Monday, October 13, 2008

Texts for Paper #3

I'm excited to move on to Paper #3 for English 1010, but I am having a very hard time finding texts for the students to respond to. I want to provide 3 texts and let them choose one to respond to, but I am nervous about picking them myself since I have not worked with this assignment before. I am also still new to the demographics of freshmen students. I don't want to choose a text that is not at least user-friendly for this purpose.

Please help. I would love recommendations about texts to use. Again, I am looking for about three options. Also, any student samples or thoughts on teaching paper #3 would be great. I understand how it fits into the sequence, but I know I am going to have more questions along the way.


Jill Fellow


Goshert said...


If you're planning to offer a set of possible texts, the first approach that comes to my mind is first querying the class to get a sense of their interests and then finding three (or so) texts that explore some of the questions, ideas, fields, etc. common to the students' responses.

Since--I assume at least--the third paper will be a jumping off point for the fourth and fifth papers, in selecting your texts, you might also ensure as much as possible that students can comprehend and engage with one of your texts in isolation, and yet also be left with plenty of critical questions that they can pursue through further research.

OK, hope this makes sense. Don't hesitate to write back. I hope others offer some suggestions as well for this strategy.

Alyssa said...

I agree that it's a good idea to have three texts and let the students choose between those three. That seems to help them if one text doesn't really speak to them like the others do.

After having taught an assignment like this a couple of times at the U, I found that it was helpful to give the student's essays that appear to be sound, but, upon deeper analysis, it becomes apparent that they have some clear logical flaws in it. I think it's a little bit easier for them to break apart an essay that already has some problems in it.

So, with that in mind, I use Kurt Wiesenfeld's "Making the Grade," Paul Spickard's "Why I Believe in Affirmative Action" and Emrys Westacott's "Americans Don't Really Believe in the Ten Commandments." Let me know if you're interested in any of those texts and I can send you an electronic copy.