WRT999 Teaching College Writing

Instructors: Stephanie West-Puckett & Genoa Shepley

Email: stephwp@uri.edu & genoa_shepley@uri.edu

Class Meeting: Tuesday 11:00-12:15 in Ranger 100

Writing 104 Course Website

Course Textbook: Bad Ideas About Writing

About the Course

Over the duration of this semester, we will meet regularly to investigate writing and rhetoric as a discipline, to learn about research-based practices in the teaching of writing, to apply these practices in the classroom, and to plan and deliver activities that will build your professional CV. This course requires a different commitment than other graduate seminars in that there is less reading (only two short chapters per week) and the culminating projects are not seminar papers. Instead, you are assessed on your participation in the 999 seminar and your performance in the 104 writing classroom. The course is also different from other seminars in that it is graded simply on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory scale. It is not different from other graduate seminars, however, in the following ways:

Your timely and unbroken attendance are required;

Your preparation/possession of assigned tasks/materials is essential;

Your undivided attention and active participation are both presumed and imperative.

Additionally, because this course has a variety of purposes, from training to support to supervision:

You'll keep a teaching journal, adding three 1-page (minimum) entries each week. Two of these entries should focus on your classroom teaching experiences and the third should respond to the weekly readings. Some weeks, the prompts will be open-ended, meaning you'll write about readings and classroom experiences that surprised, delighted, bothered, or puzzled you. Other weeks, the prompts will be more focused and directed, exploring a common issue, theme, problem, or question. Bring your journal to class every week, and be prepared for spot checks at any time.

Observing other teachers and reflecting together on that experience is an indispensable way to learn more about teaching. Thus, you’ll observe a WRT 104 class taught by an experienced instructor, and take notes in your teaching journal. In your journal, you'll write a 2-page (minimum) response that reflects on instructor ethos, instructor-student rapport, student engagement and participation, teaching strategies and activities, classroom management, teacher feedback and response practices, and technology integration. In addition, you'll list two to three strategies or practices that you observed and would like to integrate into your own WRT 104 teaching practices.

We'll review your written feedback to students, focusing on your response to their badge proposals and feedback to each level of the first badge. For each of these submissions, you should choose three representative samples, and bring to class both the student work and your accompanying commentary. We'll review these samples to ensure that your feedback and assessment align with the department’s ethos and instructional goals and to help you craft feedback that moves students toward meeting the course objectives and outcomes.

Both Genoa and Stephanie will observe your WRT 104 class. These visits will occur after you have established comfort with your classes, in early October and again in early November. The purpose of these visits is to help you see your classroom and teaching from different perspectives, to notice what's working and what's not, and to ask questions that can lead to deeper reflection and more effective teaching practice.

We expect you to volunteer for National Day on Writing (NDOW) on October 30 from 10am-3pm. For nearly a decade, NDOW celebrations across the nation have focused on writing as a central part of our everyday lives. This event creates positive student experiences around writing and helps our students to identify as curious and capable writers. First Year Writing students will report to the Memorial Ballroom for class on that day, and they will have the opportunity to participate at multiple composing stations which will be staffed by upper division WRT majors, Writing Center Tutors, and WRT faculty like yourselves. NDOW also provides a unique opportunity for students to compose with our faculty and majors in an informal setting. Research underscores the importance of faculty engaging students outside of the classroom to increase student retention and success, and this event allows us to showcase and share our passion for writing in its many dynamic forms, demonstrating why WRT is a vibrant, production-centered major and everybody's perfect double-major. You'll want to feature this activity on your professional CV under service.

Finally, we are here to help, both in our role as instructors of this course and in our roles as director and assistant director of the First Year Writing program, so don’t hesitate to come to us with any questions or concerns!

Major Activities and Dates

  • Classroom Observations of Experienced Instructors: September 10- 16
  • Review Badge Proposal Feedback: September 24
  • Review Badge #1, Level #1 Feedback: October 1
  • Genoa/Stephanie Observe Your Classes: October 2 & 4
  • Review Badge #1, Level #2 Feedback: October 22
  • Review Badge #1, Level #3 Feedback: October 29
  • National Day on Writing: October 30
  • Genoa/Stephanie Observe Your Classes: November 6 & 8

September 10: 999 Syllabus Review, Teaching Journals/Debrief, Scheduling Observations, Planning Ahead for 104

September 10 Homework: Complete class observation and journal entry. Read "Grading Has Always Made Writing Better" and "When Responding to Student Writing, More is Better." Journal Entry Prompt: After reading these two chapters, outline your response strategy. What are your priorities? What will you let go? What is the goal of your feedback to students? What should they do with the feedback? How will they know?

September 17: Teaching Journals, Debrief Observations, Class Experiences, and Reading Responses, Planning Ahead for 104

September 17 Homework: Prepare 3 Representative Samples of Proposals w/ Your Feedback; Read "Teaching Grammar Improves Writing" and "There is One Correct Way of Writing and Speaking" Journal Prompt: What bothers, excites, surprises, or confuses you in these readings? What do these readings mean for your writing response practices in WRT 104 and beyond?

September 24: Teaching Journal Debrief; Review Proposals and Feedback, Week 3, Planning Ahead for WRT 104

September 24 Homework: Prepare 3 Representative Samples of Level I submissions w/ Your Feedback; Read "The Traditional Research Paper is Best" and "Research Starts with a Thesis Statement." Journal Prompt: What is research writing? What are the hallmarks of "good" research writing? What are the habits and dispositions of research writing that we want our FYW students to practice? How do we encourage that practice?

October 1: Teaching Journal Debrief; Review Level 1 Feedback, Planning for NDOW, Planning Ahead for WRT 104

October 1 Homework: Prepare for Genoa and Stephanie's Observations; Read "Citing Sources is a Basic Skill Learned Early On" and "Excellent Academic Writing Must Be Serious"; Journal Prompt: What's the most entertaining or amusing piece of writing you've read this semester? Describe it and why you appreciated it. How did you permission this kind of writing either implicitly or explicitly in your classroom?

October 8: No Class

October 15: No Class, Schedule Individual Meetings with Genoa/Stephanie to Discuss Classroom Observations This Week

October 15 Homework: Prepare Prepare 3 Representative Samples of Level II submissions w/ Your Feedback

October 22: Debrief Teaching Journals, Review Level II Feedback, Preparing for National Day on Writing, Planning Ahead for 104

October 22 Homework: Prepare 3 Representative Samples of Level III submissions with your feedback; Read "Texting Ruins Students Grammar Skills" and "Texting Ruins Literacy Skills" Journal Prompt: Use a 50/50 (ish) combination of emojis and words, describe how your class is going this week. What can you use help with or advice on?

October 29: Teaching Journal Debrief; Review Level III feedback; NDOW Planning; Planning Ahead for 104

October 29 Homework: Prepare for NDOW on October 30; Read "Popular Culture is Killing Writing" and "African American Language is not Good English" Journal Prompt: Free Write!

November 5: Debrief Teaching Journals; Debrief NDOW; Planning Ahead for 104

November 5 Homework: Prepare for 2nd Observation of Classroom; Read "America is Facing a Literacy Crisis" and "First-Year Composition Prepares Students for Academic Writing." Journal Prompt: What is a Literacy Crisis? Who wins and who loses when we invoke a crisis mentality? What role has/does FYW play in manufacturing or responding to a perceived literacy crisis?

November 12: Teaching Journal Debrief; Reflecting on Teaching Observation, Round 2; Preparing Ahead for WRT 104

November 12 Homework: Read "Writers are Mythical, Magical, and Damaged" and "Failure is Not An Option." Journal Prompt: What are the common stereotypes about writers? How do these readings, your experience as a writer, and your experience as a teacher of writing challenge those stereotypes?

November 19: Debrief Teaching Journals; Planning Ahead for WRT 104

November 19 Homework: Read "Anyone Can Teach Writing" and "The Higher Education Crisis is a Labor Crisis" Journal Prompt: Free Write!

November 26: Debrief Teaching Journals; Planning Ahead for WRT 104

December 4: Teaching Journal Debrief; Returning to the Body (Biography); Planning ahead for WRT 104

December 4 Homework: Take stock of who you were as a teacher in late August and who you are as a teacher in early December. What has changed? What has stayed the same? What do you do really well as a teacher? What can you continue to improve upon? What teaching goals do you have for Spring 2020? How can Genoa and Stephanie help?

December 10: End-of-semester celebration! Ugly sweater party? Caroling in the halls? Cookie swap? Hot chocolate bar? Gift exchange? DIY: Making Bookish Gifts or Ornaments? Food or toy drive? Suggestions?

Created By
Stephanie West-Puckett


Created with images by Colton Sturgeon - "Travel Journal" • Estée Janssens - "Back to school with a bullet journal"