Tip 18: Where do you find sources for lectures, activities, handouts?

We should review our classes periodically if we are continuing to teach the same ones OR we need new sources because we are teaching new courses.

This may sound simple. Most of us have had to come up with something new. But sometimes, in the flurry of trying to get ready, we miss some useful sources.

Old class work as a student
This could be classes you took. I gave information out on Old English literature based on my notes from grad school. Also I talk about the six areas of research on Beowulf from the same source.

My introduction to Judith this summer came from two papers I wrote in graduate school.

And so did my discussion starters on women’s roles in the Old and Middle English eras.

Old class work as a teacher
Sometimes as teachers we move away from a project, a paper, an activity because it didn’t fit the class or we were tired of it. Perhaps it didn’t work in execution although the idea was good. Or maybe it worked incredibly well, but we had other things we needed to do instead.

Go through your old syllabi, your old notes, your old handouts and see what is in there that would be useful for your classes now.

I’ve found old assignments (riddles) and old formats (aesthetic differences in syllabi) that were very useful doing this just this summer.

The internet
You can find just about anything on the internet, if you are willing to do multiple searches and take some time to get it done.

There are syllabi, for suggested readings in courses similar to yours.

There is history and cultural background information, for various periods, often including very interesting sites you could actually look at in class.

There are teacher’s plans, including quotes and activities, exercises and handouts, visual aids and videos.

If you plan ahead for time, or you take the time when you’ve been surprised at the last minute, the overabundance that is the internet can offer incredible source materials.

Journal articles
These can be a source of interest to you and the more excited about a topic you are, the more likely your students will become excited.

If this is a new topic for you, start looking for the references. Which works are referenced the most? Make sure you read those.

If it’s a standard topic, don’t be afraid to look at old articles for inspiration. I found a great article on voice in College English back in the 1980s.

Books
Don’t neglect the tried and true.

If you are doing a new class, see what your library offers. Look at interlibrary loan.

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