Aug. 31/Sept. 3 homework

Task 1 – About 45 minutes
Due before Sat. Aug. 31 at 2 pm

Learning targets: active and critical reading, pre-reading, annotation, paraphrase, studying

PRO TIP: Do this activity before working on the paper described below. I’ll be expecting you to apply what you learn from this chapter to your paper.

  1. Preview the questions on the pre-test for “The Art of Summarizing”
  2. Read and annotate “The Art of Summarizing” in They Say/I Say
  3. Study for “The Art of Summarizing” post-test. Please paraphrase all answers to the questions by putting your answers in your own words. Because direct quotations don’t provide indications of your understanding, direct quotations will not be accepted as correct answers on the post-test.
  4. Test your understanding by taking “The Art of Summarizing” post-test without using your book.

Task 2 – Write a Paper – About 90 minutes. Due Tuesday Sept. 3 by 11:59 pm.

PRO TIPS:
1. Read and understand this entire post before starting work on your paper. There are important guidelines and instructions under the Learning Targets box below.
2. Start work on your paper well before Tuesday.
3. Plan to work in multiple moderate-length writing sessions rather than one long one.
4. Even if you feel like you might be “doing it wrong,” make it a goal to meet the target word count and practice the targeted skills listed below.
5. Come to class on Wednesday no matter what.

Write a short paper in which you first summarize and explain Carol Dweck’s argument about how learners’ mindsets affects their learning when faced with learning challenging materials or skills. Be sure to read what makes a good summary below before attempting this segment of your paper.

Then use Dweck’s concepts and accounts of your own experiences in high school as evidence to determine what your mindset has been when faced with a challenging academic task involving reading or writing. (Here’s a definition of “accounts.”) Be sure to read how personal experience can be used as evidence below before attempting this segment of your paper.

While Dweck discusses two types of mindsets (fixed and growth), it makes sense that some of you might have a mixed mindset about reading and writing. If you determine that you have a mixed mindset, be sure to help you reader understand what you mean and how you came to your conclusion.

Target: 600 words or more.
Due: Tues. Sep. 3 at 11:59 pm

Learning targets for this assignment: writing fast, summary with a point, making evidence speak, signal verbs, writing for comprehension, learning and thinking.

Good summaries connect the ideas being summarized to the purpose of your paper

You might be able to construct a good summary of Dweck’s argument in two or three chunky paragraphs, but not in a few sentences or a single paragraph.

A good summary of Dweck’s work will fairly and accurately represent her ideas in a way that a) Dweck herself would agree was fair and accurate and b) enable a reader who is not familiar with Dweck’s work to understand it without having to view her talk.

To achieve these goals, you will need to use examples and explanation as well as direct quotation and paraphrase. As the authors of They Say/I Say advise, be sure to use “signal verbs that fit the action” whenever you quote or paraphrase any material from Dweck (39). I highly recommend using the lists of signal verbs on pages 40-41 of They Say/I Say to help you choose effective signal verbs.

As you read in They Say/I Say, a good summary will also have a “focus or spin that allows the summary to fit with your own agenda” (34). In the case of this paper assignment, your agenda is to use Dweck’s concepts to diagnose your own mindset when it comes to reading or writing in academic settings.

Your story is your evidence – so do a good job providing relevant details that you can make speak to the question at hand

Good accounts of your own high school experience will use all the elements of good story-telling (plot, character, setting, dialogue) to advance your central claim about your mindset. Your account could focus on a relevant sequence of events that you think reveals your mindset. Events should be portrayed with vivid, exact details that reveal the way you felt about the challenging learning task. Help your reader imagine what it was like being you during this learning arc by establishing the setting of the scene and using exterior and interior dialogue to dramatize the events and your reactions to them.

Good accounts of your experience will also integrate words and ideas from Dweck (in the form of direct quotations or paraphrases) into your story to help readers understand how the events portrayed reveal your mindset. Just as you did when summarizing, be sure to choose good signal verbs when quoting or paraphrasing Dweck.

Make your evidence speak to the question at hand

Accounts of your high school experience should be introduced with topic sentences that mix keywords and ideas from Dweck and keywords from your experience. For example, consider these introductory topic sentences:

My inclination to quit writing fairly quickly during difficult writing tasks suggests that I have what psychologist Carol Dweck calls a “fixed mindset” (1:34). I remember being reluctant to persist when I put off writing a research paper on the disappearance of mobster Jimmy Hoffa my junior year of high school. No matter how often I sat down to write, I knew it wasn’t going to be any good, so I couldn’t see the point of trying.

Your accounts should also be followed up with sentences that help your reader make sense of your story as evidence to support your claim about your mindset.

Follow-up sentences might shine a spotlight on important features of your story that you want your reader to notice, reveal how you think about the evidence, or connect the dots for your reader in a way that enables them to see how your story supports your claim about your mindset.

In most cases, you will use more than one strategy when you follow-up to make sense of the evidence you offered. One or two sentences of explanation and interpretation will almost never be enough to enable your reader to see the evidence the way you do.

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