Fold/Unfold Close Reading Activity

This post is a modified version of "Unfolding Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall and Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Birthmark'," a paper I presented at the American Literature Association conference in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 23, 2019. To unfold something is to open or unwrap, attempt to undo its folds. However, a fold can’t really be undone: when … Continue reading Fold/Unfold Close Reading Activity

Writing Learning Outcomes with Your Students

This is the second post in a series on Progressive Pedagogy in which I very briefly summarize a pedagogical theory and offer an exercise (or two) that you can use in a classroom to put that theory into practice. Click here to read the original post, published on February 19, 2019 on HASTAC.org. In Freire for the Classroom, Ira Shor … Continue reading Writing Learning Outcomes with Your Students

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

Structuring Equality in my American Literature Survey Course

It's syllabus-writing season! After some time away from teaching, time for reflection and growth as an educator, I am thrilled to be teaching "American Literature: Origins to the Civil War" again this fall. I've taught this course twice, so I feel confident enough to hand my syllabus over to my students to plan all the … Continue reading Structuring Equality in my American Literature Survey Course

Teaching the Impossible Syllabus: “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

When I was assigned "Women, Gender, and U.S. Literature," a 5-week summer course that meets 4 days a week for 2 hours, I stared at my bookshelf ready to put 75% of its contents on the syllabus, then I went to Twitter and asked for suggestions, and then I went to colleagues for help who … Continue reading Teaching the Impossible Syllabus: “Women, Gender & U.S. Literature”

Education is the Practice of Freedom

"The vast majority of our professors...used the classroom to enact rituals of control that were about domination and the unjust exercise of power. In these settings I learned a lot about the kind of teacher I did not want to become." -- bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress When my observer asked me about letting my students … Continue reading Education is the Practice of Freedom

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

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

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