Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Woe is me, the grader. Sad face.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, I heard something in a group teachers' meeting about one of the reasons students aren't as eager to participate in class that I thought was very interesting. One of the gentlemen in the group pointed out the benefit of beginning the semester with peer interviews as a way of getting the students comfortable with one another. With this exercise students will be more forthcoming in class discussions, and on assignment introductions days.
This idea of beginning the semester with this sort of personal look into the students' lives seems to be very interesting. As an undergraduate, I participated in numerous of group projects. One of the reasons these assignments worked is because I knew the people in my group, and trusted them. So as for next semester, I want to begin with the personal narrative as a way of easing the students into this new experience.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
So, I abandoned this topic and switched to some discussion on cafeteria food.
This topic produced a few more sparks than the candy bar one. Even though I was able to get a fair amount of input, it seemed as though I was losing them when we started to combine the sources. At first, I simply thought I had failed in the delivery of the exercise, but after talking to a somewhat veteran of comp 101, I learned that when you say the word "synthesis" to the students all they hear is "Blah, Blah, Blah," like what the children heard when the adults would talk on that Charlie Brown Show.
With that, I've decided to take a slower approach to this assignment and ease the students in.
Below is an e-mail I sent out today with some general reactions about yesterday's class, and some examples of topics.
Tomorrow I will hand out the assignment sheet for the junk draft. I've decided to wait and give you the official assignment sheet for the Explanatory Synthesis until the week before the rough draft is due.
My thinking behind this decision—I don’t want you all to feel overwhelmed by this assignment. With that said, we are going to take a more process approach toward this paper to make the transition from just simply writing a summary, knowing how to paraphrase, and incorporate some quotes to actually: narrowing down a topic, researching, and finding ways to combine your sources into a cohesive whole that will explain your topic.
It is important for you all to let me know when things are not working. If telepathic abilities were apart of my genetic makeup I would be a very happy person, but they are not. A large part of what you all will get out of this class is what you put into it. So if at any time, the introductory exercises we do in class are confusing or just not helpful don’t hesitate to let me know.
Below are some working topics. Don’t feel obligated to any of them if you don’t want to. The purpose here is just to exhibit the possibilities you have with this assignment. With any topic you choose, it’s beneficial to perform a Google search or topic search at http://www.dmoz.org/.
How color determines mood in Tim Burton’s films
How the song “Fight the Power” is a motif in Spike Lee’s film Do The Right Thing
How Bob Marley’s music can be considered “Rebel” music
How sound effects the ways humans’ process information OR How classical music effects the developmental growth in infants
Explain how Salvador Dali’s art is considered surrealism
Explain how Romare Bearden’s art of collage imitates everyday life
Explain how Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” can be categorized to be Black Classicism
How the brain processes elements of sound or smell, and allows humans the ability to connect that to memory
Explain the phenomena surrounding Stone Babies
Last Thursday afternoon, I had sent out a very long and detailed message about my reactions to their rough drafts and a way we were going to work through the process of how to improve their drafts.
It was very cute on Friday morning how one of the students looked at me and said, "Were our papers that bad." In which I replied, "No, it wasn't that they were that bad, I just think some of you blew-off this assignment and didn't give it as much time as it needed." So with that, I broke the first and second plagiarizing paragraphs (on pg. 50 in the book), on the board and had students go up and paraphrase them. After the first student volunteered and wrote her paraphrase, I showed another way to paraphrase the same sentence and abandon the original language all together. It was like 18 to 23 little light bulbs had been flicked on as I explained my example of the same paraphrase. My initial thought of the plagiarism I saw in the rough drafts being unintentional was affirmed. For some reason, the students thought paraphrasing just meant switching the original source words around to make the sentence appear different.
I realized that allowing the students to look at my comments and ask me questions about them proved to be beneficial.
Friday, September 14, 2007
- Explain how Romare Bearden used his art of collage to imitate everyday life.
- Explain how Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man, can be categorized as Black classicism.
- Explain the research surrounding the study of Stone Babies.
- Anything that explains how sonic qualities effect the way individuals process information.
- Black Literati
- Anything on how the brain works
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
So okay, I had to create the groups. While I was doing that I told the students to start printing their papers. Of course, there had to have been someone who couldn't print, didn't have their draft saved (even though I sent around like thirteen e-mails saying, "Make sure you have your papers saved on yr MavDisk or some portable storage device for Wednesday's class), or needed more staples for the stapler.
Very quickly I formed three of the five groups, before running down to the English office to inquire about the printer (mysteriously) not printing anymore, and to grab more staples. While downstairs, I made more copies for one student who didn't have her draft saved, out of my own dinero, which I will never do again. When I got back upstairs I was so hot. About fifteen minutes before class was over I started announcing groups for the paper exchange. I'm not sure why I just didn't make all the groups even, but I didn't and somehow we had a slight problem with the last two groups. After numerous of e-mails, uploads to D2L, more e-mails of papers to respective groups I think everything is under control.
This will be one of my learning pains about teaching, "Never assume anything because it makes an ass out of me, out of me."
Friday, August 31, 2007
The night before I struggled with the idea of what to do for an introduction activity. Finally, I decided to read the class a piece of flash fiction by author Sandra Cisneros, from her collection "The House on Mango Street." The idea behind the activity was solid, I would read the story and explain the changes the main character Esperanza encountered as she both hated and loved the house she spent most of her childhood. This would lead into the introductions of the class, we would each state one thing we loved and hated about where we came from being with me. The purpose of this was to get to know the students and for them to get to kow each other. One problem that I encountered was as the students were talking I was too busy writing down their names, and really didn't get to learn their names.
Monday, August 6, 2007
This is going to be so much fun--can't you feel it? I can.
Ok, let's go.
Something about the reading ...
In the Teacher's Assistant Handbook, I found the discussion on the conflicting roles TAs generally face very interesting, because as a first-year teaching assistant separating the two can be challenging. It's also encouraging to know that there is literature out there about this concern most newbies fixate on, so the feeling of "going at it alone" transforms into "going at it together" with the help of mentors and other departmental staff.