1/20/2017 Agenda


Objectives: Students will be able to revise their claims and thesis as well as apply rhetorical appeals in their researched argument essay.


  1. Reasoning from Evidence to Claims”, discuss “Two Ways to Improve an Argument” page 196 in WA.
  2. Read “six steps for making a thesis evolve” ( pages 236-251 in WA)
  3. Binary Bites heuristics


Do Now: Log in to your google doc and delineate your claims and counter claims by copying them and placing them in a vertical form. Place the overall argument on the top ( thesis statement)


  1. Examine the claims and counter claims in a delineating method: what’s the logical relationship among them? Do the claims( counterclaims) evolve logically? Explain in writing. If they don’t, revise your claim/counterclaim statements to make them evolve and align with your overall argument.
  2. Discuss how rhetorical appeals can be applied- use the handout and check off the ideas you plan to use to make your argument more convincing
  3. Work on the Rhetorical Precis (representing the ideas of our sources): follow the highly structured format to introduce the argument by your sources- Pick one source and practice writing one paragraph based on the source
  4. Revise Introduction and Conclusion by using the ” Making it Matter” heuristics


  • peer review using Evaluation Criteria
  • review “Understanding Argument”- In W.A. -“What is potentially counterproductive about binary thinking?”
  • Unit 3 reflection
  • course reflection “Outro Superlatives”
  • Unit 3 due: 1/23 with course reflection and Outro Superlatives.

















LCT Lesson on Falsetto

Objectives: Students will be able to write creatively about a theme in the musical Falsetto.


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

Differentiation: Students can elicit ideas from the musical based on their personal connections. They are also given various options to create their responses depending on their personal level of challenge and individual talent.

Do Now: Describe the most poignant moment or scene in the musical. What impact does it have on you? What could be the cause?

Mini Lesson and Guided Practice

Step 1: As students share the scenes in small groups, ask students: How does the scene connect to or illustrate a larger issue, i.e. family, prejudice, rites of passage, parent-children relationship, responsibility, acceptance and culture?

Step 2: In the scene you have described, what kind of theme is implied? What claim can you make based on the scene (i.e. Family is love not a social structure; or A real family always has many problems; Coming of age is not marked by a ritual but significant events in lives.)

Step 3: Students independently or help each other generate a thematic statements based on the scene they have chosen to respond.

Group share and present.

Independent Practice

Students individually write a poem or vignette or a song on one of the themes embedded in the musical Falsetto.

Share in the small group or ask one or two students to present to the class.

Quick Write to Reflect: How does a musical impact people as much as or even more than literature does?

Homework: Complete your creative work as your response to the musical Falsetto.

Rhetorical Sourcing

Objectives: Students will be able to blend sources in their writing while preserving the power of their voice.


  1. Handout 1- Blending sources
  2. Handout 2- Writing with sources
  3. Handout-It’s Your Show!

Do Now: Share in pairs your description of A public space

Mini Lesson

We’ll have a rhetorical sourcing workshop. We’ll work with strategies for using sources and unpacking quotes;

In A small group, complete the heuristic, “Rhetorical Sourcing Workshop”

We will share our evaluations of sources; Students will position and interpret a quote from their own source; and describe the connections between the source and your thinking about public space.

Independent Practice

In a small group, discuss how each ( which ) strategy is used your public space essay and present it to the class.

6 Strategies of analyzing sources-( 271-280 W.A.)

  1. Make your source speak
  2. Attend carefully to the language of your source by quoting or paraphrasing them
  3. Supply ongoing analysis of sources ( don’t wait until the end)
  4. Us your sources to ask questions, not just to provide answers
  5. Put your source into conversation with one another
  6. Find your own role in the conversation( page 278 W.A.) (A. Agreement: apply it in another context to qualify or expand its implications; B. Seek out other perspectives on the source in order to break the spell it has cast on you ( See an example on pages 279-280, W.A.)

Homework:     Read and annotate “Revising Weak Thesis Statement” pp 261-264 in WA.; Generate a tentative evolving thesis for your own essay and write 250 words toward your essay making some kind of connections between your ideas about your topic and a source (or sources) you have located. I’ll be looking for evidence that you have put your source(s) to work.


Lunch Date Video Discussion

Objectives: Students will be able to read and analyze the youtube video “Lunch Date” through the lens of culture.

Materials: “lunch date” video, “Subjectivity” heuristic, “Culture” by Steve Greenblatt

Do Now: What’s culture? Share one idea from your reading of “Culture” by Stephen Greenblatt or the chapter of “Culture” in Theory Tool Box. How does one identify a specific culture and what are its boundaries?

How do we see ” race” and ” ethnicity” in this context?

Additional quotations for class discussions-

  1. Culture…is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits by man as a member of society(Greenblatt 225).
  2. An awareness of culture as a complex whole can help us to recover that sense by leading us to reconstruct the boundaries upon whose existence the works were predicted(Greenblatt  226).
  3. A full cultural analysis will need to push beyond the boundaries of the text, to establish links between the text and values, institutions, and practices elsewhere in the culture(Greenblatt  226).
  4. The very notions of race and ethnicity are already cultural constructs, understood differently at different places or sites ( Giroux 52)

Teaching Points

  1. What’s cultural context?  Why is using the nationality as a uniform or common “culture” is becoming ab old-fashioned notion in the ” new world order- globalization”?( Giroux 53)
  2. How does culture relate to the concept of subjectivity?

We ask ourselves a set of cultural questions about the text before us-

  • -What kind of behavior, what models of practice, does this work seems to enforce?
  • -Are there any differences bet my values and those implied in the work I’m reading?
  • -Upon what social understanding does the work depend?
  • -Whose freedom of thought or movement might be constrained implicitly or explicitly by this work? (pg226 in “Culture” by Greenblatt)

Student Independent Practice

  • How does Greenblatt “read” Shakespeare’s plays through the lens of culture? Cite examples from “Culture” by Greenblatt and analyze how he ” reads” Shakespeare through a specific cultural lens.
  • In the video ” Lunch Date”, what are the details( characters’ behavior & language, race and ethnicity, setting, etc)you have noticed that suggest a specific culture?
  • As Giroux states in the “Culture” chapter of the Theory Too Box, “As we saw with ‘subjectivity’, cultures influence subjects as much as subjects influence cultures, but even culture somehow controlled subjects in some simple cause-and -effect way, contemporary culture itself is so diverse and diffuse that those methods of ‘control’ would necessarily produce a very strange being indeed”. Insofar as we are cultural subjects, just think for a moment about the complex web of things that we encounter within our ” common cultural context every day: media, family work, schools, the internet, friends, food etc.)
    How does culture relate to the concept of subjectivity?
  • -How are we cultural subjects?
  • What kind of culture may the “lunch lady”‘ be subjected to?
  • How would you analyze her behavior to the black man in the video?

Homework: Read and annotate the rest of the chapter of “Culture” in the Tool Box. Write a few paragraphs in which you organize what we discussed today in class.

Sharon Old’s Poems

Objectives: Students will be able to use subjectivity theory to analyze one of the poems by Sharon Olds.

Texts: “I Go Back to May 1937” and “On the Subway” by Sharon Olds

Do Now: Briefly describe what each poem is about. What may be the poet’s message to the reader?

Mini Lesson with Guided Practice

  • Now let’s select one idea from subjectivity ( theory):“The Fly”/”Say Yes” in the light of tension and entanglement within subjectivity.
  • We’ll reread the poem from the new perspective of subjectivity.
  • How does the speaker’s experience reveal how subjectivity theory works in a character?
  • Discuss in a pair or small group.
  • Share in class.

Independent Practice

Start composing the Thinking Paper #4.

#4 Thinking Paper


Through the innate tension within subjectivity, analyze a prevalent social or cultural narrative, which is to “rebel against authority” as a way of gaining one’s independence, a sense of self.


According to Lacan, “Metaphor and Metonymy are share structure of the unconscious. The “self” within the subject lurks from such “chains of signifier”. Use the poem “I Go Back to May 1937” by Sharon Olds and another poem of your selection to examine how the “self” struggles to free itself from the entanglement within subjectivity.

Homework: Read and annotate “Culture” by Greenblatt ( create a dialectical journal)

We ask ourselves a set of cultural questions about the text before us-

  • -What kind of behavior, what models of practice, does this work seems to enforce?
  • -Are there any differences bet my values and those implied in the work I’m reading?
  • -Upon what social understanding does the work depend?
  • -Whose freedom of thought or movement might be constrained implicitly or explicitly by this work?(pg226 in “Culture” by Greenblatt

The Fly and Say Yes Analysis

Objectives: Students will be able to use the Subjectivity theory to read and analyze the poem The Fly and short story “Say Yes”.

Do now: Share one important theory of Subjectivity and explain how it can be implemented into reading.

Mini Lesson and Guided PRACTICE

Read “Say Yes” in a small group and each member of the group uses one theory of subjectivity to explain a part of the story.

Share in class.

Independent Practice: Start working on Thinking Paper #4.

Homework: Complete Thinking paper #4.

Thesis Workshop

Thesis Workshop

Entrance Ticket
This ticket will be used to help me understand what you already know coming into the workshop.

  • ·         Please name four characteristics of effective thesis statements.
  • ·         Please write an example of a thesis statement( i.e. your thesis for the analysis essay on a contested public space).


What is a thesis statement? ( hypothesis, controlling idea, primary claim)

  • the thesis of an analytical paper is an idea about what some feature or features or your subject means ( or tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion).
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick or a contested public space ; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel or place. A thesis should be an idea in need of an argument( debatable); that is, it should not be a statement of fact or an idea with which most readers would already agree.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

In conclusion, an analytical thesis makes a claim about a subject of analysis: a text, an image, a place or an issue, for example. It reveals and explains a relationship, cause, effect or reason that might seem hidden, counterintuitive, or in other ways not-obvious to a casual reader.

How to arrive at a thesis statement?

  • A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process.
  • Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships.
  • Once you have given enough thought about the data ( evidence), you will probably have a “working thesis,” a claim that can be supported by evidence but  may need adjustment along the way.
  • Writers use all kinds of techniques to help them ” read” the evidence, clarify relationships among sources and comprehend the broader significance of a topic before they arrive at a thesis statement.

What does the thesis statement of a analytical writing look like? How does it evolve?

  • The governing idea of most analytical writing is too complex to be asserted as a single sentence claim.
  • In analytical writing, the thesis is more likely to become evident in phrases, guided by some kind of opening  claim sufficient to get the paper started. This claim is commonly known as the working thesis ( 229, W.A.).
  • Sometimes as much as the 1st third of a paper will explore an idea that the rest of the paper will subsequently replace with a different not necessarily opposing perspectives. There will be a trail or trajectory that lets readers anticipate a shift from one possible way of seeing things to another.
  • You should be able to spot tension( pressure of one idea against another possibility) in good thesis statements. ( 230 W.A.)
  • Most effective working theses, though they may begin more simply, achieve both grammatical and conceptual complexity as they evolve. Thus, they begin with : although: or incorporate ” however” or  use an ” appears to be about x but is actually about y “kind of formulation.

Weak thesis: Woman in contemporary films are more sensitive than men.

Examples of a strong thesis. Why are these theses stronger than the simple statement above? Examine the complex syntax of each sentence.

  • The complications that fuel the plots in today’s romantic comedies arise because women and men express their sensitivity so differently; the resolution, however, rarely requires the men to capitulate.
  • A spate of recent films has witnessed the emergence of the new ” womanly” man as hero, and not surprisingly, his tender qualities seems to be the reason he attracts the female love interests.

How to Draft a Thesis Statement?
The thesis makes a claim about your topic or text, lays out key evidence to support this claim, and explains the significance of the claim ( so what)

Claim: WHAT are you saying about the topic?
Evidence: HOW do you know this?
Significance: WHY does this matter?

For example-

  • Claim: The play reinforces the idea that individuals are powerless to change their fates
  • Evidence: The chorus uses foreshadowing, Romeo and Juliet are characterized as young and naïve, their final deaths are caused by situational irony
  • Significance: The course of our lives cannot be changed by hard work or wily, we must accept our destinies.

How to combine the simple sentences into a complex one using complex syntax?

Through (EVIDENCE), the passage ( place or image) reveals that (CLAIM); thus, the text ( image, place or passage) shows us that (Significance).

Here is an example-

Through the foreshadowing element of the chorus, the characterization of Romeo and Juliet as young and naïve, and the situational irony of the final scene, the play reinforces the idea that individuals are powerless to change their fates. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet thus serves as a reminder that the course of fate cannot be altered by hard work or personal will; we must accept our fate as is.

Evaluating examples of thesis statements( cited from http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/) –

Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. You turn on the computer and type out the following:

A. (Example 1) The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.

(Analysis) This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information. You will expand on this new information in the body of the essay, but it is important that the reader know where you are heading. A reader of this weak thesis might think, “What reasons? How are they the same? How are they different?” Ask yourself these same questions and begin to compare Northern and Southern attitudes (perhaps you first think, “The South believed slavery was right, and the North thought slavery was wrong”). Now, push your comparison toward an interpretation—why did one side think slavery was right and the other side think it was wrong? You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. You write:

2. ( Working thesis)  While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.

( Analysis) Now you have a working thesis! Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason. As you write the essay, you will probably begin to characterize these differences more precisely, and your working thesis may start to seem too vague. Maybe you decide that both sides fought for moral reasons, and that they just focused on different moral issues. You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper:

3. ( Final thesis) While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.

Compare this to the original weak thesis. This final thesis presents a way of interpreting evidence that illuminates the significance of the question. Keep in mind that this is one of many possible interpretations of the Civil War—it is not the one and only right answer to the question. There isn’t one right answer; there are only strong and weak thesis statements and strong and weak uses of evidence.

B. ( Example 2)  Let’s look at another example. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

 1. (weak thesis) Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

Why is this thesis weak? Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: you will most likely provide a general, appreciative summary of Twain’s novel. The question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze. Your professor is probably not interested in your opinion of the novel; instead, she wants you to think about why it’s such a great novel—what do Huck’s adventures tell us about life, about America, about coming of age, about race relations, etc.? First, the question asks you to pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

2. ( working thesis) In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.

Here’s a working thesis with potential: you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation; however, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal. Your reader is intrigued, but is still thinking, “So what? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?” Perhaps you are not sure yet, either. That’s fine—begin to work on comparing scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions. Eventually you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why this contrast matters. After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

3. ( final thesis) Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Now it’s your turn to try-

Activity 1: What can you learn from a thesis?

Each member reads his/her thesis aloud and the rest of the group answer each question from below about his/her statement. We will not discuss the thesis until everyone has had an opportunity to record his/her thoughts.

  • What question is this thesis trying to answer (or prove)?
  • What topics do you think this student is going to research?
  • Is the thesis statement clear? Is the thesis statement simply observational? Why?
  • How could you narrow down or strengthen this thesis statement?

Activity 2: Identify as many traits as you can in each member’s thesis-

  1. • Focus on narrow, clearly defined subjects
  2. • Use strong, precise verbs
  3. • Assert and structure an argument
  4. • Provide clear reasons for claims
  5. • Are not statements of fact, but debatable claims with potential counter-arguments
  6. • Tend to be syntactically complex, or even take two sentences to describe a relationship
  7. • Raise and begin to answer a challenging intellectual question

Activity 3: Revise your thesis by asking yourself the following questions-

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question( see the the analysis assignment description).
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose?If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is, “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • ( after you have finished the the essay) Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
Exit Ticket

This ticket will be used to help me understand what you learned in the workshop.

1. Please name four characteristics of effective thesis statements.

2. Please provide your revised thesis statement.