The Blue Truck

1980s nostalgia, dirt roads, and John Cougar Mellencamp. This is a piece about my dad. The Blue Truck “Ouch!” Dad says sharply as we start rolling the car over the gravel road. “Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Do you hear all those rocks jumping up and biting the bottom of the car? They’re saying ‘Stop driving over…

Christmas Eve: or Yes, I AM Continuing My Experiment

I don’t have a class with ISU this semester, but I decided that I’m going to continue making assignments for myself that I will share on this blog. My plan is to give myself weekly writing prompts that I could use with future classes. By the end of the spring, I’ll have a bunch of…

The Final Exam: Romance

Romance I begin by considering the basics: its brown color, its dusty surface, its uneven spherical shape. I ask my mathematician student if he knows what a 3D oval is. We both Google it and discover the term is “ovoid” which sounds so much like ovary that I smile and giggle to myself. Maybe there’s…

The Dragon’s Hoard: Final Draft, Final Research Paper

For this research paper, I asked my students to blend personal narrative with research in order to explore an aspect of their identity. I’ve talked a lot about it elsewhere. The Dragon’s Hoard I start taking my treasures down off of the shelves above my desk, one by one, examining them, dusting them, polishing them…

Almost Done With My Research Paper

I finished my research paper, just one day before my students. Before I post it to the blog, I want to do a little “post-mortem” summary about the assignment here. Look for the completed paper tomorrow. For this assignment, my students and I answered the question “What does it mean to be a ___?” The…

Rough Draft of the Final Paper

I haven’t written in a while because I finished a messy rough draft of my final essay really early to share with my students, and then have been sitting on it. I wasn’t ready to share it on the blog, because it is all over the place. But the final essay is due on Friday,…

New Knowledge Adventures: Mini-Memoir Class Day #1

Every Monday this November, I’m bringing my “greatest hits” writing activities from my Freshman Composition class to a more mature population of students through New Knowledge Adventures or NKA. NKA is a wonderful program for retirees (ages 50+) to continue learning and stretching themselves. It is provided through Idaho State University Continuing Education. Members pay…

Example Annotated Bibliography: Collecting Sources on Collecting

Another kind of boring assignment that I require of my students in order to model good research practices is the tried and true annotated bibliography. I ask them for around 5 sources. For each source, they need to provide 1. a citation, 2. an “objective” summary of the source, and 3. an indication of how…

Curiophile or Hoarder?: Research Project Proposal

This week my students are writing their research project proposals. I’ve asked them to approach these proposals as “Discovery Drafts” in which they start writing what they already know about their topic before they move on to research. They will need to look for questions that can guide their research, as well as keywords and…

The Skeptic’s Moment of Embracing Wikipedia in College Composition

I should be grading, but I decided to write about my identity as a collector with my students and am distractedly excited about it. Since I started working on my invention paper yesterday afternoon, I’ve been trying to find the right classification of “collector” to describe what I do. I even made a Facebook post about…

I Am A Collector: “Pieces of Me” Identity Reflection

This week my students and I are writing an invention paper in which we begin to explore our identities and look for possible topics for our research paper. I have asked students to write an “I Am” statement, listing their various identifications. I asked them to put them into noun form. Then they will choose…

Not Just a Ravenclaw: Identity is Flexible, Changeable, and Fluid

This week my students and I are working on the first assignment in a series of assignments designed to help us explore, research, and write about an aspect of our identity. This week’s assignment is an invention paper in which they will create an “I Am” statement, showing the various nouns that they identify with….