The Thing *Is* the Idea, Or: Dogs in the Writing Classroom

Picture, if you will, a dog. No particular kind of dog.  Just the first dog that pops into your head.  I’ll wait. Got a dog in mind?  Good. Which of these specimens would you say is most like the dog you have pictured? When I give my students this exercise, I ask a few volunteers … Continue reading The Thing *Is* the Idea, Or: Dogs in the Writing Classroom

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

Writing Exercise: The Bucket

Helps With: Imagery, concrete nouns, active verbs, symbolism. Great readers and writers must be great observers, and great observers hone their observational craft on people, places, and objects.  In other words, they’re always looking at things (which in this case includes people), and watching what those things do. That’s what most writing is about: things … Continue reading Writing Exercise: The Bucket