Formulaic writing is one of the hardest habits to break students of. To help students break free from the idea that there is only one formula, this activity asks students to analyze an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and create a new formula to apply to their own writing. Therefore, instead of a five-paragraph essay, accordion paragraph, or Jane Schaefer paragraph, they will be creating the Gladwell Integration of Research Writing Formula. This activity can be used with students even if they do not read whole book.
First, students analyze a short selection from Outliers. Then they will create a six-step formula that Gladwell uses to integrate research into his writing. For example, he starts with hypophora, so students may note this as a the first step. Then, students apply their formula to a new materials and create a piece of writing for a new book called The Curse of Cool: The Power of Not Fitting In. I have provided an example of student writing for the final product as well as a step-by-step explanation of the procedure for implementing this lesson.
This activity is great for AP Language and Composition, especially for reinforcing synthesis and rhetorical analysis skills. However, this lesson is also excellent for helping students integrate research into their writing.