Monday, October 20, 2008

More thoughts on Strong Resonse texts

So, I got lots of good comments about texts for the strong response paper. I think everyone is on really different pages with this assignment, which caused everyone's suggestions to be also very different.

In order to decide on texts, I've taken time to really think about the students this semester, where they are, and what they need. I just did a week on personal narrative writing with them, and as I taught them, I realized that they needed this earlier. I may have pushed them on issues and politics a little too much in the first too papers, and I am not sure they were ready for that.

This tells me a few things. 1) I think paper #3 for them needs to be a little out in left field because if they start to feel like all the assignments are too related, they start to bring their writing "sins" and worries with them from paper to paper. Some of them freeze under this pressure. 2) We did so much focus on the thinking process in papers 1 and 2, that I think I need to give them an assignment that to them feels more like a writing assignment/ process. Again, we know that all assignments are both, but sometimes it isn't about us or how we perceive the process. It is about the students and what they see. 3) I want to take advantage of the current political climate and election if I can. 4) I want all my students to get a strong sense of success after paper #3 as they prepare for the next two papers.

So, with all that said, I have decided to let my students choose essays from The New Yorker magazine. I gave them a word limit and a specific place to look for the essays online. There are enough that I am hoping each students will be able to find something that is challenging and interesting. It also exposes them to new ideas that are current and real. So many of my students were nervous about talking about local issues in previous papers because they did not feel informed. I am hoping that this adventure with the New Yorker will actually empower them and give them more confidence in their ability to find out what is going on and have an opinion about it. Plus, these essays are well written while also leaving room for response and critical thought.

Am I off in left field? Let me know.
What problems should I prepare for with this?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Texts for Paper #3

I'm excited to move on to Paper #3 for English 1010, but I am having a very hard time finding texts for the students to respond to. I want to provide 3 texts and let them choose one to respond to, but I am nervous about picking them myself since I have not worked with this assignment before. I am also still new to the demographics of freshmen students. I don't want to choose a text that is not at least user-friendly for this purpose.

Please help. I would love recommendations about texts to use. Again, I am looking for about three options. Also, any student samples or thoughts on teaching paper #3 would be great. I understand how it fits into the sequence, but I know I am going to have more questions along the way.


Jill Fellow

Friday, October 10, 2008

Diana Hacker materials

Several people (including myself) at Tuesday night's meeting mentioned having used Diana Hacker's handbook in the past. I forgot to mention that the library has a link to her materials on research and documentation. Go to library's Citation Help page and click on "Research and Documentation Online by Diana Hacker," the fourth link in the list. She has an excellent web page on the documentation styles for different academic disciplines, including some sample essays which I have found useful in the past.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Part Time Faculty Development Meetings this Week

Well, it's already that time again for us to be thinking about scheduling the coming semester. Please fill out the attached schedule preference form at your earliest convenience, and return it to me either via email or hard copy in my mailbox. Note that the Wasatch Campus is now an optional location for your teaching, so if you'd like to start teaching up there (or experiment with it for a semester), check the "WC" off-campus location.

Our October meetings are also coming up on October 7 and 8 in SC 206 g/h. Please come to one of them. I'll have hard copies of preference sheets for those who haven't yet filled them out, but I'd appreciate having them back by the 15th. One of our October agenda items is to prepare for annual class observations. We'll plan to spend the bulk of our time discussing responding to student writing, since at this point you've probably at least received, if not already returned, the first major writing project of the term.

A side note: when contacting me (and I assume, Grant and Gae Lyn), please use the new uvu email addresses:

Side note #2: don't forget that when you're responding to a notice or query from the listserv (i.e. regarding recent schedule preferences), please make sure you're responding only to sender--unless you're planning to share information with everyone on the list. The default reply is to all.

OK, see you later this week.