Lesson, Day 1: What is this class about, anyway?

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Contributed by Jaclyn Bergamino, 2015

On the first day of class, I wanted to start getting the students talking about the ideas. I divided the class into two groups. I was teaching on the theme of love, sex, and marriage so I brought quotes about writing and quotes about love all different, the same number of quotes as students. I tried to pick quotes that could be very visual. Half of the class received a slip of paper with a quote about writing on it and the other half received a slip of paper with a quote about love.  The students paired up so that each pair had one love quote and one writing quote.  First, the pair had to put their quotes together to come up with a definition of what it meant to write about love. Then, they had to create a visual representation of their new definition and put in on the board. Finally, as a way of introducing themselves, they gave the reasoning and process of how they came up with the picture and talked about whether or not they thought it was a good representation of what it meant to write about love for the natural and social sciences.

This lesson could easily be adapted for any theme, pairing quotes about writing with quotes about place, food, identity, whatever you’re teaching!

Follow-up:
As a conclusion to the course or a final, you could record all of these pictures/quotes and at the end of the semester, revisit whether students feel they are accurate representations of writing about your theme and how their understandings have changed.

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