change it to red. As students repeat this process, alternating green and red, they build a visual record of where quotations start and end. They can then review their drafts to make sure they didn’t unintentionally end a quotation by failing to use a single quotation mark.

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Categories: Integrating sources, Proofreading/Editing, Punctuation & Mechanics
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Integrating Quotations

posted: 11.26.07 by Barclay Barrios

Sometimes it takes some practice for students to learn how to integrate quotations into their own sentences successfully. One way to help them acquire this skill is to break a class into groups and give each group the same quotation.  Groups should then integrate all or part of the quotation into a new sentence—the more outlandish the sentence, the better. The group with the craziest sentence and the smoothest integration wins. Review the material on integrating quotations in the handbook to help students with this exercise.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Collaboration, Integrating sources
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5 ways I help students to work with quotation

posted: 6.15.07 by Barclay Barrios

When I teach expository writing I tend to spend a lot of time helping students use quotations effectively to support their arguments. Too often, students just sprinkle quotations throughout their text without providing any sense of how those pieces of text relate to their larger argument. I have a few strategies I use to get them to engage the text closely in ways that support what they want to say:

1. The Super Secret Formula
This activity is designed to help students build a paragraph that works with two authors in support of the paper’s argument. This exercise has to be one of the most successful activities I’ve ever created. Not only is it the one that seems to help students the most but it’s also the one that other teachers seem to bring into their classrooms the most often. The Super Secret Formula is:

Cl > I > Q1 > E > T > Q2 > Ce

Students start their paragraphs with “Cl,” a sentence that states the claim of the paragraph. Then, with “I,” they introduced a quotation from the first author, adding a sentenced that explains it (“E”). The next sentence makes a transition (“T”) to a quotation from a different author, “Q2.” Finally, students take a sentence or two to explain the connection between the two quotations (“Ce”) and how it supports the argument they’re making in the paper.

The concrete structure of a “formula” provides a good scaffolding for students to build a solid paragraph that works with quotation but the risk is, of course, that all their paragraphs will becomes (literally) formulaic. When I use this exercise in the classroom, I start by having groups use the formula to make a sample paragraph. Then I challenge groups to come up with other formulas for working with quotation.

2. Close Reading
Sometimes students have difficulty analyzing a quotation; pieces of text will be sprinkled through a paper seemingly with the assumption that their relationship to the argument is self-evident. Here’s an exercise that can help students with this problem. Ask students to write or type a quotation they want to work with. Then ask them to underline the key sentences or phrases of the quotation, the parts that they feel are most important for the point they’re trying to make. Then have them construct sentences that use these pieces of the quotation and that explain how they relate to their arguments.

3. Facts and Ideas
Quotations that only contain statements of fact provide little opportunity for analysis; quotations with ideas do. Bring in examples of each kind to class for discussion and then during peer review ask students to identify each quotation in the papers they’re reading as either fact or idea. This exercise will give them practice distinguishing between the two and will provide useful feedback for paper authors on what type of quotation they’re favoring.

4. Short and Long
Another problem students seem to have in working with quotation is choosing quotations of appropriate length: they might choose quotations that are too short and thus don’t provide enough support or they might choose very long quotations and then say little about them. Have students look through their drafts and determine the length of each quotation by noting how many typed lines it takes. They can use the resulting report to reflect on their tendencies with quotation: do they always use very short ones? Always use very long ones? After the exercise challenge students to use a variety of lengths in their papers.

5. Peer Review Boost
During peer review, ask students to suggest at least three quotations that could be added to support the paper. This exercise will encourage paper authors to use more quotation while helping peer editors to dig deeper into the text to locate quotations that can help the paper authors.

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Categories: Citing Sources, Integrating sources, Peer Review
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Overdetermined Titles

posted: 1.26.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students take every title in their draft and put it in quotation marks, then italicize and underline it. In peer groups, have students determine which one of these methods should be used and why.

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Categories: Integrating sources, Peer Review, Punctuation & Mechanics, Working with Sources
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