A Lesson Plan for Democratic Co-Creation: Forging a Syllabus by Students, for Students

Earlier in the semester, I wrote a post about Structuring Equality in my early American Lit classroom. On the first day of class, I asked my students (individually and then in pairs, using Think-Pair-Share) to determine their goals and priorities for the year. Then, in larger groups, students revised and added to parts of the … Continue reading A Lesson Plan for Democratic Co-Creation: Forging a Syllabus by Students, for Students

Teaching LEMONADE in 19th-Century American Lit

I'm a 19th-century Americanist and my syllabi for courses taught in early American lit have covered a wide span of women's literature. I've always gone for non-canonical authors and approaches that critique a male-dominated, colonialist canon. But aside from teaching the usual suspects, slave narratives such as Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave … Continue reading Teaching LEMONADE in 19th-Century American Lit

Using Reacting to the Past to Teach English Composition 101

When I asked if I could use Reacting to the Past (RTTP) in my new English Composition 101 class, and the answer was "yes," I could barely contain my excitement. It can be difficult to convince someone who hasn't seen game-based learning that role play enhances student performance, yes, even in formal writing. I've been trained by … Continue reading Using Reacting to the Past to Teach English Composition 101

“Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation

Having hiked over 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail this summer, dutifully carrying a copy of Thoreau's writings with me, there are certain habits I've cultivated with a now-ingrained daily routine that I'll take with me off the trail. The "Leave No Trace" policy of American hiker culture is what keeps the Appalachian Trail special for everyone … Continue reading “Leave No Trace”: When American Transcendentalism Leads to Wilderness Preservation