TOPIC: USES OF OBSERVATION-BASED SUPPORT IN WRITING
“Southern Comfort,” by Mark Doty, published in the Smithsonian Magazine (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/southern-comfort-11008230/ ). I used this Houston-focused essay in unit one and paired it with an essay about a different place. (The theme for my class was in fact place–analyzing how meanings are made about places, near and far.) For homework or an in-class activity, students wrote about a detail from each essay that they found particularly memorable or complex. We used this as a starting point for discussing (1) the importance of using unique wording and/or unexpected examples and (2) the need, especially in academic writing, to connect one’s details to upfront and explicit claims. Note: the Doty essay is not an academic essay, so I had to foreground the fact that I was expecting my students to produce far less open-ended essays. Still, though, Doty’s essay has instructional potential for ENGL 1303 due to Doty’s use of observation-based support. – Nathan Shepley
(Also, see below for activities using two or more short online articles. – Nathan Shepley)
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