Archive for the ‘Drafting’ Category

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Topic Sentence Paragraphs

posted: 2.21.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the material in the handbook on topic sentences, paragraphs, and transitions. Then ask them to take all topic sentences from their current draft and copy/paste them into a new document to make a paragraph composed of these topic sentences. Ideally, this paragraph will be readable with some basic flow. Use these topic sentence paragraphs to open a discussion of transitions, topic sentences, and paper organization.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Drafting, Revising, Teaching with Technology
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Indexing Drafts

posted: 1.16.07 by Barclay Barrios

Ask students to look through the index in the handbook. Word processors usually incorporate a tool for creating an index of a document. Have students use the help files of the software to learn how to use this tool. Then have them produce an index of their drafts: What terms do they use the most? And what terms, ideas, or names do they feel are important enough to list in an index?

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Categories: Document Design, Drafting, Revising, Teaching with Technology
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Alternate Table of Contents

posted: 1.16.07 by Barclay Barrios

Provide students with the following categories or a set of terms you’ve designed yourself: Getting an A, Before I Start My Draft, At the Ready When Researching, Things Not to Screw Up. For the next class, have each student use these categories to create a new table of contents for the handbook: which sections of the handbook would go in each category?

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Document Design, Drafting, Finding Sources, Handbooks
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Slanging the Essay

posted: 12.18.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on diction or tone. In groups, ask them to identify a key passage from the essay you’re currently discussing and revise it using more informal or slang diction. Use this to prompt a discussion of the ideas of the essay and the reasons for using one kind of diction over another.

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Categories: Collaboration, Drafting, Grammar & Style, Revising
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Know Your Audience

posted: 12.18.06 by Barclay Barrios

Knowing your audience is a crucial factor in the success of any piece of writing. Have the student review the section on audience in the handbook. In groups, ask them to deduce a series of audiences: the audience for the current reading, the audience for the textbook, the audience for the handbook, the audience for their papers. Crucially, have each group identify how they know each writer has each audience in mind—are there clues in the text? Is the audience explicit? Are there assumptions in the writing that make them think of this audience versus another one?

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Categories: Collaboration, Drafting
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Post-draft Outline

posted: 12.4.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on outlines. For the next peer review day, have students bring in a “post-draft outline,” composed of a single sentence that summarizes each paragraph of the paper. In peer groups, have each peer commenter do the same post-draft outline. The author of the paper should then compare his or her own understanding of what each paragraph does with that of her or his peers. Use these collected post-draft outlines to work on organization in revision.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Drafting, Peer Review, Revising
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Adding the Visual

posted: 11.20.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on using visuals and/or visual argument. As they revise their current draft, ask them to incorporate a visual element: a picture, clip art, a table, a graph, or a chart. How does this element change the argument of the paper in its articulation or effectiveness?

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Categories: Argument, Assignment Idea, Document Design, Drafting, Revising, Rhetorical Situation, Teaching with Technology, Visual Argument
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Headings for Organization

posted: 11.20.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on headings in documents or on document design, as well as the section on outlines. Then have them add headings to their current or next draft, thinking of these headings as an integrated outline of the paper. In peer revision groups, ask peers to assess the accuracy, value, and wording of these headings.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Document Design, Drafting, Peer Review, Revising
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Cut and Tape

posted: 11.20.06 by Barclay Barrios

Ask students to take a copy of their current draft, cut it up into individual paragraphs, place the paragraph slips in an envelope, and bring it into class. Bring a roll of tape to class and then, in groups, have students trade envelopes. Each peer reviewer needs to read all the individual paragraphs, determine what their order should be, and tape them back together. When students get their taped-together papers back, ask if the drafts came back in the right order. Use this as an opportunity to discuss organization and transitions, turning to the section on transitions in the handbook to help students review tools they can use to make sure the order of their paragraphs is always perfectly clear.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Drafting, Grammar & Style, Learning Styles, Peer Review
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Topology of Topic Sentences

posted: 11.6.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on topic sentences before class. Ask them to bring in a copy of their current draft with all of the topic sentences removed. In peer revision groups, share these drafts and have the peers craft topic sentences that would work in the paragraphs. The student should then compare these to her or his original sentences. This exercise has a number of advantages: students get practice identifying the topic sentences of their own paragraphs (or learn to recognize when their paragraphs do not have them), they get practice writing these sentences for peers, and finally they get a sense of whether or not their paragraphs are clearly focused, based on whether or not the topic sentences they get back accurately reflect what they feel is the content of the paragraphs.

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Categories: Drafting, Grammar & Style, Peer Review, Revising
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