Writing With Purpose

Writing With Purpose

John McCullough

Entertainment Technology

ENT 1100 Intro to Entertainment Technology

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

This lesson introduces the writing concepts of thesis statements and supporting evidence, and trains students to analyze their writing assignments and prompts.

After a brief review of the five-paragraph essay structure and the definition of a thesis statement, students are asked to write thesis statements in response to questions or topics suggested by the instructor.
Students share their thesis statements, then discuss which ones were stronger and why, offering suggestions on how to improve weaker statements.
Finally, the class chooses one or two thesis statements and brainstorms about what kinds of supporting evidence are appropriate to use to support that statement and why.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

Students will be able to…
a. analyze a writing assignment to identify if they should be answering a question, persuading the reader, or stating an opinion.
b. define the term ‘thesis statement’
c. write a strong thesis statement for a five-paragraph essay
d. use appropriate evidence to support their thesis statement

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This is an in-class activity for early in the semester, and it takes about 60 minutes for a 25-person class.

There is a follow-up homework assignment which is due the following week.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

The only preparation required is to generate a list of questions and topics for the students to write their thesis statements about. These topics can be discipline specific to reinforce other material from the class, or they can be based in current events, or some other area of interest to the class. They should be accessible enough that everyone in the class can have an opinion.

I have used the following questions in ENT 1100 and gotten good engagement from the students:
o Are copyright laws too restrictive?
o Which is more important, freedom or safety?
o Is technology good for society?

This is a low-stakes activity, and nothing is collected or graded.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

This in-class activity is not directly assessed.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

This activity worked well, and I would repeat it. I found it helpful to do some in-class writing early in the semester before the first essays were assigned to work on the basics of essay structure. It seemed to have a positive effect on the later writing assignments.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

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