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Activity 3.1 Reading and Class Cafe Assignment

Initial post due Wednesday each week

Reactions to others due by Sunday each week.

Reading Assignment: Chapter 3 Writing Arguments (45-56)

Chapter 3 comes a little early for us since your first paper is actually an analytical summary more than an argument, but we will still skim it. It focuses on how to write an argumentative paper, and we may return to some of the ideas in a few weeks when you begin to formulate your own positions and write about them. Note you are only responsible for pages 45-56.

• Skim pages 45-52, and if you are someone who needs help getting started with a paper, you may pay closer attention to the brainstorming, drafting, and revising advice.

• Read more closely pages 53-55 because we will discuss these concepts in the class café this week in order to participate more fully in the conversation surrounding the controversial topic for your first paper (An Analysis of the Sources of Disagreement in a Controversy).

Class Café Assignment

After you have read pages 53-55, join us for some discussion activities in the class cafe. We will work with the assertion NBC should have released the Virginia Tech shooter’s videotapes and we will have three café table discussions this week: "playing the believing and doubting game," “brainstorming for pro con because clauses,” and “analyzing sources of disagreement.”

At the table where we are playing the believing and doubting game, you should submit two posts. In the first one, you should write one short paragraph that argues for the assertion. In the second post, you should write one paragraph that opposes it. In other words, you post one paragraph that agrees with the assertion that NBC was justified in their release of the shooter’s videotapes and post another paragraph that condemns the assertion. (Note: you can read the articles and interviews below to help inform your statements, or you can write from your own experience and values.)

The goal of this table is to practice seeing an issue from both sides and understanding the complexity surrounding it.

At the table where we are brainstorming for pro con statements, we will practice a key structural component to argumentation: the because clause. Be sure you have read about this exercise in your book pp. 54-55. You should read through our position statements posted at the believing/doubting table and sort out some pro con statements. Look at why some could support NBC’s airing of the tapes (PRO) and why some would attack their decision (CON). Post one response to the table with at least two PRO because clauses and two CON because clauses. For example, NBC should have aired the tapes because . . / NBC should not have aired the tapes because . . .

The goal of this table is to begin formulating reasoning to support a claim. The because clause provides ONE reason to support a given assertion, and you will use these kinds of statements in your upcoming writing assignments.

At the table where we are analyzing sources of disagreement, we will get a chance to discuss the articles for Paper 1. Post your thoughts on these articles. Part 1 of your post should summarize the various voices in the discussion: What position does each take in the controversy? What are the main reasons given in support of the each position? Part 2 of your post should begin to analyze the sources of disagreement: do the authors disagree about facts and their relevance, about underlying beliefs, values or assumptions, or do they disagree about both? When I say “voices/authors” I am referring to NBC News, Steve Adubato, Allahpundit, Michael Welner and Lionel Shriver

• Required Readings for Café Discussion and Paper #1

“NBC News statement on gunman’s video”

By NBC News, April 19, 2007

“Airing Cho ‘manifesto’ was a very ‘tough call’’: Sometimes some people will be angry no matter what you do”

By Steve Adubato

MSNBC News, April 20, 2007

“Should NBC have aired Cho’s video?”

Posted by Allahpundit

HotAir blog, April 19, 2007

“Psychiatrist: Showing Video Is ‘Social Catastrophe’”

By ABC News, April 22, 2007

“What the Killers Want”

By Lionel Shriver

Washington Post, April 22, 2007 P. B01

 Updated Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 8:32:44 PM by Marilyn Patton -
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