Some things I am considering or plan to do for the fall in my first year composition class.
1. I am going to use the AP argument question for a diagnostic.
I’ve seen 2050+ of these, so I am going to give this for a diagnostic, grade it like we did in the AP reading, and give them back for discussion.
2. I am going to lead up to a second in-class essay on the same exact question, with discussion of examples, practice writing opening paragraphs, etc.
There will be readings on related topics. We will look at examples of definition/illustration papers that have good examples and good illustrations. I will discuss the paper they will be writing out of class in terms of the AP question.
3. I am wondering if I should have them write their own definition/illustration paper out of class and then, in class, have them write a second time on the AP question.
The purpose for this would be to show (assuming it is true) that having thought about a paper and worked on it and talked about it gives you a better grade on the paper. I would hope it would, but it might not.
4. I am going to expressly teach more rhetoric. Cicero was a main perspective at the AP reading, so I am going to add Cicero to the minimal Aristotle I present.
The advantage to this is that it gives the students more language/words to tie the thoughts and ideas I am teaching them up with. So when we talk about writing that is easy to read, we are discussing style.
I think this will help students create more memory hooks for the ideas I have been teaching them.
5. I am going to continue/expand the “Writing Tip of the Day,” which I did in my second semester class last year and do it throughout my freshman comp classes.
These are simplified points of information that are generally adhered to by good writers or expected by good readers.
6. I am going to have a couple of quizzes on the book readings be “What would the writing tip of the day from this reading be?”
That might give me some additional writing tips and it will help the students see that the point of reading the book is to get more/better writing ideas.
7. I will continue to use the Conceptual Elements to have students look at their own work and at other people’s work.
In Texas, at least, the educational system is going more towards an industrial revolution model (rows, checks, no creativity). I want to counterbalance that with the things that can’t be outsourced. (So accounting is being outsourced a lot, but actuarial science, which is math in context of culture, is not.)
I would like to pull all those things together well, but I don’t know if I know how. I guess I will start brainstorming about it and think about what exactly I am trying to do in a cohesive manner.
How is this different from what I used to do?
I used to focus on types of essays that they will be writing in college. I can’t do that now. I do mention if there is one we are doing is common to exam questions.
There is a lot more reading required, because I must use a textbook and the students get grumpy if we don’t use them. So we use them.