Saturday, January 29, 2005

First Week Activities in BW

Since we've moved to portfolios this year, I no longer have to spend the first two sessions giving diagnostic tests in writing and grammar. That has freed up quite a bit of time to pull together the first week activities into a coherent unit, rather than having to do only a part of the plan and then rush on to something else.

On the first day, we go over the syllabus, which runs to four pages since I've blended the college's with my own. I touch on the major points and will use the syllabus as a document for study in few weeks. Then, I do give them a writing diagnostic assignment, but I choose topics that are either timely or are geared towards seeing how they do with narration or exposition.

Homework consists of getting the school supplies on the syllabus.

On day two, I walk around the room and take roll. Then, we begin the activity of the day, which is to create business cards, something I do in all of my BW and DR classes. This activity does at least three things: it gets the students thinking about why they are in college at all; it gives them some play with word and image and drafting; and, because they exchange cards, they leave class knowing two other students that they can contact when they have questions.

I begin by giving each student one of my business cards. We look it over and analyze the elements, including the logo, and why each element is on the card. Then they freewrite for about ten minutes about their professional goals, as a warm up. Following the freewrite, I ask them to sketch a rough draft of their card on the same paper as the freewrite. They are to create a card that represents them in their future occupation, but which also has their real email and phone numbers on it. This activity takes another ten minutes, and when I sense that they are done, I hand out three 5x3" index cards to each student.

For 15 minutes, each student creates three copies of their index card. Some student whip right through this, others are very painstaking and need more time, which I can't give if I want to get through the assignment, but I do suggest that they finish the cards at home and bring them in for the next class.

Cards done, I request that they pass one up to me, so that I have my own set of cards. I put the students into groups of three, tell them to exchange cards and spend time getting to know each other, because in a few minutes, they will have to introduce their group to the class.

While they chat, I go through the cards and try to match names and faces.

When time's up, we go around the room, each group standing and having their "designated spokes-student" introduce them by name and career goal.

At this point, I have just enough time to give them the collage assignment for homework and class is over.

I'll write about the collage assignment in my next post since this is getting rather long. Essentially, the assignment is to create a collage from photos, found objects or whatnot, which depicts the personal interests of the student. By the end of the week, the student will have created three documents which depict three aspects of herself--her professional self through the cards; her personal self through the collage, and her academic self through an email sent to me.


At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic exercise, Rosa. So specific, visual, clearly articulated and wonderful outcomes.


At 6:03 PM, Blogger Rosa G. said...

Thanks, Timna. Keep those compliments coming.

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