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The Weekly Blast: January 28, 2011

Travis Grandy gives us an activity that helps to establish norms about classroom expectations. “Acting Out to Discuss Classroom Expectations also lets students flex their dramatic muscles. To see the full details click on

Have a great exercise or activity? Please send it to any member of the Resource Center staff (Nick, Lauren, Sarah, Kate, and Peggy) for inclusion in the Resource Database.

How to deal with all these snow days? What are the tech fellows been up to? Check out the Resource Center’s teaching blog at: .

No Show Forms are due immediately after your second class meeting. Please return the form(s) whether you drop students from your class or not. Please use the roster(s) you printed the first day of your class/es for the most accurate information when dropping students from your class.

W2 forms are in the office and need to be picked up by Thursday, January 27. After this date they will be sent back to the Human Resource Office in Whitmore.

The Diversity Action Group is looking for new members from the Writing Program and the English Department. Our kick-off event will be a pizza party on Monday, February 7 @ 5pm in Bartlett 303 and pizza will be served. Please RSVP to Deirdre, so she can order food accordingly.

As we begin spring semester, it might be helpful to remind ourselves about Writing Program policies and procedures regarding weather-related class cancellation. The policy is simple: if the University is open, all classes should be held (this includes Englwrit 111, 112, 112H, Experimental Writing Workshops, and CD and Practicum meetings). If the University closes, those classes are cancelled. Please do not unilaterally cancel your class(es) because you believe weather conditions call for it or because your students ask you to. That decision is made centrally for the entire campus. The Writing Program does not make a separate decision, and we ask you as instructor not to do so either. We follow the University here completely. If you personally feel that you cannot teach because of the weather, and the University itself remains open, then you need to take an instructor absence from teaching and cancel class or find a substitute accordingly (for more on instructor absences from teaching, see below).

If the University closes for the whole day, that decision is generally made by 6:00 am, and the campus community is notified through a variety of means. The most reliable place to look is the UMass Amherst home page: . A yellow banner appears with information about the closing. Local TV and radio stations are also notified. In addition, there is an Emergency Closing Hot Line that you can call: 545-3630. You should also receive an emergency text message from the University on your cell phone; if you are not receiving these, you can sign up on SPIRE (see ). If the University opens late or closes during the day, the UMass Amherst home page is, again, the most reliable source of information. If opening or closing occurs during your class, you would begin or end your class at that time. Please note that, if the University closes during the day, employees are required to follow a staggered system for leaving campus so that everyone doesn’t depart at the same time and clog local roads. More information about this procedure is available at .

Finally, for our new expanded policy regarding instructor absence from class, see (go to “Rules and Regulations” and click on “For Instructors”). If you have any questions or concerns about this, or any related matter, talk to your Course Director or Practicum leader – or see Peggy Woods.

-- David Fleming, Director.

Whether you want to get hands-on training in a new program; need some help developing lesson plans and planning for contingencies; or just want to learn some simple, fun, and productive uses of technology for the classroom, Christina Jones is here to help. Drop by Bartlett 307B on Tuesday afternoons from 3:50 to 5:50 or e-mail Christina at to schedule an appointment.

Reminder: The office hour/address forms that were put in your mail boxes are due Friday, Jan 28. Please complete the entire form, including the address section. Extra forms are in the office.

Please drop off a hard copy of your syllabus and grading policy to the office. The deadline date for this is Friday, January 29. Let me know if you are using the standard syllabus and I will print one for your file. - Becky

Reminder: Deadline to return the Plans for Next Year memo is Friday, February 4. Please make sure to return the form on time so we can have an accurate account of current instructor’s requests.


The deadline to request dates via Doodle to hold your class in the OIT computer classroom you were assigned has passed (1/21/11). Please contact Marta Pluta if you wish to add additional dates or make reservations for an OIT computer classroom. Her email address is

When making a reservation, please make sure you provide the following information:

Name of faculty member and contact info (email address, phone number)
Name and contact info for the person making the reservation (if different than the faculty member)
Course number and title (eg. ENGLWRIT 112 sec 45 / College Writing)
Number of students in the class
Date(s) and time(s) requested
Requesting a specific OIT Computer Classroom?
Windows or Macintosh?
Have you used an OIT Computer Classroom before?
Hardware or software requirements
Additional requests: overhead projector and special software

We are looking for volunteers to help judge the Writing Program’s Best Text Contest. This is a great way to see what kinds of writing the students are doing across all our sections of College Writing. The time commitment involves reading the submissions and meeting two-three times. If interested and/or if you have any questions please see/contact Peggy ( or Heidi (

The request for final exams for all sections of Basic and College Writing have already been requested and in the process of being scheduled.

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