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...
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...
writing anxiety

Exploring the Output of Writers

A great piece of advice for any writer is to read as much as possible. If one wants to write novels, reading great novels...

Invitation to the Voyages

"Invitation to the Voyages" is an exercise I use to teach imagery. It can be adapted for any writing genre. 

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...
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.
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...
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...

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...
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.
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 ...
Photo by Alex Vasey on Unsplash

Write Your Own Fairy-tale Handout

This handout is a creative writing exercise I use in my Speculative Literature class when we do a unit on fairy tales,...

Sidewalk Chalk

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

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...
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.

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...
office challenge

The Office Challenge

Office hours can feel long, laborious, and lonely when no one shows up, especially in the beginning of a semester. One way I've found to increase my students' use of office hours is to challenge them to meet with me. 
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...
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...

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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.

MLA & the Annotated Bibliography

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

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...