AssignmentReading - In PHG,77-9, 125-6 ("Collecting"); 99-109 ("Remembering"); In LL, Reginald Lockett, "How I Started Writing Poetry" (347-52).
Writing - Decide on one essay topic (one of the topics you wrote on for today in your journal) that you will use for your Personal Essay. With this topic in mind, try one collecting activity (anything but freewriting and looping, which we have practiced already) to gather additional ideas for the Personal Essay. After collecting, get on the Web Forum (using the instructions handout I've given you) and write a first draft of your Personal Essay. (Spend about an hour writing your essay on the forum.)
LECTURERS: ADD TO YOUR ASSIGNMENT THE FOLLOWING: READING IN LL, 329-30 ("LANGUAGES OF PERSONAL EXPLORATION")
NOTE TO LECTURERS: YOU WILL NEED TO SHUFFLE THINGS AROUND THIS DAY (AND ON DAY 4) SO THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO FIT IN BRIEF DISCUSSIONS OF 1) PERSONAL WRITING, 2) THE PERSONAL ESSAY ASSIGNMENT, AND 3) WEB FORUM DIRECTIONS. Daily. - Take out the informal journal writings you did for today. After reading over the responses you have written, make a list of some of the ways that language has functioned in your life. What has language done for you? What has it done TO you? What effects (positive and negative) has it had on you? For example, how has it affected your daily life, the way you interact with people, the way you perceive yourself and the world, etc.?
Small Group Discussion of the Journal Writings.- Place students in groups of 3- 4 and have them read one another's journal writings for about 10 minutes. As they read, have them add to their lists of ways in which language can function in people's lives. (You will probably want to put specific group work instructions up on the OH or board.) [YOU MIGHT ALSO GIVE THEM JUST A FEW MINUTES TO DISCUSS ONE ANOTHER'S WRITING BEFORE MOVING ON TO THE DISCUSSION.]
Record ideas on "functions of language" in cluster format - Using an OH transparency (so you can bring back the cluster for a future class discussion), cluster around the idea of "functions of language," using the lists they have generated after looking at their own and others' journal writings. Remind students that this is one way they can collect ideas for their essays, and also remind them that this "functions of language" focus is also the focus of their first essay. Discuss the ideas students generate, trying to make general statements about language functions out of observations they make about specific experiences they have written or read about.
Focus Activity: Looping - Inform students that they will be posting their first draft of the Personal Essay between now and next class. Remind them of the two major grading criteria for the assignment (focus on a particular event/memory and use of descriptive detail). Explain to them that the following collecting strategy, called looping, is ONE way of working on both focus and description. [You might inform students that they have the opportunity in their assignment for next class to try other collecting strategies, if they find that this one is not terribly useful.] Get them started on the looping exercise by putting up the following prompt and asking them to write in response to it.
Prompt: Look over the informal writings you did for today. Choose one that you are particularly interested in, then underline one sentence of it which seems to point to a specific event or memory which seems particularly important, an event which could become an interesting story in itself. Then take about 10 minutes to write that specific story, showing as many interesting and relevant details as possible.
When students have completed this loop, start them on another one [IF TIME PERMITS], asking them to (again) underline the most important point they have written, and to write about this new point for another 5-10 minutes. At the end of this exercise, explain to students why this is an important strategy for focusing an essay: It weeds out extraneous points and focuses on those points which are most vital and central to the main idea they have in mind. Also note, though, that students don't necessarily have to get rid of what they have written just because it isn't one of the points they underlined. This is simply a method by which they can narrow a topic and enrich it with greater detail. [IF YOU FIND YOURSELF SHORT ON TIME IN THIS CLASS, YOU MIGHT DO ONLY ONE LOOP IN CLASS, AND ASK THEM TO COMPLETE A SECOND 5-10 MINUTE LOOP FOR HOMEWORK IN ADDITION TO THEIR OTHER COLLECTING.]Explain assignment for next class, making sure to answer any questions they still have about posting to the Web Forum.