Monday, November 14, 2016

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Process Writing Prompts

For my advanced writing class, it has been somewhat of a challenge to come up with appropriate process prompts. I like the idea of describing a process, as it is an authentic academic task, requires advanced objective language (formal tone, passives, focus on objects and procedures rather than people, adjective clauses, etc.). It is also more challenging for students than the typical ESL topics, such as "Should cell phones be used in the classroom?" and "Culture Shock." However, it is difficult to select processes that do not required extensive research or background knowledge. So far, I have come up with two lists:

a) "Ready-to-Write" Process Prompts - For these prompts, I supply a chart or outline of content for each step. Students need to organize the information, expand and describe, include examples, and produce a polished piece with a thesis statement, topic sentences, introduction, and conclusion. These prompts work well at any time, but also for in-class assessment.

  • Modern Education: a) Elementary/Secondary Education; b) Post-secondary/University Education; and c) On-the-job training/Internships
  • The Water Cycle: a) Precipitation; b) Surface Runoff; c) Evaporation and Transpiration; d) Condensation
  • Recycling Plastics: a) Collection; b) Sorting and Cleaning; c) Melting and Re-processing
  • How Products Get to Consumers: a) Manufacturing; b) Packaging/Transportation; c) Selling at Stores
  • Air Transportation: Booking Flights; Check-in; Security Screening; Boarding 

b) "Need-Prep" Process Prompts  - These are prompts that require students to read articles or watch videos to glean information on the process in order to write their paragraph or essay. Usually, I supply them with quality resources. For these assignments, I focus on source integration (direct quotes and paraphrases), as plagiarism can be a temptation here.

  • Uber 
  • GPS
  • Starting a New Business
  • Water Cycle 
  • Product Life Cycle 

c) "Hybrid" Process Prompts - I think sometimes it may be a good idea to have students research a process and take notes. But then, for to compensate for reading/listening ability or lack of background knowledge, I will also give them a chart of information to use.

  • Product Life Cycle - I first had them watch a video (recorded business lecture), but then supplied them with the following notes to which they could compare their own with. This helped the students who were not as familiar with business topics.

Video: “The Product Life Cycle” by Education Unlocked
STEP 1: Take notes

Step 2: Compare your notes with this information. Is there any information from the video you can add?

What are some examples to use for each stage?
Examples, support
Think of specific products and companies
  • ·       New product or invention
  • ·       Lots of research, development, and testing
  • ·       Not a lot of companies (maybe only one)
  • ·       Few people know about it yet
  • ·       Might be free samples to promote it
  • ·       Product is expensive to buy
  • ·       Low sales – few people buy it
  • ·       Producer/seller doesn’t make much profit yet

  • ·       Company finds cheaper ways to produce
  • ·       Company makes a large profit
  • ·       More companies start selling
  • ·       Lots of advertising
  • ·       Consumers getting excited
  • ·       Becomes really popular

  • ·       Many companies produce/sell
  • ·       Companies need to find ways to be different from competitors (colors, new features, prices, etc)
  • ·       Prices decrease
  • ·       Product is less exciting and new
  • ·       Most people have this product

  • ·       Consumers are not excited
  • ·       Consumers already have the product
  • ·       New products are more interesting (e.g. technology)
  • ·       Companies sell less
  • ·       Companies do not make a profit
  • ·       Companies should find a new product

Step 3: Organize the information

With the information on the chart, number and organize the details. See this one as an example. You don’t need to use ALL the examples you can think of à only choose two or three products you think are good support for that paragraph.

  • ·       Company finds cheaper ways to produce - 5
  • ·       Company makes a large profit – 6
  • ·       More companies start selling – 4

o   E.g. companies making fitness trackers à Fitbit (original), now others: Nike Fuelband, Digifit iCardio, Jawbone Up
o   E.g. smart watches – Apple (original); now other companies: Samsung, etc.
  • ·       Lots of advertising – 1
  • ·       Consumers getting excited - 2
  • ·       Becomes really popular – 3

o   E.g. fitness trackers, smart watches, virtual reality games, etc.

Fitbit – fitness tracker
Smart watches
Virtual reality games
3D printers
Electric cars

Step 4: Plan your intro and concluding paragraphs

Introduction strategy (choose one or two):
__ Startling fact
__ Anecdote (briefly tell the story of a company and what happened to their product)
__ Give historical background
__ Give general background about new products

Conclusion strategy (choose one or two):
__ Give advice to new business owners
__ Make predictions about how this cycle may change in the future (with technology, as consumers change, etc.)
__ Give explanations as to why products follow this cycle? (what does this show us about human nature and consumer behavior?)
__ Talk about why knowing about this cycle is important for people and who should care about this