Write With Me Wednesdays: The Proposal

Here’s the plan:  for an undetermined stretch of Wednesdays (how long can I keep it going and do any of you care?) I’m going to try and share some element of my teaching that invites some writing on your part.  I’m going to start with a listing activity I call writing territories.  From those territories you’ll tell me ABOUT one of the words or phrases you’ve listed, or you’ll tell a STORY that comes from the territories.  From there we’ll work into some experiments trying all sorts of strategies for writing first sentences.  It’s an activity connected to the idea that some of our best teachers can be the texts that surround us.  I call these mentor texts.

William Torgerson Love on the Big Screen Torg Write With Me Wednesdays

Below you’ll find the video version of this blog post, and once I get to a spot where it makes sense to post a handout (perhaps to be used by a teacher in a classroom) I’ll make that available to you on my website at TheTorg.Com.

Next Wednesday Nov. 16th,  I’ll post the writing territories and invite you to post your responses to the prompts on your own blog.  Once you have that up, you can leave a comment to my blog post and link us up to your answers, perhaps with a brief summary or reflection of how the activity worked.  If don’t have a blog and want to set one up, I have a tutorial video here.  Of course all you have to do is ask Google, “How do I set up a WordPress blog?” and you’ll have more help than you know what to do with.

These Write With Me Wednesdays won’t be just me telling you how I teach.  I hope you’ll critique or otherwise add to how these activities might work for a variety of purposes.  I suspect those who might be willing to give this a try will be those who want to write, perhaps some bloggers I’ve met in the past year attending two Blogworld New Media Expo Conferences, and also teachers who teach writing and those who are looking to collaborate with other writers and teachers on the craft of their work.

What do you think?  Are you up for this?  Suggestions for my plan?

Library Book Browsing Activity

Find the Book You Were Looking For

(or the one you didn’t know you were looking for)

Torg, Torgerson, St. John's University, Reading, Research, Writing, books, teaching

Yep, Young People Still Look at Books

The Activity:  (take notes in your daybook)

  1. Walk over to the library with someone you don’t know very well, and chat with them about their intellectual interests.  What did they find during the last library trip?  What do they think they might read and write about this semester?  Note your partner’s name and write down some of what they say to you.
  2. As we get in the hallways of the library, check out the signs on the wall that inform you what numbers (PN 1345  etc) are on what floor.  You can also check with me, or the staff of the library for help.
  3. You were to come to class with three call numbers for books in the Queens library that might interest you.  Try to find these books.
  4. As you find a book, be sure to check around the same shelf and the shelves close to your book to see if there is anything there that interests you.  This could be a section of the library that you return to again and again.  Write down the author and title of a book that is close to the book that you meant to find.  You’re going to spend the class reading and you’ll check out a book or two at the end of our time.  Be thinking about what books you might want to take with you.

Take Notes in Your Daybook that look something like this:

Book 1 Title and Author:__________________________________________________________________________

Book Close to Book 1 Title and Author:____________________________________________________________

  1. When you’re done, you should have written down the names of at least six books: the three books you were looking for and the book that looked interesting that was near the book you were looking for.
  2. Take books with you that you might want to read around in.  You don’t need to re-shelve these.  From what I understand, the library wants to get a sense of what books you are looking at.  There are carts placed around the library where you put the books when you are done looking at them.
  3. Sit down somewhere in the library and read around in the books and see what you find interesting.

What Floor Are the Writing Books On?

Homework

  1. For this week or next week, do a Reading For Writing (RFW) entry on a book that you check out from the library.  See the syllabus for a full description, but this means you’ll choose golden lines from the article.  Type up those lines in bold, and then free write after the quote sharing whatever the writing gets you thinking about.
  2. Somewhere in the piece, tell us about whom you visited with.
  3. Be sure to use the “son of citation” website (or something like it) to give the full MLA works cited entry at the bottom of your post.
  4. Copy and paste that works cited entry into your “Reading Bibliography” tab on your blog.
  5. Print out a copy of the entry for reading groups next Wednesday and bring your book or books to class next time.

Want the handout?  See the handout tab at TheTorg.Com

 

Intellectual Browsing in the Library / Reading Groups

Intellectual Browsing in the Library

(reading groups next class)

Why Bother With This?

  1. I hope you can make one or more of the following discoveries:  information you didn’t know, a journal that interests you, or a topic that seizes you with desire for reading and writing.
  2. To experience how reading can serve as a catalyst for writing and thinking.
  3. Get introduced to your fellow writer and thinker’s work.
  4. You might begin to see how a personal blog, the NY Post, People Magazine, and the New England Journal of Medicine differ.  Who wrote these texts?
  5. To get acquainted with what I consider an exciting and intellectually stimulating place.

The Activity:  (take notes in your daybook)

  1. Walk over to the library with someone you don’t know very well, and chat with them about their intellectual interests.  What might they write about?  What is their major?  What are they really interested in?  Note your partner’s name and write down some of what they say to you.
  2. On the third floor of the library, you’ll see the most recent copies of publications St. John’s subscribes to.  I want you to GO SLOW and read the names of the journals and pause to flip through some of the pages.  These journals may first appear boring but end up being interesting.  When people miss the point of this activity, they go fast and just try to get it done.  Stay away from what you’d consider intellectually easy (for example, Sports Illustrated) and move toward something you’d say is more complex.  In your daybook, write down the names of three journals that look interesting to you.
  3. Next to the names of the three journals you’ve written down, choose 1 article from each journal that you might want to read.  Copy down the title of the article, the author’s name, and the page numbers that the article appears on.  For example, pgs. 13-43.
  4. Read at least 6 pages of an article.  If the article isn’t 6 pages in length, then read an additional article.  Copy down lines from the article that you find interesting.
  5. Using money on your Storm Card, photocopy at least one page of the article for reading groups next time.
  6. Be sure to note all the bibliographic information from the article you choose to read:  Author/s, Article Title, Journal Title, Volume, Issue, Date Published, Pages.

Homework

  1. For this week or next week, do a Reading For Writing (RFW) entry on your blog over the article you found in the library.  See the syllabus for a full description, but this means you’ll choose golden lines from the article.  Type up those lines in bold, and then free write after the quote sharing whatever the writing gets you to thinking about.
  2. Somewhere in the piece, tell us about who you visited with on the walk to the third floor.
  3. Be sure to use the “son of citation” website (or something like it) to give the full MLA works cited entry at the bottom of your post.
  4. Copy and paste that works cited entry into your “Reading Bibliography” tab on your blog.
  5. Print out a copy of the entry for reading groups next Wednesday.
  6. Be sure to bring your writing and the photocopied page to class next week.

Get the handout at TheTorg.Com