• What topic did you choose for your first issues watch? Did you discover anything about this topic that you didn't know already? What about this topic interests you? Why were you drawn to this topic?


  • So, what topics did you choose?
  • What did you notice about the articles? Did they seem biased in any way? How could you tell?


  • Today we're going to spend a good deal of time writing in class.
  • First, pull up the articles that you found on each news site. Take a minute to review the articles, jotting down any notes that seem relevant.
  • Next, open up a Word Document.
  • Now, spend about 15 minutes writing about the articles that you've found. Use these guidelines to organize your thoughts:
    • Briefly summarize the basic ideas from each site--what is the article about?
    • What is the tone of each article?
    • Does the author present the material in a positive or negative light? How do we know?
      • What kind of language does the author use? casual? harsh? Can you give examples?
      • What kind of criticism is present?
    • your personal opinion?
    • Are there any images present? How do the images (or lack of images) contribute to the article?
    • What does the color scheme of the site imply?
    • Are there any comments on the article? If so, what is the point of view of the audience?
    • Is the author notable?
  • Remember, when you write try not to focus on issues of correctness (grammar, etc.). Even if a word seems wrong, write it down anyway--just try to get all of the information you possibly can written down.
  • Here are some basic rules for this writing:
    • Write fast. It isn't a race, but you are trying to write as much as possible in the 15 minutes you have.
    • Try not to focus on organization, spelling, grammar, etc.
    • Try not to go off topic.
    • Try not to repeat yourself.
    • Just write and try to trust yourself.
  • I expect you to spend the full 15 minutes writing about the articles. If you need any help or clarification, please ask me or quietly ask your neighbor.
  • After 15 minutes we'll move on.

Back to the Freewrite

  • Spend about 5 minutes writing about the writing experience you've just engaged in.
  • What did you notice about the writing you just did? Not the subject, the writing process itself...
  • Was it difficult? Did you enjoy it? Did you get a lot of information out?
  • What was the most difficult part about this writing? Does the writing you produced seem different from other writing you've done in college? If so, why?


  • Now I'd like for you to take a look at the writing you've done and try to work on revising it.
  • First, complete the following sentences:
    • The audience of the Issues Watch Document is...
    • The purpose of the Issues Watch Document is to...
      • Don't spend too much time on this first step (2-4 minutes).
  • Next, read through all of the raw writing you've just done and try to find the really good pieces.
    • If it helps you, highlight the good pieces in a different color so that you can easily see them.
    • It's ok to rely only on your feelings here--if it seems good for the purpose of your IWD to you, highlight it.
  • Next, figure out what the single main point is and arrange your best pieces in the best order.
    • After reading through your writing, what is it that you're really trying to say?
    • All of your writing may seem to lead to one major point--what is it?
    • If you can't figure it out yet, work on putting the good pieces in the best order.
      • When putting these good pieces in order, it may require you to open a new Word document and cut and paste.
  • Now you should have your good pieces in a reasonable order. Put it all together.
  • Read over it. Don't worry right now about Introduction or Conclusion. We'll get there.
  • If you haven't yet determined on a main point, try to develop the main point now. It might help to consult a partner at this point.
  • After you have things in an acceptable order, do a little maintenance. Make sure it all works when read together.
  • Finally, after figuring out what your main point is, you can try to write your conclusion and introduction. Depending on your preference, you may write the conclusion before you write the introduction or vice versa. The two work hand-in-hand.
  • All of this should take about 20 minutes.


  • For the final (?) minutes of class, I'd like for you to find a partner and read your draft out loud. It's important that you read your draft out loud because it allows you to hear your words, and it is then easier to notice areas that work especially well or areas that need a little work.


  • What do you think of this writing process?
  • Do you feel that you've improved your IWD?
  • What was good about this process?
  • What was bad about this process?

Think about using these techniques for your next IWD!


  • Over the weekend, spend some time with the document you created today. Utilize this a rubric for your next two IWDs.
  • Write a short summary of what you think your first IWD is and whether your comfortable with how it turned out. Bring this to me on Tuesday.
  • Revisit your topic from three different sources and think about where your next IWD will take the discussion.
  • Come back to today's class plans, if they helped, and use them again to create a draft for your next IWD