wp home > general info > blast 2010-03-12The Weekly Blast: March 12, 2010
EXERCISE OF THE WEEK:
Kate Marantz (with special thanks to Emma Howes) gives us her assignment for “Adding to the Conversation.” Beginning with Marvin Gaye’s song “What’s Going On,” Kate asks her students to look at what’s going on locally, nationally, and globally. To see the full details, click on: http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/teaching/database/_resourcecontents.html
IT’S A PROCESS:
Last semester the curriculum committee developed three possible "paths" (http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/downloads/three%20paths.pdf) for our “Adding to a Conversation” unit. These potential paths were discussed at the General Meeting in January. What "path" are you and your students taking for “Adding to a Conversation” this semester? What paths have you and your students taken? Share your thoughts, concerns, and successes on the Resource Center database: http://blogs.umass.edu/pmwoods/
MID TERM GRADE REPORTS:
The last day students can drop classes and receive a “W” is Tuesday, March 23. Since this date is after spring break it is important that you provide students feedback on their performance before they leave for break. Mid-Term Grade reports (D/F) are due in the office today, Friday, March 12. You can print the form from our website or pick one up at the office. http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/downloads/DFform.pdf
INFORMAL MID-SEMESTER TEACHING EVALUATIONS:
Although the students will do final course evaluations at the end of the semester it is useful to receive some feedback when we can actually make some changes during the semester. The mid-semester point is a good time to do the evaluations. Generally students can give us some useful responses that enable us to make improvements – small or large – for the remainder of the class. It is also important for students to see how they experience the structure of the course, the activities, the assignments, and our teaching. It enables them to see that they are a part of the class and that we are trying to teach to their needs.
There are many ways to do these evaluations. We would all agree that asking questions such as “Am I doing okay?” or “Do you like me?” are not useful. As with reflection letters and peer response, students will need some questions/prompts to guide their responses. You can find sample questions at: http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/downloads/midsemestereval.pdf. You may want to use all of these questions or adapt them. It is important to keep in mind you want to ask questions that will elicit the information that will enable you to gauge how the class is going. It is also important to keep in mind that you need to ask questions about things you are actually willing to change.
Please remember these mid-semester evaluations are for your use only. They won’t be turned into the Writing Program Office or read by anyone other than you. However, we encourage you to show them to your Resource Staff mentors and/or course directors. Sometimes someone outside of the class can help us interpret our students’ comments and brainstorm with us for ways to make changes in the class.
COLLEGE WRITING GUEST SPEAKER:
Tyler Meier, Managing Editor of the Kenyon Review will be speaking to Zach Savich’s College Writing class on April 22 at 7:00pm. Zack is inviting all Basic Writing and College Writing students and instructors to his class that evening to participate in this event. Meier will be speaking about Kenyon Review’s recent expansion into the digital world and his work as an editor. If you would like your students to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact either Peggy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Zack (email@example.com) by April 5. (This will enable us to get the appropriate size room.) Any questions please contact either Peggy or Zack.
CELEBRATION OF WRITING: WORDS NEAR & FAR -- MAY 5, 2010
Plans are under way for the Writing Program’s Celebration of Writing. The experimental writing classes promise to have great displays and readings. We are also looking forward to presentations from this year’s Technology Fellows. Several College Writing sections will also have displays. Henk Rossouw, former foreign correspondent for The Chronicle of Higher Education and current MFA student will be our keynote speaker. If you would like to display any of your students’ work from last semester or this current semester, please contact Peggy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Look for the bookmarks in your mailboxes when you return from spring break!
BEST TEXT CONTEST – DEADLINE APRIL 7:
The final deadline for the Writing Program’s Best Text Contest is April 7. This deadline is for students who are currently enrolled in Basic or College Writing and for students who took Basic of College Writing in Fall 2009. For more information see: http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/studentwriting.html#contest
WRITING CENTER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR TUTOR INTERNS:
We have begun accepting applications for undergraduate tutor interns for 2010-2011. Please tell your students about this great opportunity to learn more about writing and writing education. Interested students can find more information by visiting our website (http://www.umass.edu/writingcenter) and clicking on "Become a Tutor". If you have a student who is a strong writer and a thoughtful peer editor, please encourage them to apply. Applications are due April 10. Contact the Writing Center if you have any questions.
SPRING BREAK OFFICE HOURS:
The office will be open limited hours during spring break. It is best to call or email first to make sure someone is here before you come in. Enjoy your week off!!