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THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY COLI E(' E o r: A RTS & SCI Ef\:CES

Depm'lmwt of English

To Whom It May Concern:

26 June 2012

During the spring of20 12, I had the pleasure of working with Molly Daniel, a teaching assistant in th e first year writing program at Florida State Un iversity, Over the course of the semester, Molly proved herse lf to be an invaluable asset to her students as well as her peers in our mentoring group. She offered helpful advice, insightful activities, and possible assignments in every meetin g, and she was easily the most capable and dedicated instructor I encountered during my tenure as a mentor to new teaching assistants. I observed Molly's freshman writing and research class on February 27, 2012. Moll y began the class by intend ing to have the students share their Digitall y Situated images, an assignment of Mo lly's own design. The assignment asked the students to compose an image that positions them within the research they had been doing for the papers. While the wiki page that the students shared their images on would not open during the class, 1 still found the activ ity hel pful. It helped students is ual ize themselves within their work, rai sing their personal stakes in their research. Mollis students seemed to be more motivated and enthusiastic about their projects because of this activity. She also led a discussion on thesis statements and their position within a researched essay. She asked her students to del ineate the qua Iities of a good thesis statement and what exactly they accomplish in a paper. Though the students mostly generated these definitions and qualities. Molly was most adroit at validating comments that we particularly insightful and helped her students see how the thesi s statement works to frame the writing. Thi s led into a discussion of topic sentences, which Moll y suggested "allow the thesis to trickle down throughout the rest of the paper." I thought thi s was an excellent analogy and allowed the students to really visual ize the importance of the relationship between thesis statements and topic sentences to help them guide theil' I'esearch and writing. At the end of this discussion , Molly gave her students time to actuall y draft these kinds of statements for a few minutes individually. Then, she divided the students into groups and had them assess one another'S statements. I found this to be particularly helpful, because it gave the students some thing to take to their drafts when they left the classroom on which they had received feedback from their peers. When it was time for the students to leave, Molly encouraged her students to revise their thesis statements according to the feedback they received in their small groups. She also took the time to remind the students that they were still at the beginning stages of the research paper, and that the the sis statements and topic sentences that they had composed in class will inevitabl y change as they work through the writing process. Molly is an excellent instructor, one that added vitality to our mentoring group this spring and , I believe, to the first year composition program overall. It was a pleasure to work with her this semester. Sincerel y,

-g Logan Bearden Master's Candidate in English Rhetoric and Composition First-Year Composition Mentor Florida State University

405 W illi ams Bui ld ing, 6:3 1 Un iversity Way, FlonJa S[a[(': Univers ity, P.O Box 30615 80, T l il ahassee, FL 3 23 06- 15HO Te lephone H5 0 .M4 4230 • Fax 8 50. 644 .081 1 • www.eng lish.fsu.edu

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