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We will share most of our work in a Google+ Community. We can upload images, respond to each other’s ideas, and share links and artifacts here.


Course calendar can be found above and HERE.

EOP: Dear Chico State…

In Class Prompts

In Class Prompts

Day 1: thoughts about writing

From Composing Science–

As mathematician Halmos (1970) notes, in an essay on writing, “It might seem unnecessary to insist that in order to say something well you must have something to say, but it’s no joke. Much bad writing, mathematical and otherwise, is caused by a violation of that first principle… To have something to say is by far the most important ingredient of good exposition — so much so that if the idea is important enough, the work has a chance to be immortal even if it is confusingly misorganized and awkwardly expressed” (p. 3).

While it can be hard to have “something to say” in reference to scientific phenomena, it is harder still to organize and write a meaningful paper when you have nothing you really want to say. The structures designed to help with the exposition of an idea — a five-paragraph essay or the headings of the typical lab report—become a MadLibs of science writing as students, without a clear idea to share, seek the “right” words to fill in the template. Rhetorical structures, which may be useful in organizing ideas and helping us find the holes in our arguments, can only do so much in helping us have an argument to make in the first place. If students “cannot” write a topic sentence, it is likely that they have no topic sentence. If they do well on all but the “analysis” section of a lab report — and why report on a lab if not for the analysis? — then it is likely that they have no real analysis to share. These structures can help highlight that, but all the writing instruction, rubrics, and templates cannot give students something to say.

It is, therefore, critical that students have something to say — a hard-won idea that they are proud of, a unique insight that they developed, a representation or a piece of evidence or a way of phrasing an idea, or even a question that their investigations have helped them articulate. One job of our course is to help students have ideas they want to share.

Some writing: what do you track? List out some things that come to mind…

What do you keep track of? Your followers? Your likes? Your steps walked? Your workouts? Your heart rate? Your sleep? Your gas mileage? Your hours worked? The number of books read? Your “top 9” instagrams and snapchats?

Share in trios. And then discuss: what do you gain, benefit from tracking a self? What problems do we imagine?

How does your school record (your student-tracked self) compare to the full picture of your life as a student?