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.Continue reading
Category: ELA (Page 2 of 4)
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.Continue reading
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 (which I also go over in this video), 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. [Need ideas for teaching an online class? Here’s a video with seven online discussion designs.]Continue reading
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.Continue reading
The end of the semester is approaching quickly. Only two more weeks of coursework before finals week arrives. At this point of the semester, it’s not uncommon to receive requests for extra credit opportunities. I’ve never received an extra credit request from a student, though, because I build in multiple opportunities into the semester. There’s a lot of debate over whether extra credit should be an option in the classroom. Personally, I believe that if students are willing to put in extra effort to complete additional work, then they should have that opportunity. I’m more than willing to allow students to increase their project grades by a few points by completing additional activities that require students to deepen their understanding and abilities to apply what they’ve learned. Here are five forms of extra credit activities I offer in my various courses. [A video version of this information is included at the end of this post, too!]
I moved up the post scheduled for today to last Monday because I wanted to give new college instructors at least a week to integrate my top ten teaching tips. Today, I’ll keep things brief by going over some basic details about the three digital notebooks I’ve created for any of my website’s visitors. The hyperlinked PDFs are all available on my “Create” page, or you can grab them all here: vertical one, vertical two, and horizontal. They work in a similar manner as my digital academic planners, so you can find tips on using a hyperlinked PDF here and here. [Also, I have a video on reasons why a digital bullet journal is better than a paper one.] If you’re already familiar with using hyperlinked PDFs in annotation apps like GoodNotes, I hope you find these notebooks useful! [They’ll work on desktop PDF annotator apps, but the portability advantage of these notebooks is limited to those with access to tablets/iPads, or perhaps a smartphone).] If you’d like a few basic tips before getting started, though, keep on reading this post.