Thursday, October 28, 2010

Group Work for Presentations

At the end of Tuesday's meeting, I asked you to write down, in your own words, one thing that startled or intrigued you from chapter eight of Schlosser's Fast Food Nation; then I asked you to choose a quotation from the chapter to represent what you'd written and to do five minutes of freewriting on your chosen topic and quotation. Finally, we broke into groups, and each member explained their thoughts to the group.

For today's class, in preparation for our presentations, we'll be working in the same groups. I am asking these groups to choose from among what the individual members produced last time and work together to frame a problem-posing exercise. Groups will spend the first 10 minutes of class getting organized and quickly sketching out their presentations. After this, we'll take 15 minutes for the groups to firm up their presentations, and each group will present their work in a "dry run" and get feedback from the class. Finally, we will have open lab time for groups to polish and develop their presentations (using freewriting, discussion, PowerPoint etc.) and for individual class members to come up with questions for the presentations.

You will remember the problem-posing method from our work earlier this month. As a reminder, here are the steps:

1. Define the problem. What interests or troubles you in this chapter? What form does the problem take? What are its causes? What are its consequences? Who does it affect, and how? Does it relate to any larger social, cultural, or political issues? How so?

2. Give a quotation to support your definition and explain how the quotation relates to your definition. Be sure to choose the best quotation, not the first one you come to. As we discussed in class, a good quotation relates directly to your point (in this case, your definition of the problem) but includes new information or a new point of view that enriches your point. When you explain your quotation, you should discuss how it relates to your point and explain anything in the quotation that the reader may not understand (such as who is speaking, who the speaker represents, or the speaker's role in the problem). You may need to "unpack" the quotation by discussing key words or phrases, but you should do so in your own words by relating them to the point that you are making or to the speaker's point; please do not provide dictionary definitions.

3. Personalize the problem. Relate the problem to your personal experience or knowledge from outside the class. What have you learned or experienced in your own life that allows you to see this problem clearly as you read the chapter? Describe your experience and explain how it relates to and clarifies the problem.

4. Describe solutions to the problem that have been tried and failed. What solutions to the problem are offered in the chapter or in other reading you have done for this class? What solutions do you know of through personal experience or outside reading? Describe the solutions and explain why they failed.

5. Invent your own solution. If you were given unlimited resources and connections, how would you solve this problem? Who would you work with, and why? Exactly what steps would you take? How would those steps lead to a solution? What specific outcome would you expect?

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