Archive for the ‘Teaching Advice’ Category

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Advice for New Teachers— and the Rest of Us

posted: 5.25.15 by Susan Naomi Bernstein

For a crowd-sourced blog post for “Beyond the Basics, ” I invited participants on the Council on Basic Writing Facebook page to respond to the following question: What one piece of advice would you offer to new teachers of Basic Writing? Why?

The responses clustered around three main themes:

  • Create classroom community
  • Draw on compelling pedagogy
  • Offer compassion, empathy, and transparency [read more]

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Categories: Basic Writing, Susan Naomi Bernstein, Teaching Advice
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What I Learned in (High) School

posted: 5.21.15 by Andrea Lunsford

In March, I attended the 55th reunion of my class at Ketterlinus High School in St. Augustine, Florida. There were perhaps 25 of us there, out of a class of around 100, which seemed pretty darned good to me. Being with people I hadn’t seen—some for 55 years—was, well, bracing. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Teaching Advice, Uncategorized, Writing Center
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How Well Do You Listen?

posted: 5.7.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Just a few weeks ago, Freddie Gray—a young African American man in Baltimore—died after being injured while in police custody, precipitating a rash of protests expressing anger, frustration, and rage. Then just a few days ago, the six officers involved were charged by State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby with crimes ranging from assault to second-degree murder. This series of events is the latest in a string of unnecessary deaths of black men at the hands of police, and it’s one that teachers everywhere need to think carefully about.

You have probably been following this case and reading a range of responses and analyses, as I have. But the account I have been most touched by is a Facebook post from Julia Blount, reprinted on April 29 on Salon. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Classroom Challenges and Solutions, Teaching Advice
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How Have Your Assignments Evolved?

posted: 4.30.15 by Andrea Lunsford

If you’ve been teaching for some time, I wonder if you’ve seen some of your favorite assignments evolve or change over time. I’m realizing that a number of mine have, almost without my noticing. Right now I’m thinking of my much loved “long sentence assignment.” I started giving this assignment to break up the lengthy research project my students all do, and in particular to focus for a bit on syntax and style. It’s a low stakes assignment, much like finger exercises on the piano, meant for fun and practice, though I do assign a few points to it. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Andrea Lunsford, Revising, Rhetorical Situation, Teaching Advice, Visual Rhetoric
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The “Craft” of Peer Revision: Part IV

posted: 4.29.15 by Barclay Barrios

In this series we’ve looked at a few ways to make the craft of peer revision more “crafty.”  All of these exercises tend to be a big hit in my classes and I usually end up with stronger papers to grade because of this work.

But why?  Why do students do this work so enthusiastically and so well?  I have some theories: [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Drafting, Learning Styles, Peer Review, Revising, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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Collaboration at the Santa Fe Indian School

posted: 4.23.15 by Andrea Lunsford

When Susan Miera—who did her MA degree at the Bread Loaf School of English and is a leader in the Bread Loaf Teacher Network—invited me to join her and colleagues and students in Santa Fe, I jumped at the chance.  I’ve known “Ms. Miera,” as she is lovingly known by legions of high schoolers, for many years, and I’ve worked with a number of Native American students she has mentored—and sent to Stanford.  She’s a whirlwind of energy, and I know that I will always learn something new from her.  This visit was no exception. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Andrea Lunsford, Pedagogy, Professional Development & Service, Teaching Advice
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The “Craft” of Peer Revision: Part III

posted: 4.22.15 by Barclay Barrios

So far in this series, we’ve looked at coloring (essentially that’s what they’re doing with highlighters), cutting, and taping.  In this part we’re going to move into drawing.

“Drawing the Argument” is one of my favorite class activities when discussing a new reading.  Working in groups, students draw the argument of the essay, locating quotations that support their visual interpretation. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Barclay Barrios, Drafting, Peer Review, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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The “Craft” of Peer Revision: Part II

posted: 4.15.15 by Barclay Barrios

In my last post, I suggested ways to use highlighters in peer revision.  In this one, we’re moving into dangerous territory—dangerous because scissors are involved (no running!).

Bring a few pairs of scissors to class and some tape.  Ask students to cut up a copy of their paper into individual paragraphs and then to shuffle them.  (You can also ask them to do this part before class, bringing in the cut up paragraphs in an envelope.) Peers are given the individual slips of writing and then asked to put them in the right order, taping them back together. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Barclay Barrios, Drafting, Peer Review, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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The “Craft” of Peer Revision: Part I

posted: 4.8.15 by Barclay Barrios

Though we have diverse approaches to teaching writing, my experience suggests that one of the commonalities we all share is some sort of peer feedback. Whether we call it peer revision or peer editing or something else, there seems to be wide agreement that seeking feedback is an important part of making writing better. The creative writers in my department would perhaps call this part of the “craft” of writing.  We are more likely to call it part of the writing process.  Regardless, in this series of posts I want to riff a bit on that notion of “craft” by sharing some peer revision strategies I use that are “crafty.” These exercises are all class-tested and Barclay-approved.  I have some theories on why they tend to work so well, which I will share in a later post. For now, though… highlighters! [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Barclay Barrios, Drafting, Peer Review, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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When Class Doesn’t Meet

posted: 3.17.15 by Traci Gardner

What do you do when a class you are teaching has to be cancelled at the last minute? Maybe you are sick or your car’s battery is dead. Perhaps you are dealing with a family emergency or a foot of snow. Even the best planners among us sometimes find at the last minute that we cannot (or should not) meet students in the classroom. So how do you let students know? [read more]

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Categories: Classroom Challenges and Solutions, Teaching Advice, Traci Gardner
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