Make Cycles

Our course is organized by “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. You can find the tasks for each cycle in the drop down menu above.

Google+ Community

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



Our course will be structured around a series of Make Cycles that will help us understand our own uses of narration, exposition, and argumentation, and become more metacognitive about our own writing processes. Each Make Cycle will be a 2-week period during which we will read and talk about ideas related to writing and teaching writing, and then make text-rich projects in a number of forms and genres, for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Course Assignments: brief descriptions below

Note: I will provide more instructions and explanation in the bi-weekly Make Cycle instructions. You can find the Make Cycle information by clicking on the drop down menu under Make Cycles at the top of our course site. I’ll post a new Make Cycle every two weeks with longer explanations for the assignments listed below.

Course Outline (subject to revision)

Make Cycle 1 Weeks 1-2 Assumptions and Stances
  • Who we are and what we believe
  • Changing landscape of literacy
  • Mentor texts introduction
  • Authors and craft
Make Cycle 2 Weeks 3-4 Purposeful Storytelling
  • About the Authors
  • Mentor Texts
  • Invention Strategies
  • Focus on narrative writing
Make Cycle 3 Weeks 5-6 Engaging Expositions
  • About the Authors (continued)
  • Online Readings
  • Reading Like Writers
  • Mentor Texts
  • Focus on expository writing
Make Cycle 4 Weeks 7-8 Compelling Arguments
  • About the Authors (continued)
  • Online readings
  • Mentor Texts
  • Effective Conferences
  • Focus on persuasive writing
Make Cycle 5

Weeks 9-10

Multimodal Composing
  • About the Authors (continued)
  • Online Readings
  • Mentor Texts
  • Strategies for Revision
  • Integrating narrative, exposition, and argument
Make Cycle 6

Weeks 11-13 (3 week cycle)

Creating Effective Writing Assignments
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Lesson Design Principles
  • Mentor Texts
  • Making and Responding


Weeks 14-15 final

Reflecting and Planning
  • Reflective Thinking: revisiting the work of the semester
  • Strategic Planning: What will writing look like in your classroom?

G+ Community Discussions (11@10 points: 110 points total)

Most weeks, I will pose a couple of prompts connected to the reading we are doing. You’ll write a response and share the response in our Google+ Community. Note: I will have a subheading on the left hand side of our Google+ space to help keep our posts organized. Please post under those categories (i.e. Week One: Introduction). The responses will typically be due on Wednesdays and Sundays. You’ll also respond to your peer’s posts.

Make Cycle Projects (6@25 points; 150 points total)

Each Make Cycle will offer you at least two choices to make a writing-based project. There will be two parts to every project:

  • The “make” itself (be it a story, a poem, an infographic, a nonfiction report, etc.), which will incorporate at least one writing craft move drawn from a mentor text.
  • A brief reflection on the make, explaining what you were trying to do with the make and the techniques and processes you used in creating it.

Typically due on Sundays at the end of the two week make cycle. Share in our G+ Community: look for the category heading on the left hand side of our G+ page. We’ll also use mentor texts as a way to support our makes and write about these mentor texts a few days before our “makes” are due.

Points breakdown: a) 5 points for mentor text prep (usually a discussion post); b) 15 points for the make itself; and c) 5 points for reflection and process explanation. 25 points total.

Featured Curators (25 points)

During one of the Make Cycles, you (and several classmates) will read, respond, and celebrate your classmates’ processes and product. Once the make projects have been posted to the Google+ community, you will write a post about your observations of the writers and the work they produced, featuring a few of the projects to show particular attributes that you find compelling, innovative, or otherwise interesting.

You’ll write this summary and reflection in a Google Doc and share with me: I will post on our course website as a featured blog. These will be due by Tuesdays following a make cycle.

There really is not a wrong way to do this. The task is to look over the “makes” from your peers and choose a few to highlight (3-4?). Explain why you’ve chosen those peer’s examples: what is interesting or compelling or innovative? Then reflect on the work over the last two weeks: what ideas have been interesting and stuck with you from the readings or discussions? What are our take-aways for this make cycle that we might want to keep in mind for our future classrooms?

Make Cycle 1 (write up due Sept 14): Marc Blair, Krystina Hockman, Megan Gatzka, Krystle Duggins, and Rebecca Carney

Make Cycle 2 (write up due Sept 25): Giselle Serna, Daniela Munoz Quintana, Suzy Arredondo, Mckenzie Zwetsloot, Keith Oakes, Miriam Delgadillo Rodriguez

Make Cycle 3 (write up due Oct 9): Alyssa Dettloff, Kendall Eagleton, Estefani Galarza, Bertha Gallardo, Laurence Gammell

Make Cycle 4 (write up due Oct 23): Natalie Gomes, Bailey Hunn, Mackenzie Huntze, Donovan Jackson, Julia Kaplan, Kathy Lawrence

Make Cycle 5 (write up due Nov 6): Olivia Najera, Leslie Phillips, Kaylin Renfro, Tessa Salisbery, Amanda Sanders, Sophia Bambino

Make Cycle 6 (write up due Dec 4): Krystal Bandith, Cherie Baser, Samantha DeHart, Ruthann Ford, Madison Lozada, Catherine Navarro

Manifesto on Teaching Writing (including one Revised/Remixed Make Cycle project (40 points)

This is the culminating assignment for the class. You will write a manifesto that describes your beliefs about the teaching of writing, and articulates your intentions as a future teacher to implement those beliefs. In it, you will also use one revised, remixed, or otherwise refined projects from the class’s Make Cycles to exemplify your ideas about writing and writing pedagogy.

Here are examples from a previous semester that may be helpful:

Grace’s reflection & manifesto

Kaia’s reflection & manifesto

Rafael’s reflection & manifesto

Total Points: 325

(Grade: 95-100%=A, 90-94%=A-, 85-89%=B+, 80-84%=B, etc)