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”

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