Lesson: Defining Success across Audiences

Contributed by Elizabeth Alexander, 2014 Goals: To identify audience needs and revise writing accordingly Engage in self-assessment and self-critique for more effective communication with different audiences When to use this: In a unit in which students must revise a piece using a different mode and/or for a different audience Prior Class: Ask students to bring […]

Lesson: Quittin’ Time

Contributed by August Johnson, 2015 Summary: In this lesson we use a resignation letter to discuss the rhetorical situation. Description: This lesson requires at least two days, as there is a homework reading assignment involved. We will read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Serving in Florida” from 50 Essays. This essay contains a grim depiction of a restaurant […]

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 […]

Sample Syllabus: ENGL 213, Writing on Alaska

This syllabus employs creative visual formatting, and so we’ve attached it as a PDF rather than translate it here. Click below to view. Sample Syllabus: Ragan Syllabus 213

Sample Guidelines for Group Projects

Groups: You will be assigned to a group by the instructor.You will not be able to change groups. Your group is your “home” in this course. You will work in groups frequently. 10% of your final mark is based on your work in your group and will be evaluated by fellow group members. One half […]

Observation Unit Plan: Authority

The general theme for this observation unit is “Authority.’ Using Lad Tobin’s Writing Relationships model, this unit has been designed with fostering dynamic student-teacher and student-student relationships within the composition classroom. As the observation unit is the first in the curricular sequence, it is incredibly important to develop the relationships that the students and teacher […]

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 […]

Observation Unit Plan: Food, Culture, and Language

  Great fun for Lovers of Food! English 111x Unit 1 Observation and Food! A Sequence. Why food? Food is a great way to introduce thinking and writing about culture and language to the class. It opens a natural dialogue between you and the students, and between the student’s themselves– they disclose their cultural backgrounds […]

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, […]

Prompt: Engaging in Inquiry

  Assignment: Write a 5-7 page researched essay that identifies and explores an important question related to a contemporary social controversy. Your paper should be followed by a Works Cited page in correct MLA style. Purpose: In Unit 1 we looked at contrasting ideas (they Say / I Say) on a given topic from a […]

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 […]

Lesson: Research Interviews

(this is designed for two class periods) Research interviews! I required my students to interview “an expert’ for their synthesis/research projects. In addition to actually doing the interview, this required them to identify what sort of expertise was needed for their projects, reach out to the interviewee, and create appropriate interview questions — all important […]

Lesson: Pockets Actvity

  I used this activity as an ice breaker, entry into a discussion of texts, as well as an introduction to the observation unit. This activity also presented an opportunity to engage the students’ lives with what they brought into the classroom. I didn’t add anything to the contents of my pockets before the class, […]

Analysis Unit Plan: Transfer Station Sub-unit

Many of the composition teachers at UAF take their classes to the local transfer station, often early in the semester as part of the Observation Unit. This semester I taught a week-long dumpster diving unit, as part of my Analysis Unit. I thought others might be interested in seeing how else you might incorporate the […]

Lesson: Print Ad Analysis

Print Ad Analysis For this exercise, I like to bring in some goofy or bizarre advertisement or PSA For the last few semesters, I have used a PSA from PETA that I found at this URL: https://www.mediapeta.com/peta/Images/Main/Sections/MediaCenter/PrintAds/DiegoLunaHR.pdf Here is a citation: “Diego Luna: Safe Sex.” PETA.org. PETA. n.d. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. I like using […]

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: Vampire Games

(Like Reindeer Games, But Bloodier and Less Festive) A serum has been invented which has the power to turn everyone on the earth into a vampire. All of earth’s inhabitants have elected to take the serum, thereby effectively changing 100% of the human race into vampire-kind. The Pope, your grandparents, your former swim coach. Synthetic […]

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: Place Essay

Observation (100 Points) Purpose:  To draw from a variety of observations that will allow you to focus on possibility through observation. Your essay will rely heavily on selective description and perspective. Instructions: Select a “place,” and describe it in detail. This could be where you grew up, a place you feel most connected to, somewhere […]

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 […]

Lesson: Textual Analysis

Goal for Lesson Series:   Moving towards analytical thinking and ultimately ending in an essay centered on textual analysis. Secondary Skills: Considering context, interpreting and paraphrasing a text, writing with the idea of an audience in mind. Prior Homework Assignment: Read Mark Doty’s poem “A Display of Mackerel” (p95) and write a few sentences on […]

Lesson: Observation and Perspective

(Consider taking students to the museum or the transfer station and having them choose an “object” for this activity) Read Wallace Stevens’ “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.’ In the poem, Stevens describes 13 different ways of looking at a blackbird. Some of Stevens’ observations are concrete others are more philosophical. Your assignment is […]

Lesson: Exploring Place

  Today’s activity is intended to start you on the path of exploring place for your first essay assignment. We will be making observations about three different “places,” and writing a blog post designed to get you thinking about the specific place you will write about in your essay. Place #1: The Exterior World We […]

Lesson: Museum Activity

This activity has been very helpful in showing students the differences between observational writing and analysis/synthesis. It is separated like a lab report so that it shows students what types of writing go into which fields. Activity: Today we will be going to the Museum. After reading the Hoshino piece for Tuesday, you have seen […]