Discussion Boards and Memos in the Classroom

For my literature courses last spring, I tweaked a previous assignment and started a new practice that assisted students in learning the material throughout the semester. Today, I want to briefly cover the ways that I changed my discussion board and how I incorporated post-class memos into the course.

“What do you produce as an English teacher?”

A few weeks ago, someone asked me a question that made me stop and think. The person asked, “What do you produce as an English teacher?” The inquisitor did not posit the question in a derogatory manner; in fact, I firmly believe that the person asking the question wanted to legitimately understand what I do…

Language and Syntax in the Classroom

The day after the 2017 Boston Marathon, the marathon’s sponsor, Adidas, sent an email to participants who completed the race. The subject line read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.” On the surface, nothing appears wrong with this line; however, given the events at the marathon on April 15, 2013, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated…

The Facade We Sometimes Wear

As a student, I would always sit in class amazed when during a lecture professors would start to rattle off various authors and works that related in some way to the topic we were covering that particular day. I never thought I would be able to reach that same level of knowledge; however, I regularly…

Mixtape Assignment in the Classroom

Every semester I try something new in the classroom. Sometimes this may involve adding activities such as the fish bowl, working in the archives, or having students write on the board to generate ideas. I take these assignments and tweak them as I go along because, as we know, every class is not the same.…

Active Learning in the Classroom

Over the past few semesters, I began my early American literature course with Thomas Jefferson. Starting with Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Notes from the State of Virginia, and letter to Benjamin Banneker was important considering the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. Typically, I start the first class with David Walker then back track to Jefferson,…