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first line and hanging indents

MLA Formatting in Word and Google Docs

A simple handout that provides step-by-step details on how to add first line and hanging indents as well as inserting page numbers in the...

Process and Post-Process Writing in The Composition Classroom

This post does not seek to discredit teachers using older editions of Writing and Rhetoric textbooks. I will offer an alternative model that can...
argumentative essay outline

Outlining Argumentative Essays

A useful handout that explains how to outline an essay. It draws on similar examples from my handout on Common Thesis Complaints.         Feature image by Andrew...

Common Thesis Complaints

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...

The Bad Boyfriend Counterargument

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....

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.

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.
Class discussion

Is it Really All My Fault? Sharing on In-Class Discussions

I’ve become familiar with the resistance to classroom discussions, but, until recently, I always assumed good discussions were lacking because students are, generally speaking, lacking in “critical thinking.” But last week, something happened that made me reconsider.

The Hip-Hop Nation

An argumentative essay that requires students to clearly articulate their position on whether rap and hip-hop have a negative or positive effect on its listeners, if there should be control over the content of songs, and to explore the reasons why people are affected by these genres so strongly.

A Paraphrasing PowerPoint

A PowerPoint presentation explaining what paraphrasing is, how to paraphrase, and an in-class activity for paraphrasing.

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.

Social Justice Proposal

A written group assignment that asks students to create a proposal designed to convince a funding agency to fund their organization’s new social justice project.

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.

MLA & the Annotated Bibliography

A 2-page handout focusing on MLA citations and formatting for an annotated bibliography.
career profile 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.

Incorporating Quotations, Claims, & Evidence

A PowerPoint presentation that breaks down different types of evidence and explains how and when to use them.
career profile assignment

The World as Seen, Heard, Experienced, Written

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.
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...

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.
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.
career profile assignment

Writing a Research Proposal

Submitted by John Casey. A research proposal assignment for a required composition class focused on academic writing and research.
career profile assignment

Career Profile

An engaging and easily adaptable assignment for early career students that helps them navigate their college career paths

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Engaging Your Class in Peer-Listening During Presentations

Being teachers and instructors, we frequently include oral presentations into our syllabi. Unlike other group or individual activities, Power Point presentations on a particular...
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.
career profile 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.