A year ago I had the fun opportunity to write three articles for the English Department at Salt Lake Community College, where I teach. Last month those articles finally went live, and I wanted to share about them here because I’m thrilled with how they turned out. Click the article titles if you’re interested in reading them for yourself.
As any of my former or current students could attest, I’m a big fan of punctuation. So when I teach it, I try my best to help students catch on to its power. In this article I felt like I succeeded, thanks to a colleague’s suggestion to use memes. The humor they provide enlivens the whole topic. Even better has been hearing responses from students who read this article and say, “Wow! All of that makes sense now!”
Confession: I somewhat pirated this article from myself. It’s based on a three-part blog series I did in 2009 that explored how examining the process of movie-making can teach us a lot about the process of writing, from the big level of exciting ideas down to the nit-picky level of edits. For this new version, I took each section a little further with more examples and stronger analogies to help students apply the concepts to any genre, not just fiction.
Teachers are always looking for great resources to pass on to their students, and one that I had loved and recommended often was the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Each semester I’d have one or two students who would read it for extra credit, but I wanted a shorter version that I could assign to all my students to read in one night. So I wrote it myself.
The original draft was terrible. I quickly realized that writing about memorability is harder than it looks―because you have to do it memorably. What saved me was utilizing a memorable experience I’d had watching Jerry Seinfeld perform live. Once I told that story using the 6 keys from Made to Stick, the article came to life.
I’m excited that these articles are now published on Pressbooks in the English Department’s great new textbook Open English @ SLCC, and I hope they’ll be as useful in other teachers’ curriculum as they’ve been for me and my students.