The Writing Center develops and leads interactive workshops focused on writing and revision skills across the disciplines. We encourage faculty—at Baruch or elsewhere—to adapt these materials for their own classes.
If you’d prefer to have a Writing Center consultant lead the workshop in your class via Zoom, you can submit a request for an in-class workshop.
Online workshop lesson plans
Below are the lesson plans we’ve developed for synchronous online sessions. Each lesson plan includes a slide deck with facilitator notes and links to student-facing handouts.
- Analyzing Texts (online) teaches the critical examination of academic and literary texts by noticing details, observing patterns, and posing questions.
- Analyzing Case Studies (online) teaches students the steps of reading and analyzing case studies, and provides opportunity to practice those steps to present recommendations in response to a dilemma.
- Controlling an Argument with Topic Sentences (online) helps students write strong topic sentences that build on thesis statements, connect paragraphs, and structure arguments.
- Cover Letters (online) teaches students to closely read job ads in order to interpret the needs of an employer, and to write tailored cover letters that demonstrate why they’re the best candidate for the job.
- Developing Thesis Statements (online) teaches strategies for writing effective, complex, evidence-based theses in any field.
- Emailing Strategically (online) helps students tailor their emails to audience and context.
- Evidence, Analysis and Claims (online) teaches strategies for interpreting and analyzing evidence of all kinds—including graphs, statistics, and quotes from literature—in order to write claims.
- Focusing Research Topics (online) helps students narrow a topic to the point of being “researchable,” and to articulate a motivated research question.
- Personal Statements (online) helps students learn how to create a unique and compelling personal statement that highlights their strengths and interests.
- Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting (online) helps students choose between these strategies when incorporating the words and ideas of others.
- Understanding Plagiarism and Citation (online) teaches students what plagiarism is, why and how it happens, and how to reference others’ work with accuracy, clarity, and confidence.
Advice for leading online workshops
To use our slides:
- Open the “Lesson Plan Slides” link and screenshare only your browser.
- Click “Present.” Move your cursor to the menu at the bottom of the slides and select “Notes” to open the slide notes. The presenter menu should open in a new pop-up window, invisible to students.
- Some browsers handle pop-ups differently, so we recommend testing with a friend or colleague at least once to get the settings right! You want to make sure you’re screensharing the browser containing just the slides.
- In the slide notes, you’ll find links to handouts (to paste in the chat), instructions for breakout rooms, explanations of shared reading, and additional questions to ask the group.
To modify our slides:
We encourage you to edit the slide-decks to replace examples with texts from your own course. To create an editable copy of lesson plan slides:
- Open the lesson plan in Google slides by clicking on the link
- Go to “File”—>”Make a copy”—>”Entire presentation.” This will create an editable version for you to save for later.
- To imitate the in-person whiteboard/chalkboard: Create a blank Google or OneDrive doc, and set it so that anyone with the link can edit. Paste the link in the chat, and have students all take notes in the same live document. This is especially useful for keeping track of which Breakout rooms are actively working, without having to enter each room and interrupt.
- The lesson plan notes—contained within the slides themselves—assume the facilitator is using Zoom. You may need to modify some of the small-group exercises if using another platform.
- Create many opportunities for independent and small-group work before discussing material as a full class.
- Have students do some drafting and revising during your class session—this helps them identify their questions earlier in the process.
- Encourage students to participate in whatever mode is accessible to them. We typically use a combination of audio and chat.
As with all Writing Center services, we try to devote as much time as possible to students actively practicing the skill they are working to learn. If you need help using these materials, email the center’s director, Diana Hamilton.
In-person workshop lesson plans
Below are the 20+ lesson plans we’ve developed for our in-person workshops. Each workshop file includes facilitator lesson plans, student handouts, and related texts.
- Interpreting Assignments helps students decode the stated and unstated expectations of college writing, and to read assignments in order to plan specific writing steps.
- Reading Strategically helps students read more efficiently by predicting a text’s purpose, and developing targeted goals in response to that purpose, before reading.
- Analyzing Texts—known in some disciplines as “close reading”—teaches the critical examination of academic and literary texts by noticing details, observing patterns, and posing questions.
- Analyzing Images introduces students to the practice of “reading” images—by observing features like line, color, and composition—in order to develop claims about how those images make meaning.
- Evidence, Analysis, and Claims teaches strategies for interpreting and analyzing evidence of all kinds—including graphs, statistics, and quotes from literature—in order to write claims.
- Comparing and Contrasting moves students from noticing similarities and differences to writing strong thesis statements that emphasize what’s most interesting, surprising, and significant in the overlap and disjuncture between two texts.
- Developing Thesis Statements teaches students strategies for writing effective, complex, evidence-based theses in any field.
- Controlling an Argument with Topic Sentences helps students write strong topic sentences that build on thesis statements, connect paragraphs, and structure arguments.
- Focusing Research Topics teaches students how to narrow a topic to the point of being “researchable,” and to articulate a motivated research question.
- Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting helps students choose between these strategies when incorporating the words and ideas of others.
- Using Sources Strategically helps students seek and use sources that meet their needs: not just those that echo their argument, but ones that develop it through background, examples, counterarguments, and analytical methods.
- Summarizing and Responding to Sources teaches students how to record and respond to the words and arguments of others throughout the research and writing process.
- Ethical Writing and Source Use helps students establish writerly authority and gain the trust of readers through citation and the accurate representation of others’ ideas.
- Understanding Plagiarism and Citation teaches students what plagiarism is, why and how it happens, and how to reference others’ work with accuracy, clarity, and confidence.
- Cover Letters teaches students to closely read job ads in order to interpret the needs of an employer, and to write tailored cover letters (with polished, professional language) that demonstrate why they’re the best candidate for the job.
- Analyzing Case Studies teaches students the steps of reading and analyzing case studies, and provides students the opportunity to practice those steps to develop and present recommendations in response to a dilemma.
- Emailing Strategically helps students tailor their emails to audience and context
The following workshops are focused on guiding students through an in-class writing task. Less “content-heavy” than our others, they offer students a set of exercises to apply as they work to develop, reorganize, and revise their own projects.
- Writing for Readers’ Needs teaches students to anticipate and respond to the needs and expectations of their audience—and why to ignore those needs in the earliest stages of drafting.
- Revising for Structure and Argument helps students differentiate between essay-and paragraph-level revision goals—and then gives students time to implement revision strategies.
- Brainstorming helps students learn to get ideas flowing, especially if they feel stuck.
- Translanguaging invites students to take advantage of their own diverse language resources as they brainstorm and generate content, and then to practice negotiating meaning and developing ideas in English with a fellow student.
- Revising at the Sentence Level helps students refine the language of their writing—whether for clarity, correctness, or style. We’ll teach strategies to proofread, vary sentence structure, and experience writing as a reader might.
- Peer Review offers techniques of reading and responding to someone else’s writing, and provides ample opportunity for students to practice this process in-class.