5-31-2017 Lesson Plan

Peer Response (20-30 min)

For this first draft, I think you should start thinking about what it would mean to have a stranger look at it. Find a partner who is not familiar with what you are working on so far. As you review the piece, respond to these questions to help your partner think about how some contextual information and genre conventions for their piece might need some more development: Does it stand on its own? If you were to encounter this piece as a stranger, what would you make of it? What is it missing that would draw your eye to keep reading and keep it on your mind, what is memorable about it? Additionally, as always, please have comments ready in regard to what excited you, surprised you, what you think might need more development or work in revision.

Finally, start sharing what you are thinking about working on for your second campaign piece. How might it work in tandem with this first campaign piece? With your whole campaign overall? How will it be delivered? To whom? When? In what context?

Modes: Sound (15-30 min)

You just got done with writing in a genre that you chose (I chose the blog posts and the proposal genre so far), and you are probably still getting into the swing of things as far as “what” you want to say to the world. A good way to test out “what” you are saying is to say it in a different way. To “try again” and really poke around at the available means of persuasion. In the contemporary world, different modes of expression are used constantly, often in tandem with one another. I’m pretty sure none of you used sound, so I thought we might play with that and talk about what might be gained and what might be lost when trying this mode vs. others (writing, images, etc.) you already tried out. Also, it is nice to get experience with some things that you may not have tried before…rhetoric, after all, is about options.

To start off, let’s listen to this short news piece. I have some questions I want you to consider as you listen.


Note every type of sound you hear. Why? Why then? (Kairos). How does language and sound effect work together?

How do the speakers speak? How fast or slow? How do they enunciate their words? Is there a difference in approach among speakers? What kinds of words do they choose to use? What kinds of sentences?


Here is a transcript of the first approximately 40 seconds of the report:

“On this Memorial Day, many Americans are pausing to place flowers and flags at the tombstones of military veterans. But we now have the story of a man who has made restoring those tombstones his mission. Here’s Kathy Carter of member station USF in Tampa.

A towering oak tree, draped with Spanish moss, offers little relief from the Florida sun as Andrew Lumisch scrubs grime from the headstone of a World War I veteran.”

What kinds of sentences are these? Why are they written the way they are do you think? What can a listener process vs. a reader? What affordances are there? What can you do when you read vs. when you hear? What changes as new speakers come into play?

Let’s hear it one more time.

What do you think?


Remediation: Campaign Piece into News Report Recording (30-45 min)

With a partner, you will remediate one of your campaign pieces into the genre of a short news report sound recording. Below I have some guidelines in working with recording and sound editing software. What changes when you are using a new mode of expression? When using the genre of the short news report? What is an imagined context for this report do you think? (target audience, news station or internet source, time of year or day it would be broadcast or shared, etc.) How does such a context shape how you compose your sound recording? Do you want one speaker or more? How will you share the ”same” message? When you are finished, we will share some rough cuts and talk about what happens when we think about our message in a different form, and in the mode of expression of sound as well as the genre of the short news report.


Step 1: Getting sound editing software (download Audacity)

Click here to download Audacity. If you know sound recording software well enough already, feel free to use that software. If not, use Audacity as this document will give you pointers on how to work with it.


Step 2: Invention

What do you want to record? For today, group up with one or two other people and decide on who’s draft of a campaign piece you would like to convert into a short news piece (about 2-4 minutes long) that conveys the “same” information (you may only choose to cover part of it, rather than all of it). What will you choose to say? Will there be one voice or more? How will you break it up? Will you use any music? Any sound effects? How fast will you speak? What words will you choose? What kinds of sentences fit better in speech than in writing? Sketch out some initial ideas for what you want to say, how you will say it, and then get ready to test things out in Step 3.


Step 3: Recording sound

You can record directly via Audacity. Click on the button with the red circle in the middle at the top of the page (it is the last button in the row that begins with the “pause” symbol, the “play” symbol, the “stop” symbol, the “rewind” symbol, and the “fast forward” symbol). If it is too difficult to record directly into your computer (e.g., poor quality, computer doesn’t have a microphone), you can record into your phone. An iPhone, for instance, has the “Voice Memo” app. If you go the phone route, come grab me and I can show you how to transfer that file to your computer (you will need to have a device that connects your phone to your computer, like a phone charger).


You will need to test things out for a few reasons. You need to make sure you are actually recording something. Speak into your device (sing “Happy Birthday” or just spout some random things) and play it back. Does it sound OK? Can you make out what is being said? Is there a weird background noise? It may be the case that you need to speak closer into your device, you might need to switch locations to somewhere quieter or with better acoustics, etc.


Step 4: Editing sound (some material adapted from an activity from Dr. Justin Sevenker)

I’m not going to do much to teach you how to use Audacity. It’s one of those things that you just have to start tinkering with and teach yourself to use. Still, I’ll show you a few things in class, and I’ll include a list of the most useful functions here. There are also several resources and tutorials online (try this or this, for instance) that are much better than anything I could put together for you, and they’re just a Google search away. Use them as you feel necessary. Learning how to delete sections is most important. Playing around with some other things can also be useful for this project (adding fades, music, sound effects). See the WFP Resources page for access to free sound effects and music.**


I will say this right now, though: when you open Audacity, it’s going to seem very overwhelming. There are going to be a lot of buttons and menus that don’t make immediate sense, but don’t be intimidated. Microsoft Word offers a host of features, too, and we routinely ignore most of them while we’re writing papers. Using Audacity will be just like that. You’re not going to need even half of the tools that the program offers to put together a really nice audio essay. Here are some of the most important tools that you may want to experiment with, though:


Under the Menus-


File: Import Audio (you can import multiple audio files for same Audacity file—e.g., music)

File: Save (!!!)

Edit: Undo (!!!)

Tracks: Add New Audio Track

Generate: Silence

Effect: Amplify

Effect: Fade In

Effect: Fade Out

Effect: Noise Removal 5


—You’ll see the standard buttons for Play, Pause, Stop, etc. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to edit your audio if it’s only paused. You need to stop it. (The space bar will also allow you to play or stop your audio.)


—You’ll see a cursor tool. It works a lot like a cursor in Word. It allows you to click on or highlight sections of your audio so that you can copy, paste, or delete. You can do these things under the Edit menu or with the standard keyboard shortcuts.


—Next to the cursor, you’ll see the “Envelope” tool that will allow to you stretch out segments of your audio tracks so that you can emphasize key moments with higher volume.


—Finally, toward the middle-right of the toolbar, you’ll see various icons for cut, paste, etc. Among them, there’s the trim tool (it trims everything that you DON’T highlight with your cursor), a tool for inserting silence into your tracks, and tools for zooming in and out that will make it easier to edit your tracks with precision.



Audacity creates “projects” and these consist of two items: (1) an .aup project file and (2) a data folder. You always need both of these to work on and play your project (up until the time you save the final version as an mp3). Always keep these two items in a folder together.


Although projects rarely get corrupted, back up frequently. If Audacity ever crashes or loses data, you don’t want to start from scratch. I make a duplicate copy after each substantial work session.


When you are working in Audacity, close as many other applications as possible. Audacity works best when it’s not competing for memory with other programs.



Step 5: Turning into an audio file to share

If you want to turn it into an mp3 file (easier to transfer than something like .wav, so sometimes worth it), you’ll have to download the LAME mp3 encoder. A step by step process on how to do this can be found here. You can find information on the differences between file types for sound recordings here (this article may be a little dated, but it covers most of the major types).


Otherwise, click “File” and then “export.” From there, a window will come up asking where you want to save the file and you have the option to choose the file type. Choose your preferred file type (recommend .wav if on Windows, not sure if same option via Mac). If you downloaded the LAME mp3 encoder, you can choose mp3. There are other file options, like m4a, but I believe you’ll need an encoder for that one and possibly others as well.


Debrief, questions from above.


Break (15 min)


Visual Rhetoric (30 min)

Ok, throw it all away. Let’s draw it. No words. Scratch that, you get as many as four words if you absolutely need them, but try not to use any. How can you convey as much as the “same” message as you possibly can of your first campaign piece? Get out some paper, I have some colored pencils available, and take 10-15 minutes to draw it out.

How do we make meaning out of images? Let’s look at the “same” image in two different contexts. This first one is the very first image of Captain America for the cover of the first issue of the comic. What meaning does this image convey?


How about this next one found here

[pull up image from computer]

Here is an article that talks about the recent reactions to the plot twist in the Captain America saga:


So far, we’ve talked about images and design in terms of how we can draw a reader’s eyes to certain parts of what we write, and the sorts of options we have to use an awareness of design and imagery, from GIFs to header images on news articles to narrativized graphics in a brochure on swimming. There’s lots of options. But how do you make an image mean something? How can the very “same” image mean different things at different moments?

What does image of Captain America argue? In both images? How do they relate to one another? What effects could they have? Think of possible ones.

How can you call upon meanings in your audience by way of images? How can you also avoid unwanted associations like what is currently going on with Captain America?

Now, imagine a situation where you’d use the image you drew, or some variant of it. What sort of piece of writing? Would you have to adjust it to fit that situation, audience, genre? How?


Genre and blog post (5-10 min)

We have been writing in various genres this term. It’s a good time to take stock and ask–just what are we doing when we choose and attempt to adhere to a genre of writing? In this lesson’s reading, Carolyn Miller, from the dual perspectives of rhetorical criticism (i.e., analyzing individual instances of rhetoric and methods of doing that work) and rhetorical theory (i.e., deductively working out concepts of rhetoric), attempts to back up and try to figure out just what a genre is. This is a very dense reading, but I want you to take notes as you go and try to get a handle on why she finds it so important to see genre as based in social action rather than firmly grounded in formal qualities like length, layout, organization of features of a text (e.g., intro, methods, results, discussion), or substance (e.g., supernatural elements in a horror movie). What does she mean when she says this? Can this help us think about how we write publicly? Definitely include quotes and passages and try to unpack what it might be saying, think with it. Do not feel the need to “get it right,” but to work with and against the text, roll up your sleeves, and try to make it useful for your ongoing understanding of what it means to use a genre or read a genre or write a specific genre of writing.

Next week (5-10 min)

Genre, more with options to include stylistic concerns, some about collaborative writing. The draft of your second campaign piece is slated to be due on 6/7. I have been wondering if you might benefit from a little more time since we will be working more with your first campaign pieces that were due today. What would be a reasonable date? I’m thinking 6/10 by 11:59pm so I have some time on Sunday and Monday to find pieces I would want to workshop on 6/12. Now, you have readings and a blog post due on 6/12, so you should be careful to plan your workload as a major assignment would be due two days before that.