• Putting a Paper Back Together Activity

    Date: 2011.03.21 | Category: Instructors | Tags: ,,,

    by Lily Campbell

    A great way to use an e.g. paper to work on organization and transitions!

    The Basics:

    - Print out several copies of an e.g. paper of your choice and cut it up by paragraph.

    - Students organize into groups and each group gets a complete cut-up paper.

    - Groups spend about 15 minutes putting the paper back together, making notes as they go explaining their choices. What organizational clues are they finding?

    - Discuss the Intro/Conclusion

    - What should an Intro do? What kind is this? (Acts Of Inquiry pg. 247)

    - What should a Conclusion do? What kind is this? (Acts of Inquiry pg. 265)

    - Discuss the order of the main paragraphs. Identify the following:

    - Minor claims for the paragraph

    - How that claim is developed: what kind of evidence is used?

    - Map out a reverse outline on the board, considering relationships between minor claims

    If you have more time:

    - Groups can work on coming up with alternate organizations and discuss advantages and disadvantages of each

    - Students can spend some time outlining an upcoming major paper using new skills

    For Instructors:

    - Consider using an e.g. paper that resembles one of your major assignments. My students were working on a comparative rhetorical analysis, so I used “Persuasion for a Better Cause” by 2006-2007 winner Ashley Thoreson.

    - I’ve found this assignment can be scaffolded in throughout the quarter. Early on, it serves as an introduction to thinking about organization. Later on, it allows you to address surface-level concerns like transition phrases or the known-new clause.

    For Students:

    - You can modify this activity with your own papers! Find a partner and exchange cut-up drafts. Then, try to put each other’s papers back together. Take a look at where you agree/disagree about organization and discuss:

    - What transitional cues are missing in my paper that confused my partner?

    - What alternate organizations were suggested by this activity? Would rearranging my argument make it more effective?