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Our Monsters, Ourselves:
Sarah Fishon 30 October 2013
Transcript of Our Monsters, Ourselves:
Teaching the Weird: Monsters and Community
explores the weird of a monster theme in developmental English
explores the weird of community building through class activities and assignments
explores the weird of the new standards from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
The HCC system requires:
a focus on rhetorical modes of writing (e.g. descriptive, narrative, comparison, etc.)
an introduction to the writing process
an inclusion of reading a variety of texts
a completion of five essays, at least one in class
A Weird Theme
When the Fall semester began:
"I think the monster theme ROCKS! It gives us a different way to make our brains upsorbe [sic] the work we are being taught."
"Mosters [sic] theme sounds interesting really looking forward to it. I don't think I would get bored like I have on [sic] the past."
"First day is always the day you have to face the fear, so about the monster theme, I think my professor is trying to let us fight the fear and just enjoy the class with happeness [sic]."
"I believe the monster theme is a great idea!! Fear is often used to succeed and helps overcome many things."
A Weird Course
What my students told me:
The monster theme wasn't the weird thing -- our classroom experience was. But they liked it:
"We deffently [sic] need to keep the long writing time and preparation. It really help [sic] and my paper was better fore [sic] it."
"The thing we definitely need is to keep writing. the drafts help me (us) a lot, because we can see our mistakes when we check our papers."
"Have always feedback when we write our essays."
"We just all need to work together like always."
"My favorite component is everything how we spend time on eassy [sic] and making time for everything and helping each other."
"My favorite think [sic] about this class is we share each other [sic] story with other people and gave feedback before we turn are [sic] essay."
"My favorite component of this class is I record my classmate essay."
A Weird Community
A common vocabulary:
Survivor 101 (direct instruction)
Survival Preparedness (grammar practice and writing process [invention, drafting, revising])
Survival Groups (reading journal assignments and writing process [feedback])
Last Stand (final review with a reflective letter)
A sequence of assignments
Diagnostic -- description of a monster
Narrative -- scary story
Descriptive/Profile -- profile of peer's scary story
Comparison/Contrast -- five-paragraph essay comparing/contrasting individual story to peer's story.
Process Analysis -- how-to survive [BLANK] apocalypse (multi-modal)
Final Exam -- steps for future students
to make it through my course
How Monsters Can Build a Classroom
Community in Developmental English
A Strange, New World
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board curriculum changes:
Personal Responsibility -- to include the ability to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision making.
Post-essay reflection letter
Social Responsibility -- to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities
Descriptive profile of peer
Comparison/contrast essay of individual and peer work
Teamwork -- to include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal
Reading journal assignments
Process Analysis project
definitions taken from Texas Core Curriculum Chapter 4 B §4.28 – 4.31
What I've Realized
The monster theme works, mostly because everyone has an "in," but any broad enough theme would give that.
The monster theme engages students in an affective way because they recognize their fear of English with the fear associated with monsters.
The weird element of my course isn't the monsters; it is the sense of community we build in the classroom, where they have to rely on each other.
Using their voices and texts has created a classroom community where my students are more engaged with each other than any previous courses I have taught.