Entering the Conversation 1

Activities like this one contribute to your Integrating Your Ideas with Those of Others grade (10%), Writing Process grade (10%) and your Active Reading Process Grade (10%)

In this activity you are going to use what you learned reading “Entering the Conversation” to engage your classmates in written conversation about “The Limits of Friendship.” You’ll post replies to your classmates here, but continue reading this post to get a sense of my expectations.

By doing so, you will be practicing skills essential to three of the most important course learning outcomes: 1. Approach Writing as a Recursive Process, 2. Integrate Ideas of Your Own with Those of Other Writers, and 3. Active Reading Process.

First, turn to the end of the “Entering the Conversation” chapter of They Say/I Say and find the exercise that starts with the following sentence: “Read the following paragraph from an essay by Emily Poe, a student at Forman University.” Depending on which edition of They Say/I Say you have, it will either be Exercise 1 or 2.

Study the Poe paragraph carefully in the way Graff and Birkenstein suggest, paying careful attention to the italicized phrases that Poe uses to structure her paragraph around the They Say/I Say template. You are going to use similar phrases to structure long-paragraph length responses to 3 of your classmates’ first posts on “The Limits of Friendship.”

Notice how Poe’s paragraph doesn’t stop after just one They Say/I Say exchange. Nor does she move on to an entirely different point. Instead, the back and forth between what They Say and what Poe says develops and deepens readers’ understanding of the idea being discussed. Your paragraphs should do the same thing.

Your responses to classmates’ posts should start by referring to some specific point they make, considering the merits of what they say and then respond to it with your own view.


  1. Respond to at least two different classmates’ posts.
  2. Use the fundamental They Say/I Say structure in your paragraph
  3. Use specific templates drawn from “Entering the Conversation”

Confused about how to submit your responses to other students’ posts? Watch this video.