Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Check, Please! Lesson Four

A viral photo featured in Lesson Four as an example of false framing.

This morning in class I collected your worksheets for the fourth lesson of Check, Please! The paragraphs that follow are my version of the assignment.

Check, Please! Lesson Four Assignment

In the fourth lesson of the Check, Please!, Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, focuses his instruction on the third step in the four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson four, “Find Trusted Coverage,” addresses these topics: (1) scanning Google News for relevant stories, (2) using known fact-checking sites, and (3) conducting a reverse-image search to find a relevant source for an image.

One of the concepts Caulfield introduces in lesson four is click restraint, which was given its name by Sam Wineberg, Professor of History and Education at Stanford, and Sarah McGrew, Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Maryland. Click Restraint is an activity that fact checkers practice regularly, but average people do not. Fact checkers resist the impulse to click on the first result, opting instead to scan multiple results to find one that combines trustworthiness and relevance.

Caulfield also considers the issue of false frames and offers as an example the miscaptioned photo of a young woman that circulated widely after the 2017 London Bridge attack. In the photo, the woman, who is wearing a hijab, is looking down at her phone as she walks past one of the victims lying by the side of the road, surrounded by members of the rescue team. Because the woman’s face is blurred, viewers of the miscaptioned picture cannot see the look of shock that is visible in her face in another image taken by the same photographer. Subsequently, her apparent lack of concern for the victim seems to confirm the caption in the infamous tweet.

Choosing a general search term over a specific one is a useful and unexpected tip Caulfield includes in his discussion of image searches. He explains that the benefit of such a bland term as “letter” or “photo” will prevent the confirmation bias that can lead to the proliferation of disinformation through false frames.

Work Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021,            https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.


Next Up

Wednesday in class you will plan and draft your analysis. Be sure to bring your copy of Writing Analytically to class as well as your pocket portfolio with the articles and essays we have studied in class. You will have the opportunity to devote your analysis to any one of those readings, including “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “The Day Language Came into My Life,” “Back Story” (from The Blind Side), “The Falling Man,” and “Skim Reading is the New Normal.”

Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Award-Winning Writing and Check, Please!

Lillian Ellmore, who was an English 1103 student of mine last spring, has been named the national winner of the 2021 Hungry for Education scholarship program sponsored by the restaurant Denny’s. In an article about Ellmore’s achievement, The High Point Enterprise staff reported that Hungry for Education “recognizes and rewards students who show initiative and creativity in helping Denny’s fight childhood hunger.”

In addition to composing an essay for the contest, Ellmore also appeared on Denny’s podcast to be considered for the scholarship.

Ellmore, who is from Lexington, Massachussetts, is a sophomore communications major.

Congratulations, Lillian, on a job well done!


Check, Please! Lesson Three

At the beginning of class on Monday, I collected your Check, Please! worksheets for lesson three. The paragraphs that follow are my version of the assignment.

In the third lesson of the Check, Please!, Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, continues his instruction on the second step in four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson three, “Further Investigation” covers these topics: (1) Just add Wikipedia for names and organizations, (2) Google Scholar searches for verifying expertise, (3) Google News searches for information about organizations and individuals, (4) the nature of state media and how to identify it, and (5) the difference between bias and agenda.

One of the most instructive parts of lesson three focuses on two news stories about MH17, Malyasia Airlines Flight 17, a passenger flight scheduled to land in Kuala Lumpur that was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. While the second story, a television news segment, appears to present detailed investigative reporting challenging the conclusion of the Dutch Safety Board and Dutch-led joint investigation team–the conclusion that Russia was to blame–a quick just-add-Wikipedia check reveals that RT (formerly Russia Today) is a Russian state-controlled international TV network, a government propaganda tool rather than a source of fair and balanced news. The first video, the one produced by Business Insider, a financial and business news site, delivers accurate coverage of MH17.

Another notable segment of “Further Investigation” addresses the important distinction between “bias” and “agenda.” There, Caulfield observes that “[p]ersonal bias has real impacts. But bias isn’t agenda, and it’s agenda that should be your primary concern for quick checks,” adding that “[b]ias is about how people see things; agenda is about what a news or research organization is set up to do.”

Work Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, https://webliteracy.com/pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.

Posted in English 1103, Theatre, Writing

ENG 1103: Another Way with Words

Helga (Jane Lucas) and Jozephina (Cass Weston) in the Creative Greensboro production of The Wolves of Ravensbruk (2022).

The essay that follows is the literacy narrative that I wrote as a model for you.


Another Way with Words

What do a Nazi prison guard, a medieval abbess, a Mexican maid, and a seventy-two-year-old bag lady have in common? They’re all character roles that I’ve played on stage. Though acting is one of my favorite pastimes, each new role is a source of anxiety. I am comfortable on stage, but backstage, as I prepare to enter, is another story.  Preparing for my entrances as María, the Mexican maid, in Glorious! were some of the most nerve-wracking moments of my stage career. I remember vividly standing backstage holding a large tray with a tea pot, two teacups, a slice of cake, napkins, and silverware. As I held the tray, my hands began to sweat, and I worried not only that the tray might slip out of my hands but also that the words I was supposed to speak might slip from my mind.

Robert (David Ingle) and Berthe (Jane Lucas) in The Green Room’s production of Boeing Boeing (2017). / Ken Burns

Though the fear of forgetting my lines is always with me backstage, that fear was heightened when I played María because her lines were all in Spanish. The challenge inherent in learning lines was compounded by the cognitive shift required of learning them as a non-native speaker. When I say kitchen, in my mind I see a kitchen, but when I say cocina, I do not. As María, for the first time, I wasn’t visualizing my lines. Instead, I was memorizing a series of unfamiliar sounds. I knew their English translation, but I couldn’t link the signs to the signifiers, not the way I could in English.

Marie (Nikkita Gibson) and Abbess Agatha (Jane Lucas) in Hickory Community Theatre’s production of Incorruptible (2016) / Ken Burns

Preparing to play María meant increasing the hours I devote to my lines, including the practices of writing my lines on note cards, recording my lines and their cues, and writing my lines over and over in my theatre journal. As one of my first steps in the line-learning process, I type my lines and paste them onto three-by-five note cards. On the back of each note card, I write my cues in pencil. I start by memorizing the lines on the first card, usually four or five. And once I’ve learned those, I memorize the ones on the second card, and so on. Learning my cues as well my lines enables me to follow my partner’s words on stage even if he or she jumps ahead by dropping a line.

Arthur (Peter Bost) and Lady Boyle (Jane Lucas) in Hickory Community Theatre’s production of Superior Donuts (2016) / Ken Burns

In addition to putting my lines and cues on notecards, I record them with a voice recorder app on my phone. Listening to myself as I drive to rehearsal further helps me to learn the words. Along with studying my notecards and listening to my recorded lines, I write my lines over and over in my theatre notebook, the same way that as a student I would recopy my class notes as a way of studying for a test.

Now as I find myself studying lines for yet another play, one staged by Goodly Frame theatre company, I am reminded of the importance of trusting the process. I will not learn my lines as quickly as I would like to, and waiting backstage to say them will always be nerve-wracking, but becoming another person on stage remains pure joy. For me as a writer, acting is another way of working with words, a process of transporting them from the page to the stage and transforming the language into the utterances of a living, breathing character—someone who isn’t me but in whom I can “live truthfully,” as the acting teacher Sanford Meisner would say, “under the given imaginary circumstances.”

Posted in English 1103, Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: More Models for Your Literacy Narrative

Junod, Tom. “The Falling Man.” Esquire, vol. 140, no. 3, Sept. 2003, pp. 176+. Gale Academic OneFile Selecthttps://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A106423422/EAIM?u=hpu_main&sid=bookmark-EAIM&xid=ce48797f.

In class today we will examine two additional models for your literacy narrative. Unlike Keller’s and Sedaris’ essays, “The Falling Man” and The Blind Side aren’t literacy narratives but Tom Junod‘s and Michel Lewis‘ writing serve as excellent examples for anyone engaged in the craft of writing nonfiction.

Unless you subscribe to Esquire, the magazine’s paywall will deny you  access to the full text of “The Falling Man”; but if you’re interested in reading it in full, you can access it through the HPU Library site by following these steps:

  1. Go to the HPU Library site.
  2. Under the heading “Search HPU Libraries . . . ,” click on the “Articles” tab.
  3. Under the “Articles” tab, type Tom Junod “Falling Man” Esquire in the search box and click “search.”
  4. On the next screen, you will see a brief summary of the article. Click “Access Online” to view the full article.

Some of you have asked about paragraphing. As a rule, you should begin a new paragraph when you present a new idea or point. If you have an extended idea that spans multiple paragraphs, each new point within that idea should have its own paragraph. But there are exceptions to this. Although the first paragraph of “The Falling Man” could be divided into two or more paragraphs, Lewis chooses to present it as one paragraph of more than four hundred words, more than the minimum length of your entire literacy narrative. Consider why Lewis may have chosen to present the beginning of his essay as one long paragraph rather than two or more shorter ones.

Among the elements of the first paragraph of The Blind Side that I asked you to examine was Michael Lewis’ use of appositives.

Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Revising the Literacy Narrative

For your literacy narrative, as well as all of your other major writing assignments, you have the opportunity to earn five extra credit points for consulting with a Writing Center tutor.

To schedule an appointment, visit https://highpoint.mywconline.com, email the Writing Center’s director, Justin Cook, at jcook3@highpoint.edu, or scan the QR code below. To earn bonus points for your literacy narrative, consult with a writing center tutor no later than Thursday, September 15.


Check, Please! Lesson Two

At the beginning of class on Monday, September 5, I collected your worksheets for Check, Please! lesson two. My sample version of the assignment appears below.

Check, Please! Lesson Two Assignment

In the second lesson of the Check, Please! Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, introduces the second step in four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source. Lesson two offers instruction in “move” (“Investigate the Source”) and one of the web search techniques associated with it (“[J]ust add Wikipedia”).

One of the most useful practices presented in lesson two is Caulfield’s follow-up to the Wikipedia strategy that he outlines in the previous lesson. After he reviews that strategy, Caulfield explains how to use the control-f keyboard shortcut (command-f on a Mac). Typing control-f (or command-f) will open a small textbox in the upper right of the screen. Typing a word you are searching for will highlight the first appearance of the word in the text. Hitting return will highlight each subsequent appearance of the word.

Lesson two introduced me to fauxtire, a term for websites such as World News Daily Report, based in Tel Aviv, that present themselves as satirical but in fact serve primarily to perpetuate disinformation.

Perhaps the most memorable portion of lesson two was the side-by-side comparison of the websites for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Pediatricians. Though at first glance the two appear comparable, using the Wikipedia strategy reveals their profound differences. While AAP is the premiere authority on children’s health and well-being, ACP was founded to protest the adoption of children by single-sex couples and is widely viewed as a single-issue hate organization.

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-esources-for-2021/.


Next Up

Wordplay Day! To up your game, review the Tips and Tools page on the Scrabble site, and review the blog posts devoted to Scrabble.

Posted in English 1103, Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Model Literacy Narratives

As a model for your own literacy narratives, today in class we will examine “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” originally published in Esquire magazine and later as the title essay in David Sedaris’ 2000 essay collection.

After we read  Sedaris’ essay, you will collaborate in groups of four to complete an exercise that involves exploring these aspects of his writing:

  • Shifts from summary to scene and vice versa
  • Figurative language
  • Hyperbole
  • Vivid detail

I will also ask you to consider what elements are the strongest aspects of the essay and whether “Me Talk Pretty One Day” has given you any ideas for developing your own narrative. Time permitting, we will also read Helen Keller’s essay “The Day Language Came into My Life.”

To read more of Sedaris’ essays, see the list of links under the heading Writing and Radio on his website. You can read more of Helen Keller’s autobiography, the full text in fact, here: The Story of My Life. “The Day Language Came into My Life” is Chapter Four.

Next Up

For Wednesday you should read Keller’s essay (if you don’t have time to read it in class today), and compose a short summary of both her essay and Sedaris.’ Aim for a minimum of fifty words each.

Keep Keller’s and Sedaris’ essays in your pocket portfolio and continue to look to them as models as you revise your literacy narrative. You will receive your draft with my notes at the beginning of Wednesday’s class, and you will have the class period to continue to revise. You will have an additional week to devote to your essay before you post it. It is due (on Blackboard and on your WordPress blog) before class the morning of Wednesday, September 14; the hard deadline is the morning of Friday, September 16.

Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Beginning the Literacy Narrative

Today in class you will begin planning and drafting your literacy narrative, an an account of a learning experience, which may be a particular school assignment or an extracurricular activity, such as playing a sport or a musical instrument or serving in a leadership position in an organization.

How to Begin

Begin by asking yourself some of these questions: Who are you as a student/musician/club vice president/etc.? How have you come to think about yourself as a student/musician/club vice president/etc.? What were some of your most formative experiences in that role? What are some of the do’s and don’ts you have learned about that endeavor? How have they enhanced your confidence and skill in that role? You don’t need to respond to all of those questions. Try picking one or two as a starting point, then move to bringing your experiences to life.

Your aim is to recreate those experiences on the page and then to reflect on their significance. Your focus may be any one of the following:

  • an extracurricular activity, such as playing a sport or a musical instrument or serving in a leadership position in an organization.
  • a memory of a school assignment that you recall vividly  
  • someone who helped you learn
  • a writing-related school event that you found humorous or embarrassing
  • a particular type of writing that you found (or still find) especially difficult or challenging
  • a memento that represents an important moment in your development as a student (or an athlete, a musician, a club leader, etc.)

In class this morning you will receive the assignment sheet that details the guidelines for the literacy narrative. If you are absent today, you can download a copy of the assignment sheet from Blackboard or from this blog post. Next Wednesday, September 7, I will return your draft with my notes, and you will have the class period to revise on your laptop or tablet. You will have an additional week to continue to revise before you post your revision to Blackboard and publish it on your blog on or before the morning of Wednesday, September 14.

Today in class you will also receive a paper copy of the updated course calendar. If you are absent, you can download a copy from Blackboard


“Blogs vs. Term Papers”

For today’s class you read and summarized Matt Richtel’s New York Times‘ article “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” My sample summary of the article appears below.

“Blogs vs. Term Papers” Summary

In The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel reports on the debate in higher education on how best to teach writing in the digital age. While some professors have followed the lead of City University of New York’s Cathy N. Davidson, replacing the traditional term paper with shorter, more frequent blog assignments, their detractors—including Douglas B. Reeves, columnist for the American School Board Journal and William H. Fitzhugh, editor of The Concord Review—argue that blog writing lacks the academic rigor that fosters critical thinking. For Andrea Lunsford, professor of writing at Stanford University, pitting blogs against term papers creates a false opposition. Rather than replacing term papers with blog posts, Lunsford requires students to produce multi-modal assignments: term papers that evolve into blogs, websites, and video presentations.

We will return to “Blogs vs. Term Papers” in the coming weeks. You will have the option to choose it for the subject of your analysis essay, and you may want to want to address Richtel’s article in your midterm reflection, too.

Next Up

Wordplay Day! To prepare for class, review Tips and Tools on the Scrabble site. Also review the blog posts devoted to Scrabble.

Posted in English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Sample Student Writing

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Rachael King, Amelia Cambio, Jaden Gleiber, Harrison Walls

Yesterday in class, along with submitting your first Check, Please! assignment, you examined three of the paragraphs that students collaboratively composed last Wednesday on some of the habits of mind cultivated by successful college students. The paragraphs that follow are revised versions of those paragraphs. Changes I made include ones of punctuation, diction, and grammar. The paragraphs would benefit from additional concrete details, too, but those particular additions can be made only by the students themselves. Keep the annotated handout in your pocket portfolio, and look to it as a model for editing for both individual and group assignments.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Sam Kaylor, Nick Laurenco, Victoria Leary, Melanie Hale

Student Writing, Sample One

Persistency, or continuing when faced with adversity, poses challenges for students who procrastinate. One member of our group shared an example from many years ago when they [he or she if the person is not nonbinary] received a failing grade on their [see previous pronoun note] first exam. Because the student did not study for the exam, he/she/they earned a failing grade, a grade that no student wants to earn and no teacher wants to record in the gradebook. That experience prompted him/her/they to develop the habit of preparing for class. By completing the same routine over and over, the student found himself/herself/themselves ready for any situation. By practicing consistent persistence, that student—and all of the rest of us—can always be successful.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Jackson Tuomey, Chris Sciortino, Josh Stevens, Janie McDowell

Student Writing, Sample Two

Flexibility, or the ability to adapt in a new environment and unfamiliar situations, resonates with each of us in our group. Our group members are very similar in terms of how we have adapted to situations that challenged us to be flexible. For example: [name ommitted for anonymity]’s work environment involved conflicts with priorities and time management. In order to accommodate to such issues, he went with the flow when he faced problems at work. Doing so enabled him to minimize his stress, and he could often relax.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): LaToya Darden-Dixon, Rachel Cornovas, Mer Mixon, Sean O’Donnell

Student Writing, Sample Three

Curiosity—or the desire to learn new things about issues, problems, people, or policies—is a habit of mind that all of us have cultivated. We all grew up wanting to explore the unknown, wanting to learn the realities of other people and look at the world from different perspectives. [Name omitted for anonymity], specifically, is very curious about the food in different cultures. She was very picky when she was young but her willingness to try new foods stemmed from her innate curiosity, she learned which ones she liked through and trial and error. [Name omitted for anonymity] developed the habit of curiosity in the classroom. For him/her/they, school opened up broad subjects like psychology, which developed into a curiosity about the anatomy of the brain. [Name omitted for anonymity] is curious about the uniqueness of the human experience. She is fascinated by how we all experience the same life so differently. Embracing the beauty of difference allows small connections to manifest into much more. Through travelling, meeting new people, and experiencing other cultures, her curiosity has only grown. Our curiosity mindsets have enabled us to branch out and expand our knowledge.

ENG 1103. 24, (L-R): Alexa Hooten, Nick Kernaghan, Dary Guzman, Devlin Turner

Guidelines for Writing and Editing

  • When you’re composing collaboratively, make sure that everyone—not just the notetaker—is involved in the writing process.
  • After you have completed composing the piece, allow time for every group member to review the writing. If you recommend changes, let your group know and revise as needed.
  • Whether you’re writing collaboratively or alone, read your writing aloud. Hearing awkward passages will indicate where you need to edit for brevity. Noting where you pause in your reading may indicate where you need to add a comma or another punctuation mark.
  • Avoid passive constructions. The subject of the sentence should perform the action rather simply serve as a passive recipient—or worse, an absent subject.

Passive: The work was completed. Active: The students collaboratively composed the assignment.

Next Up

For Wednesday’s class, read Matt Richtel’s New York Times article “Blogs versus Term Papers.” Annotate (make notes in the margin) as you read, and afterward complete a short, fifty to one-hundred word, summary in your journal/writer’s notebook. Those of you in the 9:15 class (section 23) received a paper copy of the article in class. Those of you in the 10:40 class (section 24) should read the copy posted on Blackboard in the Readings folder or the one attached at the end of this post. Rather than annotating the article (since those of you in section 24 don’t have a paper copy yet), make your notes in your journal before you compose your summary of the article. In class on Wednesday I will give you a paper copy.

Important Note: The pages of the paper copies of “Blogs versus Term Papers” are not printed in the correct order. The front-to-back order is 1-3-2-4, so the pages should be read in this order: (1) front of first page, (2) front of second page, (3) back of first page, (4) back of second page. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted in Check, Please!, English 1103, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Check, Please! and Student Writing Samples

Mike Caulfield, author of the Check, Please! starter course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University / Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, htttps://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.

At the beginning of today’s class I will collect your worksheets for Lesson One of the Check, Please! starter course. My sample version of the assignment appears below (as well as on your worksheet and on Blackboard).

Sample Check, Please! Assignment

Check, Please! Lesson One Assignment

In the first lesson of the Check, Please!, Starter Course, Mike Caulfield, author of the course and Director of Blended and Networked Learning at Washington State University, introduces the four-step SIFT approach to determining the reliability of a source: (1) “Stop,” (2) “Investigate,” (3) “Find better coverage,” and (4) “Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context.”

One of the most useful practices presented in lesson one is what the author terms the “Wikipedia Trick.” Deleting everything that follows a website’s URL (including the slash), adding a space, typing “Wikipedia,” and hitting “enter” will yield the site’s Wikipedia page. The Wikipedia entry that appears at the top of the screen may indicate the source’s reliability or lack thereof.

The most memorable segment of lesson one is the short, riveting video “The Miseducation of Dylann Roof,” which begins with the narrator asking the question, “How does a child become a killer?” Produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, it documents how algorithms can lead unskilled web searchers down paths of disinformation. In the worst cases, such as Roof’s, algorithms can lead searchers to the extremist propaganda of radical conspiracy theorists.

Work Cited

Caulfield, Mike. Check, Please! Starter Course, 2021, htttps://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/front-matter/updated-resources-for-2021/.


Sample Student Writing

Today in class we will also examine some anonymous student samples from last Friday’s collaborative writing on habits of mind. Among the questions I will ask you to consider are these:

  1. Have the writers briefly defined the subject (the habit of mind)?
  2. Have they included concrete details that demonstrate how one or more group members have developed that habit of mind?

Post Script

Scrabble invloves a combination of luck and skill, and luck was clearly on my side yesterday morning when I was able to Scrabble, or Bingo (for an additional fifty points), by playing all seven of my tiles. Using the e in ace as a bridge, I was able to play squeezes with the q on a double letter score, the first e on a double letter score, and the final letter, s, on a double word score for a total of 124 points.

Posted in English 1103, Scrabble, Teaching, Writing

ENG 1103: Habits of Mind

College writing offers you the opportunity to develop skills, such as supporting arguments with evidence, writing effective thesis statements, and using transitions well, but it also gives you the opportunity to develop habits. Successful college students develop certain habits of mind, a way of approaching learning that leads to success.

In 2011, the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the National Writing Project (NWP) identified eight habits of mind that successful college students adopt.

In class on Monday, we began an exercise in written reflection focusing on four of the eight habits of mind. (The 9:15 class wrote on the first four; the 10:40 class wrote on the second four.) Later in class today, we will begin writing about the four that you did not address in your writing on Monday. The paragraphs that follow include the descriptions of the habits that you examined (and the ones you will examine today), as well as the questions that you answered in writing (and the ones you will answer in writing today).

Curiosity

Are you the kind of person who always wants to know more? This habit of mind will serve you well in courses in which your curiosity about issues, problems, people, or policies can form the backbone of a writing project.

WRITING ACTIVITY: What are you most curious to learn about? What experiences have you had in which your curiosity has led you to an interesting discovery or to more questions?

Openness

Some people are more open than others to new ideas and experiences and new ways of thinking about the world. Being open to other perspectives and positions can help you to frame sound arguments and counterarguments and solve other college writing challenges in thoughtful ways.

WRITING ACTIVITY: In the family or the part of the world in which you grew up, did people tend to be very open, not open at all, or somewhere in the middle? Thinking about your own level of open-mindedness, reflect on how much or how little your own attitude toward a quality like openness is the result of the attitudes of the people around you.

Engagement

Successful college writers are involved in their own learning process. Students who are engaged put effort into their classes, knowing that they’ll get something out of their classes—something other than a grade. They participate in their own learning by planning, seeking feedback when they need to, and communicating with peers and professors to create their own success. Write about a few of the ways you try (or plan to try) to be involved in your own learning. What does engagement look like to you?

WRITING ACTIVITY: Write about a few of the ways you try (or plan to try) to be involved in your own learning. What does engagement look like to you?

Creativity

You may be thinking that you have to be an artist, poet, or musician to display creativity. Not so. Scientists use creativity every day in coming up with ways to investigate questions in their field. Engineers and technicians approach problem solving in creative ways. Retail managers use creativity in displaying merchandise and motivating their employees.

WRITING ACTIVITY: Think about the field you plan to enter. What forms might creativity take in that field?

Persistence

You are probably used to juggling long-term and short-term commitments—both in school and in your everyday life. Paying attention to your commitments and being persistent enough to see them through, even when the commitments are challenging, are good indicators that you will be successful in college.

WRITING ACTIVITY: Describe a time when you faced and overcame an obstacle in an academic setting. What did you learn from that experience?

Responsibility

College will require you to be responsible in way you may not have had to be before. Two responsibilities you will face as an academic writer are to represent the ideas of others fairly and to give credit to writers whose ideas and language you borrow for your own purposes.

WRITING ACTIVITY: Why do you think academic responsibility is important? What kind of experience have you already had with this kind of responsibility?

Flexibility

Would your friends say you are the kind of person who can just “go with the flow”? Do you adapt easily to changing situations? If so, you will find college easier, especially college writing. When you find, for example, that you’ve written a draft that doesn’t address the right audience or that your peer review group doesn’t understand at all, you will be able to adapt. Being flexible enough to adapt to the demands of different writing projects is an important habit of mind.

WRITING ACTIVITY: Describe a situation in which you’ve had to make changes based on a situation you couldn’t control. Did you do so easily or with difficulty?

Metacognition (Reflection)

As a learner, you have probably been asked to think back on a learning experience and comment on what went well or not well, what you learned or what you wished you had learned, or what decisions you made or didn’t make. Writers who reflect on their own processes and decisions are better able to transfer writing skills to future assignments.

WRITING ACTIVITY: Reflect on your many experiences as a writer. What was your most satisfying experience as a writer?  What made it so?


Next Up

Friday marks the first Wordplay Day of the semester. To prepare for class, review the Scrabble Ground Rules posted in Blackboard, as well as the Tips and Tools pages on the Scrabble website. Also, look for a Scrabble tips post on my blog. Some weeks, not every week, I will publish a post devoted to Scrabble strategies.