Erika Romero

PhD Candidate and Education Blogger

Category: ELA (page 1 of 3)

Course Syllabus Example Elements & My Instructor Notes

The course syllabus is often considered to be the most important document in a college course, because it lays down foundational information for your students on the first day of class. As such, the syllabus is the first “College Course Week 1” element discussed in the “Successful Start” workbook and series. [Here’s more information on the series, and here’s the link to the workbook.] Since the workbook covers brainstorming and drafting what elements you need and want in your course syllabus, in today’s post, I’ve provided examples of syllabus elements that I’ve used, along with my commentary on these elements. In today’s video (embedded at the end of this post), I focus on how my students have influenced my syllabus creation process.

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Resources for New College Instructors (Round-Up)

Summer is moving quickly and lesson planning for the new semester will start soon enough (if it hasn’t already). As I’ve been blogging about teaching tips, tools, and resource for over a year now, I thought I’d help give new readers an easy resource to use to get started on their semester prep. If you’re one of the many new college instructors entering the classroom in the fall or are just looking for some fresh ideas, here’s my list of top blog posts with tons of advice and resources.

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Metacognitive Writing for Assessing Student Learning

As instructors, how can we know what students have learned from our classes? Student evals tell us how they feel about us and our classes, but not about what they learned. Some of us might have students reflect on the course at the end of the semester, but can students really remember small, important details from week 3 during week 16? To find out what students have gained from my writing course projects, I have them complete a metacognitive writing activity for each unit. At ISU, we refer to this activity as completing an “uptake genre.” In today’s post, I explain this concept in more detail and provide examples of uptake genres I’ve had students complete during different sections of my ENG 101 courses. If you want to know more about what your students have learned from your classes, consider adding an uptake genre or two to your course design.

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How to Teach Writing without the 5-Paragraph Essay

While teaching the five-paragraph essay might be necessary in high school English courses that seem to (unfortunately) run on standardized testing, college writing instructors could use a more realistic approach when teaching writing. Once outside the school setting, five paragraph essays aren’t exactly in high demand. At ISU, our (award-winning) writing program takes a rhetorical genre studies approach to teaching writing in order to better help prepare our students for their future writing responsibilities and interests.

Rather than focus our courses on writing essays and going through grammar drills, our students practice researching various rhetorical genres. While completing writing projects, they also work to articulate what they’ve learned about these genres, how they’ve learned this information, and how they can use these new skills and knowledge in situations outside the classroom. In today’s post, I describe how I teach writing using a theoretical framework that helps my students analyze the texts around them and their own writing experiences. 

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What Class Discussion Designs Work Well in the Literature Classroom?

Finding multiple, engaging, class discussion designs to use in a literature classroom can be a struggle for any discussion-heavy course. With weeks of discussions to lead each semester, keeping students invested in participating in the same types of discussion can be difficult, even if the material under discussion is quite different. I tend to rely pretty heavily on a few of the discussion designs described in today’s post, but I’ve also included a couple that many of my students often haven’t experienced before my course. I’ve had a lot of success with all of these class discussion designs, though I’m always looking for new ideas. 

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A College Group Project that My Students Actually Enjoy

I’ve never had a whole class of students cheer when I tell them they will complete a group project in our course. Usually, students automatically worry about having to work with peers they don’t know. They wonder how much work they’ll end up being responsible for or how often they’ll have to meet outside of class. In all the courses I’ve used my group project, however, the large majority of students express their enjoyment of the experience and/or how much they learned from the experience. In today’s post, I go through all the details of this project so that you have a basic college group project design ready to be tweaked and brought into your own classroom.

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