Fall Semester

I love the beginning of the Fall semester! This time of year has always felt like the New Year to me. This is the time of new beginnings, of clean slates, of promises and resolutions.

As I was looking for some ideas for new ways of approaching comp I, I ran across this video I've seen before. It is, of course, outdated already, but it is good for an idea or two.

I am up for any ideas about how to make Composition I relevant in my student's lives. Suggestions?


Mike Golch said…
sorry i do not have a clue.
Liberrian said…
I take exception to their "students that graduate." Don't human beings merit a "who"? Just a pet peeve.

Abbreviated conversations via IM/texting - all students are doing this. Perhaps use IM-speak as a seque to a lesson on haiku? Saying a lot with very little?

I love art, UTSA's library subscribes to ARTStor. Storytelling is a wonderful way to learn ... I presented at a seminar a while back and discussed unusual uses for library stuff. One of the uses - select images from ARTStor and have students craft a story about what might be happening, what happened, what will happen.

I'd be happy to give you pointers on using ARTStor, Karen.
Liberrian said…
Oh ... Liberrian would be Leslie Todd, Karen! :)
Ginaagain said…
Wow.. and that came from Utah, not exactly the place you would expect new ideas to come from...

One would think that composition would easily slip into the digital age, it is essentially digital media already, but watching my high school aged children I see that language arts is actually slower to adopt technology. There have been a few teachers who start blogs, give credit for online participation in discussion groups, or assign powerpoint projects, but they start with good plans and then seem to lose steam. Then again, I have yet to see a high school English teacher complete a full year of teaching... that's right in the last six years not a single one of my children's high school level English teachers have made it through the entire year! Unfortunately the failure of those teachers at the high school level will impact your classroom; not only because your students come to you with an incomplete foundation but also because they are jaded. They expect teachers to try and trick them into learning. They are contemptuous of the teachers who fumble with tools that they are masters of. I am not trying to discourage you from trying new ideas, just urging you to be proficient and consistent if you want to see results.

(oh dear... the word verification is "drywords"!!)
Professor J said…
Gina, I would never think your words are dry!

I have used Blackboard and WebCT (basically a password protected web site program) for years, and I do try to be somewhat proficient and consistent with those tools. But these are not the tools my students use.

Do you think that if I asked my students to help me use their tools to learn with them, they would be less disdainful?
Ginaagain said…
Rather than give my opinion I asked the kid... Zane will be a jr. this year and is the kind of kid who is willing to help with tech problems.. he says that asking for help isn't a problem if you are the kind of teacher who students respect but teachers who don't have their student's respect don't have a lot of success with it. (or with teaching in general) Last year both his English and AP history teachers used blogs and wiki's and they both had problems at the beginning. The English teacher discontinued the project but the history teacher worked with the students to figure out what was wrong and fixed it. I saw some of the work Zane did for the wiki and it was very good... much better writing than anything he turned in for English!
Professor J said…
Thanks Gina and Zane! I guess I'll just give it a try and work hard at making it work for all of us.
JCK said…
I am sure you will think of something creative, with all the fresh start forces of the fall semester! Here's to new beginnings.

I adore those two little turtles in your current header...
phd in yogurtry said…
Seems like kids love the reality shows, especially Big Brother. I often wonder if they could articulate what is so engaging, what are the major themes of conflict, is there some Shakespearean tragedy that they're waiting to see unfold?

So maybe writing about some of their favorite media outlets? (Could you stand it? Not sure I could).

And I do like the idea of using text messaging and IMs. Challenging them to acquire podcasts and report back. I would just be afraid there are a few media-poor students who don't have the latest technology. What then?
Kathleen Scott said…
What about offering extra credit for students who volunteer to tutor kids in composition? You 'gotta know it to teach it.

Find some contests that require written entries and have everyone enter. You could have everyone read one aloud and then the class could talk about them & vote. Maybe give a pass on an assignment to the winner. Along these lines, maybe your financial aid office could help ID scholarship contests requiring a written composition?

Have real-world writers come in and talk about their writing and it earns a living--ad agency people, bankers, technical writers.
Professor J said…
I, too, worry about students who are media-poor. I'll have to stick with the more universal tools, like the cell phone and the computer (we do have labs everywhere).

Thanks, everyone for all of your great suggestions. It is a pleasure to meet you, Kathleen.

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