LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Unit 4 Seminar Peer Review of Persuasive Essays Topics for Major Projects Dr. Vicki Hill
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Persuasive Essays are due at the end of Unit 4. I will be grading these essays, and you will also be providing a Peer Review for one of your classmates. I will distribute the papers via email for Peer Review, and your review should be completed by the end of Unit 5. (Return the reviewed essays to me via email.)
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar The purpose of this peer review is simply to practice the skill of assessing a classmate’s writing. For this persuasive paper, you will not be given the opportunity to revise.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Your Peer Review will be graded according to how thoroughly you have identified areas of concern in your classmate’s paper. Later in the semester, you will again provide a peer review for the major paper in this class, and in that case you will be able to revise the draft after seeing your classmate’s review.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Peer Review has 2 purposes: • You will provide a classmate with an audience’s view of his/her paper, in which you identify areas of confusion as well as areas of strength, in order to help the writer improve his/her paper’s effectiveness and correctness.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar 2. You will hone your skills at recognizing the most important aspects of good writing, becoming more adept at evaluating and critiquing what you read as well as drawing inspiration for the improvement of your own writing.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Steps to Follow in Peer Reviewing To begin with, • Praise what works well in the draft; point to specific passages. • Ask the writer how you can help. What specific areas should you look at? Then, • Comment on higher-order concerns [HOC’s] before lower-order concerns [LOC’s]
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar HOC’s • Does the essay respond to the assignment? • Are the ideas important and interesting? • Is the main point clear and focused? • Is the essay effectively organized, with a logical sequence of points? • Are ideas adequately developed? • Is the essay’s argument convincing? • Is evidence used properly?
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar LOC’s Look for problems such as • Awkward or confusing sentences • Difficult or hard-to-read style • Grammar errors • Imprecise or incorrect word choices • Spelling errors • Lapses in proofreading
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Be specific in your responses. Tell the writer where you get stuck and what you don’t understand. Not helpful: vague phrases like “This is good.” Helpful: Explaining why and how it is good, such as “I like the way you emphasized your main point with that example.”
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar • When suggesting improvements, indicate particular words, phrases, or sentences • As much as you can, explain why you're making particular suggestions. • Try describing what you see (or hear) in the paper--what you see as the main point, what you see as the organizational pattern. • Identify what's missing, what needs to be explained more fully. Also, identify what can be cut.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar • Be honest (but polite and constructive) in your response. You are not helping the writer if you avoid mentioning a problem. • Don't argue with the author about his/her position; you are trying to help improve the argument, not change it. • Word criticism carefully by focusing on what you are thinking when you read a passage.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar • Helpful criticism: “I don’t understand exactly what you mean by…” • Unhelpful criticism: “This makes no sense.” • Helpful criticism: “My mind tended to wander at the beginning.” • Unhelpful criticism: “Your introduction is boring.”
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Another way of thinking about peer review • What do you like about the paper? What don’t you like? • What do you find especially interesting? • Where is the paper especially clear about what it is trying to say? • Where are you confused when reading the paper?
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar • Is there any passage that seems to get away from the main point of the paper? • Where does the paper move smoothly from point to point? Where does it make an abrupt shift? • Is the thesis statement clear and complete? • Is the order of the paragraphs effective? • Does the paper come to a satisfying conclusion?
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Remember, your job as a peer reviewer is not necessarily to “catch” or “fix” every problem. Instead, you are trying to help the writer make the paper more successful overall, addressing both higher and lower order concerns but focusing most of your attention on higher order issues. Be conscientious and kind, and try to provide your peer review partner with good advice and clear, helpful feedback.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Unit 5 is our “midterm” week, which means we won’t have seminar next Thursday. Check the “To Do” list in Unit 5 to see what your responsibilities are during the break. One important task will be to choose a topic for your major project. Look for an announcement at the end of Week 4 in which I’ll list the topics you may choose from.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar TOPIC 1: The Arizona Immigration Law • What are its implications for Mexican-American citizens? • Does it violate the principle of equal treatment under the law? • Is too much authority given to police officers? • Is police authority clearly defined? • Does the law create two classes of citizens? • Is it necessary to prevent illegal immigration? • Is there any relationship between the immigration law and the drug problem or to the dangers of terrorism?
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar TOPIC #2: Supreme Court Decisions on the Second Amendment and Metropolitan Gun Control Laws (D.C. and Chicago) • Do you agree with the decision to strike down gun bans in these metropolitan areas? • Will it help prevent crime? • Compare the chances of protecting the home vs. the chances of causing harm in the home • Will this lead to an increase or decrease in gun-related crimes and/or deaths, accidental or intentional? • What are the Second Amendment arguments used by supporters of the decision to strike down the ban? • What do the statistics show that supports or weakens the arguments on either side?
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar TOPIC #3: The War on Drugs: Blood on the Streets of Mexico/America as the World’s Largest Consumer • What is the effectiveness of current law/policy in reducing supply or demand? • What is the feasibility or likelihood of decreasing either at any time in the future? • What are the benefits and drawbacks of legalization? • Compare policies and approaches in countries that have legalized drugs • Explain why the U.S. is by far the largest consumer of elicit drugs • Address how to reduce demand • Evaluate attempts at reducing supply
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Your Major Essay Project will be another persuasive essay. After choosing one of the three topics we’ve just looked at, you will follow the same process for developing, researching, narrowing your topic, etc., that you went through during the first half of the course for your expository and persuasive papers.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar The Major Project will require you to address your chosen topic in greater depth and with a broader scope than the one you will complete in Unit 4. As a result, you will need: • a stronger focus on choosing and properly citing peer-reviewed source in your research • a thesis statement that meets a higher level of complexity • a more rigorous peer-review process prior to revision and submission of your final draft
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar The paper is required to be between 6 and 8 pages in length, which means that you will go beyond the standard 5-paragraph essay structure. You will want to follow either the Toulmin or the Rogerian strategy for structuring and developing your persuasive essay, depending on which is more appropriate for your topic and position.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar Though the following items are not due until the end of Unit 6, I urge you to get started on the initial idea-generating process during Midterm week: • Complete a free-writing exercise (to figure out what you already know or think you know about the topic you’ve chosen) • Build a brainstorm map to get some idea from which direction you might approach the topic • Decide which sub-topic(s) you find interesting and that you might like to research further.
LS526 Unit 4 Seminar I’m looking forward to reading your persuasive essays. Good luck with the peer review, and enjoy your break! firstname.lastname@example.org 912-429-9739