Saturday, August 20, 2005

things to do

convert my website into a portfolio
get website access for tas
contact tlc about working with powerpoint music video
get irb for semester and beyond
work on fec manual: have sample syllabi ready for adjuncts and others

more on manual: include the first-week material (Activation, Demonstration, Application, Integration), Kolb, Bloom, include lists of further readings (don't waste too much time / space here) include lesson plans, effecitvely written up in terms of goals, ADAI, learning cylce, and expectations of cognitive engagement. Include sample assignments, sample activities: how much is going to be too much? Include maps of 110, 120, 300 level.

Include TA assessment plan, or just treat that as a separate part of program assessment. Need to get around to sharing plan with GTAS.

hmm, I felt like I had more to write, and then it seemed like writing blocked some of my thinking and now I am stuck. I guess I can plan my day tomorrow: prep my week of classes on Monday (ie. print off stuff and assemble as necessary--samples from domains?) prep for vert writing: get the numbers, the flow chart, etc. figured out. look at old docs. Keep some scholarship moving: turn to wireless paper, plan on big T after that, book project for the spring: getting behind again! Oh yeah, student project: formulate four questions, put one GTA in charge of each question, mini-essays of 4 pages as result. Get this one written up.

Need to get out front with 120 readings (White like Me) and EC: some new grad texts.

I think it helps to keep the to-do list fresh!


bring in a wide range of music and ask students to describe music in langauge that fits the genre of music. emphasize this notion of language matching the music. find examples, like the amazon review of Medium is the Massage--hippie talk. try to find a music example as well.

bring in a collection of documents (maybe 5 collections of 10) for day 3: the domains of writing, genre knowledge, basic ability to read and comprehend various documents. I should start / gather one collection as a model, and then ask gtas to each gather a collection, from which we can share resources.

klosterman: start building my rationale for choosing this book for a rhetorical, genre-based program. 1) he is making a lot of arguments. 2) he is working in a genre that a lot of people like to read and write. 3) he uses sources! 4) he addresses various audiences. 5) he is "one of us" writing in the world--he exemplifies the "call to write." 6). he is funny and audacious, but also problematic and disturbing: what could be more complex than that! 7) we don't have to read the whole thing. this is writing that is meant to be relavent, not a monument.

oh, thinking 764 and the second position paper: dig up the Tate-Lindemann exchange, use the Kyburz essay in strategies, Gunner's things fall apart, mabe Geoff Sirc?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

assignment ideas

I think this sequence of courses would work:

1. media deprivation assignment: give up your dominant media, journal and pay attention to the effects, write a "memoir" of the week--the implications, results, effects, etc. a more traditional media memoir would also be good, but I think this one, the everyday, would be better.

2. ppt music video + new literacy commentary. Do the digital immigrants have a clue? analyze some videos?

3. stretch assignment: propose a learning project, do it, make an educational proposal about the role / place of independent, self-direct learning. keeps the journal going.

Very hands-on approach, new literacy focus, might be light on reading but strong on concrete-sequential, pragmatic, sensory.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Points to emphasize

1. I am going to ask you to write in different genres, different types of writing, rather than just one or two types of writing all semester with the goal of helping you extend your style, helping you recognize different genres as reader and different conventions for writing. [not concise enough yet]

2. You will be able to draw on personal experience for some assignments, you will need to read and respond to a single text for some of your writing, and you will need to be able to respond to multiple texts in other pieces of writing.

3. You will compile a portfolio of your best work at the end of the semester, giving you a chance to drop one assignment, revise the others, and earn a grade that reflects your abilities.

Okay, those are all boring.

1. We are going to use music as our touchstone because it is easy to work with, of interest to most students, and something you can share.

2. I'll come back later.

all I ended up emphasizing was technology (music video, weblogs, blackboard), and be thoughful, observant, curious. IN TA strategies we generated some interesting ideas, including a list of what students typically think of English, followed by the punch line: in this class we are going to write about and with music, do reviews, media memoirs, and music videos.

The whole "theme song" prompt was a failure across the board: too many students couldn't or wouldn't say anything. Need to revise and rethink. Could also go with "one word" to describe you: a movie character, etc, etc.: maybe more prompts that open things up, but focus on how associations communicate.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

i've had a productive weekend, if doing a lot of work constitutes a productive weekend. more or less got monday and tuesday figured out, with some finishing touches to add tomorrow. read and sent off review of article--why do I always make those such a high priority? edited my poker paper--need to find the time to make the final changes and then get moving on the next paper. i've been thinking about the Scott McCloud piece a lot lately, so maybe that is the one to go with. tonight I thought--maybe this can be my first Flash essay? I could probably work with Nick to get his photo essay into flash, and flash would probably handle my video. can I really tackle the learning curve, however? seek some expert help? other options seem to be: try saving it in ppt: not likely going to work. set up a nice simple two-panel web page template and treat it like a comic book. I would rather not re-do my big triangle, but perhaps I have to.

i have also been thinking about a wiki book with new media assignments: a kind of writing new media that put the assignments up front and lets the discussion follow. i could contribute my ppt music video, my vcl assignments, the stretch assignment. i would love to get bob c. from georgia to post his wikipedia assignment, betsy's photoshop assignment, and, oh yeah, the call to blog. an old project that died--I could revive it.

oh yeah, I also picked out some christine lavin songs, lyrics, and will add a few tracks to the class soundtrack. feeling pretty good about that. plan to play 30 seconds from each song (X10 = 5 minutes), then ask about the songs they have listened to, what they have taken from them (what they might say about them), which can be followed by listening again to SNAG or other songs as a class, talk about it, going through this process of listening carefully, building an argument in the review. also listed the Metal songs I want to include: maybe I will stop by the office tomorrow? Maybe not?

Friday, August 12, 2005

similes, metaphors, quotations

Taking a college writing course is like Tiger Woods retooling his swing: your writing skills might have gotten you this far, but to get to the next level, you need to adjust your approach, consider new strategies, work towards a new and better swing.

"Chester Burnett would have sounded pretty silly singing, 'I am not going down that dirt road by myself' rather than 'I ain't goin' down dirt road by myself.' The former may have been good grammar but it is bad blues."

hartwell's G, G, and Teaching of G says that he and his anti-grammar friends have been accused of being alchemists: making a real problem go away. Johnson is after real magic, the magic of sound; what does Kress say about the way sound bi-passes the intellect?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

everything bad is good for you

i finished steven johnson's everything bad is good for you, a nicely argued book that claims "we"--the not so smart, middle-to-lower-segment of the population--are getting smarter because pop culture is getting more complex and demanding. he makes very interesting arguments about the complexity of reality tv coming from its game like elements and coolness--intense viewer involvement (a theory I have shared with many via a mcluhanesque lense--which johnson also uses). he compares shows like the very simple starskey and hutch to the more complex hill street blues to the very complex sopranos: certainly a good formalist analysis of the shows, if lacking viewer data. he makes good arguments that kids immersed in IM, video games, computers, cell phones are not smarter because of the activities they do on those games, but because they are developing the ability and confidence to solve problems and handle a lot of information. I noticed just the other day that when I was asked how to do something on a computer, I had no idea, but I simply started thinking through the likely answers, navigated my way around, and stumbled on the thing we wanted to do. I have noticed that I have, indeed, really developed those skills in the past 10 years. When I first started using computers, I had to call in a technician the first time I ran into a big snag. Now people call me in, and I have no real training with computers. he makes nice qualifications to his arguments, pointing out that he does not think tomb raider will have the cultural staying power of shakespeare, and that the smarter are not getting smarter. he doesn't worry much about the loss of print-based skills, and advocates balanced use of all media.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

back on the bike

two weeks since I have posted here, although I made a couple of entries on my laptop file. I think about posting regularly, but I have been so busy writing that taking 10 minutes to simple gear up for writing, or push through to write, seemed a distraction or a bad use of time, not a valuable activity. and yet, I would also say that i have been a little more tense, irritable, and difficult the past two weeks--beause I have been busy, for sure, but perhaps because I under-estimated the therapeutic release of writing 10 minutes a day. clearly I will have to be understanding and sympathetic when students have a bit of trouble keeping up with their journals or blogs. i just read an article about an anthropologist who returned to school as an undergrad, taking courses that she hadn't taken as an undergrad, and she found herself struggling to keep up with load, looking for ways to cut corners and stay ahead, including turning in a paper that was a first draft, not an obsessively re-drafted academic essay.

last night some of the gtas were over and were talking about assigning more journals. i think blogging has really brought the activity back to the forefront, and while not for everyone all the time, it sure has good effects most of the time.

I found a copy of "look at your fish" online: I think I will make a list of 10 short essays students can read and respond to as part of 10 mintues a day--if they choose to. Although reading and responding will take closer to 30 ; )

I keep thinking about how to build a list like that with others--time to wiki, i think!

and then I will be sure to come back here more regularly. i do feel a kind of peace has settled over my being. . . .