18th Century Black Literature: Documented Source Paper Response Plan
Assignment: When I distribute the assignment sheet, I read through the sheet verbatim with my students. Taking time to do this, I find, provides students with an opportunity to ask questions for clarification on things they may otherwise be confused about or reticent to ask questions on. I also use this as an opportunity for informal conversation where students can express their initial ideas about potential paper topics. Students will often chime in and give feedback, and I also offer advice and suggestions.
Invention/Planning/Drafting: I teach my students that writing is a process, so I never send them off to complete an assignment without guiding them along the way. Students must complete their papers in a series of stages, steps, or components. The initial phase of the writing process is the invention stage. Students must complete an argument proposal. This is their written contract with me about what they intend to write and how they intend to set up the argument. The argument proposal is nothing more than a glorified outline, but it forces students to plan and organize before sitting down to actually write the paper. The argument proposal has six basic questions: What is your topic? How is your audience? What is your exigence? What is your aim? What kind of paper are your writing? What claims will you use to support your argument? If students can successfully run their topics through these six questions, then they have chosen a worthy topic. They also have a brief outline or plan from which to proceed.
The students get their proposals peer reviewed by two classmates. I have specific peer review forms that I distribute. I also collect the proposals and write suggestive commentary. The proposal receives a grade of check minus (unsatisfactory), check (satisfactory), or check plus (superb). Students must take into account my comments and their peer review partners suggestions and revise the proposal before moving on to construct the introductory paragraph. This same process that I have described above of student peer review and written feedback from me is repeated at the writing stages of the intro paragraph, draft of the paper, and concluding paragraph of the paper.
Evaluation: Because I teach that writing is a process, I grade my students on the entire process of writing the paper. I do not grade students solely on the end product or final version of the paper. Students must submit their work in a pocket folder. The folder basically functions as a portfolio of the writing process. The folder contains all stages of the invention, planning, and drafting process. This includes the initial and revised argument proposal, introductory paragraph, draft of paper, all corresponding peer review forms, and the final version of the paper with works cited page. By this point, the grading process is quite simple because I have already marked commentary along the way on the argument proposals, intro paragraphs, and drafts of their papers. I write a short end summary comment and a letter grade on the last page of the final version of the paper.