“To learn is to recreate the way we see ourselves, our education, and our society.”
~Ira Shor on Paolo Freire’s critical pedagogy
To master the skill of writing is also to master the art of seeing. You can only write as clearly as you can view the world. The more you perceive the complexities of life, the more your writing will come alive. And the more your writing comes alive, the more potential you have to persuade others through writing and make a difference in the world.
So while technically the focus of this course is on genre, research, and document design, I feel that the best approach is to make the writing real — to deal with real issues, real experiences, and to put it on the internet for a real twenty-first-century audience searching for the information my students might be able to provide. Each student chooses his or her own issue to address — something that he or she has had experience with and wants to explore further — and then tackles that issue from four distinct angles:
In addition, blog entries scattered through the semester allow students to explore how the ideas connect to their own lives.
Putting it on the internet makes it public and published, not only giving them a real, concrete audience but also extra motivation to make everything look good and sound good.
The resources below are documents I’ve created and given my 2010 students as they’re compiling their sites, and the sample links are to actual completed student websites from past semesters. (These are students whose sites received the highest grades and who gave me permission to link to them here.)
- 2010 Syllabus
- The Grammar Project
- Sample Grammar Portfolio
- Website Rubric
- Outcome Assessment
- Visual Rhetoric: Basic Lessons in Aesthetic Layout
- Active Education
Student Sample Sites
- Health Bandit: Sneaky Ways to Be Healthy
- Surviving Multiple Miracles: You’re having twins! What now . . .
- Crime Prevention and You: Let’s All Get Involved
- Viewer with a Voice Blog — the effects of alcohol advertising
- No “Body” Is Perfect: Truths, Facts, and Help About Eating Disorders
- End the Cycle: Helping Teens Recognize Unhealthy Relationships
- Is Homeschooling a Good Alternative?
- Shab2Fab: Changing the world one piece of junk at a time
- Photography as Therapy: Using Photography to Soothe the Soul
- Feel Free Again — overcoming sexual assault
- Vegan Challenge 2011
- Thoughts on Happiness
- Parker, Me and OCD: How Our Family Learned About OCD
- Our Fight: Standing Up Against Drug Abuse and Gang Violence
- Teen Pregnancy Q&A
- Loans for Life
- Buying Your First Home
- Teen Suicide
- Ideas on Independence
- Muscular Dystrophy and Me
- Diabetes in Your Family
- About Money: Insights from a Teen on How Parents Can Teach Children About Money
- Rock Climbing: Conquer Anything
- Bookworms Around the World
- Team Is Power — lacrosse