English: Using sample papers effectively

Title: Using sample papers effectively in the classroom
Discipline(s) or Field(s): College Writing, Research, Freshmen Seminar
Authors: Kyla Moore and Debra Siebert, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Submission Date: March 2, 2009

Executive Summary:  The purpose of this study is structure an activity that effectively helps students to see multiple uses for sample writing that is shared in the classroom. Students are asked to participate in two sets of small groups to discuss a sample paper, and the ways it could be read and used effectively. Each small group meets for 15-20 minutes. The first group brainstorms how to read the sample paper through a particular pedagogical lens, while the second group focuses on synthesizing the lenses represented. The group summaries demonstrate that when students are given a carefully constructed lesson, they are able to recognize and discuss multiple perspectives of a text and then synthesize them collaboratively. Additionally, a pattern emerged from our reading of student self-reflections: students overwhelmingly claimed that the lesson will both help them consider and analyze their audiences and consider multiple viewpoints when reading and writing.

English Lesson Study: Using samples papers effectively (Final Report)
Link to material used to teach the lesson:

English: Revision and Peer Review

Title: How many peer reviewers does it take to revise a thesis?
Discipline(s) or Field(s):
English
Authors: Terry Beck, Susan Crutchfield, Bryan Kopp, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Submission Date:
April 2, 2004

Our goals:

  • Help students revise their essays—particularly their thesis statements—through critical thinking and rhetorical understanding
  • Encourage critical conversations between students as writers/readers
  • Foster an awareness that writing involves the discovery and development of ideas, involving learning for writers/readers

The “Lesson”

  • “Workshop groups”—a small group of students meets with the instructor to discuss the work in progress
  • Workshop focus is finding and discussing main idea of the draft.
  • Given the recursiveness of writing and individual differences among students, it is challenging to design a lesson about a discrete writing issue.
  • Qualitative research (no lab coats)

Preliminary Findings

  • The students with the highest abilities seemed to benefit most from the process.
  • “Average” students were not engaging in critical conversations and revising their papers to the extent we had hoped.
  • Students were struggling with the subject matter itself as well as how to write about it.