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The Weekly Blast: October 29, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK
“The Quotation Sandwich” by Rebecca Griffin is not only a great metaphor for enabling students to work quotations into their texts, but a great exercise that works students through the steps of successful quotation integration. To see how to make a “Quotation Sandwich” in your class, click on:
http://www.umass.edu/writingprogram/teaching/database/_resourcecontents.html

IT’S A PROCESS TEACHING BLOG
Who are the students in our classroom? Check out the video, “Vision of Students Today” posted on our “It’s a Process” teaching blog and share what you think.
http://blogs.umass.edu/

TECH FELLOWS OPEN MEETING on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 2
Blogging is great way to get students to analyze community (in 112 and beyond) and publish their essays in the context of their class community. For this open session we will experiment with blogging activities aimed at understanding how images aid/impede the writing in an essay. The goal is to work out the kinks and pitfalls of blogging during this session, so we may navigate this technology (and theory) with some degree

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.

FINAL EXAMS
The final exam schedule is out. Please check your SPIRE account for the date, time, and location. The information is also posted on the wall above the copy machine in Bartlett 305.

DIVERSITY ON TAP REAPPEARS!
The exciting discussions and camaraderie continue! New Day, New Time!
Celebrate your upcoming weekend and discuss the relevance diversity plays in our teaching, our writing, and living. Drop in any week for discussion, collaboration and fun with fellow Writing Program Teaching Associates. Every other Thursday in the downstairs bar of the Northampton Brewery.

Thursday November 4, 6:30PM at The Northampton Brewery.

Thursday November 18, 6:30PM at the Northampton Brewery.

Thursday December 2, 6:30PM at the Northampton Brewery

Thursdays. Beer. Diversity. 6:30. Northampton.

CALLING ALL INSTUCTORS: CALL FOR PAPERS
Please keep your essay submissions coming in from Basic Writing and College Writing. We are still accepting texts from Unit I and look forward to texts from Unit II. Keep in mind that historically we receive the lightest number of submissions from Unit II of College Writing, so please be on the lookout for papers that fulfill the assignment requirements. Also, if you haven’t already, pick up what I hope is some useful information about the Anthology that I left in your mailboxes: instructions for submitting essays to the competition and guidelines for selecting texts.

Thank you,
Pat Zukowski

GRAD COMPUTER LAB ASSISTANTS
The Writing Program welcomes 2 computer lab assistants to our staff: Muska Hassan and Sang Le. These lab assistants come to us from OIT and have expertise in trouble shooting with computers and printers. Their hours are posted in the lab along with trouble shooting tips and a notebook for recording any issues you have with the computers. If you don’t see them in the lab during their scheduled hours, look for them in the main Writing Program office (305). Feel free to ask them for help with the computers—that’s why they’re here!


 
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