Weekly Video Updates

Make Cycles

Our course is organized by two week “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. We will read, discuss, and write based on the mentor texts we’re reading. You can find the weekly 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. Peter Kittle’s class will be joining us too.

Category: weekly update

Weeks 3 & 4

Weeks 3 & 4

Howdy nice people of English 333,

Oh my gosh: I loved loved loved reading your insights into the About the Authors chapter and the 1st grader’s writing! Sounds like you are enjoying the book as much as I do and your responses were so good! Seriously. So good.  I just finished up feedback on the first Makes and on your responses to About the Authors, chapter 1 and just feel really inspired by the ideas you are working with.

One thing that was interesting if you read through all of your posts is how many of you noticed spelling on first glance at Josh’s Mammoth story. Some of you talked about the impulse to correct all the spelling and how you realized that may not be the most helpful approach. I really appreciate how much you are all puzzling over the challenges of writing with little kids and noticing the interesting thinking they are doing. Josh is doing such interesting work with spelling and clearly is starting to understand that words are made up of patterns. You might find this article helpful for thinking about spelling specifically: we really do gain understanding over time. If the first thing a child sees on her writing is lots of corrections and red pen marks, she’ll stop writing so much. It’s all about picking the things to correct and knowing that over time you’ll see growth. But they must be writing for you to see growth, so the amount is important. It’s also about knowing which things to address in a mini-lesson with the whole class and which things to address with an individual student. One rule I follow when responding to any writer (a fellow scholar or a first-time freshman or a 4th grader) is that I want the first thing they see for feedback is something positive. It is a brave act to share our writing. Once we build community and trust, we can start pushing a writer more and more.

Up next: you’re reading mentor texts this week (The Dot, Alexander…, and Harris Burdick/Ashley’s “Moving Vines”) and thinking about their structures you might borrow for your stories (response due Tuesday, Feb 13). And then writing stories! Make 2 due next Sunday, Feb 18. Please remember to write about your process too when you share your make.

I didn’t comment on all the lists posts, but I did check them off and I really enjoyed reading them! Hoping the lists are inspiration for your story ideas. *Note: if you see that you got 5/10 on the Lists/Barnett Ted talk response, it’s because I only saw your lists and not the response to the talk. If you want to go back and add that, let me know and I’ll update your grade. You might have just missed that second part of the prompt.

Our featured curators for this cycle–Make Cycle 2–are Samone, Brianna, Julie, Rebecca L, Sandra, and Brittany. They’ll be reading through our work and highlighting our cool ideas and stories (I sent the six of you an email a few days ago with some info). If you have not yet read the featured blogs from last week, you should. Many of you were highlighted! Thanks again to Christina, Ruben, Kellie, and Chad!

Thanks everyone. This is a great group of humans in this class. Appreciate your work.


Looking ahead to weeks 3 & 4

Looking ahead to weeks 3 & 4

As I have said a couple times now, I am incredibly impressed with your responses and your conversations with peers in our G+ community. Makes me very excited about the things you will write and make this semester.

Here are a few things to notice as we move to Make Cycle 2:

  1. First of all, Make Cycle 2 is now posted: Purposeful Storytelling. You can find the page in the drop down menu under Make Cycles. I look forward to generating ideas for stories with you.
  2. I’ve highlighted the work of your peers from the mentor text assignment this week. You all are doing such great work, but thought it would be nice to have some examples that model some thoughtful approaches to writing about the mentor texts. Thank you to Samone, Christina, and Lisa! You can find examples under the Example Student Work page at the top of our course site.
  3. We will start our work with the book About the Authors. Up first: reading chapter 1 and Units A & B and noticing the interesting thinking that small kids are capable of with writing.
  4. Grading: I use GradeBook Pro for my grading app. On Monday (2/5), you will receive an email to your Wildcat mail with a grade update for the work in Make Cycle 1 and then you can expect weekly or bi-weekly grade updates. Grade updates are always sent to your Wildcat Mail.
  5. Featured Curators: On the assignment page (and below), you should notice the Featured Curator assignment now lists your names. Please check to see which Make Cycle and week you are assigned to be our featured bloggers. Thank you to Christina, Kellie, Chad, Ruben, and Lisa who agreed to go first!  When your time is near, I will send a more detailed email to that week’s team.

Here is your bi-weekly video update where I try to expand on the reminders and work that is coming up:


Look forward to reading and viewing your first Makes! Due tomorrow night and remember to include a description of your process and goals for the make. Check assignment on the Make Cycle 1 page.

Assignment: 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. These featured blogs will also share with an outside audience the reading we’ve been doing and the discussions we’ve been having.

You’ll write this summary and reflection in a Google Doc and share with me: kjaxon@mail.csuchico.edu. I will post on our course website as a featured blog. These will be due by Mondays 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 Feb 6): Christina Barbaccia, Kellie Cabico, Chad Lafenhagen, Ruben Mendoza, Lisa Valdez

Make Cycle 2 (write up due Feb 20):Samone Burge, Brianna Carlucci, Julie Lafreniere, Rebecca Lee, Sandra Nyland, Brittany Walker

Make Cycle 3 (write up due March 6): Shelby Baccala, Jennifer Barajas-Goodwin, Rayn Buford, Jillian Barsotti, Chelsea Peterson, Rebecca Spears, Alice Thurber, Jamie Xayacheck

Make Cycle 4 (write up due March 26; after break): Rebecca Barragan, Cheyenne Boles, Adriana Cea, Hannah Hughes, Sean Gamer, Alma Lopez, Erin Russo

Make Cycle 5 (write up due April 10): Maritza Caceres, Lizette Chavez, Yorleidi Langarica, Caitlin Micko, Josue Nava, Salina Rodriguez

Make Cycle 6 (write up due May 1): Dana Curiel, Nancy Diezmo, Karen Fawns, Janette Herrera, Bianca Nava Guevara, Veronica Oregel, Raenni Pilgrim

Here is the example from Make Cycle 1 last semester

Week 2 Reminders

Week 2 Reminders

Hi all,

I absolutely enjoyed reading your responses to McWhorter, Lunsford, and Yamada. From Raenni’s sharing of Yamada’s book with her students, to Samone’s questioning the premise of original ideas, to Ruben’s insights into the potential for agency in digital platforms, to Erin’s offering of the BBC article, you all did such thoughtful work considering these texts. I also appreciate the depth and generosity of your comments to your peer’s ideas. Seriously, I am excited by the potential of our community after this first week.

Up next:

Make Cycle One: Week 2

  • Look over our mentor texts:
  • By Tuesday night (1/20): Respond to some prompts to generate ideas with these mentor texts. The goal is to notice interesting structures, words, phrases, or themes/ideas that you might borrow for your creations. See prompt in Make Cycle 1.
  • By Sunday night (2/4): Create a “make”: remix your introduction post into a poem or a story using Storyjumper. Or write about how you got your name or a story from your childhood or why you want to be an educator. This should be a chance for you to play with ideas and take some risks. Important: once you share your “make,” remember to tell us about the choices you made, what worked, what was challenging, what you hoped the viewer/reader would get from your creation. 

Make sure you’ve ordered the book About the Authors. We’ll start using it the following week (2/5).

We’re off to a great start; thank you everyone for the engaging responses.


Welcome to English 333 spring 2018!

Welcome to English 333 spring 2018!

Hello everyone! I am so excited to write and work together this semester! Please check out our site and the various pages. I’ve created a welcome video (below) that I hope offers some insights into our course and how we’ll work together. I will update the weekly video each week(ish) on the main page.

One book to buy for our class: About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers by Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland.

You should also check out:

  • The Syllabus page
  • The Make Cycles page, which also has drop down menus outlining the tasks for various weeks. I’ll update those “Make Cycles” every two weeks from that Make Cycles drop down menu. Make Cycle 1 is there now or HERE. Please notice that our first Intro post has two parts. And again, you can find the prompts and instructions under the Make Cycle 1 page.

Your first assignment is due by Wednesday night (Jan 24): post an introduction to our group in the G+ community. *Note: Instructions for joining the G+ Community can be found on the Make Cycle 1 page.

This intro has two parts: 1) your introduction to us and 2) some thoughts about your literacies. Some things you could tell us: 

Part I:

  • Who are you and why are you here?
  • How did you end up at Chico State? What are your goals this semester and beyond?
  • What are your interests?
  • What are you curious about?

Part II

  • Think about your own literacies: what do you read and write? What purpose does writing serve in your life? What counts as writing? What about lists, social media, texting, emails, amazon reviews? In what ways do you use writing in your day to day life? How does this writing connect to writing you do for school?

Important: Once you’ve shared your post, respond to a peer, make connections to another human.

Post in our G+ Community. Look for the category called “Make Cycle One: Introductions” on the left hand side of our G+ page. Hoping you’ll share an image or even a video! Again, and always: Once you’ve shared your post, respond to a peer, make connections to another human.

Let me know if you have questions and I look forward to seeing you online!


Final Stretch: Make Cycle 7 Posted

Final Stretch: Make Cycle 7 Posted

Hope you had a chance to relax this past week. I know many of you simply work more hours at other jobs, but I’m hopeful that you grabbed a few moments with friends and family.

Our last set of assignments is posted under Make Cycle 7: Revise & Reflect. This will take us through to final’s week.

Note that our last assignment is a Reflection & Manifesto that will be shared in a Google Doc and not in G+. The reflection is due on Wednesday of final’s week by midnight: Dec 13. Also please pay attention to my email for sharing with me in google since it is slightly different than my faculty email. Instructions for sharing with me can be found with the assignment.

First up: response to final chapters of About the Authors due Friday (Dec 1) in G+.

I look forward to reading your reflections and seeing your revised makes!

Week 13 Reminders

Week 13 Reminders

Hi all,

Please remember that your posting your writing and response to your partner as a comment under their original assignment description. You can create the response/activity in a Google Doc and share a link too as a comment to your partner’s post. Make sure the share settings are set to “anyone can view.”

Also, make sure you’ve at least checked out your partner’s plan so you can clarify any confusion with your partner before the assignment is due Tuesday.

Here is a great example of what we’re doing from Alice and Sophie. Both the activity description from Alice and Sophie’s response are great models for this make cycle.

Writing and response to partner’s activity due Tuesday. Don’t be late since you all can’t write your reflections on the assignment until the writing partner has completed the partner’s assignment. If you both get your response done early, then you could write your reflection and be on break for our class (with the exception of the featured bloggers). Just sayin…

FEATURED BLOGGERS (Karla, Amanda, Jessica G, Hannah, Shannon, and Alison): I hope you will write up your blogs before you leave for break. See email from Nov 2 from me.

The last Make Cycle (which takes us to final’s week) will be posted Sunday night or Monday morning after break (Nov 26 or 27). I know we’ll read chapter 8 and Appendix K from About the Authors and you’ll be revising one of your Makes from this semester, so if you wanted to get ahead, you could read and think about which make you might want to return to as part of the Manifesto assignment.

Make Cycle 5 Featured Bloggers: Bianca, Kristine, Jessica, Kaia, & Deanna

Make Cycle 5 Featured Bloggers: Bianca, Kristine, Jessica, Kaia, & Deanna

I really enjoyed the information in chapter 6 of About the Authors. I liked how Wood Ray describes a unit as a series of mini lessons. Basically, you take a big topic that you as a teacher think is relevant and you teach it over a period of time in your writing workshop. I like how she explained how you could choose a unit to teach in your workshop. Besides following the states standards, I always thought about “how would I choose my mentor texts?” In the beginning of chapter 6 it talked about how Lisa (the first grade teacher) helped Forrest get out of his comfort zone when she had them write poetry. This goes along the lines of your vision of how you want your students to be as writers. Lisa took poetry, which she as a teacher had an interest in and thought it would be beneficial for her students to experience and learn. Through this, Forrest learned he had a passion for poetry. From the chart on page 105 I really liked “an overview of the kinds of writing that exist in the world, or a look at a specific kind.” This one stood out to me the most because it is important to teach students different forms of writing. I thought this one was relevant too because throughout this course we have been exposed to numerous forms of writing and then applied what we have learned to make out own stories, poems, compelling arguments, etc.

Throughout this course we have also been exposed to many mentor texts. A lot of these I personally would like to use in my own workshop one day. This is my first English class that I have taken that is tailored to future teachers and the ideas I have been learning from About the Authors and from our instructor have been so helpful. I took a theater class and one of the assignments we learned about was story mapping. I think this would be really useful in helping students learn to comprehend what they are listening to and reading. By making a story map they are starting out by talking about the characters and their stories. Then, you go into the climax and the ending. Their map would be a diagram of events and they can even add illustrations.

I also enjoyed reading “Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” I thought this mentor text was full of great ideas and Ms. Gilrain had a lot of examples of work she had done in her classroom. I loved the examples she had of the students learning about Odysseus. I liked the way the teacher asked the students who the Sirens are in the story and the students told her and said they are bad. The teacher would then ask if the students wished they were Sirens and Kiara said no because they were evil, but, then Ellen said yes because then she would be able to fly. Ms. Gilrain was about the get Ellen to think outside the box by making them think if they would want to be one or not. Ms. Gilrain asked Miguel how he related to Odysseus and he related his experience of traveling to go see his father who he missed very much to Odysseus trying to get home to Penelope. We learn about a student who had recently lost her father and her mother told her teacher that she would never speak about her fathers sudden death on Christmas ever. This student was introduced to poetry and was able to express herself. Her teacher showed her mother her work and she was in shock. Thanks to poetry I think she was able to grieve her father’s loss. After reading this article I want to use art in my class because thanks to the art that Ms. Gilrain used her students showed a passion and interest in poetry. Not only did they find their passion, some of her students had tragedies in their lives and art helped them through the grieving processes. I also believe that due to Ms. Gilrain’s teaching style the students had an easier time understanding the materials that were being taught.

Make Cycle 5 has to be my favorite: not only did we get to create our own website or calling card but we were also assigned to make our own meme to reflect writing workshop. One of my favorite memes was by Rafael Sevilla. I thought his was hysterical and spot on. I wish growing up I had writers workshop.

For Make Cycle 5, my favorite project was by Kaylee Dashiell. She did a story all with memes about the typical day of a server. I thought this was really creative and funny. You can tell she took her time in making this project. She started with a meme of a sad looking bear at the beginning of her shift then ended with a crazy picture of Christian Bale for her closing shift.

Amanda Greene did a website make from Weebly and it was absolutely perfect. He teaching metaphor was gardening and how she was planting little seeds of knowledge. She had a calendar on her website that showed how many months till she was in the credential program. Very Creative!

I have learned so much in this class the last few months and I am so excited to be able to run my own writing workshop and inspire my students to want to be writers. There are so many mentor text that we have used in this course that I would like to use in my own classroom.

Author Bio: Bianca DeRee is 23 years old and commutes to Chico State from Live Oak, CA. She will be graduating with her BA in Liberal Studies, December 2018 and starting the credential program January 2019. Her hope is to become a 1st grade teacher: working with the younger kids has always been her passion.

Over the past two weeks, our class has really dug deep and written some really great responses to our mentor texts, and created some awesome makes of our own. In our fifth make cycle, we started looking at multimodal texts and learning about how we can create our own and get students more involved in learning. We all got the chance to have a lot of fun with this make cycle, especially with the addition of making memes.

My favorite reading from this make cycle was the multimodal article, “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” This article had over 10 different types of writing and was a really unique way of understanding this particular classroom, and how the students were learning. I thought reading all of the different forms would be tedious and annoying, but I enjoyed it a lot. With so many different forms of writing, the students were able to thoroughly express themselves and their feelings and the teachers were able to showcase what their students can do. The mural conversations were a great way to see that the children really understood the story they were reading and how they related to the characters. In the mural with the Sirens, I like how the students were able to explain what was happening and how the characters were affected. I also loved how the students, Miguel in particular, were able to emphasize with the characters and could point out what they had in common. I really want to incorporate art like the murals from the article, to get students to understand the stories they read and what they are learning. I have learned a lot about teaching multimodal writing from About the Authors, especially about poems. I also loved the section on teaching poetry to students and how some students at first hated it, but soon came to love them and even start to write them in their own free time. I really appreciate how multimodal writing gives students so many different opportunities to find a way to express their feelings and have fun while doing it.

In addition to reading this great article, we also learned a lot from this week’s reading from About the Authors. When reading Chapter 6, I really liked the idea of using a “big topic of interest to people who write” when creating lesson plans and how we need to understand how important it is for the children to see themselves as people who write. I also appreciated how these different ideas for studying the writing process and products can be used for any age, from first graders to freshmen in high school. I also loved how the author told us the story of Forrest and how at first he was absolutely sure he could not write poetry, but after he started writing he became comfortable and started using poetry as his form of writing for other assignments as well. This example shows us how important it is to have different units of study and to make sure each student tries their best when writing something they might feel uncomfortable with.

Our class had so many great posts and discussions about ideas from this week’s readings. I feel many of us were a little overwhelmed at the multimodal article, such as Elizabeth Salazar pointed out in her response: “there was far too much in one article. It would have been nice if she broke it down into different articles.” On the other hand, many of us were excited about how many different forms of art was used in the classroom, as pointed out by Bailey Nicole in her response, “I liked reading in all the different forms. It keeps you more interested and excited to read because it is so different from what I am used to.” While we all felt a little differently about this article, I think we can all agree that this make cycle started to get us really excited to start teaching.

Finally, our makes for Make Cycle 5 were so interesting and so much fun to create. I want to point out a few that really caught my eye. I really enjoyed Jaycee Singleton’s Prezi presentation on different styles of teaching writing. This presentation was very informative and also had links to youtube videos as examples of what she was talking about. I believe Jaycee really used our mentor text, “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry,” as inspiration and also some elements from our textbook, About the Authors.

Second, I found Bailey Nicole’s reflection of our About the Authors reading through Disney Princess memes to be so creative and fun to read. I really enjoyed how she specified each chapter and made a meme to express the overall idea of each chapter. Bailey definitely knows the reading from our book and this make showed us just that, in a fun and exciting way.

Finally, I loved Bianca DeRee calling card website! Personally, I had a little trouble creating a website for myself, but Bianca’s website is so well done and professional. I believe Bianca really took her time and figured out all the tricks to designing a website and she really blew it out of the water. I also really enjoy how she has reflection blog posts from her child observation classes; it really gives visitors a look into her education and her goals.

Overall, this was a really great couple of weeks for English 333 and my peers all did an awesome job with these multimodal makes.

Author ​Bio: Kristine Cowan is a sophomore at Chico State, majoring in Liberal Studies and hoping to one day become a second or third grade teacher. She lives in Crescent City, CA and enjoys being outdoors and by the beach. She is excited to finish up her degree and credentials and get into the classroom with students.

Hello everyone, my name is Jessica Medrano. This is my junior year at Chico it has been exciting and challenging. Exciting because I feel closer to my goal of finally getting a Bachelors Degree, making me the first in my family to achieve such a goal, but challenging because I had to go through some family problems while trying to stay focus on my studies. This was a difficult time and I’m still trying to get ahead, but I know that getting through stress can be achieved. So, we are all close to the finish line of Fall 2017, some of us are tired and others, well, maybe crazy, but we are all in this together. Good luck guys, we can do it!

Creating multimodal text was a fun and creative project, like Dr. Jaxon said, “really, you have been creating multimodal texts all semester via StoryJumper, with the images you’ve added to your writing, and in your posters, videos, and audio files. ” I enjoyed merging text, storytelling, and video, all in one, to convey an idea. This is the future of literacy, really, merging video and literature, more and more, todays students are fascinated with telling a story using digital media. Memes are the best thing that come out of Facebook; they can be funny, clever and rude. In a few words a meme can tell a big story. Memes are about using the right image to convey a message using minimal words, if possible. Some of my favorites for this make cycle:

Chapter 6 from About the Authors, introduces us to units of study, and how we can create lesson plans based on the units of study. What are units of study? Author, Katie Wood Ray explains, “ Simply image an extended series of lessons happening over period of days and weeks, with all the lessons focused on some big topic of interest.” Big topics of interest are broken into two sections, Process Studies, how to write, and Product Studies, studying the written work. The chart that is provide is an excellent resources for new teachers on creating “mini-lessons” or units of study. I agree with Marissa Willits choice on creating a unit lesson from the Product Studies on coauthoring; she explains:

“The focus of study that I chose was how to coauthor with other writers. If I were to create a lesson on this subject, I would find some mentor text where two authors wrote a book from a wide area of different authors and subjects, so they see that if you work together you can come up with amazing ideas. I would ask my students to pick a different partner after each book that they write so that way they can work with different people and have different shared ideas.”

The makes for cycle five were clever and entertaining. I hope that everyone considers on making learning how to write a joyful and creative experience. Students will be eager to learn if we use the current tools that they love using; for example, using memes and gifs, as a writing tool is excellent for a story.

Rhiannon Edlund, your story and gifs were incredible: “I put my make into kinetic form by going new-school and including GIFs and memes that I thought depicted sorority life perfectly, since that was of course the topic of my last make cycle.” I really liked your story because you were writing about something you know and love. In fact, I shared with my kids the stories that were written using gif and memes, they enjoyed so much, that I challenged them to write one too.

Overall, we are learning about writing in a new era of technology by using the latest digital media that is popular with the kids to get them to write. Dr. Jaxon has made our makes entertaining and a bit challenging, but the result are always amazing. I can attest that I feel more like a writer every day and look forward to Friday’s deadlines to turn in our latest creations. I have to admit to checking my email daily just to see if Dr. Jaxon has commented on my make; it makes me excited.

Make cycle 5 has been one of my favorite makes we have done this semester! I have really enjoyed learning about writer’s workshop and the benefits of using art to teach reading and writing. We also learned about multimodal texts and how they can help engage your students in your lessons. These ideas are ones that I hope to use in my future classroom because I find them very beneficial for the students. Writer’s workshop helps the students build confidence in their writing and become better and more experienced writers. It is a time where the children get to generate new ideas and focus on their work.

From this week’s make cycle I picked three of my classmate’s work that I thought were great responses to our prompts.

The first one is Marissa Willits who made her own websiteHer work was very well done and impressive. In her website she included her own pieces of work from our make cycles to share. I really like that idea because it gives future employers a look at her work. Her website was also beautifully laid out and very organized. Great job Marissa!

The next piece of work that I enjoyed reading is by Grace Taylor. She made a Prezi on many broader topics we have talked about this semester. Her Prezi is a great recap on some of the ways of teaching writing that we have learned this year. It was very helpful to go back and review some of the great things we have learned! Her work was very thoughtful and organized. Keep up the good work Grace!

The last make I would like to share is done by Jaycee Singleton. She also made a Prezi resource: Her Prezi is about the different styles of teaching writing that we have learned. I loved how she included youtube videos for us to watch that help explain and support her work. This would be a great thing to look back on when I become a teacher. I thought it was very helpful that she gave us a  description about each style of writing and then provides us with examples. Awesome job Jaycee!

Author Bio: Kaia Enstrom is a sophomore at Chico State. She is majoring in Liberal Studies, in hopes of becoming an educator. She volunteers with CAVE and works in a classroom twice a week. This summer she hopes to be a part of Camp Adventure and work with kids in a US military base across the world. She will graduate in Spring of 2020 and then work towards her teaching credential.

Over the last two weeks, I have learned a lot from Chapter 6 in About the Authors, and the article “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry.” What stood out to me the most from chapter 6 was the explanation of why you should organize mini lessons into units of study. I liked the idea of taking a big topic and breaking it into smaller lessons to ensure deeper understanding of a big topic of interest. In stretching out a big topic, it allows you to come at it from different angles. If one mini lesson on a big topic wasn’t really suited for a child, then maybe the next one will be. Instead of a child saying, “I didn’t like that topic” altogether, hopefully they will realize that one bad mini lesson doesn’t mean that the entire topic is also bad.

In the article “From Homer to Hip-Hop: Teaching Writing through Painting, Performance, and Poetry,” I thought the multimodal format was interesting. At first, I really didn’t care to read through all of the changing formats. I’m just not used to that, but once I got into it, it wasn’t bad. I like the idea of art integrated instruction, but it’s hard to imagine myself teaching it because it is so unlike the any way I have ever been taught. Art wasn’t integrated much into the curriculum in my schooling, but sometimes it was set aside as a separate project. I’m not used to the idea of it integrating art into instruction, but the kids in the article produced work that was well thought out, and seemed to display a deep understanding of what they were learning. So, I definitely think this format can be beneficial to children. I’ve learned that visual arts, as well as theater arts, can enhance a child’s learning in the classroom.

From the compelling argument makes, one that stood out to me was “Letter to the Lunch Lady” by Cynthia Curiel. This make stood out to me because it was funny and relatable, but it also made a good argument.  This make was a letter from a student who is unsatisfied with her school lunch. In the letter, the student makes a plea to the lunch lady to make changes to the lunch because it is basically not edible. Not only does the student bring light to the issue, but she also offers solutions to the problems, so the lunch lady can solve them. The lunch lady listens to the student, and agrees to make changes. If I were a parent, and I knew my child, as well as many other children at school felt that way about their lunch, I would feel compelled to do something about it, so I felt her work was a great display of a compelling argument.

Another peer’s work that stood out to me was Tamara Ligon and the flyers she made about fire safety. I chose her work because I thought it was smart to write about the subject of fire safety when there were huge fires spreading over California. Because of the fires going on at the time, it was one of the first set of flyers that caught my attention. The topic was very relevant, and I think that is important in persuasive writing. It’s hard to be persuasive about a topic that is not relevant to an audience. My friend had to evacuate from Sonoma at 4 in the morning, and she said it was absolute chaos! So, I especially found the flyer about making an escape plan to be particularly helpful to know.

The third make I chose to highlight was the advice column by Alice Mylod-Vargas. I chose this make because I thought it was posed in a fun way. Using Disney characters made her work stand out. It made immediately interested in what she wrote about, and it made me care what she was writing about. I think that is important in persuasive writing because if I don’t care about what you are writing about, then it is probably not going to be very persuasive to me. I also thought the content had a great message for children about finding a compromise. I thought that was a great lesson to embed into the assignment.

Author Bio: Deanna Dumas a transfer student from Sacramento State University. This is her first semester at Chico State, and she is now a senior. She currently works with adults and children with developmental disabilities, and hopes that experience can serve her in the classroom after she graduates next fall.

Updates: Week 11

Updates: Week 11

Thanks for your patience! Make Cycle 6: Creating Effective Writing Assignments is now posted. Link here too.

Please note that you have a partner for this cycle who will try out the writing activity you create and provide some feedback to you about how it went for them as the writer. You’ve all been good about timing all semester, but just know that it will be crucial that you meet assignment deadlines so that you don’t leave your partner hanging.

First prompts are about assessment (reading Chapter 7 and looking over the Common Core standards in the next week(ish)). I made the chapter 7 response due on Saturday instead of Friday this week since I am late getting things to you.

Finally, I have one final conference this month: giving the Keynote address for the California Association of Teachers of English Yosemite Conference this weekend, along with my colleague Peter Kittle. I may be delayed in email responses this weekend, but will do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible. Remind me not to do three conferences in a four week period again. I look forward to things slowing down a bit after this.

I am thrilled with your multimodal makes that I’ve peeked at so far. Such creative work and I’m glad so many of you took the opportunity to start your professional websites!

Thank you again for your work!