Introducing Students to Twitter Literacy

I use twitter in my classroom to give more introverted students opportunities to participate without having to raise their hands and speak out. It isn't something they encounter in many of their classes, so it takes some time to introduce them to Twitter, help them set up professional or discard accounts, and get them to … Continue reading Introducing Students to Twitter Literacy

Teaching Consent, Revisited

The sad thing about teaching a composition course in which sexual violence is the major topic, is that it is always still relevant. An updated report from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Education Department says that there are now 306 sexual violence cases being investigated at 225 schools in the U.S. These investigations result from the … Continue reading Teaching Consent, Revisited

Use Secondary Sources in College Composition, But Use Them Wisely

About to begin teaching my favorite second-level composition course for the sixth time, I can safely say that I know every required secondary reading has a clear purpose in the syllabus. I look forward to how each one will inform and pivot in-class discussion, deepening our understanding of the primary texts and how they've been … Continue reading Use Secondary Sources in College Composition, But Use Them Wisely

Many Students Don’t Know What Scaffolding Is

First year instructors are often told to scaffold assignments. Scaffolding, loosely defined, is the process of building cumulative assignments from "low-stakes" to "high-stakes" in a syllabus. Heck, most instructors at any pedagogy conference are told to do this, so I've been doing it for over three years. I believe scaffolding is extremely useful as a … Continue reading Many Students Don’t Know What Scaffolding Is

Reading American Romanticism with Students after the Election

"What is wanted is men, not of policy, but of probity--who recognize a higher law than the Constitution, or the decision of the majority. The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls--the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on … Continue reading Reading American Romanticism with Students after the Election

Building Community in the Classroom with Twitter

When I greeted my students on the first day of the semester with the announcement that technology would play a large role in my "American Literature: Origins to the Civil War" class, I'm pretty sure their faces looked something like this: Admittedly, it made many of them anxious when I began explaining class blog post assignments … Continue reading Building Community in the Classroom with Twitter

CFP for “The Vibrating World: Soundscapes and Undersongs”

This World is not Conclusion. A Species stands beyond— Invisible, as Music— But positive, as Sound— It beckons, and it baffles— – Emily Dickinson, “This World is not Conclusion” As a member of the English Student Association (ESA) Conference Committee for 2016-2017, I am very proud to announce our upcoming ESA Conference, "The Vibrating World: Soundscapes … Continue reading CFP for “The Vibrating World: Soundscapes and Undersongs”

Music as Thinking: Going Back to the Trail with William James

Coming back to New York City after hiking 500 miles in "the green tunnel" of the Appalachian Trail was extremely difficult. I was cranky even at my best, and felt guilty for having been out of touch with my loved ones for so long. It was as if we had been in Narnia, Moose would say, … Continue reading Music as Thinking: Going Back to the Trail with William James

American Lit: Collaborative Writing & Group Work

This semester as I prepared my syllabus for the American Literature: Origins to the Civil War course, I wanted to get my students more engaged in collaborative multi-modal projects. One of these was to write a blog post comparing the American Puritans to one religious group from the HBO series The Game of Thrones. While students cringed … Continue reading American Lit: Collaborative Writing & Group Work

Are There Puritans in The Game of Thrones?

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Map of The Narrow Sea via obsid

This next week in my “American Literature: Origins to the Civil War” class will feature a blog project in which students (now formed into groups of 4) will compile research and write a blog post comparing one religion from The Game of Thrones HBO series to American Puritanism.

So far this semester, we’ve read Mary Rowlandson, Cotton Mather, John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, and Michael Wigglesworth. This week students are reading Edward Taylor and Jonathan Edwards as they begin their work on these collaborative blog posts for our class blog.

There are several religions in the series to compare to Puritan Calvinism. 6,000 years prior to present GoT time, the Andals, who believed in the Faith of the Seven, slaughtered the Children of the Forest because their magic was an abomination to their faith. The latter even in name beg the comparison to Native Americans. In present GoT time, the Faith is revived and militant in King’s Landing, largely led by the High Sparrow who proselytizes through means of fear and torture, demands public confession, and acts as judge. Likewise, the Puritans were highly suspicious of doubt and they demanded public conversion, not to mention the judgments passed during the Salem witch trials. One might alternatively compare the Puritans to the followers of the Lord of Light, who wait for signs from him and believe that he has chosen whom to save.

These are just some of the connections I’m asking my students to make in a collaborative group project. I, for one, look forward to our class debate over which religious group from GoT the Puritans are most like. Read more about the assignment and feel free to borrow my lesson plans embedded within…

Environment & American Lit

cersei-walk-of-shame Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Shame on HBO’s The Game of Thrones via ladygeekgirl

George R. R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) has been adapted by HBO to the television series widely known as The Game of Thrones (2011-). Martin’s world-building in the series includes several competing religious groups that worship either “The Seven” in the Faith of the Seven, The Lord of Light, the Drowned God, the Many-Faced God, or the Gods of the Forest. When writing the series, Martin drew from The War of the Roses, but is there also a historical basis for these competing religions? Which resembles the Protestant faith that the Puritans descended from? Who displays a religious zeal or shares a similar fate in the series comparable to that of the Puritans? Your group will have to do some research and let us know in a collectively written and formatted blog…

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