Tips for Creating Lessons and Assignments

Make your course your own: choose the texts that inspire you, start the discussions that you value, and tailor this curriculum to your skills and specializations. As you do this, browse through our Unit Framework and Resources section for ideas about each of the units and how other teachers have structured them in the past. Below are some helpful tips to consider as you write your syllabus and assignments.

  1. Create assignments and in-class activities that provide students with guidance and practice in a variety of writing processes, including revision and peer-review. Do not assume writers know how to engage in peer review before they arrive in your class. There are many ways to model or practice peer review as a class, such as whole-class workshops, sentence workshops, paragraph workshops, partner exchange, developing rubrics as a class, etc.
  2. Don’t limit homework to reading or in-class work to discussion: assign additional writing inside and outside of class. These assignments may include the following: reading response papers, focused free writes, reading journals, in-class writing, weekly writing, and research memos.
  3. Choose  difficult but rewarding texts  for the class to read and build discussions around analysis of a text’s purpose, audience, and context. The unit’s goals and paper specifics should ground these discussions by highlighting linguistic and multimodal design choices of writing.
  4. Schedule individual or small group conferences with your students at least once per semester. This is your best opportunity to get to know your students and work one-on-one with the specific writing challenges each of them faces.
  5. Encourage students to work with tutors in the UAF Writing Center as part of their writing process. It’s usually a good idea to do a walk-through the 8th floor of Gruening with your class early in the semester, so that they know where to find you and other help for their writing.
  6. Provide prompt, constructive, honest feedback on students’ writing-thinking. Do not hold onto student writing without feedback for longer than two weeks. Think about the impact of the “red pen.’ Dialogue with your students in the margins and end comments of their papers–motivate them to take risks and help them understand the consequences of their writing choices. All instructors must comment on one set of rough drafts to prompt and support evermore complex and effective writing from students.