Memory Pre-Draft: Writing for Detail

Lesson Plan on Writing for Detail

Lesson objective(s): Introducing students to the necessity of using details in writing for an audiences unfamiliar with the subject matter under consideration.

Total estimated time: 45 – 55 minutes

Additional outcome(s): Fostering feelings of competence and expertise in students

Course work or assignment underway: First Essay (Conference Presentation), but this could work with any expository writing assignment

Work and/or reading completed before class: Previous week: Lessons/workshops on thesis and motive and readings from Plato and Aristotle; Current week: Readings by Schacter and Warnock

Sequence of Classroom Activities

–   Step one: Divide class into groups of two.

–   Step two: Each student draws a simple non-geometrical figure (i.e., an abstract shape, a bird, a house, frowny face, etc.).  Students must not show the figure to their partners. (5 min.)

–   Step three: In as detailed a manner as possible, students write step-by-step instructions for reproducing their figures. (10 min.)

–   Step four: Students take turns reading aloud their instructions to their partners exactly as they have written them.  It is the partner’s job to reproduce the figure according to the instructions as they have been read to them (15 min.)

–   Step five: Students compare their original drawings to their partners’ reproductions of same (the two drawings will, most likely, differ wildly).  As a class, we will then discuss what made for successful or unsuccessful instructions, placing emphasis on the need for including details the author might have overlooked due to his or her familiarity with the subject. (15 – 25 min.)

Reflection on the lesson’s success or alternative approaches:

–   Reflection assignment: Students will write a reflective response as to why their instructions were successful or unsuccessful and post this response to the class blog.

Download: Writing for Detail (doc)

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