This I Believe

October 9, 2007

We’ve started the “This I Believe” section of my classes, and so far, I’m inspired by students’ readings of essays they’ve selected from the This I Believe website. Yesterday, folks handed in homework on which they listed three essays they selected: one from the contemporary essays group (these have been recorded on NPR), one from the 1950s group, and one from the essay database organized by topic.

Our discussion in class and a good deal of what students wrote on their homework seemed more substantive, more real. I don’t know how to explain what I mean by that. Maybe — it’s because we’re talking about things that matter.

great class!

March 15, 2007

Last night we had works-in-progress presentations in the Writing Pedagogy grad class and I was energized by all the good work: Heejoo’s curriculum for teaching writing in a multilingual, multi-level ELL classroom; Angel’s investigation into how teachers’ comments on students’ writing (grades 6-12) affect students’ attitudes towards writing; Ginger’s lesson plans for portfolios in senior high school English using literacy autobiographies; Brad’s analysis of effective teaching for adult learners at a technical college; Amber’s lesson plans and tips for incorporating writing in math, social studies, and science in grades 9-12;  Kate’s research into memoir and her writers’ decisions as she constructs her own; Coko’s work on how to help teachers use poetry to teach writing; Amanda’s research journeys into travel writing; Colleen’s guides on how to write book reviews as a way to make reading-writing connections; Wendi’s field studies on early writers and how to help parents use a variety of methods to encourage early reading-writing connections; and my own journeys into the magical realm of how to manufacture time to do the writing one desires.

open mic at Calhoun

November 16, 2006

Wow. Poetry lives! At least in ENG 102 at Calhoun. To finish up our poetry section, we had open mic night and a couple poets treated us to original works: Kevin, Derrick, Jennifer D., Tonya…am I missing anybody? Kim, where were you? We missed hearing your work. I really enjoyed listening to all the readings and kept thinking, ‘I wish I could do this more often.’ I like listening to poetry. NPR had a report this morning on the National Book Awards and they had a snippet from Adrienne Rich’s acceptance speech, in which she discusses the efficacy of poetry to keep body and soul together. You’ll need to listen to the audio to get to Rich’s comments. A cool companion piece on the web is National Book Award Finalists Explain Their Craft. Poets and all you writers and visual artists out there at Calhoun: SEND IN YOUR stuff to Muse, Calhoun’s art magazine. Deadline is 8 Dec.