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Teaching Assistant at University of Illinois at Chicago

Cecilia Villarruel is a PhD student in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is focusing on creative nonfiction.  She received her MFA from Roosevelt University, where she earned the Best Creative Thesis Award for her fiction.  She has worked with Kindergartners and 1st graders through a literacy nonprofit in Chicago, grade school and high school students while serving in the Peace Corps in Namibia, and college students at UIC and with the City Colleges of Chicago.  She loves working with students of all ages, but her heart is in teaching at the college level.  

Assignment: Review Beyond the Food

This assignment goes beyond your standard food review as it asks students to research and evaluate all aspects of the restaurant including its history, location, and design. It includes a focus on using sensory descriptions and depictions to entice the reader.

Assignment: Public Art Profile

This assignment asks students to familiarize themselves with public art and their city by finding one piece to describe, research and analyze. It encourages students to reveal the connections between artists, locations, and communities.

Assignment: Grammar Lesson Presentation

A grammar presentation assignment for small groups on an assigned topic. Each group is required to provide an explanation, examples, and a way for the class to practice the lesson. This assignment also includes a reflective component.

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office hours

Advice: Student Centered Office Hours

Those of us who teach Creative Writing usually have the luxury that our students actively choose to be in the class. When they come...
critical thinking activity for college students

Activity: Zombie Apocalypse & Critical Thinking

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...

Assignment: The Advice Column Two Ways–Part Two: First-Year Writing

My FYW classes include lessons on the rhetorical appeals, and Sugar offered me a concrete, easily-digested way of introducing these concepts in class.