My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

May 10, 2023: Spring 2023 Surprises: Barbie and Joe in First-Year Writing II

[As another challenging but rewarding semester comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on a handful of moments that particularly surprised me (in good ways). I’d love to hear some of your Spring reflections in comments!]

Ever since I revamped my First-Year Writing II syllabus for the Spring 2014 semester, I’ve started that course (which as I wrote in that hyperlinked post focuses overall on layers to our 21st century world and identities) with a unit and paper on analyzing ads. Over time I’ve found a variety of sample ads, present and past, to share for our collective practice with that skill, including a couple of YouTube compilations of 1980s TV commercials for Barbie and G.I. Joe respectively. Other than the inevitable horror this child of the 80s feels at the passage of time, sharing these commercials has always been a fun way to help us get into this first unit’s texts and topics. But this semester, my great group of First-Year Writing II students (a handful of whom I’d taught in the Fall, but most of whom were still new to me in these opening weeks of the semester) went above and beyond, not only analyzing these ads closely to practice those Paper 1 skills, but raising all sorts of thoughtful contexts about gender and identity, childhood, marketing and commercialism, and more. FYW discussions can be tough to get going, but this conversation sure got ours going on a great note!

Next surprise tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Spring semester reflections you’d share?

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