Assignment: Argument Revisions

There are two parts to this post and assignment. Before the jump—the link that says Continue Reading—is the assignment you will start on Monday and complete by Friday, January 18. After the jump, you’ll find the revision deadline and requirements.

This week, you are looking at five student essays and determining a grade for each. These responses to the Santa Claus prompt are anonymous and taken from another period; you won’t see yours, nor will you see an essay by a student in your class. As you look at these five essays, you know that:

  • One is effective; it would earn an A (90-99)
  • One is adequate; it would earn a B (80-89)
  • One is limited; it would earn a C (70-79)
  • One is inadequate; it would earn a D (60-69)
  • One is ineffective; it would earn an F (50-59)

A folder containing these essays will be share with you through Google Drive. Look in your BHS email inbox for the link; it will be created on Sunday in preparation for Monday. As you read, your job is to work alone or in groups to justify which essay you believe belongs in which category. You must say why the essay you are reading is effective, adequate, limited, inadequate, or ineffective. To do this, you must do the following:

  1. Write a SOAPSTONE analysis. Use your notes from class, this post, or the backup copy of your notes located here. Use Friday’s work as a starting point.
  2. Within SOAPSTONE, focus first on audience and speaker. Write a complete breakdown of both for the essay you’re evaluating. The more developed the audience and speaker are in that essay, the more effective it probably is.
  3. Consider the essay’s application of basic argument, including appeals to logospathos, and ethos, plus any other techniques from Thank You for Arguing.
  4. Consider the general use of detail, arrangement and structure, and meaning of the essay.

You can work alone or in groups. You’ll have a checkpoint at the end of each period: On Monday, you need to have worked your way through one essay, deciding if it is effective, adequate, limited, inadequate, or ineffective; by Friday the 18th, you need to have finished all five. Remember that you’ll be working on the midterm, too, and that you will be able to choose how to spend your time in class.

Below is how you will turn this experimental kind of feedback into a revision.

Assignment: Typed revision of your basic argument on Santa Claus

Due date: January 28th, 2013

Basic requirements: 

Must be typed using Google Drive | This tracks all changes (see this link for more information) and allows us to discuss your process much more specifically.

Must use the exemplar analysis above to inform the revision | You will not receive a grade nor direct commentary on your draft. You will need to read the five example essays, determine (with my help) which is effective, adequate, and so on, and then apply that understanding to your own work.

The second requirement means that you can only revise by revisiting the original assignment, the notes on SOAPSTONE outlines, and the background reading from Thank You for Arguing; then, after examining the effectiveness of model essays, you should be able to revise your own writing.

Note: While this is experimental in one sense, it is also not the first time you have been given general commentary and peer exemplars as feedback. When you are confused, look back at the following lessons and assessments:

All of our lessons this semester have been about your role in learning and growing as a reader, thinker, and writer. We’ve studied metacognition, self-efficacy, and the difference between complicated and complex tasks. You are more than capable of this revision assignment. And, as always, I will be available in class, after school, and over email to help you.

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