[A new semester is upon us, so this week I’ll preview texts I’m excited to teach in my Spring 2022 classes. Leading up to a weekend update on my book project in progress!]
Three genres of student paper I’m excited to read in my two Writing II sections.
1) Ad Analyses: My Writing II syllabus starts with a short unit on advertisements, for a couple reasons: it begins the semester with the skill of close reading specifics from one text (of the students’ choosing), on which to my mind all other forms of analysis are built; and it helps us start talking about the many images and narratives which our 21st century world is always creating and sending our way. Where and how students find their ads has evolved a great in my years teaching this course, and it’s been exciting to see how YouTube ads and online banner ads offer distinct analytical frames from TV commercials and print ads. Can’t wait to see where these two classes start out!
2) Personal Narratives: The class’s overall focus is on writing 21st century identities, and it’s the second unit—which includes two papers so is significantly longer than the first—where we really begin to explore the multiple layers to that content. More exactly, it’s there where the students generally start to write about their own identities (some do so as part of the ad analysis, but it’s not required), as we read and discuss both personal narratives and essays that engage with elements of 21st century identities (especially around social media and technology). I use and enjoy reading student personal narratives in a few different classes, but these Writing II papers always offer particularly great lenses into not just my students, but how they’re moving through this moment and world of ours.
3) Research Papers: First Year Writing II at Fitchburg State concludes with a research analysis paper for all sections, as I believe it should (now more than ever, skills of information literacy alone couldn’t be more important). Every time I teach the course, I struggle with one particular aspect of this culminating assignment: I’m 1000% committed to giving students the freedom to choose and design their own topic; but for many of them, that flexibility is hugely daunting and they’d greatly prefer for me to assign a topic. I hear that, and am always willing to offer suggestions (especially ones based on prior student work in the class), but I remain absolutely committed to that openness, as in my experience it really allows students to write papers that reflect—and analyze—their own interests and identities very potently. Excited to read these two new batches come May!
Next preview post tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Spring courses or other work you want to share?