Syd’s Session Notes – Section 2 – 1/29/2018

Hey all,


Today went pretty well.


One student was absent.


At the beginning of class, I tried to make sure everyone was signing up for their 1-on-1. I managed to get seven out of the eight in attendance signed up, which was nice.


Students continued looking through the sheet and signing up as class progressed.


The overall focus of the class was Writing Research Identity, as to complement Charles (main instructor)’s literacy narrative project for Unit 1.


I started with a prompt where students identified moments of reading or writing that impacted them, to get them thinking in the direction of writing within their own lives. I received a diverse array of responses, many revolving around the teachers that introduced them to certain activities in reading and writing, with mixed reactions to those experiences.


After post-prompt discussion, I had students write in response to the question, “Do you see yourself as a writer, and why or why not?”


Responses to this question were primarily “no,” with reasons often revolving around students feeling they disliked writing or that their writing was not good enough.


Surprisingly, the next thing I had planned was a perfect counter to this. I read a quote from Evan Nave’s article on graffiti that posited everyone is a writer. While the quote was well-suited to the occasion, it didn’t quite register with the class. I conceded that it can be hard to see oneself as a “writer,” because everyone’s definition of what constitutes a writer is different and tied up in various influencing ideologies.


From that, I was able to transition into talking about the things that influenced their ideologies on writing, with an activity where they wrote about something they recently wrote, whether that thing was a text message or a paper. Specifically, they tried to write at least a word or sentence for seven categories relating to their recent writing:


What genre of writing you think it was (whatever label you think fits best)


What your purpose in writing it was


Situations or conditions that prompted or altered your writing process


The location(s) you wrote it

How you felt while writing it (or various parts of it)


The content of what you wrote (very short, 1-3 sentence summary)


Anything else you thought affected your writing process (music you listened to, a movie you’d recently seen, the sandwich you were eating, etc.)


I was only able to get through six of the eight students before class ended.


Most of the students I called on described experiences they had writing papers or other assignments for school. Their answers were highly varied in what they focused on, with some talking more about enjoying researching topic while others seemed more affected by their surroundings and mood at the time of writing.


I got some great discussion out of their responses – one student in particular, who’d said she didn’t like writing in general and didn’t see herself as a writer, gave a very useful example. She said she had enjoyed writing a paper about a musician she liked, which allowed me to transition into talking about how everyone can not only be a writer, but enjoy what they write about when it pertains to their personal interests. Her response, and those from the other students, did well in enabling me to talk about how the various aspects of their identities and personalities play a role in their WRI. And of course, I maintained that such aspects of their identities that are connected to their writing experiences will be excellent material for their literacy narratives.


Overall, I think this was a good class. There were a few minor stumbling areas (mostly in transitioning from prompt to prompt while juggling having the sign-up sheet passed around and written on), but I think I’m back in the “rhythm” now.


Here’s to hoping next week will provide fruitful work and discussion on the unit 1 project.


  • Syd