So, I got lots of good comments about texts for the strong response paper. I think everyone is on really different pages with this assignment, which caused everyone's suggestions to be also very different.
In order to decide on texts, I've taken time to really think about the students this semester, where they are, and what they need. I just did a week on personal narrative writing with them, and as I taught them, I realized that they needed this earlier. I may have pushed them on issues and politics a little too much in the first too papers, and I am not sure they were ready for that.
This tells me a few things. 1) I think paper #3 for them needs to be a little out in left field because if they start to feel like all the assignments are too related, they start to bring their writing "sins" and worries with them from paper to paper. Some of them freeze under this pressure. 2) We did so much focus on the thinking process in papers 1 and 2, that I think I need to give them an assignment that to them feels more like a writing assignment/ process. Again, we know that all assignments are both, but sometimes it isn't about us or how we perceive the process. It is about the students and what they see. 3) I want to take advantage of the current political climate and election if I can. 4) I want all my students to get a strong sense of success after paper #3 as they prepare for the next two papers.
So, with all that said, I have decided to let my students choose essays from The New Yorker magazine. I gave them a word limit and a specific place to look for the essays online. There are enough that I am hoping each students will be able to find something that is challenging and interesting. It also exposes them to new ideas that are current and real. So many of my students were nervous about talking about local issues in previous papers because they did not feel informed. I am hoping that this adventure with the New Yorker will actually empower them and give them more confidence in their ability to find out what is going on and have an opinion about it. Plus, these essays are well written while also leaving room for response and critical thought.
Am I off in left field? Let me know.
What problems should I prepare for with this?