Day Five: SO MANY Different Issues to Discuss!

One challenge of scheduling panels and outside presenters is that fitting them into the schedule often means moving other things around. What can result, as in today, is a bunch of important issues bunched up in one 8 hour period. We’re talking about

  • Helping students read difficult texts
  • Working with multilingual writers
  • Sequencing assignments across the semester
  • Encouraging academic integrity and discouraging plagiarism

Oof! Maybe it’s too much? Just couldn’t figure out what to cut to free up time for you to work. Sorry about that.

In the morning we’ll discuss Bean’s perspective on reading and teaching reading strategies. I’ll supplement with two things: the notion of “lateral reading” that I recently ran across in a Stanford study and forms of “social annotation” with and Perusall. I used in the fall and it seemed to work pretty well–we’ll look at the results.

Then Dr. Saundra Wright, a linguist in the English Department and coordinator of the ESL Resource Center (right next door), will be with us to talk about what we know about language learning and how we can help multilingual writers.

That’s our work for the morning.

Then, in the afternoon, we’ll talk about revision and responding.  Two separate things, of course–but at the same time, the latter really seems to be what causes the former.  That is, I’ll make a strong argument that we shouldn’t really be responding with LTW feedback UNLESS students are allowed to revise (or iterate on a later, similar assignment), and that students won’t know how or what to revise UNLESS we give them some written responses that point out:

  • What they’re doing well in writing
  • What doesn’t seem to be going well
  • What they should do next (NOT what would make it an “A”)

So the issue for us, the question we should try to answer, seems to be what kinds of responses will encourage thoughtful, thorough revisions?

The way we’ll get to that is through an examination of our current responding practices and some practice with Bean’s ideas in chapter 16.  We’ll take this in parts.

First, sit with a partner and break out/bring up a paper you received in one of your classes.  Perhaps last semester?  Perhaps your comments are already on it?  No matter if not–any paper you’ve received before is fine.  The instructor who received the paper should:

  • Discuss the assignment itself
  • Read through the paper silently and talk about what you’re seeing in the text
  • Try to reconstruct what you were doing as you were grading/responding
  • React in an unfiltered way to the things you see in the paper

Your partner should prompt this kind of talk by continually asking:

  • What are you thinking now?
  • Why did you do that/write that on the paper?
  • How did you react to this? [points to a sentence]
  • What would you do if we weren’t here/if you were grading this alone?
  • How did you respond to the text?  What was your overall feedback?
  • Please keep talking?

And taking some notes on what your partner says.  Then switch and repeat!

I’ll ask you for some of your highlights from chapter 16.

Then I’ll ask you to try again: to select one or more strategies we’ve put on the whiteboard and read and respond to another paper.  You can do this individually and then talk to a partner about how your responding practices changed.  (I’ll guide us through this step.)  Then finally, I’ll ask you to freewrite to yourself what you got from this activity:

What ideas from Bean’s ch 16 do you think are relevant to you and your students?  How did your responding practices change from paper one to paper two?  Do you feel some of these strategies could help make your responding practices more efficient and effective?

If there’s time, we’ll have some whole-group discussion on what you found through this activity.

And I’ll introduce screencasting as one way to respond to student writing. If you’re interested, do check out Kaltura in Blackboard Learn and other screencasting apps like Screencast-o-matic, Jing (my personal favorite), and even QuickTime Player for ways to do this kind of work.  And if you want to learn more, you can refer to a few articles for more on its effectiveness!  One of the better ones is “I Hear What You’re Saying: The Power of Screencasts in Peer-to-Peer Review” by Allison Smith Walker in the Journal of Writing Analytics, but a brief search also turns up:

Then I’ll present some strategies to encourage academic integrity and discourage plagiarism.

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