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|Class Plan -- Unit One, Day 2|
Assignment for Day 3
Reading - 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 will practice next class)--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.)
Discussion of homework assignment - Spend a few minutes talking about students' experiences with (and expectations of) personal writing. In what ways is personal writing easy? In what ways is it difficult? Are there any "rules" that people follow when they do personal writing? (You will be asking them to answer this question about rules again after they complete the first writing assignment.)
Give Assignment--Personal Essay - Examining Everyday Functions of Language. (See Appendix 1 for assignment sheet.) Your handout for the assignment should include a writing prompt, grading criteria, important due dates, and instructions for using the Web Forum. You may want to have students volunteer to read the assignment aloud. Emphasize getting started, focus, showing detail, due dates, and the fact that you will be explaining (in just a few minutes) in greater detail the Web Forum component of the assignment.
Inform students that the assignment is also available on the Writing Center. You may
want to give them a handout with directions about how to find it. At the minimum, give them the
address for the Writing Center (http://www.colostate.edu).
Explanation of Web Forum - Have students read through (out loud or silently) the instructions for getting into and posting to the Web Forum. Then field questions dealing with how to use it. (You might want to look over the handout again and play around a bit on the Web Forum before you come to class, just to prepare yourself for the types of questions they might ask.) Be sure to talk about the reason WHY we are asking them to write this on the forum rather than in a more traditional way. In what ways is this format going to be useful to them? Possible Answers: It gives them the opportunity to publish their work, to see others' work for ideas about ways of approaching the assignment (definitely NOT cheating in this case, unless they actually steal parts of others' writing), to receive response from their peers, and to have a set of texts on our topic which the entire class can use. You might also ask students how they anticipate that "publishing" their work on the Web Forum will affect how and what they write.
Another important note: I have found that it is important to ease any fears they might have of using the forum by assuring them that they won't be penalized for technology goof-ups. This is meant to be an enjoyable assignment, not a frustrating chore. So if they encounter computer problems, they will be given time to work them out. Also, I usually recommend that unless my students are tremendously confident about using the Web Forum at home, that they go to a computer lab or to the library where a lab monitor can assist them if necessary.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.
Explain assignment for Day 3, and answer any questions that students might have about writing their first draft on the web forum.