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Observation Journal ENC 1101Summer 2013 Session C Ashley Hart

7.1.2013 •

Someone has question regarding scheduling, instructor asks for everyone to pull out schedule to double check.

Talking about “close reading” o

Encouraging student participation, asking a lot of questions


Relaxed, casual when talking to students directly (students nodding in response)


Making sure to use terms like “engaged” 

Explaining the need to use a cross-section of what has been learned for future assignments in upper-division coursework

Division into three groups o

Based on sections of readings (5 Canons,


Connections between readings and current/past essays? 


Students given chance to quickly review their readings before discussion

Put on Pandora “Mumford & Sons” Station to make students feel more comfortable to start! That was instant!


Group presentations set up based on however the individual groups wish to present (sending up individual, using the board, entire group, etc.)


Whenever student has question, instructor sits next to them, maintaining an equal power stance when discussion their questions 

I like this a lot; while still being an authority, still manages to build a comfort level with students


Encourages more active presentations


Brings up examples relevant to presentations (i.e. relevant texts)

Discussion about rhetoric in everyday life (clothes, hair, etc.)

Remembers students’ intended majors and pulls in information that would be relevant o

Really, REALLY knows students

Using modern references (commercials) to describe and discuss logos, ethos, and pathos

Idea of fresher perspective when you distance yourself from your paper in order to properly address any flaws

7.2.2013 •

Student Conferences: o

Student A: 

Overviews what marks and notes that they have made on students paper in order to clarify what they’ve done to the student

Goes over some phrasing issues with student’s paper to provide a more clear statement

Discusses student’s specific goal in

Explains what they’re looking for in their paper

Statements need reasons behind them to clarify them

Dodd has a creepy basement with dripping pipe sounds that call to mind images of horror movies based on college campuses

Uses pop culture references to help understand where student’s perspective is coming from

Explains what roles they feel they have as their teacher both inside and outside of the classroom and how they are a resource to the student

Asks student A to go more in depth and explain their statements

To explore their statements more in depth and realize what is and isn’t necessary to their overall paper.

Encourages the strong statements and explains why they were effective

Asks student to explain what worked for them while writing the paper and what they enjoyed about writing it

Pushes student to break the 5 paragraph structure and not be afraid to break up paragraphs

Student encouraged to share details even if their hesitant about sharing them.

Details needed to draw reader in •

Should be based on fact, fiction has its place but not necessarily in this particular assignment


Best papers leave the reader thinking even after they finish reading

Details, details, details (sensory is very useful)

Student B 

Title? Key terms to summarize paper can be used to title the paper

Paper is planned out but checks to see if student understands that there may be some errors

Topic is difficult for student, making sure it comes across as to “why” the student says certain statement •

Details again

Making sure student understands that they are a non-judging resource

Sensory details


Has student tell a story about some sensory based detail that relates some way to the story 

Helps them see how it is more effective to go more in depth with detail

Going in-depth

Intended major and bringing it into their papers and descriptions of the topic

Making sure that paper doesn’t seems too “safe”

Analogy of what paper is and what it can be


More personal


More in depth


More anecdotes

Encouraging students to accept mistakes as a part of the college experience


Student C 

Details, going beyond the standard response, sensory details

Student is second-year, a lot more comfortable when talking to teacher

Making sure that terms he may understand are explained clearly to the reader

Clarify the transitions between paragraphs

Rearranging statements in a way that’s effective but not necessarily shoving all related statements into one paragraph because the 5 paragraph structure forces that mentality. Take risks! (That last statement makes me feel like Ms. Frizzle...)

Relevance of portion of paper regarding media, is it necessary? Does it need to be drawn throughout the paper?

Honesty about some statements and maybe how they could be articulated differently-initiate interest in paper through more specifics •

Avoid generic conclusions o

Suggestions of how to do so

Throughout all of the conferences it was very casual, mostly conversational, and helped students feel comfortable about their writing o

Several were concerned about potentially troublesome topics to bring up in their paper, but were encouraged to not sacrifice the quality of their writing because of not taking a possible risk with their subject

7.8.2013 •

Reminds students of upcoming assignments

Covers the assignment and shows them where they can find it on Blackboard o

Mini-review over how to use blackboard just in case anyone has any hesitations

Circles desks in the class to discuss the assignment (site visit paper) o

Covers some places they could go visit, some hesitations they may have about places in Tallahassee and other things they’ve heard about the city

Discussion around rhetorical meanings behind certain phrases o

The discussions get students talking, which has to be one of the most difficult things imaginable 

They hesitate with some topics, and it looks like they want to talk about it

• 

Plus 8am class doesn’t help

Tutor is very supportive of student’s expressing themselves with authentic voices expressing that even if she may not agree with their perspective, it doesn’t make it any less valid •

That is something really hard for first-year students who constantly try to appease the “authority figures” in their academic careers

Getting students comfortable with discussing topics in general o

Keeps asking open ended questions that help student continue discussion and if met with silence, rephrases questions in way that will hopefully initiate more discussion

Covering rhetoric of social issues and stereotypes o

Definitely getting the class talking

Pretty much as discussion day to get students comfortable talking about (and eventually writing about) potentially difficult topics

7.9.2013 Movie Day 7.10.2013 •

Discussion over traditional vs. experimental education o

What elements within the movie show positive/negative elements of each?


Why either one would be effective? How?


What is “traditional?”



Student expectations and reality o

What they thought college was going to be? 

Why were these expectations even there?

Where did they come from?

Is there truth to the college stereotypes?

Discussing the benefits of taking a variety of courses that help you realize what you enjoy o

Class starts making up their own syllabus (really FUN assignment) 

Get to come up with ways that those courses would be valid in an academic and “real world” settings

Students are getting really into this with some really neat courses (Ghost stories, medieval weaponry, painting upside down, puppetry, etc.)

Community o

Roll of yourself in your community


Makes sure to have a strong knowledge of her students in order to encourage participation 

(i.e. brings in their intended majors and what those “communities” may be)

7.11.2013 •

Peer review day o

Broken up based on their favorite candy growing up

Gets students to partner up with someone they may not know/may not know well

Makes sure that they understand that their “intended audience” is not necessarily their teacher o

Write to the audience they think would enjoy their paper/story

Checks in with individual groups to see if everything is going well for them

Offers encouragement for both sides of review o

The individual mini-conferences throughout the reviews gets students away from the “fear of critique” from either side

Explains their presentations for paper two and gives diverse examples of good/bad things that can happen with public speaking o

Practice is needed


Has class get up and do an improv exercise to practice projecting their voices effectively 

They look so embarrassed but it gets it all out at once. Sort of a “together we’re embarrassed, so let’s be embarrassed!” •

Not a bad thing, it actually got a lot of laughs and they seemed a bit more comfortable with public speaking

o •

Make sure you know your topic and how it’s ok to not know the answer

Has students go through readings to determine their audience and how to use their writing as a way to converse with that audience

Explains alternative supplementary material for presentations o

Prezi, powerpoint, etc. 

It’s surprising how few students use these materials

Assignments like these really help students gain exposure to technology they may not use again o

Projects that are more outside of the box 

Potentially addressing some social issue, etc in a manner that is different from a paper (or a paper if they’re not comfortable) and maybe a quick one page explanation/reflection of their work (more of a third paper assignment but it’s really cool to have a prior project getting them prepared for such an assignment)

7.15.2013 •

Student Conferences o

Student A: 

Double checks to see if student had revised as much they needed to

Introductory paragraph seems to just rephrase prompt •

Student says it’s what they do when they “don’t know what to do”

Need to focus on the task at hand, not so much about how they were figuring out what they wanted to write about

Keep focused on the topic and avoid talking about superlative information that doesn’t relate

Might instead explain how to get there if they were another student

Explains how other elements in the paper could be used within the introductory paragraph o

Goes in depth with student over what else they could bring into the paper


Find out more about topic from the location mentioned in the paper 

This paper talks about a shooting range in Tallahassee- encourages student to find out more about the place rather than guessing or leaving out something that could make their paper more in depth


Fill in the gaps of information 

Cover the different options students have if they decided to go there

Tells them about some other resources that could be brought in that would encourage students to go o

Groupon, other discounts, etc.

What about the conclusion? •

Suggestion about maybe explaining the various ways to get to the shooting range- bus routes, taxi, etc.

No need for “revelation” within conclusion but more so about the location itself (any information that could be helpful)

Points out that even when the student takes out all of the “iffy” parts, there is a lot of information that they discussed that will give them more than enough to work off of •

Reviews what they covered during the session

Reminds student that they can always e-mail them with any concerns


I am really excited to do my own conferences; they really offer themselves up for getting to know the students one on one. Which as strange as it sounds makes them more open to sharing information with you, which helps them to be less hesitant when they write.

7.16.2013 •

Student A: o

Concern about title 

How to make it more interesting?

How can it go more into what your paper is covering?

What? Etc. •

Expand elements within paper and going more in depth on those with examples

Student just admits that they got their information offline o

Redirects conference by going over possible ways to add missing parts of their paper


Suggestions about how to fill in the “gaps” in their paper


Discussion some cool things that might be in the museum 

What they could see when they visit? Explains how some topics could be really interesting to a prospective reader.

o 

Details, details, details!

Encourages students to communicate any concerns with their writing

Student B: o

Showed up at the wrong time 

Still helped through essay

Points out the good organization •


Solid paper, not just a skeleton •

Not a lot of gaps and looks good o

Strategy for presentation 


Leads them to ideas about their presentation

Has a lot of interest in history 

Encourages them to get into that more, bringing it through their article

Student C: o

Has them look at specific areas and says “how do you feel about this?” 

Then really points out their strengths •

Has them talk through what they liked about their own paper o

Pretty strong paper, some grammatical issues but it is engaging

Brings up some parts they might go into more depth over and how they can go a little more in depth

Student D: o

A lot of interesting details

Need to make sure that citations are appropriate

Details about individual aspects to flesh out paper a bit more •

Explains the need for paraphrasing the information that was taken off of the site’s website

Titles-how to craft a stronger title that brings in phrases that are brought up during their paper

The conferences as a whole were incredibly interesting. Though I was observing, talking to the students about why they chose certain places and what significance they had helped encourage them to pursue areas of interest in their writing o

For example, one student was incredibly excited about the architecture of a building a museum was located inside and another wrote with a creative approach. These sessions help give students reassurance that it is completely acceptable to take risks! It gives them a chance to ask “can I really write this paper _____” and then be told “Please do!” What could be a better confidence boost!?!?! 

These students have a lot of stories. Assignments like a site location allow them to explore what they’re interested in with new, excited eyes. Plus it really helps some of the kids see that they have strengths in their writing when they find aspects of topics they like! •

Also, they get to talk about why they want to study what they want to study but it helps some realize that they can still invest in their interests (like one student who got really excited about history and hadn’t previously realized he could still minor in it even though it didn’t “fit” with his major)


Discussion about Amy Tan o


How she alters her speech according to her audience 

Illustration of communities?

Patterns of speech?

Class not really participating as much as they should so they are given a pop quiz over the material. 

This is a bit scary for me. What do you do when they haven’t read for the day? The quiz helped point it out and a quick discussion over why they need to do the readings in the future reminds them what they need to do as a student. •


Syllabus is your contract (need to remember that one)

The class then workshops the second piece they were supposed to be talking about 

Strengths, weaknesses, etc?

Read it out loud to catch any problems areas •

Discusses any issues that may be apparent o

Why are these problematic?

Asks if they have any grammatical questions and then provides examples as to where they’d be appropriate 

I really liked this impromptu approach. Students got to see weakness in papers and it gave them a chance to ask any burning questions they may have had about their own writing (grammar, structure, etc.)

They also would bring in their own papers asking if some information would be necessary o

It grew into a group conference!

7.18.2013 •

Explains final assignment to the students

Student presentations over their location visits

7.22.2013 •

Presentations Day 2

7.23.2013 •

Covers the final assignment o

Asks what they’d be interested in writing about


Asks them to go more in depth with what their ideas are 

Provides some examples over what they can do

Discussion of the readings o

Objectivity versus Subjectivity


Reality? What is reality? What defines a reality?


auto ethnographies 

Discussions may go all over the place but at least they get students talking about subjects they may not have considered in their prior communities


Strong focus on encouraging students to use critical thinking

Teaching day o

While this doesn’t necessarily qualify as an “observation” I have some personal reflections about the day


Started off with a quick-write that tied into reading assignment 

No real guidelines •

Students free to express themselves in any fashion (haiku, limerick, comic strip, etc) as long as they had at least some words incorporated

Discussion over voice and the multiplicity of roles we take on in various situations


Having students come up with their own hypothetical writing assignments really gets them excited


The board looks like it was attacked by expo markers but the class was a lot of fun and discussion was active throughout

7.25.2013 •

Peer review day o

Covered the necessity for extensive revision on papers since many didn’t revise between the second and final drafts of their papers that were previously due


Has volunteers share paper with rest of class via ELMO and they group workshop the piece 

Very effective and opens the floor to discussion over whether material is unclear and how to appropriately revise for “better” work

Observation Journal