Lesson: Letter to the Editor

Contributed by Whittier Strong, 2015   Summary: Connect the classroom to the larger world by having students write a letter to the editor regarding  a class subject. The letter challenges students to consider tone, brevity, audience, and authorial  intent. It also encourages students to consider how their writing can change the world around  them. Detailed […]

Lesson: Choices and Directions

Context In Alaska, I once had a tourist complain to me that “You guys give crazy directions, like  ‘turn right at the boulder.’ Don’t you guys have maps?” This tourist was from Southern California, like me, where Thomas Guides and Freeway directions are an indispensable part of life. But here, because of the vastness, because […]

Lesson: Imitation Exercise

    This is an exercise that I did with my class to talk about style and learn more about writing effective descriptions. First, I split the class up into groups and gave each group a paragraph to work with from one of the essays we had recently read and discussed. They had to look […]

Prompt: Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is one that collects your thoughts on a subject — writing the essay is just a way of thinking back on what you learned. This should be a very personal piece of writing: it is more about you and what you learned. It should highlight the problems you faced, how you feel […]

Final Portfolio Assignment

  During one the pro-development workshops this year, we talked about student assessment and portfolios. This is something I have been experimenting with in my class, as part of their final project. I thought it might be helpful to post what I’ve been doing and why as just one possible (work-in-progress) way of approaching this. […]

Prompt: Research Wikis

    Research Wikis (300 Points) Research plan post (10 points) due: Thursday 3/31/11 on blog Research paper prospectus (40 points) due: 4/5/11 and 4/7/11 in conferences Rough draft (50 points) due: Thursday, 4/14/11, in class for peer review session Final draft (200 points) due: Tuesday, 4/26/11 in class  (turn in all drafts, research plan, […]

Lesson: How to Analyze a Text

  Group 1: Discuss the author’s attitude toward the subject or theme. Explain what type of essay it is – argumentative, persuasive, exploratory, narrative, or otherwise. Define what the subject or theme of the essay is. * Try to sum up the subject/theme in one word or one sentence. Cite specific sentences or paragraphs where […]

Garden Gnome Liberation Mini-Project

  What I’d like to offer here is an example of how you can take a similar concept–a seemingly silly non-academic topic–and use it in a classroom on a smaller scale. In my class, before launching the zombie project, we spent several class periods working with garden gnome liberation, and my students had the option […]

Synthesis Unit Plan: The Zombie Project

This is a fairly large-scale project that builds upon itself and is meant to take up the entire unit, culminating in one final research paper. The project includes many smaller elements besides the final paper, including free-writing, blogging, interviews, reviews, and collaborative work with peers. It’s a bit complicated to explain, so here’s the basic […]

Prompt: Short, Prep Essay

Assignment: Write a 1-2 page typed response to the following questions Purpose: To help you expand your Essay 2 paper by looking into a specific topic that relates to your theme combining the two texts we have read in this class. Process: Step #1: Choose a theme and a question that intrigues you and relates […]

Lesson: Sentence and Context

This activity asks students to look closely at sentences and challenges them to create and change meaning through a variety of techniques. The goal is to get students thinking carefully about how they construct meaning, at a sentence level. It’s also FUN – there’s lots of room here to play around. I’ve never gotten through […]

Lesson: Battle of the Sentences

Bringing the Sentence Workshop (Macro in the Micro) To a New Extreme I used this for my unit on Analysis. It took about 15 minutes. This can be done with student produced sentences, or sentences between texts you wish to compare. For my exercise, I chose Deborah Tannen’s “There is No Unmarked Woman” and Lennard […]

Prompt: Narrative Fan Fiction

PAPER #1: NARRATIVE ESSAY – Fan Fiction REQUIREMENTS: 4-5 pages typed (or more), double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman Font MLA heading and page numbers Rough draft must be edited and signed by a Writing Center tutor. EXPLANATION: For those of you who don’t already know, fan fiction is just what it sounds like: fictional […]