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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Teaching Composition's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010
9:00 am
Independent Grammatical Topics
Anyone ever create some sort of project-- or use some online resource-- to allow students to demonstrate that they've studied grammatical topics of their own personal need or interest?

Obviously the point is to apply it to their writing but I'd like to somehow make it more structured and more extensive.
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
4:55 pm
Omeros and The Odyssey
so.... I'm late constructing a course that starts next week. It's a writing through lit course (don't ask). My question for you folks is... does anyone have any ideas as to which parts of Derek Walcott's Omeros might fit neatly with The Odyssey ? This is roughly a class for first year or second year students and I'm using this to introduce epic poetry.

Thanks for your help!
Monday, October 5th, 2009
12:13 pm
Adrienne Rich poem---
Hi folks,

I'm trying to track down an Adrienne Rich poem that contains the line "At the beginning all new learning looks like chaos"

can anyone help me out?
Friday, September 18th, 2009
8:10 pm
Peer Review Strategies?
I've been teaching Freshman Composition courses for several years now, but I always feel like I could do better with peer review. I'm teaching a 101 (current events) and 102 (literature) course, both writing-intensive. Both classes have to do at least five essays and I do a peer workshop for most of them. I'm considering changing it up again. This time, students would bring drafts, exchange them, take the drafts home to work on between classes, and then bring them back in the next class for discussion. My only qualm about this is that some students may not participate and how do I reward those that do and punish those that don't. The ones that don't do it hurt the students whose drafts are neglected.

Any suggestions? I would love to work with them individually, but, with nearly 50 students, I cannot work with each student on each essay. Help!
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
2:38 pm
New Teaching Assistant for Beginning Comp. Needs Advice!
I am going to be teaching Freshman Composition in the fall and I am admittedly nervous. I will not find out the policies, requirements, or how to really teach until just a few short weeks before I start. Are there specific tips anyone can give me about what to do and what not to do my first semester of teaching? I'm a planner and without time to plan I get stressed.
Thank you!
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
8:21 am
Peer Reviews: whole class?
While I'm at it... has anyone found a feasible way to schedule 20 full-class student essay reviews in a semester (that is, where the entire classes reads and discusses a student's essay) or do you just do small group peer reviews? I've never done the full-class for every student but keep wanting to find a way. I teach courses in three 50-minute class sessions per week.
8:17 am
Research Paper Logisitics in Composition Courses
So research papers for composition classes--and note cards....yay or nay?

One of the colleges I teach at wants us to do them. I understand the point-- helping students learn to take minimalist notes and then integrate as a plagiarism preventative measure. But does anyone ever actually replicate this skill for the many future papers they will write in their lives? And do I really want to be receiving packets of note cards from 40 students?

Also, do you require photocopies of research sources with used sections highlighted or other such documentation?
Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
3:50 pm
new to community
Not sure if this is the group to post to, but I couldn't find another that seemed suited...

I've been teaching middle school English for less than a year, and I hate it.  I'm am definitely planning on being back in school next fall to work toward a master's and possibly my doctorate, but I'm not positive of what specialization (Creative Writing maybe?) I want to take or what career goals I want to work toward.  The only career I'm seriously considering at this point is teaching on the college level.  Other than that, I feel like I hardly know what my options are. 

So, two things I'd like to hear from anyone who has the time:
1.) As you see it, what are the pros and cons of teaching on the college level?
2.) What are other job opportunities within the field of English?

Anything else you'd care to share would be greatly appreciated as well - your experience, whatever! Thanks in advance!
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
2:26 pm
How Did Your Comp Courses Go?
So how did your teaching composition go this semester? I am rethinking my late work policies. What do you find works and is enforceable, particularly at a community college?

A big problem I am having is they don't do the first draft, then the day the rewrite is due they want to turn in a first and revised draft on the same day so that the revision isn't counted as late. This seems to reject the whole point of peer revision and teacher comments on the early draft. Or, it is time to start paper #3 and they haven't done paper #2.
Thursday, May 29th, 2008
7:55 am
Looking for articles about teaching Reflection
Hey everyone,

I know it's semester end--but... does anyone off hand know of articles that specifically address teaching reflection to students---like how to reflect on writing and learning and the benefitis/detriments of it?

Any help is appreciated.


Monday, April 21st, 2008
8:48 am
sharing handouts
I'm in the process of uploading all my materials to a google page, and I was wondering if there was a community/if anybody would be interested in having a community/if it works with this community to have a place where we might share course materials and so on. Would love to hear from you or discuss :)
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
5:36 pm
Those Sisyphus Moments
What do you do when it becomes painfully apparent that they just aren't getting it? That no matter how many times you go over it in class, no matter how much emphasis you give it, no matter how many points it's worth, they still can't seem to do it right?

"It" can mean whatever you want it to, but right now I'm specifically thinking about getting the citations correct. I find it absolutely baffling that I'm getting maybe one or two students in a class who do it right.

Current Mood: aggravated
Monday, November 5th, 2007
12:55 am
Hi all,

I'm currently making a handout of all the "informal" expressions that my kids use when they write. Some pet peeves of mine are "just" (for "only" or "simply"), "hard" for difficult, "get" in most contexts, and the ubiquitous 'nt contractions. I was wondering what other examples the rest of you might have. I want to make a sort-of little dictionary for them so they can refer to it, instead of just using "feel" to guess what is colloquial and what is not.

TIA! :)


Thursday, November 1st, 2007
8:23 pm
MA in composition?
I'm thinking about applying to San Francisco State's MA with a composition concentration program. Has anybody gone through this program or a similar one? I'm curious about how difficult to find jobs and what those jobs usually entail. I'm pretty aware of the seemingly horrible academic job market but I've heard that it isn't as hard finding comp teaching jobs? I also have a BA in a non-english field but have had a few years experience in a position related to my degree.

Sunday, September 30th, 2007
8:44 pm
Mmmmm....vampires, anyone?
So on Friday a week ago, one of my 7th graders said, "Mrs. G., you have got to read this book."

I looked at the 500 page book she dropped on my desk and raised my eyebrows. "7th Grader, I really don't have time to read this..." I felt horrible because I really do like to read books when my kids are interested enough to recommend them to me.

"Mrs. G., just read it in SSR time, then. I've read it three times over the summer. I don't need ti back for awhile." I nodded reluctantly, knowing I wouldn't get past the first chapter.

Then, a mistake. One of those things I swear to my kids I never do. I brought it home this weekend. I had read the first ten pages or so over the last week and thought I would read it in a bath this weekend, after I had graded the 80 pieces of work I had to grade. A reward, of sorts.

I made another mistake when I turned on my bedside light and decided to just read a few pages Friday evening before bed.

Now, two days later, I'm done with Twilight.

It is fantastic, and like Jamie of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book, I am in love with another character. Edward Cullen the fascinatingly <i>human</i> vampire who falls in love with Bella, the protagonist of the story.

So, go, pick it up. Read it. Fall in love.

And, look at it this way. If you think you don't have time to delve into a 500-page book, it only takes two days to read.........if you don't do anything else......at all.
Thursday, June 21st, 2007
1:00 pm
Comp Textbooks
Have any of you ever taught a composition course using "Ways of Reading" or "The New Humanities Reader"?

What did you like or not like about the text?

I will be teaching at a new university and have not used any of those books before.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
9:33 am
Newspaper Story Update
Thank you all so much for your help/suggestions dealing with the story I posted last night.

To answer a few questions:
1. The assignment was to write a story set in the 20s-30s that deals with race relations/themes of the time.
2. The student in question is a C/D student. He is very creative, however, the work he turns in normally is mediocre at best.

How I solved the problem:
1. I talked to the principal. She pulled out his 5th grade writing SOL and it is much along the same line with the realistic, stream-of-consciousness-type writing.
2. I talked to the child
a. about the title--he says he's horrible at coming up with titles
b. about the story--he says he wanted to make it as realistic with possible.
3. When I told him I was very impressed he grinned from ear to ear and was thrilled that I liked the story. He said he could make it longer or he could bring in some of his stories from home.
3. We are going to work on getting it ready to send out to publish and I am going to push push push him in his writing.

I know it's horrible to not give students the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately, generally in my school, plagiarism would be the way to go if I got something like that.

Thanks again for all the help!
Monday, March 19th, 2007
7:50 pm
Familiar Story, Anyone?
Hello, all. You all have been so helpful in the past finding my little plagiarists. Here's another one I need help with. Does anyone recognize this story from anything? I've googled parts of it here and there but can't find anything. I just really don't think a 6th grader could write this...and the title has nothing to do with the story...Thanks for any help you can send my way!

newspapersCollapse )
Saturday, November 4th, 2006
1:41 am
Just found this community while doing some browsing...

A little introduction:
I'm a first time college English professor.  I've been working in the English office at the college where I started my post-secondary schooling, and when I graduated in May they offered me a part time position for this term.  So, I've been teaching grammar skills, paragraph writing, reading comprehension etc. 

The last assignment of the semester will be a compare and contrast essay.  I want to make it a "fun" last assignment, and also I'm a bit ahead of schedule, so I thought I would let them watch a movie and then compare and/or contrast two of the main characters.

Has anyone done such an assignment before? Can anyone offer up some suggestions for movies to show?
Monday, September 4th, 2006
7:18 pm
Teaching Grammar
I need a bit of advice. This is my first semester teaching comp, and I have to give a grammar lecture/assignment/project/something on wednesday. I am scared out of my wits about this because grammar is not that exciting. I feel confident about teaching my students about the process of writing and types of writing techniques, but grammar scares me.

So I am wondering if any of you would be able to offer some advice on how to teach grammar without boring my students and myself. Thanks in advance.

Current Mood: nervous
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