While the syllabus forms the foundation of a course, it doesn’t always reach it’s full potential. By nature, the syllabus is linear. The daily plans start at the beginning and work their way towards finals week. Other information starts with the basics and becomes more specific in both details and requirements. It makes sense to design […]
It can be difficult to engage students in critical thinking, but this activity helps students think outside the box and anticipate problems. I’ve found that it helps preface my argumentative essay assignment and provides a refreshing break from the norm during the semester as it incorporates individual and group work, with the winning team earning extra […]
This handout I made in sheer frustration after hearing the same complaints about thesis formulation over and over again from my students. I’ve learned in my previous experience that when I use more meaningful issues for thesis examples, students tend to focus on content and not form. Here I’ve modeled different kinds of thesis framing for them using the very […]
This handout is a counterargument explanation sheet using the example of trying to persuade your loved ones that your bad boyfriend is not so bad. I often teach this handout in conjunction with the chapter “Skeptics May Object” from Graff and Birkenstein’s They Say / I Say. Feature image by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash
Students are often intimidated by grammar because they’re led to believe it’s a case of ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ Some students get so caught up in if they’re using a comma correctly that they miss the point of using one, while others avoid using commas at all because they don’t know how to ‘do it right.’ […]
Being teachers and instructors, we frequently include oral presentations into our syllabi. Unlike other group or individual activities, Power Point presentations on a particular content area seems to be the most loved one among university students. It is true that, due to the lack of presentation skills, the majority of students have many flaws […]
Those of us who teach Creative Writing usually have the luxury that our students actively choose to be in the class. When they come to office hours they can be greedy for reassurance, certainly, but also for personalized guidance. The instructor has an obligation not to give unrealistic expectations for the writing life or their […]
I’ve always been interested in the question of where the fiction writer finds material. I’ve always been particularly interested in how the autobiographical gets transformed into fiction. My curiosity comes not from a prurient interest in the lives of writers, but more from a desire to provide my students a way to increase the urgency […]
One of the areas of writing I teach is evaluation. Students learn that we make assessments based on quality, opposition, rankings or comparisons, and flexible evaluative criteria. This particular activity focuses on the evaluative element of quality. Ultimately, the goal is two-fold. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and evaluate their academic institution. […]
I recently read a quotation by Janet Finch, who reminds writers, “You’re a writer and you have to invent it from scratch, all by yourself.” In fairness to Finch, she was responding to the overuse of clichés in writing – a worthy pursuit benefiting our students – but setting up writing as something that emerges […]
For fiction writers, provocation is part of the job description. The same should go for our teaching of fiction, especially with students who are just starting out. Unlike some other college courses, where passivity and routine help students stomach lectures, an ideal creative writing classroom is one in which students can expect to be challenged, […]
In our current, cultural landscape there are many divisive topics that individuals associate with while dismissing contrary perspectives. It is easy to disregard what someone else has to say when there is a gap in empathy and connectivity. The goal of this exercise, in dismantling, or “checking one’s privilege”, is to allow students to see what kind of advantages they may take for granted while overlooking some of the obstacles others may have to face on a daily basis.
Most of the activities and assignments in our classrooms revolve around writing and reading, but having students draw, sketch, or doodle can give them news ways to express and connect their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. In this artical you’ll find five ways to help students embrace their visual skills.
A common complaint of college instructors is how many of their students don’t come to office hours when they are struggling. As instructors, we appreciate how valuable this one-on-one time can be with students, but how can we make our office hours more inclusive, accessible, and welcoming? First, we need to acknowledge that announcing “come […]
This multi-genre assignment asks students to first explore how much they know their tendencies to procrastinate in a personal essay, then to interview a peer about their respective writing processes, and finally, to compare their own personal essay and an analysis of their interview in a cover letter.
For International Teaching Assistants, meaning negotiation plays a vital role when it comes to interactions with native English speaking undergraduate students in the laboratory or in the classroom. In this article, I share a few tips that can help ITA instructors or coaches guide ITAs through their interactions with their (future) undergraduate students.
An assignment sequence where students explore the world of the arts, beginning with photography and increasing in writing involvement and critical scrutiny through the worlds of music and film before finally concluding in a work of literature. Through these various lenses, students examine both the status of these arts, what goes into evaluating them, and their relation to their campus, its history, and the world at large.
There’s a lot of talk in teaching circles about feedback—how to give an appropriate amount that doesn’t overwhelm the student (or the teacher’s workload) and balances praise and constructive criticism. Finding praise is, of course, characterized by its very verb as the part where you have to strain yourself, what you include to soften the blow your critique.
I’ve taught multiple sections of composition over the years and without fail a majority (but not all) of my students have little interest in world news/events/culture. This lack of interest has made teaching Comp (or ENG) 102 difficult since the course focuses on researching and writing about world events (at least it has at the […]
A handout distributed in class that asks students to reflect on their actions as a developing professional and their participation in class. Participation is broken down into four different components so that students of all dispositions can reflect on their strengths. This activity pairs well with a Career Profile Assignment. Feature image […]
One of my favorite in-class activities is simple, easy to set up, and, most importantly, it involves Lego. I often use this in composition classes to illustrate the concept of writing as a process, but I’ve found that, with a few minor tweaks, it can be easily adapted to any variety of lessons or concepts. […]