Rules for Comma Usage, or Why Reading Out Loud Is the Best

When I began this blog, I decided it was not going to be about grammar.  While I’m actually a big dork who loves grammar and teaching grammar - it’s like a big puzzle that you get to solve over and over! - it’s not that exciting to write about the difference between a gerund and … Continue reading Rules for Comma Usage, or Why Reading Out Loud Is the Best

Paper Prompt: Noticing

It’s a new dawn and a new day for the 2019 - 2020 school year!  I have new groups of students and new classes to teach, and for those lucky enough to be enrolled in my literature seminars, that means new papers to write, coming up fast. I always begin literature seminars by assigning short … Continue reading Paper Prompt: Noticing

There Are Simply Too Many Words

Just cut a few, and it’ll be perfect! If you’ve seen the brilliant Milos Forman film Amadeus, Very Loosely Based on the life of Mozart, you probably remember this exchange between Mozart and Emperor Franz Josef, right after the premiere of Mozart’s operetta Escape from the Seraglio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6_eqxh-Qok In this conversation, of course, Mozart is … Continue reading There Are Simply Too Many Words

Why Composition Classes Should Be Discussion-Based

The gospel of discussion-based teaching is nothing new and nothing particularly revolutionary.  You can find plenty of arguments for its virtues all over the Internet.  Discussion-based teaching is so hip that last year, my Esteemed Place of Employment brought in consultants for a full two-day workshop on the Harkness method.  So what can I tell … Continue reading Why Composition Classes Should Be Discussion-Based

Our First Foray: ‘Tis New to Thee

I spent a while thinking about what might be a good topic for a first real post.  How about: the first thing that occurred to me to write about?  Good a starting point as any. Today’s topic is: when do you know a student has brought you an excellent paper topic? In Act V of … Continue reading Our First Foray: ‘Tis New to Thee