Scaffolded Assignment

Dr. Haimes-Korn tasked us with designing a scaffolded assignment in our 6300 Understanding Writing as a Process class.  As future teachers, the goal was to design a multi-draft assignment for a first-year writing classroom.  The objective for us, as grad students in the MAPW program, was to apply theoretical concepts and scaffolded design resource ideas from our course study to actual practice in completing this task.

I designed a rebuttal argument essay assignment titled “Community Engagement via Rhetoric” for first-year students to locate themselves within a range of voices on opposing sides of their chosen issue.  The assignment requires them to apply critical thinking in analyzing rhetorical situations outside the classroom.

The essay is an individual assignment with collaboration among classmates (during peer review) and with teacher (in conference) prior to submitting the assignment.  The assignment I designed may be viewed in its entirety at the link below the following excerpt.

Community Engagement via Rhetoric

You will analyze a rebuttal argument in your first multi-draft essay assignment.

Step 1. Choose the argument you will analyze from a blog, vlog, or news article (online or print) about a city council, school board, or other community meeting that represents two opposing sides of a recent – occurring within past 6 months – event or issue.  For this assignment, community is defined as a group of people residing in the neighborhood, school district, city, or county of your permanent address.

I must note that Dr. Haimes-Korn’s design of this task is a prime example of scaffolding, and it included the following components: Lindemann Heuristic exercise, draft, classmates’ comments added to draft, in-class peer review (including comments from Dr. Haimes-Korn), revision log added to peer review comments, evaluation criteria, revised scaffolded assignment, and contextualized scaffolded assignment.

We had already reviewed models of scaffolding by other professors in our Syllabus Analysis assignment for this course.  Those models, in conjunction with Dr. Haimes-Korn’s example, contributed to my knowledge of scaffolding and influenced my own design.  Scaffolding of my multi-draft assignment included components for invention work, first draft with peer review, second draft with peer review, conference draft, final draft, and class presentation.