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Incorporating Writing in the Classroom

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					Incorporating Writing in the
        Classroom
    Creating Effective Writing
           Assignments
Dr. Rebecca L. Damron

Director, OSU Writing Center
            ITLE
    September 20, 2007
What are we asking our students
                        to do?
 Are we asking them to learn information?
 Are we asking them to develop their critical
  thinking skills?
 Are we asking them to develop their writing
  skills: Rhetorical? Grammatical?
 Are we asking them to write in the
  disciplinary community of which we are a
  part?
                   Myths
 Students learn everything they need to know
  about writing in Freshman Comp
 Students ‘acquire’ all writing skills in two
  semesters of Freshman comp
 They become better writers without writing
  practice
 They know what plagiarism is and how to
  cite in your field.
 Writing takes too much class time (it does
  take time, but is it worth the tradeoff?)
 Create a Writing “Culture”
 Let them know writing is important-
  e.g. include it on the syllabus
 Informal Writing Activities
 Formal Writing Assignments
 Encourage them to use resources—e.g.
  The OSU Writing Center!
          Writing is Important
 Evaluate the course—where can writing fit?
 Design the course with writing sequences: more
    than one written assignment, or have them do one
    in stages etc.
   Give them opportunities to explore through informal
    assignments
   Provide models
   Try doing the assignment yourself
   Give different types of response: e.g only respond
    to content, give checks instead of grades
   Praise
         Sequencing and Spiraling
 Consider the hierarchy of expectations,
  goals, means, objectives, philosophies
 Focus on course aims and means to
    Link each assignment to overall goals of course
    Build each assignment on previous tasks
 Bias for the best by incorporating
    Appropriate linguistic, contextual, rhetorical
     skills for each assignment
    A relevant writing scenario
                                Spiraling
 Determine ongoing concept-to-practice
 problems
  Audience communication and persuasion
  Use of detail: Types and amounts of
   evidence
  Use of Sources: Citation and plagiarism
       Sequencing and Spiraling
 Spiral Cognitively more difficult skills
  in
  Different writing contexts
  Increasingly more difficult tasks
 Strive for
   Authenticity
   Student interest
     Animal Science 3903: Ag
      Animals of the World

 Language Awareness
 Religious Awareness
 Geographical Awareness
 Climate Awareness
 Cultural Awareness
 Political Awareness
                                           The Saltmen of Tibet
Discuss the global awareness factors in this film and accompanying handouts and how being aware of them helped (or failed to
help) you understand these people and their association with the world. Write the paper in the first person. Include each of the
following topics in your paper. Some questions/hints are provided to help you get started but these should not be the end of your
observations.

                      a.     Geographical awareness. (Might be a good idea to look at a good topographical map to get a better
                      sense of this.)

                      b.      Language awareness. (In this film, the “salt language” was very important. Discuss what you think
                      might have been its origins and its value. Remember-this is a large region where saltmen have historically
                      traveled long ways to reach the salt lakes. Also, why do you think women are not allowed to learn or even
                      hear the salt language?)

                      c.      Religious awareness. (How would you characterize the intensity of the religious experience associated
                      with this trek? Can you think of a practical reason for the religious/superstitious experience to be so integrated
                      into the salt trek? Were all the gods and goddesses associated with Buddhism?)

                      d.      Climate awareness. (In this case climate and geography are very much associated with each other. Be
                      sure to make this link.)

                      e.      Cultural awareness. (The number of examples you can discuss from this film is nearly overwhelming
                      so I suggest you settle on some broad topics and then use examples. Among other things, the role of women in
                      the society and their relationship to the salt collecting is worth considering.)

                      f.      Political awareness. (The Chinese have changed Tibet profoundly. However, how much of this do we
                      see in this film?)
                                                                   Ausangate
Give examples of how this article helped with each of the globalizing influencers. If there is no
example, write “none” beside the item below.

             a.           geographical awareness


             b.           language awareness


             c.           religious awareness


             d.           climate awareness


             e.           cultural awareness


             f.           political awareness
                                                                          Nuer
Using the film and accompanying handouts, write a paper describing how this film helps
in your understanding of the “Global Awareness Factors” in relation to the Nuer. Write
the paper in the first person. Include each of the following topics in your paper.

            a.           Culture.

            b.           Language.

            c.           Geography.

            d.           Political awareness.

            e.           Climate.
            f.
            g.           Religious awareness.

            g.            When all the various villages gather at the river for the great
            purification ritual, it is easy to see how the modern world is affecting some
            villages more than others. Describe some of the things you saw.
  Informal Writing Activities
 Clustering
 Five minute writing
 Index-card Questions
 Question box
 Blackboard features: discussion board etc.
 Cubing
    Describe, compare, associate, analyze, apply,
     argue
    Informal Writing Activities
             Journals
 Open-ended: have students write a certain
  number of pages a week. Free to write about
  course in any way
 Semi-structured: guidance is provided e.g.
  Summarize from the preceding class or
  “What confused you?”
 Guided: content-specific questions
 Double-entry: Two columns, two dates
 Exam Prep Journals
 Reading Journals
 Responding to Informal Writing
           Activities
 You may have ungraded in-class writing
 Use a quick checklist
 Use a minus/check/plus system that
  adds up to a percentage of the total
  score for the class
 Incorporate them into the final grade
  toward the formal writing assignment
 Do pass/fail journal entries
 Formal Writing Assignments
 Review goals for the course when designing
  assignments
 Build in ‘invention’ activities. Use informal
  writing activities, brainstorming, topic
  proposals etc. to get students focused on a
  topic.
 Build in time to have students do rough
  drafts
 Peer Workshops
 Self-assessment
   Formal Writing Assignments
     Writing the Assignment
 Task: Explain what the student is supposed
  to write about, often presented as a
  problem, question, thesis to support , or
  rhetorical mode
 Role and audience: Place students in a
  position of knowledge
 Format: Specify length, font etc. also
  organizational pattern
 Expectations about the process
 Criteria for Evaluation
Formal Writing Assignments
        Example

      Engineering 1111:
  Airplane Design Challenge
             Version 1-Fall 05
                    Product/Process Design Homework/ 2005
            YOUR NAME ______________________________________
           GROUP NAME _______________________________________
           GROUP LEADER ______________________________________
           GROUP FACILITATOR__________________________________
           GROUP RECORDER____________________________________

           Do the following in a few sentences each (in Microsoft Word):

     1)        Describe your impressions from the airplane group design activity
               2)         How well did you group function together?
3)          Describe your group’s product and process for manufacturing airplanes
             4)          Give a definition of product design in general
            5)          Provide a general description of process design
      6)        What do you think engineering is? What does an engineer do?
                                 Version 2-Fall 2006
Prepare a 2-3 page double spaced 12 point font Microsoft Word document (paper/essay)
    that addresses the following. Be very clear in your document about which of the
    items you are addressing. Remember that all course documents are on blackboard. I
    will be adding more resources on Blackboard to help you understand product and
    process design.

            1.   Your name; your group name, and members.
            2.   Was the “airplane design challenge” a good way to learn to
                         understand the similarities and differences between product
                         and process design? This is the main theme of your paper.
            3.   Use documents provided in class, on Blackboard, as well as at least one
                 other resource that you find to provide definitions and to support your
                 claims for #2 above. Provide references to your sources.
            4.   Discuss your group’s product and process design.
            5.   Describe how your group functioned together. Were they effective?
            6.   Conclude by summarizing your key points (to support #2 mostly but
                 others for #4 and #5 as needed) and describing how important product
                 and process design is in engineering.
            7.   Provide a bibliography of your sources.
  Concepts for Version 3
A Checklist for Engineering Reasoning
Encourage them to use resources

 Are there handbooks or writing
  guidelines from your field or
  department? Have them go to the
  library or purchase
 Library references
 OSU Writing Center-Green Brochures
  on the tables

				
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