A small thing I did last year that I think could have had a big impact if I’d played my cards right:
- Do Firsts came in three flavors: Quotation, Question, Writing Challenge;
- Enrichment Reading blogs also came in three flavors: Quotation, Question, Writing Challenge.
This may seem a small thing, but it reflects a fair amount of thought on my part for how I can bring my entire curriculum around a common focus all year long, something bigger than a central question, something that defines why any of us do what we do, something that provides the structure for how we respond to anything. I’m still thinking it through, but this is closer than I’ve ever been to that kind of organization.
Responding to an idea in the text (Quotation), an issue you want to answer (Question), or a desire to push your abilities (Writing Challenge) accounts for most of the reasons to write and talk. What we do in class three days a week, Do Firsts, and out of class once a week, Enrichment Reading blogs, uses those response styles. I want to extend those styles to the major writing assignments this year. If I can make it so that everything is in one of those three flavors, it all becomes linked. While it might be artificial, it’s a link and that almost always makes things easier for students. It gives us a way to look at why we bother to do any of this stuff. It keeps me focused and the students aware of what to do. We respond because there’s an idea the author proposes, a problem we want to puzzle out, or a way to improve ourselves.
Right? Do you see other essential flavors? Help me improve my thinking here.