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Revising Introductions

Assignment Summary

The goal of this assignment is to familiarize students with the variety of introduction options available to them. After completing the assignment, students should be more willing to experiment with their introductions. Hopefully they will learn that there are many ways to introduce a piece of writing, and that an introduction greatly impacts a reader's interest in the piece.

I utilize Blackboard for this exercise, but you can easily adopt it to a non-networked classroom, and I explain below. This exercise works very well for the researched essay, which greatly benefits from experimenting with introduction styles.

At the beginning of class, look at some sample introductions. You can post these to Blackboard, hand out samples on paper, or look at samples in your reader. Use student essay samples, professional writer samples, or both. Look at a variety of introduction styles.

Hacker discusses introductions on pages 13-15, and you can also point students to her discussion.

Tell students you would like them to try composing different types of introductions for the essay they are working on.

Some types to try:

An impressive statistic or fact
A definition
A narrative
A description
A vivid example
A question
A quotation (epigraph)
A joke (humor)

In class that day or for homework, students can rewrite their introduction using one of the types above. If you are using Blackboard, they can post their original and new introduction to a Discussion Board you create.

Here's the prompt I created for my classes Discussion Board:

In class that day or for homework, students can rewrite their introduction using one of the types above. If you are using Blackboard, they can post their original and new introduction to a Discussion Board you create.

Please post your 2 introductions here. Make sure you label them A and B. 

In addition to posting your original and new introductions, I'd like you to look at the introductions written by your classmates, and respond to at least four, indicating which version, A or B, you like better and why. If you like them both, you may want to state the differences between the two. For example, do they create different moods, or prepare you for a different reading experience? (Let's make sure everyone gets a response! If someone hasn't received a response yet, please choose them as one of your four.)










Instructor's Comments

The goal of this assignment is to familiarize students with the variety of introduction options available to them. After completing the assignment, students should be more willing to experiment with their introductions. Hopefully they will learn that there are many ways to introduce a piece of writing, and that an introduction greatly impacts a reader's interest in the piece.
genre essay
course WRT 101, WRT 102
activity type group revision exercise, Blackboard discussion board (class discussion)
skills  
duration 1 class
materials/readings
draft of student essay
handouts: n/a
contributor: Leanne Warshauer