• 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?