Borrow and Extend

WARNING: This has very little to do with chukar hunting. But it does have to do with people who read and comment on this blog.

I went back to my classroom today for the first time since surgery 10 days ago, and saw some of what my students have been up to. Actually, I’ve been able to read and comment on lots of their work from home; I use Google Classroom for most of my assignments in all of my classes, which is really dynamic and allows me to have real-time dialogues with students as they work on stuff, and it eliminates the pounds and pounds of papers I used to have to lug between home and school.

Anyway, one of the assignments for my dual-credit English 101 students (they get college/university credit for the required English 101: Introduction to Composition, as well as their junior or senior high school English credit) was to create a set of posters — as a class — showing some high-level writing “moves” that I could use for other classes as anchor or concept charts to help teach these ideas to all levels (I teach 9th through 12th grade). This is a challenging assignment because they have to read a complex text (which each poster cites) about rhetoric and writing theory and apply the ideas to these posters and use other examples to help illustrate their “move.”

Here are my instructions: “As a class (work in groups; sign your names on the poster(s) you worked on), I want you to create a set of FOUR POSTERS, each poster focusing on one of the writerly moves mentioned in #3. Each poster should have “forwarding” on it, along with — obviously — which “move” the poster is describing. Each poster should also have some example of the move from a text high schoolers might be familiar with. Finally, each poster should have somewhere on it a full MLA citation for Harris’s book, including the page numbers from which information on the poster comes. Poster paper and colored markers are in the cupboards. I recommend doing a “draft” of your poster on 8.5 x 11 paper before committing your ideas to the big poster paper.”

I had no idea what “texts” they’d use as examples, and didn’t give them any suggestions. Here’s one of the four posters:

Extending and forwarding concept poster (click to enlarge).

Another poster, by Orion and Jason, on the concept of “borrowing” (I didn’t take a photo of that one; sorry) used a video I made a while back as the example text to demonstrate what a “borrowing” move looks like; their poster explains that I “borrowed” “Only Connect” from my favorite high school English teacher, who “borrowed” it from E.M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End. Here’s that video, which the kids have seen once or twice in the past 6 years (and their poster has the correct MLA citation for the video!):

Memory is strange enough when you’re thinking about your own. I hope my students remember things I teach them, but sometimes I find they remember things I didn’t mean to teach them, but that I simply shared with them.

I was blown away. I love my job. And my kids.

5 Replies to “Borrow and Extend”

  1. Congratulations on the impact that you are making on your students and thank you for educating our children! It is great to see that you are recovering so well. All the best to you!

  2. Wow! Either “great job” Bob, “great students” or I did a poor job the year and a half that I taught. I don’t think my students even knew my name.
    Sounds like you’re doing pretty good.

Chirp away

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