They Say-I Say Assignment Overview and Cornell Notes

Senior Thesis Introductory Assignment:
An Introduction to the Concept of “They Say I Say” and to Professional Models
Beginning now and continuing into the first half of the second semester, you will begin working on the senior thesis.
This is an opportunity to investigate a subject that is of interest to you.
Your job between now and March/April:
Learn about/review the techniques that strong writers utilize when writing an argument, explore professional models
where a central research question is posed and grappled with, investigate topics of interest to you, create a
worthwhile research question based on your chosen topic, and investigate it in a written paper and oral
In completing this project, you will formulate and investigate a central research question and build upon the reading
and writing skills you have developed over the last four years at MVHS.
Step one in the process:
1. Check out the book They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing from the TBC
2. Read and take Cornell notes on pages 1-41. Use the guided Cornell notes pages that are given to you.
Step two in the process:
Read, annotate, and analyze professional models where writers investigate a central research question in articles
dealing with different subjects.
Your goal is to see how a professional writer takes on a research question and explores it in an effective and
engaging manner. You should also note how they utilize the “They Say, I Say” model of argumentation. Please
follow the steps below in the completion of step 2:
1. Read and annotate the article for the writing process (Claims, evidence, commentary, where you see the
“They Say, I Say” model being utilized, etc.)
2. Complete the argumentation organizer for each article
On 10/17/13 you will bring the articles and completed organizers to class.
You must read and complete the organizer for:
1. “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” by Lori Gottlieb (The Atlantic)… found online in the senior thesis folder
2. “The Order of Things” by Malcom Gladwell (The New Yorker)… found online in the senior thesis folder
3. Your choice from the list below… found online in the senior thesis folder
Choose 1 of the 3 articles in this list to read and complete the organizer:
1. “Beautiful Brains” by David Dobbs (National Geographic)
“Visible Man: Ethics in a World Without Secrets” by Peter Singer (Harper’s)
3. “The End of White America” by Hua Hsu (Atlantic)
Cornell Notes
Topic: They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing
Why did Gerald Graff and Cathy
Bikenstein decide to write their
book, “They Say, I Say: The
Moves that Matter in Academic
Please explain the concept of
“They Say, I Say”
Why would instructors want their
students to use academic
language templates? How are
they helpful? Any possible
What is the author’s opinion
about using the “I” in academic
writing? Why? Benefits? When
should you be careful in using
the “I”?
How do academic language
templates and critical thinking go
hand in hand?
Why is the “They Say, I Say”
template the most important one
for students to master?
How should the “They Say, I
Say” template be reflected in
your writing? How does it help
you in the formulation of a thesis
statement when you write an
Please explain how Martin
Luther King Jr. used the “They
Say, I Say” template in his
“Letter From Birmingham Jail”
Sometimes the “They Say” is
considered a “phantom”
presence. Please explain this
What are Graff and Birkenstein’s
arguments against the notion
that sentence templates “stifle
Please explain what “putting in
your oar” means in terms of the
writing process.
Your Turn: Now apply the
concept of using academic
sentence frames by completing
exercise #2 on page 15 of the
Chapter 1
In chapter one of the book, the
authors say writers must not only
clearly indicate what the thesis
is, but must also do what and
When constructing an argument
why is it important to begin
writing by considering “what
others are saying” and
summarizing those ideas before
getting into their own ideas?
What is a “standard view” in
Briefly summarize or bullet point
different ways that you, or any
writer, can utilize to introduce
what others are saying in your
Please explain what Graff and
Birkenstein mean by the concept
“keep what ‘they say’ in view”?
Your Turn: Please complete
either exercise #1 or #2 on
pages 28-29 of the book.
Chapter 2
Please explain what Graff and
Birkenstein mean by the term
What must you make sure to do
in order to summarize
Explain the concept of “putting
yourself in their shoes”
Explain the concept of “knowing
where you are going”
Please explain why using signal
words are critical in summarizing
someone else’s argument?
You Turn: Write a summary of
your Cornell notes, summarizing
the most important points that
writers need to keep in mind
while working on a written