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grammar as meaning

Grammar as Meaning in ‘Dear John’ Letters

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...
creative writing activities for college students

Characters, Conflict, and Goals

It can be difficult to reveal connections between key elements of craft in fiction writing classes, but this activity is designed to do just that.
imagery

Concrete Imagery in Poetry Scattegories

To begin: I have students call out a list of abstractions. Usually we end up with some variation on the following: fear sadness joy depression ...
touchstone moments

I Was Wearing Them the Day–Touchstone Moments and Details for the Fiction Writer

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...
grade reflection for students

Four Ways to Enhance Grading

Sometimes grading seems like a mystery to students so helping them understand how we reach our conclusions is a beneficial step in their learning process.

Ransom Notes

If you're looking for a different type of in-class activity to get students thinking about word choice, you'll find it with this fun but challenging task.

Sidewalk Chalk

An activity designed to help students understand the vulnerability that comes with public photographs, particularly in the context of war images.

Evaluative Scavenger Hunt

One of the areas of writing I teach is evaluation.  Students learn that we make assessments based on quality, opposition, rankings or comparisons, and...

Activity: Refurbishing

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...
activity creative writing workshop

Class Starters for the Fiction Workshop

For fiction writers, provocation is part of the job description. The same should go for our teaching of fiction, especially with students who are...
activity

Analyzing Privilege

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.

Drawing, Doodles, and Sketches

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.
Revision activities

Five Revision Activities

Five revision activities you can use either inside or outside the classroom to show the importance and effects of revision. 
Current Events Article Activity

The Current Event Article

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...
in-class activity

Post-It Notes Activity

This is a great first-day exercise used to create a sense of community as well as clarify questions or misconceptions about the course. It can also be used mid-semester as a check-in for the class.
writing process

Lego: The Building Blocks of Writing

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...
workshop creative writing feedback

QCS Workshop Responses

Silence in the classroom can be awkward, especially when your students are tasked with discussing their peers’ work in a creative writing workshop. I’ve found...

On What I Hope This Site Can Be

A Message from the Editor: For those of you that know me, and no doubt today, at the start of this project, many of you...

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Visualizing Class Participation

A diagram that helps students and teachers be on the same page when it comes to understanding expectations for and evaluations of class participation.
engagement students

Five Ways to Effectively Engage Students

I am frequently asked, “How do you do what you do?” and I always say, “I just do it.” So,when prompted to discuss how...
american literature

Two Prompts for a Take Home Quiz – Lit

Submitted by John Casey. This document contains prompts for two take home quizzes given to students as extra credit options in a 200-level Survey of American Literature course.