Posts Tagged ‘redeeming moments’

So here is what it looked like: old and new together.


Gilt-edged plates bought by my great grandmother on installments during the Depression [I think], the Dansk cutlery from when I finished graduate school, a Formica table from my parents [it once was our kitchen table, and I did my grade school homework on it] but perhaps originally from my mom’s family when they lived in Indiana in the 50s], wine from Rioja [not everyone likes, but I grew up drinking Siglo], a bouquet of mums from WholeFoods [Word took pity on me when I pointed out if we were going to have a ‘normal’ Thanksgiving dinner, we needed to start cooking before evening]…

Chicken roasted on top of stuffing [cranberry walnut bread, garden herbs, butter], sweet potatos with a little balsamic and maple syrup on top, roasted Brussel sprouts with chestnuts, home-made cranberry sauce.

Elsewhere, my parents, brother, and cousin were feasting; further north, another branch of the family had their dinners. And on Saturday, Word and I traveled to her family gathering, where a great deal of food was quickly demolished, and followed up by home movies from 40+ years ago [let us say that there was a lot of adorable on those little Super 8s!].

It was a lovely weekend. And yes, yes, we did order the washing machine, so we even contributed to The Economy…

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I typed that title, and then realized that someone might think I was talking about the election. No, not in this post, but yes, I can see how it might apply.

No, I was going to write about those moments when a teacher can see that the students are learning, and engaged with their tasks, and helping each other to use their brainpower effectively. Moments that a teacher really can’t insist on happening — you set the stage, of course, and you’re there to spot them along, but in the end it’s the students doing the handsprings, and you get to applaud their efforts.  Here’s a student listing out the features she’ll look at in her analysis paper:

To make these findings most useful to me when I begin to draft my paper, I’ve put them in question form:

  • Does the article include pop culture references? Why or why not?
  • Does the article use idioms, contractions, and other forms of casual language? Why or why not?
  • Does the article define terms, or do the authors assume that the reader is familiar with the vocabulary?
  • What sentence structure is used most frequently: simple, compound, complex? What affect does this have on the reader?
  • Does the article use passive voice more than active voice? What is the effect of this?
  • At what frequency are nominializations used? What is the effect?

    What is the readability level of the article? 8th grade? Community college? Grad School?

  • How many images are contained in the article? Do they have captions? What sort of text is in the captions? Are the images effective? Why or why not?
  • About what size font is used? About how many words are on the page? Serif or san serif? Color or no?
  • If graphs and/or tables are included, how many have been included? Do they strongly support the ideas presented in the text, or do you suspect that they function to fill space?
  • Does the article present a thesis and effectivley support it? Why or why not?

What am I missing? Any additional features are greatly appreciated.

Does this do everything I expect in the final paper?  No, not yet, but this student does have the right idea.  Dissect, identify, explain purpose and method of action on target audience.

Another student stopped by to check how far behind she’d gotten in class, and to show me the notes from her MD, explaining recent absences.  I didn’t ask for these; she had them with her, along with her reading notes, and questions for me about the class that demonstrated she’d been following along, even given her health challenges. We discussed how some of the techniques used in the course could be adapted for taking graduate school entry exams, like the GRE and LSAT.  When she left the office, I really felt she was ready to start applying to graduate school, and that she’d probably do well.  I’m not the least bit concerned about how she’ll do in the remainder of the semester.

Nice contrast from pulling teeth or rephrasing an assignment 60 billion times….

Although, just to keep me humble, I just read this:

Correct word usual in technical writing is so critical.

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