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democracy and citizenship - informal writing assignments

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Michael--I'm glad that you're working to transform these informal assignments into more realistic pieces. I like, also, the way that you set students up for analysis by asking them to create graphic juxtapositions between ideas and their thinkers.

RE: the advantages/disadvantages part: I wonder whether you might want to elicit a few of each category before students begin to write. You could then divide the class into those who freewrite about advantages and those who write about disadvantages. Ultimately, you could then elicit their ideas and create a T-chart that would show the tally. (Remember that with true freewriting, you need to provide time for them to pull the germane ideas out of the muck.)

In the second part (Rousseau), can you be more specific about WHAT they are summarizing in the content column? In fact, I think that you're going to have to model this with another reading just to get them going.