Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 20-30 minutes (plus student prep time outside of class)
Before you begin a new set of readings and discussions about a
new topic, ask students to write 1 page about the topic. (Provide
one or two broad questions: Why is Barbie so popular? Why are so
many Americans overweight? What is prison for?) Collect the writing,
and redistribute them so that no one has her own paper. Ask students
to underline any claims they can find in the paper before them.
Then, put those claims up on the board; see if the class can find
any common claims. Ask a student scribe to make a list of all of
the common claims. Put those claims on the class toolkit page.
After a few days or more of reading and discussion, ask students
to take a look at the list of claims and make note of any that
seem incomplete or inaccurate. (Students can do this as prep or
in class, while in small groups.) Share results as a class. These
claims now constitute the status quo for the topic.