Monday, March 8, 2010

Writing Workshop Comments

The MWF class went so well this morning! This week, several students are bringing in drafts of essay #2, the infamous media analysis assignment. I think this assignment seems so hard because they look at a word like "analyze" and they just freeze. And then when I throw in terms like "race," "class," and "gender," well, they all just look at me hoping that I will tell them exactly what to write.

Since so many of the students have come to me with questions about the assignment (a good thing!), I came to class prepared to tease this assignment out a little more -- I brought the first page from three essays from the past and we talked about the argument that each paper was proposing. Not only did this discussion go well, but the two folks who brought essays -- we will call them Student A and Student B -- helped even more by sharing two thoughful works-in-progress. Student A looked at comedian Jeff Dunham and his apparently stereotyped puppets, and Student B analyzed Bill Cosby's controversial speech in which he was later attacked by the African American community. The result was a fabulous dicussion where we talked about essay organization, better wording for a thesis/ argument, and proofreading and editing. For the most part, this class works so well with each other! :>

UPDATE FROM MONDAY EVENING CLASS: No problems here either -- we looked at four pretty solid drafts (including one in which the student pulled off sarcasm, not an easy thing to do!) and had a useful discussion, I think, as to how each writer could better articulate both argument and support. The evening class, at this point, has a bit more diversity of opinion so this class tends to have more discussions about different ways of seeing someone's argument. For example, a few students had heated opinions about one writer's comments about Chris Rock's Good Hair --I think the dissention was a good thing but I haven't noticed those differences of opinion as much in the MWF class.

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