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Outlining Practice

by Victoria I. Walls, MFA | 24 Mar 2020
Resource Description: This is a lesson from my EAP 1500 course (College Composition for International Students). Students were in the process of developing a film analysis, based on a movie they summarized in the previous unit.
Audience: Adult
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: 50 Min
Language Skill: Writing
Content Area: EAP, College Composition
Materials and Technology:

Laptop (or cellphone, if necessary) + internet

Access to (link provided below and the lesson)

Journals (we use Blue Books)

Objective(s): Students will be able to define metacommentary (per their textbook). Students will be able to understand the distinction between supporting details and examples. Students will prepare for the analytical outline.
Outcome(s): (See objectives)
  1. Assign reading on “metacommentary” (or evidence implementation for analytical writing) for homework.
  2. (In class) Students should write in their journals, identifying main ideas and/or key terms from their textbook and explaining how they relate to their current project (an analytical essay).
  3. Check for comprehension by having students share their journal entries and clarifying misinterpretations as they emerge. At this point, students should be able to explain how metacommentary (or evidence implementation) applies to their current project.
  4. Access using a projector.
  5. Demonstrate the process for creating a mindmap. Use a sample essay if possible; however, you could also have a student assist in the demonstration by providing information about their topic.
  6. Have students begin constructing their own mind maps.
  7. Circulate to check for comprehension and progress. 
  8. Use the rest of class as workshop time.
  9. Assign reading/homework on outlining. For the next class, highlight the similarities between a mind map and a traditional (MLA) outline.
Assessment: This assignment is assessed on completion and contributes to their daily writing and participation grades. They are expected to complete the map before the next class.

Graff, G., Birkenstein, C., & Durst, R. (Eds.). (2018). “They say / I say”: The moves that matter in academic writing, with readings (4th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. 

This textbook, which has a chapter on metacommentary, is one of two required texts for EAPs 1500 (College Composition) and 1900 (Rhetoric & Research).

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TESOL Interest Section: Second Language Writing