Monday, 7-1-13 Worked on the lesson plan for half an hour before class. How to schedule exercises through the class. What are the class objectives. Attendance – icebreaker question. First movie you saw in the theaters. Really like this idea of asking a question of the students everyday before class to get them talking. Nora has a real repertoire with her students. Real friendly environment. Class broke for groups. Students count 1-5. Like numbers match up to form the groups. Group Activity Nora projected a paragraph of “vague” writing and read it aloud to the class. Each group chose a sentence from the passage and elaborated the idea within, in an effort to make the paragraph more descriptive. Nora and I compiled a list of “vague verbs” for the students to avoid when composing their passages. Heres mine: At my desk there was a note that told me to go see the boss. I began sweating. I could feel the whale of my IBS, breaching in the sea of my intestines. Summoning my inner pre-teen, I fell hard into my chair, causing it to spin, banging my knee into the desk. The thud forces my snow globe of the Topeka skyline off its shelf. I think about those buildings, inhabited with a different Kansas, one who's people breathe water. How scared they must be, falling upside down. Unaware of how cruel air can be. The water ruins my TPS reports. I shit my pants. In keeping with description, Nora has the students consider sensory information when looking for ways to further flesh out their personal narratives. In an exercise, the students read the same passage from early and called out sentences that contained sensory information. Nora actually takes one of my suggestions, and combines what would’ve been an in class exercise with the students workshop, having their peers tell them at least one place where their essay could benefit from sensory information. Nora conducts her workshops in steps. They are as follows. 1. Find a partner 2. Talk about your draft before it is read. How it has evolved since conferencing. Highlight any special concerns. Raise questions you had about the process. 3. Exchange drafts. Things to look for while reading your partner's draft. 1. Is the beginning too general? 2. Look for areas that could benefit from sensory information. 3. At conclusion, does the essay feel done? Were things left unresolved? 4. Mark any sentences you had to read twice. Nora's Advice: A story is a dream. Awkward language will wake the reader up. Students broke into workshop for the remainder of class.
Tuesday (Im curious how students handle a rainy tuesday at 3pm) 7 – 2 – 13 I took attendance and led the ice breaker. Was fun. Question of the day: “What are you obsessed with?” My answer was professional wrestling. Nora decides to adjust the paper deadline to take into consideration the upcoming holiday. She goes over the writer's memo, where students need to write about their drafts, explaining what they think its strengths and weaknesses are. Its interesting how the six week summer schedule changes the teaching/time management/dead lines for the class. My guess is, even more so than the fall and spring, teachers need to be willing to adapt and change the class in the best service of the students. Students are actually more talkative than they were yesterday, not something I would have guessed. Class discussion on native american literature and stereotypes about to stop. Curious how this goes. The subject matter is real intense, especially considering the FSU mascot. Things are going a little smoother than I anticipated. Students are open to the idea of analyzing their new school's mascot. I participated in the conversation, but at some point felt that I had maybe over stepped my bounds. Its hard not to chime in and participate, which as a teacher could squander students willingness to participate. I can tell now this is something I'll need to be more mindful of. This discussion ate up the class period, but seemed fruitful, and had students really relating more directly to the text. There did have to be a little more corralling than I anticipated. Students talking over each other no matter how many times being warned not to. Students loudly collecting their things with more than ten minutes left in class. Last five minutes students used to meet with their groups with whom they will be collaborating on the semester's final project.
Wednesday 7 â€“ 3 â€“ 13 1pm: to help Nora out with a student who was absent on Monday, I've agreed to meet the student in Nora's office to do with them the in class workshop they missed. Instead of conferencing the student on their draft as Nora would, I suggested he and I do the exact workshop exercise his classmates did. Looking for ares in the paper where sensory information could be inserted. Watching out for vague verbs. I made this suggestion for two reasons. A) because I was not completely comfortable conferencing a paper just yet and B) to give the student specific information they missed from Monday's lesson. This gives me a guide for going through my first conference with a student and makes me more comfortable with offering them help. Also, there was a part of me that felt as though it was not fair for this student to get a special one on one session with his paper simply because he missed a class. That he was getting something extra. That he was being rewarded for his absence. That was my gut reaction anyway. In retrospect it seems like a weird one, to want to further punish a student for not attending class. I cant exactly say where in me that comes from or that could even be compatible with my value system. But it was there none the less. Certainly as a teacher I would try and work these sessions in as much as I could. They wouldn't be reserved for only the most respectful and prompt students. Or even the ones the are struggling the most. So why not this kid who is one absence away from failing his very first freshman class? Nora ends class early due to a personal emergency. Assigns readings and homework. Informs students they will meet after the 4 day weekend in the Strozier Library for a lecture on research in one of the computer labs.
7 – 8 – 2013 Today we are in the Strozier library for a lecture on research. Nora starts the first ten minutes of class by going over the paper assignment that the students will be doing this research for. Jackie gives us an tutorial on accessing FSU's databases. We're instructed on how to use RefWorks to create bibliographies. This is a useful lecture and I'm pretty stoked to get to sit in. I used the Nation of Islam and The Mother Wheel as my search term and compiled a collection of articles. Janice gives a pretty thorough explanation of peer reviewed journals and the like, underscoring the importance of professional source materials. 7 – 9 – 2013 CLASS PRESENTATIONS! MLA PRESENTATION! MLA DAY ANNOUNCED FOR NEXT WEEK! Real tired and sweaty today. Not sure I'm gonna write that much. Sorry journal. Class presentations of specific chapters of a text is not something I see myself utilizing in the classroom. Students bullshit the presentations and the rest of the class barely pays attention. Even though the individual chapters are learned to some level of depth by the presenters, the information as a whole is delivered in the same boring lecture format that we as instructors are trying to avoid. Just because the students are delivering the lectures does not mean they are engaging or inherently more interesting. Actually it seems pretty easy to argue the opposite, that because these students are inexperienced with presenting information, they are almost guaranteed to be boring and dry and a poor representation of the content they are presenting. It is beneficial for students to go through the confidence developing exercise of standing in front of the class and presenting their ideas, however I dont think they should be delivering information the other students will be responsible for. I'd adapt this model to be more similar to our bootcamp experience. We arent asked to present the article, but rather lead the discussion by asking pointed questions, with all the other students responsible for their own understanding of the material before class. This will allow for a more interesting exchange between students in class without putting the burden of “lecturer” on freshman students. It also allows the students presenting to be less worried about becoming “experts” on their topic, giving them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have had about the topic they were assigned.
7-17-13 OH NO I FORGOT TO KEEP A JOURNAL ALL LAST WEEK! Mainly because we were in conferences. Sitting there with my labtop out, writing in front of the students was out of the question. Should've written them when I got home tho. Today we are back in class. The students today will have an in class workshop of a new draft of their next paper. We give the students a tutorial on how to make an appointment at the RWC and Nora informs them this will be a requirement for their next paper. I give a little spiel about how rad it is down there. Dr. Wells would've been proud. The following is an activity on â€œpassive voiceâ€?. 1. They listen to music. ACTIVE 2. These cars were produced in Japan. PASSIVE Japanese moose produced these cars. 3. She is reading an email. ACTIVE 4. Alan teaches Geography. ACTIVE 5. German in spoken in Austria. PASSIVE Austrian moose speak German. 6. Lots of houses were destroyed by the earthquake. PASSIVE. The moose destroyed lots of houses. 7. Henry Ford invented the assembly line. ACTIVE 8. The bus driver was hurt. PASSIVE The moose hurt the bus driver. 9. You should open your workbooks. ACTIVE 10. Houses have been built. PASSIVE The moose built the houses. We finished the class with peer workshops. This time around, Nora had the students pay special attention to their in text citations, work cited pages, passive voice, and general sentences.
7 – 18 – 13 Question: Whats your favorite game? I said Halo 4. Today we are going over a Sarah Vowel essay everyone read. Starting the section on personal narratives. The last two weeks of class are nightmarish. Papers and drafts and journal entries are blurring into each other. Students really do not know which way is up. Today, I saw the first one of those silences take over the room when a tough question was asked. It really is no longer cool to know the answer. It lasted long enough to make the air taste different. Nora just waited them out. 7 – 22 – 13 First time I ever taught a class. went both awesome and terrifying. Had difficult time engaging students in discussion over the reading, however towards the end of class felt very comfortable “leading” the class. Here are my notes for the day. As opposed to other forms of writing, the personal narrative aims to convey its content through a personal lens as opposed to a strictly objective or informational one. By definition, a personal narrative is subjective. The expression of the experience is just as important as the experience itself. This effect is often achieved through:
Heightened emotional content. Sensory perceptions. Vivid imagery. These forms of figurative language are often combined with a casual tone and a less formal writing style. Although structured, personal narratives tend to “wander”, mirroring the thought process of its author. ice breaker: Of the people you know, who's memories do you wish you could steal? To what effect does Sedaris employ “compare and contrast” in the essay? Did this work for you? Did you find it effective story telling?
How does this complicate the idea of a “personal narrative”? What rules, if any, do you think writers need to follow when telling the stories of other? Describe Sedaris' narrator. How are his traits conveyed through the writing? (maybe talk here about “the unreliable narrator”) How is American privilege satirized in the piece? What, if anything, do you think you could use from this piece when writing your own narrative? Of the people you know, who's memories do you wish you could steal? Does Sedaris' coveting of Hugh's memories diminish them in anyway? Do you feel he is giving them the respect they deserve? What role does violence play in the piece? What do you make of the final paragraph? What kind of resolution (find better word) are we left with? How do you think Hugh feels about Sedaris' “jealousy” ?
Had my first experience with students who, for whatever reason, do just not want to participate.
7 – 23 – 13 We are continuing the lesson on the personal narrative. Today we spent the day going over different styles the students can use when writing their narratives. Perspective changes. Compare and Contrast. No linear story telling. After an in depth conversation about the previous night's reading, Nora has the students participate in a pretty interesting writing exercise. They are to pick a place, a physical locale, in their story, and draw a detailed map of it. Then, using the map, they are to write a brief narrative guiding a reader through the space. I drew the HAARP installation in Alaska, a place I have never been. Here is my narrative. Its a tiny farm road. Its a terrible way to get to anywhere. Which is at first annoying, then obvious. It should be hard to get here. It should take some time. We have no idea what time it is in Alaska, as I assume no one ever does. What time is it when the mountains are pushing up into a green and purple sky? Noon? Is that afternoon? When the clouds are neon in their magnetism? The tiny farm road leads you through an ancient forest, brown and green out of spite. They're thinning. More green and purple and white light pushing its way between the trees. Then they're aren't any. They clearing isnt empty.
7 – 24 – 13 Students read an essay last night concerned with transgenderism. Wondering how this in class discussion is going to play out. Some of the journal entries boarded on hate speech. WE'll see what happens when the students don't have the anonymity of the internet (students cant read each other's journals, just Nora.) Wonder if the students will be so caught up in the content that they wont comment on the structure, being non-linear, which is not something they are used to. * Brief structure talk occurred a few questions in.
The GWC is valuable for all the same reasons as the RWC. We make assumptions about the writing skills of master and PhD students, suggesting the chief benefit of the GWC is "audience". Certainly its important. We can offer fresh ears and eyes to students who have probably bored all of their friends and family to death with their whateveritistheyarewriting. But I'm a graduate student now too, and I gotta
tell ya, I have no idea what kind of things will expected of me and my analytical writing come the fall. Its all new and that transition could prove to be a tough one. The GWC is the perfect place for new graduate students like myself to work out the kinks as we adjust to a more rigorous academic standard. The Writing Center Resource Manual opens with this sentiment "Tutoring graduate students is no different from tutoring any other kind of student. Tutoring graduate students is very different from tutoring any other kind of student." What we do in the session may be very different, and how interact may also change dramatically, but all students are there for the same basic reasons, regardless of education level.
The relationships between language and culture. Man. They need each other. They are wholly dependent upon one another. Language is how the culture is expressed. Culture informs the language. Culture invents words. Language manifests the values and
ideas of culture. They are made of each other. So it follows that you identity is bound up in them. That place where you stand at the nexus of language and culture, thats you. Thats who you are. As a poet, language is what I do. I'm not better at it than most, I just enjoy it more. I try to stay cognizant of it. It just shows up in my life. And I try to take a second and appreciate it. I enjoy marginalized languages, often relating to fringe pop culture. They tend to say weird things in those places. Hip hop, nothing but language. And new words, almost weekly. I like the way my mouth feels when rapping. How short of breath I get. I like boring languages too. Brochures. Catalogues. Signs. This idea of found functional langue, its intriguing. I code switch often. I slap on a southern accent. I use curious phrases. My room mate didnt know what to make of â€œNuttier than squirrel turdsâ€? the other day. I enjoy slang. I try to get to know it, work it into my life. Or if not employed, attempt to understand it. Hadron collider. Chem trails. Oort Cloud. Transmogrifier Trill Turnt up Technological singularity