- Reading from PHG
- Readings and 2-column Logs from initial course handouts.
- To discuss writing myths and rituals and introduce the idea
of writing as a process.
- To make introductions and start learning names.
- To discuss course policies.
- NOTE: Day 2 is broken up into two separate parts for GTA's,
whereas Lecturers will cover the same material in one day.
This is so the lecturers can get a day ahead of you in the schedule,
and so your own teaching load is a bit lighter for your first
- Read p. 125 of the PHG on prewriting strategies. Try all
three of them. Shoot for at least 1/2 page apiece.
- Start the class with the following writing prompt:
Based on the reading on "Writing Myths and Rituals" you did for today,
describe your own ideal writing situation. What helps you write
Then, spend some time thinking about writing in general. What are the
elements any piece of writing should have in order to be effective?
Give your students about five minutes to write and then bring
them together for a discussion. Start by getting some responses
about writing rituals, things that make people more comfortable.
Emphasize that these rituals aren't just silly--they're important
to get the ball rolling in any writing situation, and to help
get any writer past the "blank page" syndrome.
- Then, ask how many students have experienced that same syndrome,
that feeling of freezing up when you've got a blank piece of paper
in front of you waiting for you to fill it with an organized and
coherent essay on the first try. You'll likely get a lot of affirmative
responses. This is perfect, since you can couch the whole idea
of writing as a process as the solution to the blank page syndrome.
- A good way to explain why that "blank page" syndrome
happens is by generating a list of "elements of good writing"
on the board, based on the students' writing from the beginning
of class. They'll likely come up with a lot of responses about
grammar, mechanics, organization, etc. Try to fill up as much
of the board as possible. From there, the "blank page"
syndrome is easy to explain: when you sit down to write an essay
perfectly from beginning to end on the first go-through, you're
thinking about the ENTIRE list of elements on the board all at
once. A tall order for anyone! This is why it feels hard--no
one can keep track of that many things at once. It's like building
a car by starting at the front fender and building in a straight
line to the rear fender. The good news is that you don't have
- This is the perfect spot to introduce writing as a process--instead
of trying to keep track of all of these elements at once, the
key is to take them on one at a time, in whatever order they're
appropriate. Emphasize to your students that the writing process
has three basic elements, prewriting, drafting and revising,
but that those elements don't always necessarily come in that
order. A writer's process might start with prewriting, then move
on to drafting, then go back to prewriting to solidify some ideas,
then on to more drafting, then revising, then back to prewriting
again to develop new ideas, etc. The key is to find which element
to work on a a given time, and only to work on one element at
once. Emphasize that this is what the course is all about--learning
how to concieve of writing as a process so you don't get stuck
on that blank page. (25-30 minutes to here)
- Finally, do an activity to start learning your students names
(and to have them start learning each others'). A good way to
do this is to have your students pair up, interview each other,
and then introduce one another to the class while everyone else
writes down the name and information about the person being introduced.
- Give the assignment for next time. If you have time left,
go over the questions, etc. about the course policy statement.