Putting a Paper Back Together Activity
A great way to use an e.g. paper to work on organization and transitions!
- 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
- 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.
- 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?
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