Annotation as Research and Pre-writing

This assignment was created by Sean Hackney for students at Joliet Township High School. It moves from collaborative annotation as class discussion to individual annotation as research methodology, culminating in a final argumentative essay. You can view the assignment in its entirety here. You can also check out this exemplary student’s annotation of one of the articles she researched.

Purpose: This assignment is designed for you to develop an argument based on the careful reading of a minimum of four articles or essays, centered around the same subject, as found on The Electric Typewriter, synthesizing ideas that both support and contradict a position you develop about your chosen subject.

We will practice the kind of careful reading you will need to do for this assignment using David Foster Wallace’s Harper’s Magazine article, “Ticket to the Fair.” Annotations of the text will be made using We will discuss how to make annotations using and also what annotations should consist of.

Every annotation you publish should use the course tag, westrhet, so that we can easily curate annotations.

The argument you make should be generated from annotations you made (or that you read from others) in the various articles.

Assignment: Compose an argument of 1000+ words that fulfills the purpose of the assignment.

Genre: Your argument should follow the pattern below as it best fits:

  • Introduction
  • Background information that states the issue being discussed
  • Offer your point-of-view (I Say) with support from the sources you read.
  • Acknowledge opposition or complications to your argument (They Say) using your ideas plus the sources you read.
  • Offer a rebuttal to the opposing side using your best argument strategies.
    • Please consult They Say/I Say in order that you include the expectations of argument.

Note: At this point in the year your knowledge of how to write arguments (college essays) is well developed. Now the emphasis moves from how you are writing to what you are arguing. As your 102 instructor, I’m assuming that you understand how to construct an argument (college essay), so I want to read what you have to say about the subject you have chosen to read about. Establish your voice (the evaluation paper should have helped you relax a bit and find how you can sound like you when writing) and make sure to include evidence for all of the claims that you make.

Sources: Minimum of 4 sources from The Electric Typewriter. All sources must be documented on a Works Cited page and you should include links to the articles in your paper and on the Works Cited page. This isn’t necessarily required, but with digital scholarship it makes sense to include links to sources.

Bonus points (not really, but you get the idea…): Reply to a classmate’s annotation in the text(s) that you read. You may even decide to include something a classmate said in an annotation from one of your text’s in your essay.

Audience: You will have the option of including a link to your “published to web” Google Doc as an annotation on The Electric Typewriter.

Length: 1000+ words

Due Date: Friday, February 19th, by the start of class.

Format/Medium/Layout: You will submit a formal college essay with MLA headings, headers, title, font, format and spacing, along with a Works Cited page, but you are encouraged to digitize the essay where appropriate.

Stance: You will make an argument about some facet of the subject you focused on for your reading.