Tag Archives: Reflections

Final Project: Theme/Title

Browsing over what Colin and Laura wrote, I agree that Writing Matters is a great title. It is broad enough to encompass each of our individual projects, but focused enough to explain what we are doing. I'll test it against the other choices.

Writing Matters vs. Finding Your Voice: The two titles are similar in that they both imply that we are all looking for what matters individually to each of us and how to use writing to express it. However, using the word "voice" seems to imply "voice" or "style" in writing, which isn't really what we were shooting for. It also seems to imply we were silent until we "found" something, which I don't really agree with.
My verdict: Writing Matters wins.

Writing Matters vs. That Writing Moment: Writing Matters can refer to why writing is important, or it can refer to different matters, subjects, situations, in which writing is used and valued. The double entendre is cool. That Writing Moment is too narrow (just one moment!), and doesn't include the various angles and situations that Writing Matters allows.
My verdict: Writing Matters wins.

Writing Matters vs. Why I Write: I'm not sure any of us actually included Why I Write as an option. I think it made the list because Dr. Zamora asked the group a question about our theme and we were not clear enough with our answer. (A misunderstanding?) I think our vignettes are pretty diverse and don't necessarily respond to the question "why I write." If we are not all focusing on the answer to that question in our vignettes, then we shouldn't use Why I Write as our title/theme. If we are, then Why I Write should stay on the table. Personally, I am not trying to answer that question, but I could change direction if that's what the group decides.
My verdict: I prefer Writing Matters but would defer to the group's decision if Why I Write explains everyone else's intentions.

Final Project: Theme/Title

Browsing over what Colin and Laura wrote, I agree that Writing Matters is a great title. It is broad enough to encompass each of our individual projects, but focused enough to explain what we are doing. I'll test it against the other choices.

Writing Matters vs. Finding Your Voice: The two titles are similar in that they both imply that we are all looking for what matters individually to each of us and how to use writing to express it. However, using the word "voice" seems to imply "voice" or "style" in writing, which isn't really what we were shooting for. It also seems to imply we were silent until we "found" something, which I don't really agree with.
My verdict: Writing Matters wins.

Writing Matters vs. That Writing Moment: Writing Matters can refer to why writing is important, or it can refer to different matters, subjects, situations, in which writing is used and valued. The double entendre is cool. That Writing Moment is too narrow (just one moment!), and doesn't include the various angles and situations that Writing Matters allows.
My verdict: Writing Matters wins.

Writing Matters vs. Why I Write: I'm not sure any of us actually included Why I Write as an option. I think it made the list because Dr. Zamora asked the group a question about our theme and we were not clear enough with our answer. (A misunderstanding?) I think our vignettes are pretty diverse and don't necessarily respond to the question "why I write." If we are not all focusing on the answer to that question in our vignettes, then we shouldn't use Why I Write as our title/theme. If we are, then Why I Write should stay on the table. Personally, I am not trying to answer that question, but I could change direction if that's what the group decides.
My verdict: I prefer Writing Matters but would defer to the group's decision if Why I Write explains everyone else's intentions.

Reflection: Peer Response Assignment, Jaxon Style



We tried the peer review in class today based on Jaxon's article. Students brought in two copies of their research proposals. I had students write memos to peers on the back of their papers. That took about 25 minutes in the early class and only about 15 in the later class. Then, I made sure they exchanged papers with someone they don't sit near, because we have done some peer editing before, and I didn't want them going to the same folks each time.

I explained that the proposal isn't just a preliminary document to the research paper, but an important stand-alone genre. Then I offered lots of points for the peer feedback. I didn't, as Jaxon suggested, let them bring the assignment home. There was plenty of time in class.

Pros:
  • Always love it when students help each other. It allows them to feel empowered and important. Their opinions matter, and they put them in writing for an audience (their peers). I read over some of the comments and memos, and they were insightful and helpful.
  • I noticed some students looking back critically over their own papers. Others were asking questions about the memos they received. Everyone I heard seemed to appreciate and value the honest feedback.
  • I was particularly pleased with Peter's use of this collaborative exercise. Peter came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in his research proposal. (I doubt most students would have classified him as belonging to that community had he not disclosed it.) He emailed me regarding his paper, and I reminded him that we would be peer reviewing the papers. He decided to stick to his topic. We were able to absorb the information while treating it as an academic issue, focusing on the proposal. Nicely done, Peter.
  • Some students were talking to each other for the first time, which was nice, because they are freshmen and don't always make social connections easily.
Cons (to tweak for next time):
  • Some students felt like they had to talk with the author to write the response. I wanted them to respond only to the writing without asking the author for clarification; I wanted the writing to stand silently on its own. Besides Jaxon's time constraints, this may be another reason why she wanted the assignment to go home.
  • In the morning class, it took the entire class period for the students to finish. In the later class, they all felt "done" with 15 minutes to spare. Hmmm.
  • Some students didn't understand exactly why they were writing the memo to the student instead of having a discussion. They may have felt this was an "exercise" or busy work. Also, many wanted to write in teen language, texting style, since the audience was a peer. Another reason to make it a take-home assignment?
  • The directions I took from Jaxon's paper were a bit wordy and possibly confusing to use as directions for students. (I don't think she intended them as such, anyway.) I will streamline for next time to clarify my expectations.
I'm interested to see the changes they make to their proposals when they upload the final drafts on Tuesday! In the meantime, I'm going to tweak the process and prepare for a peer review of their first drafts of the research paper.

Reflection: Peer Response Assignment, Jaxon Style



We tried the peer review in class today based on Jaxon's article. Students brought in two copies of their research proposals. I had students write memos to peers on the back of their papers. That took about 25 minutes in the early class and only about 15 in the later class. Then, I made sure they exchanged papers with someone they don't sit near, because we have done some peer editing before, and I didn't want them going to the same folks each time.

I explained that the proposal isn't just a preliminary document to the research paper, but an important stand-alone genre. Then I offered lots of points for the peer feedback. I didn't, as Jaxon suggested, let them bring the assignment home. There was plenty of time in class.

Pros:
  • Always love it when students help each other. It allows them to feel empowered and important. Their opinions matter, and they put them in writing for an audience (their peers). I read over some of the comments and memos, and they were insightful and helpful.
  • I noticed some students looking back critically over their own papers. Others were asking questions about the memos they received. Everyone I heard seemed to appreciate and value the honest feedback.
  • I was particularly pleased with Peter's use of this collaborative exercise. Peter came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in his research proposal. (I doubt most students would have classified him as belonging to that community had he not disclosed it.) He emailed me regarding his paper, and I reminded him that we would be peer reviewing the papers. He decided to stick to his topic. We were able to absorb the information while treating it as an academic issue, focusing on the proposal. Nicely done, Peter.
  • Some students were talking to each other for the first time, which was nice, because they are freshmen and don't always make social connections easily.
Cons (to tweak for next time):
  • Some students felt like they had to talk with the author to write the response. I wanted them to respond only to the writing without asking the author for clarification; I wanted the writing to stand silently on its own. Besides Jaxon's time constraints, this may be another reason why she wanted the assignment to go home.
  • In the morning class, it took the entire class period for the students to finish. In the later class, they all felt "done" with 15 minutes to spare. Hmmm.
  • Some students didn't understand exactly why they were writing the memo to the student instead of having a discussion. They may have felt this was an "exercise" or busy work. Also, many wanted to write in teen language, texting style, since the audience was a peer. Another reason to make it a take-home assignment?
  • The directions I took from Jaxon's paper were a bit wordy and possibly confusing to use as directions for students. (I don't think she intended them as such, anyway.) I will streamline for next time to clarify my expectations.
I'm interested to see the changes they make to their proposals when they upload the final drafts on Tuesday! In the meantime, I'm going to tweak the process and prepare for a peer review of their first drafts of the research paper.

Final Project: Thoughts

I like the Digital Writing Month idea. The site looks pretty cool, and I think our project would fit in nicely.

My contribution to the final project would be a personal narrative about the first time my writing was valued--at millions of dollars!  I never saw a penny of that cash, but neither did a CTC (chlortetracycline) factory in rural China. More on that in my story...

Final Project: Thoughts

I like the Digital Writing Month idea. The site looks pretty cool, and I think our project would fit in nicely.

My contribution to the final project would be a personal narrative about the first time my writing was valued--at millions of dollars!  I never saw a penny of that cash, but neither did a CTC (chlortetracycline) factory in rural China. More on that in my story...

More Thoughts on our Final Project, and a shout out to Melissa

In thinking further about our final project, I agree with Melissa's last post. She said she would like to create lesson plans or design a course. I agree. I'd prefer to make a compilation of lesson plans / best practices and tie them to theory. The final product of ideas #1, #2, and #3 are all very similar. If we each choose the way we want to present our lessons, anti, online, print, they could still all be part of the same compilation (because print will start as an electronic document anyway).


So let's talk about lessons/best practices, and why I want to take that route. I have successfully integrated 3 best practices that were shared in the classroom here at Kean since I started in the program in July. The first was Laura Lopez's 6-word memoir idea. I adapted her lesson for my first year writing course at NJIT in our personal narrative unit. The students loved it and learned about connotation, register, word choice, composing in digital format, and reflection. I used an adaptation of a lesson plan shared by Larissa Lee to introduce counter arguments in our unit on persuasive essays. They learned the concepts of support vs. counter arguments and how to predict, concede, and/or refute the opposition's point of view.

Now, shout out to Melissa Libbey, thank you! for sharing that lesson you participated in about understanding counter arguments. While you may have just mentioned it in passing, I listened closely, and used the same plan on Tuesday to drive home the concept of counter arguments with my freshmen before their persuasive essay due date next week. We had Team Snickers and Team Twix eating candy in two groups and making lists on the board. They gained a solid understanding of where counter arguments fit in the scheme of a persuasive essay, why they are rhetorically important, and how to phrase them effectively. And, they got to trash talk each other and eat candy bars. The activity was a much more effective learning tool than my previous classroom explanations were. Understanding was evident in their rough drafts following the team activity. Awesome!


Back to the final project. Idea #3 doesn't seem to be a combination of #1 and #2 to me. It seems to be an explanation of what each individual could do with #2:

  • Pick something to teach (from the list in idea #1), decide your pedagogy (anti or not, songs, pop culture), choose the presentation (print, electronic, interactive, etc.), develop an assignment, and explain the whole thing in terms of a theory you agree with.

My contribution to the group project, if it were idea #2 lesson plans / best practices compilation, could be fun grammar lessons, I know, it's an oxymoron,...with online components, songs, videos, and student activities. Or, I could explain and demonstrate college level eportfolios and how to use them in a class and for evaluation. For there to be learning in this project, we'd have to tie the lessons back to theory, which would be great. Then we'd have a basis for the pedagogy we choose. Also, we don't have to decide on a grade level. Writing is writing, and grammar is grammar. As Laura pointed out last class, the kid's learn the same thing year after year. Laura's 6th grade lesson was easily reworked for my college class. My college grammar could be tweaked for high school, etc.

If we went with idea #1 and went anti-theory with each genre, we would have to develop classroom lessons that might not be actually usable given time constaints, administrative rules, grading policy, etc. Fun, but, not sure where the useful learning comes in there, beyond understanding the theory. Also, some genres might lend themselves to anti-theory better than others, so it would be hard to constrain everyone to come up with an anti-theory. Still, I hope some of us would choose to take that route, it would be interesting.

I hope that helps move us towards a conclusion. Looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say!

More Thoughts on our Final Project, and a shout out to Melissa

In thinking further about our final project, I agree with Melissa's last post. She said she would like to create lesson plans or design a course. I agree. I'd prefer to make a compilation of lesson plans / best practices and tie them to theory. The final product of ideas #1, #2, and #3 are all very similar. If we each choose the way we want to present our lessons, anti, online, print, they could still all be part of the same compilation (because print will start as an electronic document anyway).


So let's talk about lessons/best practices, and why I want to take that route. I have successfully integrated 3 best practices that were shared in the classroom here at Kean since I started in the program in July. The first was Laura Lopez's 6-word memoir idea. I adapted her lesson for my first year writing course at NJIT in our personal narrative unit. The students loved it and learned about connotation, register, word choice, composing in digital format, and reflection. I used an adaptation of a lesson plan shared by Larissa Lee to introduce counter arguments in our unit on persuasive essays. They learned the concepts of support vs. counter arguments and how to predict, concede, and/or refute the opposition's point of view.

Now, shout out to Melissa Libbey, thank you! for sharing that lesson you participated in about understanding counter arguments. While you may have just mentioned it in passing, I listened closely, and used the same plan on Tuesday to drive home the concept of counter arguments with my freshmen before their persuasive essay due date next week. We had Team Snickers and Team Twix eating candy in two groups and making lists on the board. They gained a solid understanding of where counter arguments fit in the scheme of a persuasive essay, why they are rhetorically important, and how to phrase them effectively. And, they got to trash talk each other and eat candy bars. The activity was a much more effective learning tool than my previous classroom explanations were. Understanding was evident in their rough drafts following the team activity. Awesome!


Back to the final project. Idea #3 doesn't seem to be a combination of #1 and #2 to me. It seems to be an explanation of what each individual could do with #2:

  • Pick something to teach (from the list in idea #1), decide your pedagogy (anti or not, songs, pop culture), choose the presentation (print, electronic, interactive, etc.), develop an assignment, and explain the whole thing in terms of a theory you agree with.

My contribution to the group project, if it were idea #2 lesson plans / best practices compilation, could be fun grammar lessons, I know, it's an oxymoron,...with online components, songs, videos, and student activities. Or, I could explain and demonstrate college level eportfolios and how to use them in a class and for evaluation. For there to be learning in this project, we'd have to tie the lessons back to theory, which would be great. Then we'd have a basis for the pedagogy we choose. Also, we don't have to decide on a grade level. Writing is writing, and grammar is grammar. As Laura pointed out last class, the kid's learn the same thing year after year. Laura's 6th grade lesson was easily reworked for my college class. My college grammar could be tweaked for high school, etc.

If we went with idea #1 and went anti-theory with each genre, we would have to develop classroom lessons that might not be actually usable given time constaints, administrative rules, grading policy, etc. Fun, but, not sure where the useful learning comes in there, beyond understanding the theory. Also, some genres might lend themselves to anti-theory better than others, so it would be hard to constrain everyone to come up with an anti-theory. Still, I hope some of us would choose to take that route, it would be interesting.

I hope that helps move us towards a conclusion. Looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say!