Monthly Archives: July 2012

Editing vs. Revising

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

I made a couple of videos to show my students the difference between editing (cosmetic changes) and revising (structural changes)—I used Jing, a TechSmith software you can download for free. In the first video (http://www.screencast.com/t/3KDBv1wXFdu) , I show an example of editing using a sample student introduction for an essay and Track Changes in Word. I edit the writing (somewhat) and make the sentences more functional—of course, the intro still does not work. In the second video (http://www.screencast.com/t/uhkpj1d1), I talk the students through what revision actually would look like for that intro (moving parts around, eliminating parts, adding more context…). Maybe you can use this to demonstrate the difference between editing and revising in class?

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Revision Flowchart

Revision flowchart F11 color (1)

Revision flowchart F11 black and white

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

I created this revision flowchart to help my students revise their essays. It can be used in different ways: students can start at the beginning and follow the chart step-by-step or they can start at any “Examine…” bubble. It asks them to consider different parts of the essay and what they need to double check in them. I made a color copy .pdf to post on the course site and a black and white .pdf to print and copy for the students.

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Anatomy of an Essay

Anatomy of an Essay

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

This is a handout I created to show a basic breakdown of the parts of an essay. You can use it as you go over each part or you can use it as a summary once you have gone over all the parts of the essay. Feel free to modify it to your needs!

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Monster Wars

Monster Wars

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

With inspiration from/credit to UIUC Academic Writing Program orientation

The goal of this activity is to show that context and specificity are crucial parts of an essay; without them, chances are the essay makes no sense. The activity is designed in two parts: first, you ask students to imagine a monster in their heads and to write the most careful physical description of the monster they can come up with (I usually ask them to do so at home and bring the description to class the following day. The downside of this: some students do not bring it for the next class. If this happens, just ask them to share a monster for the next part). The next day you collect the descriptions and you distribute them to different students in the class (preferably those far away from where the description originated—no need for consulting in what follows). Bring paper and crayons and markers and ask the students to read the description in front of them and draw the monster according to it. When they are done, collect the descriptions/ drawings and return them to the student that wrote the description. Ask them to compare their imagined monster to the drawing and see if they look alike (for the most part, they never do). If the drawing looks nothing like the monster they imagined then their description was not specific enough. What was clear in their heads lost their context and specificity on the written description so another person could not understand it like they wanted. If the drawing looks like their monster, good job! They were actually specific enough. Generally speaking, when your students think they are being specific they are probably light years from being so: tell them to overdo it—it’s easier to take specificity out of an essay than to add it in.

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Finding Your Inner Morgan Freeman

Finding Your Inner Morgan Freeman

Shared by: Isabel Quintana Wulf

I use this activity with this video to explain what analysis means and why it is important to have it in an essay.

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Highlighting to Make Visual Sense: Paragraph Practice

Highlighting Body Paragraphs

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

With inspiration from/credit to Melissa Lucken, Lansing Community College, MI

The goal of this activity is to devise strategies a student can use to determine whether body paragraphs have all the parts they need to have: topic sentence, evidence/ examples, analysis, and transitions. I provide six examples of body ¶s from former students (or from current student essays chosen randomly depending on what time of the semester you chose to do this activity in class): I give them the overall thesis statement for the essay and one random body ¶. I ask them to highlight the topic sentence with one color, the evidence/ examples with another color, and the analysis with yet another color. I also ask them to circle the transitions they find in the ¶. Once you have given students some time to go over one ¶ (maybe 5 to 7 minutes?) and highlight its parts, do the exercise together using a projector or using the computer in the classroom if that is available to you. Discuss any discrepancies between different interpretations students might have and use the opportunity to show what constitutes evidence and what constitutes analysis. Repeat two or three times more as a class before asking them to highlight their own body ¶s or those of their peers. I use this strategy periodically in class and the visual effect seems to help students understand what is missing from the ¶s (usually a huge color gap for whatever the color of analysis was!). Repeat the activity every once in a while in class as a group to cement their understanding of what they are doing.

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The Smartest Students and Instructors in the Class

Smartest Student and Instructor

Shared by Isabel Quintana Wulf

With inspiration from/credit to Transforming Teaching Through Learning Seminar, Lansing Community College, MI

This activity is a course-starter activity designed to come up with a Student/ Instructor contract setting basic expectations for classroom behavior, preparedness, and interactions for the semester ahead. First, show the instructions to the activity on the board. Ask students to come up with two or three qualities that make good students and two or three qualities that make good instructors. After they have shared and compared with their peers, ask students to share their lists with the class: write down their answers in two columns on the board (Student/ Instructor). Once all the student suggestions are on the board (and you have added some suggestions of your own, like ‘accountable’), discuss the overlaps in the columns. Generally, what makes a good Student also makes a good Instructor (organized, prepared, ready to learn, respectful…). After discussing the qualities on the board, copy the list and post it in the course management site or make it available to your students somehow. Keep the list open so more qualities can be added during the semester as necessary. Consider this list as something to aspire to as the semester develops. Remind students about it periodically so it becomes a strong reference point for classroom management.

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