Syd’s Session Notes – Section 3 – 1/31/2018

Hey all,


Today went mostly the same as S2 1/29/2018, albeit somewhat “smoother” in terms of transitions and discussion.


Three students were absent. One emailed me ahead of time.


Like before, I tried to make sure everyone was signing up for their 1-on-1. I managed to get all six of them signed up.


Students continued looking through the sheet and signing up as we began the first prompt, and were done signing up by the time the first prompt was concluded.


The overall focus of the class remained Writing Research Identity 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 more diverse array of responses than before, with some interesting experiences that led to a fruitful discussion on the amount of time that goes into writing.


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


Responses were primarily “no,” even more so than with S2 1/29/2018. More students expressed a lack of confidence in their writing ability and others stated they disliked writing as a whole.


The next thing I had planned remained a good counter to these responses. I once again read a quote from Evan Nave’s article on graffiti that posited everyone is a writer.


The quote saw a little more success this time. I was able to explain that a “writer” needn’t mean a professional, and many of the students seemed to agree after I explained myself a bit. Most of them still didn’t see themselves as writers, however.


Nonetheless, I transitioned to talking about how various elements of their surroundings could influence their WRI and their WRI could influence what surroundings they seek out. Once again, I had the students 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 able to get through all six students this time right as class ended.


I saw a wider range of responses this time.


Interestingly, one of them was quite similar to the music response I got in S2 1/29/2018, right down to how the student listened to the music she was writing about while writing about it. I also got a response from a student who talked about writing his budget planner, which led to a brief but nice discussion of how what we need for survival in the “real world” can influence what we write and, by extension, our WRI.


Overall, this was another good class. While my “stumbling” issue was mostly fixed, I’ve begun to notice another issue I’d like to try working on in future sessions. I feel confident while lecturing and using my students’ responses to discuss it with them, but most of the time, the discussion is pretty one-sided. I do a lot of talking, and they do a lot of listening. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping a dynamic lecture going regardless of how my students respond to my prompts. The next step in developing that technique, I feel, should be an increased willingness to ask questions in the midst of such lectures.


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


  • Syd