Monday, December 29, 2008

Topic: Controversial Issues as Topics for Writing

Question: What are some interesting topics for compositions?

10-second review: Make a statement on a controversial issue and ask students to respond to it.

Title: “ ‘I can relate to that….’: Reading and Responding in the Writing Classroom.” R Lent. College Composition and Communication (May 1993), 232-240. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: If possible, use quotes. Find them in syndicated columns or in letters to the editor or editorials. Students learn to control emotions and to think clearly about controversial issues. Format: Summarize the offending statement and respond.

Comment: I always begin class with ten minutes of writing that I correct that night and return the next day. Usually, I encourage students to write on a topic of their choice. Responding to a controversial issue on a series of days would be useful. That ten minutes of writing can be expanded into a full-blown composition as one of the class’s major assignments. Purpose of the ten-minute essays is to identify and clear up grammatical problems. I give extra credit if students re-write the corrected ten-minute essay. If I have five classes a day, I assign the ten minute essays to one class for three weeks and then shift to a second class, etc. RayS.

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