Over the weekend, I had what I hope is a brilliant rhetorical analysis activity idea! I haven’t heard back from Abby about it, so I don’t know if we’ll actually do it in 1100 or not. She did add an extra day to practice rhetorical analysis after seeing the initial responses from the activity she started on Friday for them to complete at home, so there may be a chance! I might just have to check in because she just might not have seen the email.
The activity is:
We would have some kind of creative, collaborative way of displaying the analysis. I was originally thinking we would use constructions paper, markers, hole punches, scissors and pipe cleaners (as the “stitches”) to write out the parts of our analysis and put together as Frankenstein monsters, but I think a more legible, cost effective, and long-lasting option would be to do something similar using Prezi.
If I made a group Prezi with each group being assigned a blank/coloring page/silhouette of Frankenstein, then they can zoom in as much as they like to designate which parts of the monster match the parts of their analysis. I would ask them to choose what goes where and explain why. I want to do this to help them understand that all the parts are tied together and that different students might see the relationship between the parts differently, which is okay as long as they see that the parts work together as a whole, just like Frankenstein’s monster!
The blank space on the right of the second page is where I would give the instructions for this creative display method. I've modeled an APA citation at the bottom of the second page and would explain the reason for including the useful facts on the first page (the importance of doing research about the topic beyond the text itself to understand the full context, which I think was discussed as an important part of the analysis process in BR chapter 2).
Today Abby and I took turns again, but it was a more even division than on Wednesday. On Wednesday, she started us off by introducing Project 2 and then the remainder of the class was my time. Today it was more even because we alternated with doing rhetorical analysis practice activities.
Almost all the students were well engaged. I sat in a chair in front of them and read the practice article along with them. I think demonstrating/talking through it together as a group worked for them.
They also responded well to me asking new people who haven’t talked yet today or at all this semester to give answers. Only one group was not paying attention much, especially as the activity went on. I had to repeat the instructions/explanations to them multiple times during each round of the activity. Then when asking them to give us the last answer for the day, because they hadn’t contributed yet, they repeated the answer just given and had no idea. I told them they had given the answer just given and Abby reminded them they would have known that if they had been paying attention. I don’t know if that got through to them or not.
All the students in that group are in the STEPP program and their writing mentor finally showed up for the first time Wednesday. I just hope she knows which students in the class work with her and noticed the behavior today and the resulting comment Abby had to make.
Yesterday was my first teaching day since the school remained closed after the hurricane through Monday. Abby and I had to adapt our plan because we missed a lot of time and had to really condense our material. I think I did okay for having to rush through the lesson that I wanted to span two days, but I don’t know if I explained things well enough. I feel like I blanked sometimes on how to elaborate on what I meant. I hope Friday (a practice/activity day) will show me if they really got it or not. Whenever I asked if everything made sense, they all nodded, so that at least makes me hopeful. Sometimes students won’t even nod or shake their heads!
The students were at least respectful and receptive to how I did the lecture. I didn’t want one long day full of lecture; I wanted to break the lecture up with more active learning activities dispersed in between. I also didn’t want to cover so much material at once because I didn’t want to overwhelm them. I wanted to cover one topic per day and spend approximately half the class period engaging with students in practice where we went through some examples together and then I let them pair up to try on their own before bringing the whole group back together in the end to wrap up.
Anyway, I hope my actual abilities and actual joy of doing this will come through more on Friday.
This week did not feel very eventful for me. Students got their Project 1 assignment, had a library day learning about the NC collection, and some time to work together in groups to discuss their topic ideas before posting them to Blackboard.
I did express a little concern to Abby and to the group on Thursday that I wasn’t sure if the students were actually as confident and clear on the expectations as they were saying, or if they were just saying so when they were actually not sure. It could also be that some students are not taking the project seriously. It is definitely my hope that every is actually going as smoothly as it seems. Their Blackboard posts about their intended topics show a wide range of effort, detail, and enthusiasm even just in this initial post, so I am not sure if that same range will carry over into the project or not.
Other than that, I’ve had some more great email communication with the students so far, which is encouraging. They are a kind and considerate bunch, at least in class, in my office, and in email!
One thing I hope is that they will start coming to see me in my office more as the project continues. So far it is the same few students who come to sit down with me that are the same students who volunteer to read in class or answer in class while the rest are both quiet in class and don’t come by. I’m not sure if these students are just shy and are totally okay, or if they are so shy that they aren’t getting the help they need.
I'm just your average fictional creature, living in a swampland by the sea.