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

Assignments & Calendar

Assignments & Calendar

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.

Link to Calendar

Note: I will provide expanded explanations 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
Manifesto

Revise/Remix

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 (7@10 points: 70 points total)

Response to Peer (7@5 points: 35 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: Intro & Literacies). The responses will typically be due on Sundays. You’ll also respond to a peer’s posts each time.


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 work with these mentor texts a few days before our “makes” are due.

Points breakdown: a) 15 points for the make itself; and b) 10 points for reflection and process explanation. 25 points total.


Review Board (15 points)

During each make cycle, we’ll have a small team who is responsible for reading and highlighting the work of the class. This team will work during a class session to read and select some of the favorite discussion posts and makes. You’ll do this once during the semester.


Creating a Writing Assignment (20 points)

Partner tries out assignment (15 points)

Reflection & Revision of Assignment (10 points)

Part I: You will create a writing activity for your partner to try out. You can even address your post to your partner: “Hey Krystal, check out the activity I have designed for you to try…” *Note: it is very important that you complete this assignment on time so that your partner can try out your activity. ALSO, CHECK OUT THE EXAMPLES BELOW: this works really well to create the activity in Google Slides like Tamara’s below. 

You can borrow from About the Authors, our mentor texts throughout the past few weeks, and other prompts and resources we’ve shared here. While I believe you should have some choice in how you write up your assignments, for the purposes of our class, I am going to ask for some specific sections so that you and your partner can more easily make sense of the activity. Address these sections in your assignment/activity write-up:

  1. Description of the writing activity: what will students do (i.e. what will your partner do)? How does this activity you’re designing fit into a larger assignment or activity sequence?
    1. You’ll start by choosing a picture book from the author you were assigned for the gallery walk assignment.
    2. Use this picture book as mentor text to create a writing activity. You’ve talked about things you’ve noticed in mentor texts many times throughout the semester, so now you just need to turn those “noticings” into something about writing you want to model for students.
  2. Create an activity/prompt based on your mentor text (something based on the theme? Based on a structure or favorite line?)
  3. If helpful, return to your responses and one of the ideas for a focus study in About the Authors (from the chart on 105-106). Create an activity or mini-lesson from the ideas in their chart using your mentor text. What element of writing do you want to focus on in this activity?
  4. Intended grade level: xxx
  5. Common Core Standard(s): you can choose one or more as your target standard.
  6. What part of the school year do you imagine this taking place and why?
  7. What materials are needed?
  8. Goals for activity: what do you hope students learn about writing from trying your assignment/activity?
  9. Assessment: how will you assess the activity? What would you expect to see in students’ writing if things go as expected?

**HERE is an example from a former student, Tamara. She placed the book and the activity in Google Slides for her partner (the assignment is in the last few slides). And here is what this looked like in G+ with her partner, Raphael’s, response. MAKE SURE THE SHARE SETTINGS in Google ARE SET TO “ANYONE CAN VIEW” 😉

**Here is another example from Ismael with Caleb’s response to his activity. Notice that Ismael also links to a Google Doc for Caleb.

And just to reiterate: you have a partner. You will each create your own writing activity (using the prompts above) for your partner to try out. So, you will play the part of both teacher and student. You create an activity as the teacher for your partner to try out as your student; and your partner will create an activity for you to try out as the student. Your “teacher” assignment (above) is due XX for both of you. Your responses–you trying out each other’s assignments/activities–is due XX

Part II: I am going to put you in pairs for this response so that everyone has a partner who can do the activity you’ve designed and offer some feedback on how it goes. It will be crucial that you complete the activity on time so that everyone has a chance to write a reflection. Find your partner below (TBA)

You’ll try out the writing activity from your partner and post your writing as a response to their activity description from XX. Your response to the “teacher” should include:

  1. the writing you created based on their activity description and
  2. a reflection about how the activity worked for you: what worked for you as a writer using their activity and what was challenging? What suggestions would you make for your peer (the teacher) in terms of revising the activity?

Post in G+ as a response to your partner’s post (the activity description) in Writing Activity (can post a link to a Google Doc with your writing in the comments, for example. Make sure share settings are so we can view)

PART III:

Write a reflection about your activity plan: how did your activity work out? Did the writer (your partner) complete the activity like you expected? Anything surprise you? What would you revise in the activity based on the writer’s work and their feedback to you?


Picture Book Gallery Walk (20 points)

Pairs or trios will be randomly assigned an author from the list below (trading with another person is totally fine). Find books by that author in CSUC children’s book collection, Butte County Library, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. Kim has many of the books by these authors too that you can borrow.

We’ll lead an open gallery walk in the ARTS building, sharing picture books with our class and the campus community. We’ll create writing activities that connect to the book and its ideas. We’ll work with other students in English 341 as well to organize the gallery walk.

David Wiesner 

Grace Lin

Sophie Blackall

Mo Willems 

Yuyi Morales 

Matt de la Peña 

Javaka Steptoe 

Barb Rosenstock 

Carol Boston Weatherford

Ezra Jack Keats

Mac Barnett 

Jon Scieszka 

Bao Phi (A Different Pond)


Manifesto on Teaching Writing (including one Revised/Remixed Make Cycle project) (30 points)

book illustrationThis 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: 360

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