An assignment for me

My students are busily typing away at an assignment I’ve given them. Which surprises me. Ordinarily, when I bring my classes to a computer lab, I have to all but beat students away from IM, Facebook, YouTube, or any of the other distractions I, too, would ordinarily have open in side windows. But either they’reContinue reading “An assignment for me”

“The Bullet Surprise,” courtesy of “beta amphetamine”

My friend Beth Ann Fennelly has a new book of of poetry out, Unmentionables, which I’ve been salivating for since I finished her nonfiction book Great with Child a year ago. I haven’t ordered it yet, but I’ve been thinking about the book, so to whet my yearning I’ve picked up an old favorite, herContinue reading ““The Bullet Surprise,” courtesy of “beta amphetamine””

New journey, no map

I’ve been neglecting this blog nearly all summer. That doesn’t mean I’ve been neglecting my writing, of course: I’ve written reviews of the books I’ve read, I’ve typed up my journals from my trip to Scotland (and written a 20,000-word photodocumentary of the trip for friends and family), I’ve worked on stories and even startedContinue reading “New journey, no map”

My eyes, they are strained

I’ve been going through my students’ online discussion posts this semester, looking at the statistics, and I think I’m about ready to collapse. So far this semester, I’ve written 276 discussion posts. Many of them are short replies to questions or comments on other posts, but several have been lengthy essays. But that’s not theContinue reading “My eyes, they are strained”

San Francisco and Pop Culture

As I did in New York, I decided to write blog entries about my conference in San Francisco, so my students can see what I’m up to at these conferences (this one over Spring Break no less!). But this time around, my conference hotel is not offering free wireless, so I’m having to write theseContinue reading “San Francisco and Pop Culture”

Compassion from students

Last Thursday, when I read the first news reports of the shooting at Northern Illinois University — less than 150 miles from my campus here in Wisconsin — I started considering ways in which to address the situation with my students. My initial impulse was to dedicate the next class period to discussing the shootingsContinue reading “Compassion from students”

Spider-Man becomes Single-Man?

This semester, as we study pop culture and critical interaction with a “text” (really, any medium), I’m making my students write a series of short, informal response essays. And I figured, what’s good for the goose…. So, this is the “sample response” I’ve written for them, in all its shabby inglory: Last fall, I readContinue reading “Spider-Man becomes┬áSingle-Man?”

Typing vs. Writing?

In my composition classes, we’ve had several conversations about the difference between typing our drafts and handwriting them. As romantic as I tend to be about writing — and as much as I love my little journals and notebooks — I have become a convert to the keyboard to such a degree that I almostContinue reading “Typing vs. Writing?”

My new grading policy

This was my “Buddhism quote” on my iGoogle homepage today: “Wise men don’t judge: they seek to understand.” Pretty much sums up the ways I grade and the reasons I don’t like assigning grades. As a writer who insists on treating students like fellow writers, I don’t want to “judge” their work–I want to understandContinue reading “My new grading policy”