Informal innovation in firstyear composition–part 1

I wrote this description of journaling I started doing in my ENGL 160 class and thought it would be worth sharing on the English Department blog as well. Hope you enjoy!

Laurie Mac Reads

I’m one of those teachers who revises my syllabi at least a little—and sometimes a lot—every time I teach. Here is one new approach (at least new to me!) I’m experimenting with this semester in two sections of first year composition.

A lot of writing teachers begin every class with informal writing. My colleague Dr. Agnes Cardoni calls this “Writing yourself into the room” (a phrase I love). When it’s necessary to end the time for journaling, Agnes reminds students that they can always return to their writing (which I also love).

I teach on a MWF schedule, and each class is a meager 50 minutes long, so I struggle with fitting in everything I’d like to do in each class. I have therefore never prioritized informal writing.

Until now.

I decided that, if nothing else, I’d like students to leave my class appreciating and enjoying writing as a gift they…

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