Prompt: In-class Essay

Contributed by Jen Schell In-Class Essay on Michel Foucault’s “Of Other Spaces’  and Joe McGinniss’ Going to Extremes Take the entire class period to formulate an essay around one or more of the following questions. The essay should be approximately three handwritten pages (single spaced) or as long as it takes to adequately answer the […]

Prompt: Museum of the North and Representations of the Sublime

    Contributed by Jen Schell   The Museum of the North and  Representations of the Sublime Many Alaskan artists–poets, painters, sculptors, photographers–have attempted to capture the sublime in their work. Put more simply, they have tried to represent in an artistic form the special and awe-inspiring qualities of life in Alaska. Other artists prefer […]

Prompt: Collage Essay

Contributed by Jen Schell   Alaska and the Frontier/Wilderness, a Research Collage The research assignment for this class is a bit unconventional. Your goal is to create a  research collage about Alaska and its status as a frontier/wilderness. What is a collage?Collage is term used to describe a certain kind of abstract art in which […]

Lesson: The Mind as Place

  The Mind as Place “The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.’ —Paradise Lost, Book I Though he’s the devil, Milton’s Satan makes a keen point–our perceptions are the governing principle in how we process where we go and where we’ve been. It’s […]

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

Writing in Place

“Place-based” pedagogy attempts to engage the world around us and our students with our classrooms. A place-based pedagogy means bringing current events into your classroom (what’s the relationship between time and “place”?) or taking a class field-trip to the transfer site. It means engaging Alaska as place or assigning a prompt that encourages students to […]

Sample Syllabus: ENGL 213, Connecting Humans and Landscapes

English 213x- NORTH AMERICA: CONNECTING HUMANS AND LANDSCAPES Course Description: This course is an exploration of the natural and cultural landscape of North America for students who wish to study the continent we live on from a variety of perspectives. We will examine writings that combine cultural, environmental and historical views of different people, issues […]

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 […]

Sample Course Sequence: Autoethnography

Definition: Autoethnography is a blending of autobiography and ethnography. Autoethnographers describe and analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. This genre acknowledges subjectivity, emotionality, and the researcher’s influence on research — rather than ignoring these matters or claiming to be objective. The genre demonstrates that cultural research does not have to come from […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]