Learning Drama, Writing Drama

In my second-level composition course, students have the option of doing extra credit, due the day we finish reading Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. The assignment is to write a script that answers the question: "Whatever happened to Christopher Sly?" The play-within-a-play begins with the drunkard Sly who is tricked into behaving like a lord. … Continue reading Learning Drama, Writing Drama

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

Ask Students to Write the Final Exam

Asking the right question is no easy task. Teachers spend years fine-tuning questions and lesson plans. But when students get these questions, it's for the first time. According to my students, the hardest paper assignment I gave them was for our poetry unit--but not because it was on poetry. I asked my students to explicate a … Continue reading Ask Students to Write the Final Exam

Teaching The Awakening + One Speed Writing Exercise

I've been teaching Kate Chopin's The Awakening (1899) in the Intro to Writing About Literature course for two years, and I've found it fits a shorter paper assignment better than it does a research paper (you can read my writing prompt for the short paper here). However, this semester I taught Chopin immediately after the long research paper … Continue reading Teaching The Awakening + One Speed Writing Exercise

Teaching Students Close Reading Skills with Twitter

Moving on from teaching the general theme of women's oppression in my composition course, as I described in my last post, we've turned to a much more complex and darker play, John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. The most corrupt characters, Ferdinand and the Cardinal (also the Duchess's brothers), are motivated by many things: money, power, maintaining a … Continue reading Teaching Students Close Reading Skills with Twitter

Learning Drama through Writing

This semester, I approached my Composition students with a new assignment that they themselves had a hand in creating and making possible. As part of the Intro to Writing About Literature course, I teach drama, fiction, and poetry. Each genre presents its own challenges but drama, in particular, is difficult to get into when students … Continue reading Learning Drama through Writing