Archive for the ‘Class happenings’ Category

Directions: Copy and paste this questionnaire into a new Word document or blog post.  Please answer the following questions as honestly and in as much detail as possible.  Your thoughts and suggestions will aid me as I revise the course to teach it again.

1)      What was your favorite project?  Explain why.

2)      What was your least favorite project?  Explain why.

3)      Do you have any suggestions regarding peer response?  Would you change anything about peer response?

4)      Do you feel like you were given too much time to work on projects?  Too little time? Explain your answer.

5)      What are your thoughts about breaking each project up into multiple drafts or phases?  Did it help to have drafts or would you just have preferred to turn in one draft – the final-for-now?

6)      What are your thoughts about the pacing of the semester?  Were there any projects that felt too short?  Too long?

7)      Do you think you were given enough time to work on your final portfolio? Explain.

8)      Do you feel like I provided too many comments on drafts or not enough comments?   Were my comments helpful? Why or why not?

9)      What about the course would you change?  Do you have any suggestions for change as I revise the course to teach it again?

10)    Do you feel like this class helped you to be better able to read and compose texts, both in college and in the real world? Explain your answer.

11)   Please offer some advice or helpful hints for students taking this course in the future.


I often use writing samples from past students as models in my classroom.  Please check one of the boxes and type in your name and today’s date below:

__ I give you permission to use writing samples from my English 101 portfolio

__  I do not give you permission to use writing samples from my English 101 portfolio

Print Name:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­                                                                                                                       Date:


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Rafe Esquith, a noted teacher and author of Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire, will be speaking on Monday, November 16, 2009 at 7 pm in Braden Auditorium.

I have class on Monday evening and will be unable to attend, but I am willing to offer a five-blog posting make up (in other words, this one post will count for five that you may have missed) for attending and writing up a good, 300-500 word reflection on Esquith’s talk. I basically want to attend vicariously through all of you…

Some Rafe Esquith links:

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I want to clarify a question I’ve been getting about the portfolio. The synthesis revision should be included in the multigenre remix. You can also include earlier versions of either project 1 or project 2 or both, if you feel they are your best work.

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Arrangement is one of the five tradition canons of classical rhetorical training, and it is important to think about once you begin to assemble a body of works. How will this group of texts communicate with each other?

While brainstorming, I came up with a number of ways that I think about arranging a body of works, a taxonomy of arrangement techniques. I categorize the arrangment strategies as either pragmatic or aesthetic, although there may be other categories that can be separated out from these. These arrangement styles can be involved in any arrangement of texts by single authors or multiple authors: books, periodicals, blogs, films, portfolios, etc.


  • alphabetic: arrangement by name, typically the author’s
  • genre: in a multigenre work, things may be arranged by the genre classification
  • rank/cachet: by perceived importance
  • chronological: arranged by date order
  • historical/periodical: grouping works together by literary period or school i.e. Victorian, Postmodern
  • geographic: by location
  • race
  • class
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • ability
  • age
  • mode/media: technological mode of production used to arrange i.e. oral traditions separated from printed separated from hypertextual, etc.
  • stylistic: the ways an author or authors use language


  • melodic: a musical grouping intending to achieve beauty
  • communicative: a grouping devised so that the pieces speak to one another (also: conversational, dialogic)
  • juxtapositional: a grouping strategy that puts unlike pieces together to create a jarring, surprising effect (also: dialectical arrangement)
  • rhetorical: uses pieces in a tactical way to make a larger argument or persuade
  • harmonic: uses pieces in unison like a chord blends notes on a piano or guitar
  • dissonant: uses pieces in unresolved, indeterminate, or discordant ways to create an effect, often confusion or displeasure
  • collagic: applies the tenets of collage or cut-up; often shows the rough edges and “tape” between pieces in an arrangement
  • narrative (master/meta): using small pieces to tell a larger story, think chapters in a book or sections in a longer poem or interrelated short stories or poems in a collection or journal
  • confrontational: an arrangement in which the pieces are at war with one another or the audience
  • hybrid: an arrangement based on blending, either of different genres or of different arrangement styles
  • interactive/hypertextual: an arrangement style that allows the audience freedom when interacting with the work (difficult to do in print medium although not impossible)
  • logical/mathematical: using classical logic or numerical formulas to dictate arrangements of works e.g. Fibonacci sequences, if/then, syllogisms, etc.
  • chance/indeterminate/constraint-based: using a devised process of operations to dictate arrangement e.g. dice, I Ching hexagrams, coins, Tarot cards, etc.

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Paulo Freire, ruminating on today's teaching in Eng. 101

I want to start by saying that, as a group, today’s class session far exceeded my expectations for this part of the project. I understood that the limitations imposed on each group were strict and imposing (10 min. to teach 20-35 pages of challenging material). On Thursday, I panicked somewhat after the workshop because I felt like I did not encourage enough experimentation or risk-taking in the group projects (which is something I value in this class), although I felt like Thursday’s workshop was helpful in getting some ideas out for what we all valued in teaching (from a student-centered perspective).

And I felt like the presentations today delivered on the assignment. The presentations blended delivering the material from the chapters each group was responsible for with interactive, multisensory activities that encouraged us to do some reflective thinking to make connections between Freire’s theoretical ideas and real situations.

Now that you’ve completed this part of the project, I would like you to do two things:

Summarize (y)our “reading” of the book in a blog post (200-300 words). In other words, what will you take away from Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed from today’s activities?

In a second blog post, respond to the different acts of teaching this assignment required, considering any of the following or going in your own direction:

  • What do you value as a teacher? (Think about last Thursday’s workshop discussion.)
  • Were you able to stay true to what you value in this project and still cover the material? If yes, how? If no, what parts of the assignment impeded your ability to teach how you would like (the difficulty of the material, taking a section of the book out of context, the group dynamic, time constraints, etc.)?
  • What did other groups do in their presentation, positive or negative, that stood out? Did you have any “a-ha moments” where another group did something you wish you would have thought of? In what ways could groups have improved? Did you have enough to base your “reading” of the book on?
  • Would you ever consider doing a read-group-share assignment like this one in your classes? Compare and contrast collaborative reading with your experience of reading texts independently.

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The goal of this assignment is to read Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed as a group and share what you learned with the class. Since this is a difficult book, it will be easier to read and discuss a portion of the book with your group, devise a plan to summarize and teach the key points and then deliver your lesson on October 27 in class.

This assignment gives you a chance to:

  • read a pivotal work of pedagogical theory that defined a movement: critical pedagogy
  • practice collaboratively devising a lesson plan
  • execute the lesson plan for an audience of your peers (using our classroom space efficiently: technology, whiteboard, handouts, etc.)
  • balance reading this book with other research tasks you will undertake for project four

Remember when creating a lesson, it is best to involve your audience with as many senses as possible to account for a diversity of learning styles. It may be best to create a blog or PowerPoint slide show to reveal the key points for your section of the book. Be creative and don’t be afraid to take risks.

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Many people have asked me whether or not sources need to be cited for this project, now that we have gotten into the phase of the course where we are doing more research and using more sources.

As a rule of thumb or heuristic, when in doubt, cite.

For this project, you do not need to include citations within the visual text you make, but they can accompany it if need be. Also, if you haven’t kept great track of where you gathered source, don’t do tons of extra work to find them. Cite what you can easily find for now, and we’ll learn some more about citations in project four (Believe it or not, there is an amazing add-on for Mozilla Firefox called Zotero that does a lot of the record keeping for you. I’ll show it to you in class: it rocks!).

Most of what you all are doing when using images to create your visual text would be considered fair use. Fair use is an area within copyright law that allows for copyrighted items to be reused for a specific group of purposes. In most instances, the owner of a copyrighted work reserves the right to reproduce that work, grant permission for other to do so, and possibly, to charge fees for using it.

I would advise all of you to read over the fair use link from the US Copyright office. Notice that since creating your visual texts includes research and scholarly work, it will (in most cases) be deemed fair use.

But, when in doubt, cite and give credit.

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I just watched this great video over at TED. It’s a presentation by Daniel Fink on The Surprising Science of Motivation. If you think you’ll ever be in a situation where you need to motivate people or want to know about how different kinds of incentives affect your own motivation, you should check it out. The vid is 18:40 long.

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Here are some free programs you can download to work on the third phase of the project:

Image manipulation

Photo slideshow: If you make a slideshow of photographs, you will need to upload it to YouTube in order to embed it on your blog. If you need help with this, let me know.

  • Windows Movie Maker
  • iMovie
  • DivX Author
  • Zamzar (tutorial on zamzar.com) (This application lets you convert YouTube videos to files you can use in other programs, like Windows Movie Maker)
  • YouTube


3D Image Creation

In addition to these options, sites like osalt.com list open source alternatives to more expensive programs.

Like I’ve said, I usually learn many of these things via trial and error, and I haven’t used a lot of these. All I’m saying is, you can find stuff for free.

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In an age of distractions, the New York Times comments on early childhood development; it made me think of Danielle’s Ad Council laundry PSA.

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