No More Wimpy Healthcare Bills, etc.

Posted by Richard Parent on November 9, 2010

Hey everyone. Your students may not have followed the health care reform battle(s) in Congress, which will make reading and understanding Rose Ann DeMauro’s excellent op-ed, “Diary of a Wimpy Healthcare Bill” especially challenging and probably unproductive for them.

Instead, I’m asking my students to read the following two op-eds from today’s (November 9, 2010) Burlington Free Press,”:

Also, I’ve updated the course calendar to reflect our updated research paper schedule. Draft 1 is due today (Nov. 9), and I’ll get these drafts back to you on Tuesday. Draft #2 will be due on the Tuesday after we return from our long Thanksgiving recess (November 30th). That will give me time to get those back to you so you can revise them for your final portfolio.

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Portfolio Perspective!

Posted by Richard Parent on October 28, 2010

Usually, when I ask students to write reflective pieces to accompany their portfolios, I ask them to reflect on their work and to think about the way their writing demonstrates (or doesn’t!) their skills and weaknesses as writers. This lets us chart a course moving forward through the rest of the semester.

Because of the nature of the work we’ve been doing in this practicum, though, that’s not going to work very well for us.

So, instead, I want you to focus on your teaching journal, your observation, and your research plan.

  • What patterns do you see emerging from your journal? Patterns in student behavior, in your behavior as a teacher, and in the way(s) you respond to students and to their writing?
  • What are the points your observer made in their observation of your class?
  • How do these points relate to what you see yourself in your teaching journal?
  • What points did you make in your own observation report? How do these relate to your classroom?
  • How do you see your research plan (the topic you’re researching for your research project) connecting with, and improving, your teaching practice? (This may be more about what you hope the research project will bring to your teaching, and that’s okay at this point.)
Categories: Assignments
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Portfolio 1

Posted by Richard Parent on October 26, 2010

Here’s what’s going in your portfolio:

  • Project 1 (with my comments)
  • Project 2 1-pager, which I will give you on Thursday
  • Your research plan (in whatever stage it finds itself on Thursday)
  • Your teaching journal, through Wednesday
  • Your observation writeup
  • (If you are Jennifer and Colin: your reflection on your workshop demo)

And, as you know from getting portfolios in your sections of English 1, it helps if you can put all of this in a folder.

Categories: Assignments
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Research Plan

Posted by Richard Parent on October 26, 2010

Here’s the checklist for items for your research plan:

  • What is your topic? (Everyone must have at least this much.)
  • Do you have a guiding thesis or question? If so, what is it?
  • Have you identified major figures related to your topic? If so, who are they? Have you identified scholarly works that are likely to be important to your research project? If so, what are they?
  • Do you have a rough outline of your project?

As we discussed, the more you can include in your research plan, the better able I will be to offer you guidance and support.

Categories: Assignments
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Nancy Sommers Readings!

Posted by Richard Parent on October 26, 2010

Hi all,

As promised, here are the Nancy Sommers readings for Thursday:

  • Sommers, Nancy. “Revision Strategies for Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers.” College Composition and Communication 31.4 (Dec. 1980): 378-388. (Available on JSTOR)
  • Sommers, Nancy. “Responding to Student Writing.” College Composition and Communication 33.2 (May 1982): 148-156. (Available on JSTOR)
Categories: Readings
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Updated Reading Schedule!

Posted by Richard Parent on October 15, 2010

Here’s the updated reading schedule for the rest of the semester. I’ve updated the Course Calendar with these readings on these days, and other small changes, so be sure to check it out!

10/21 Thursday

  • Ilona Leki: “The Preferences of ESL Students for Error Correction in College-Level Writing Classes” (Foreign Language Annals 24.3 1991)
  • Robert E. Land & Catherine Whitley: “Evaluating Second Language Essays in Regular Composition Classes: Toward a Pluralistic U.S. Rhetoric” (Richness in Writing ed. Donna M. Johnson &Duane H. Roen)

10/28 Thursday

  • Sommers, Nancy. “Revision Strategies for Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers.” College Composition and Communication 31.4 (Dec. 1980): 378-388. (Available on JSTOR)
  • Sommers, Nancy. “Responding to Student Writing.” College Composition and Communication 33.2 (May 1982): 148-156. (Available on JSTOR)

11/4 Thursday

  • Nancy Welch: “Sideshadowing Teacher Response” (College English April 1998) (JSTOR)

11/9 Tuesday

  • Jui-Chuan Chang: “Talking About My Omelet: Why and How?” (The Writing Lab Newsletter September 2003)

11/16 Tuesday

  • Patrick Hartwell “Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar” (College English 47.2 February 1985)

12/2 Thursday

  • Fan Shen: “The Classroom and the Wider Culture” (Signs of Life in the U.S.A.)

12/7 Tuesday

  • Mary Louise Pratt: “Arts of the Contact Zone” (Profession 1991)
Categories: Blog News,Readings
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Liveblogging the Library Meeting

Posted by Richard Parent on September 30, 2010

Hi all,

I’m going to try to take quick notes from our meeting with Pat Mardeusz at the Library.

Here’s the link to the research guide for GTAs. All of this is posted to the research guide — with handy tabs! This live-blogging is just intended to jog your memory of what we did with Pat.

  • Book searching – by subject heading AND by keyword searching
  • Finding articles: MLA (literature etc.) and ERIC (education); there’s some overlap, but not a lot, so check both indexes
  • Don’t START with JSTOR and Project Muse — the search parameters are just too loose; save these for last, when you know what you’re looking for, specifically
  • Keyword searching: remember to truncate! For the Library, use “?” for other databases, use “*”. In the Library catalog, teach? = teacher, teachers, teaching. In MLA/ERIC, teach* works the same way.
  • Websites: Educause, NCTE, CCCC, WAC
  • And don’t forget the English Graduate Student Research Guide that Pat put together!
  • Subject heading searches can give great results! You’ll get a wider range of results than if you search for keywords or title words. Pop in a subject heading and then scroll down the list to see what comes up.
  • Remember: when searching the Library catalog, always omit initial articles (a, an, the, etc…)
  • Use Recall Item to force anyone who has a book you want to return the book so you can check it out. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility, so recall wisely.
  • Subject Headings: Hint: “(Higher)” = Higher Education = College/University stuff = What you want, most of the time.
  • Even when you have a gazillion search results in the Library catalog, you can SORT your results using the box on the top right-hand side. “Publication Date Descending” is a good filter, because it shows you the most recent books first!
  • “Research is both a science and an art.”
  • Sample Guided Keyword search: first year (as a phrase) AND writing composition (any of these). Search!
  • Use Pat’s “Keywords to Consider” list! The “Useful Keywords/Key Phrases” are like a basic cookie dough. You need this to have cookies, but you’ll want to add some “And More…” words to make your cookies chocolate chip or banana walnut, or M&M… (now I’m hungry for cookies. Darn.)
  • The online catalog is great, but remember to use the books you find! Check out the index to see how often & where your topic comes up. Also, the Bibliography/Works Cited can be a great source of other scholarly works to look for.
  • Laurie Kutner (x6-2213) at the Library and the CTL (Center for Teaching & Learning) are good resources for using EndNote. (I’m with Pat — I don’t use it, but some people swear by it.)
  • When using MLA and/or ERIC, remember you can restrict the search to particular journals, like College English, or CCC by using the “SO Journal Title” (source = journal title)
  • A research hint from me (REP): ALWAYS “Exclude Dissertations” in MLA. They won’t be useful to you at this stage, and they’ll junk up your results.
  • “Find it at UVM” isn’t always reliable. Try this: click on Quick Search from the Library main page. Click the “Find Results in Journal Title” then type in the journal title (NEVER the article title), and click search.
  • The MLA database has a handy “Cite” function when you look at individual items that will render the item into the major citation formats. Handy!
  • If the Library doesn’t have what you find, don’t despair! Use Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) to request an article, chapter, or book!
  • In ERIC “Descriptors” = “Subject Headings” in MLA. Different names, but they work the same.

Thanks, Pat, for putting together this great page, and for helping us become super ninja researchers!

Categories: Blog News,Technology
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Chaos in Punctuation!

Posted by Richard Parent on September 28, 2010

Today we’re discussing Ann Berthoff’s seminal excerpt, “Learning the Uses of Chaos,” and I thought that a visual aid might be in order. So, with no further ado, here’s a little chaos for you to make meaning of/from — Doug Savage’s Savage Chickens shows us “The Latest in Punctuation”:


Now that you know about them, I fully expect you all to use these in your own writing!

Categories: Composition,Pedagogy
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Peer Review!

Posted by Richard Parent on September 14, 2010

Here’s a reminder of our peer review questions for Project 2:

  • 1) What is the narrative thread in this Project? Restate it, briefly.
  • 2) Where or at which points is the organization clearest in this Project? What makes these moments clearest to you?
  • 3) What moments seem least clearly organized? What is it about these moments that confuses you, or leaves you wondering what the organization is?
  • 4) What is the strongest moment/part of the Project? (You may want to think about the strongest moment as being the most emotional, or the most persuasive, or the most descriptive, or the most insightful. This may be the moment/part that most successfully, to you, shows its point rather than telling you what it means.) What about this moment makes it so?
  • 5) What is the weakest moment/part of the Project? (You may want to think about the weakest moment as being the least emotional, or the least persuasive, or the least descriptive, or the least insightful. This may be the moment/part that, to you, mostly tells its point rather than showing you what it means.) What about this moment makes it so?
  • 6) In what way(s) is the use of media in this Project effective? How so?

Remember: when you turn in your final draft (so far) of your Project 2, you’ll also need to give me a copy (paper or electronic) of the peer review feedback you received.

Categories: Assignments,Pedagogy
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Project 2!

Posted by Richard Parent on September 7, 2010

Project 2: Take Brian Doyle’s “The Greatest Nature Essay Ever” and examine what it is in the writing that creates rhetorical impact. What are the important rhetorical and stylistic choices the writer has made? What constraints is he operating within, and how has he worked within, against, or beyond those constraints? Do you have one particular theory about how Doyle’s essay works, or do you have several ideas and questions about it that you want to explore? Either way, consider approaching this as a reflection, collage, pastiche of observation notes, detailed annotation, or letter to your class.

Categories: Assignments
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