The second day of class I had students write about their own experiences with writing. For this particular daily writing, I took about ten minutes.
What habits of writing do you have? A trick? A place? A medium (pen or computer)? Background music? Time?
What scares you most about writing?
What (potential) benefits do you see to writing?
For the first question, I mention that most enjoyable could be interpreted as least unpleasant.
For the second question, I ask them if they use a particular motivator or gimmick to get started,for instance. Do they always write just before the paper is due? Do they begin with the “I don’t have anything to say” answer to writer’s block?
Though usually I simply take up the Daily Writing and go on, for this day, I tell the students to meet the folks around them–exchanging names and introducing themselves– and share their answers. (Two of the classes meet in a classroom that I set up into table groupings, so they have 3-5 people at a table.)
I gave the students in my Tuesday-Thursday classes 15 minutes to talk about their answers with each other.
Then, just before I took up the papers, I called for silence and asked the students to write the names of the other people at their table on the bottoms of their papers.
🙂 Having already told students that I know a big part of college is getting to know people and that their fyc colleagues have great networking potential, as most will not be rivals for the jobs they want to pursue in the future, this little “pop Quiz” helps them see that I am serious about having them get to know each others’ names.
(FYI I also give a naming quiz, after putting pictures into a video for the students to review first. This usually takes place during the third week of class.)