Featured videos: language, literacy, writing

Reading Together

Perusall logoWe’ll use Perusall to annotate and read together. Link here to Perusall. Instructions for joining on the Assignments page.

Calendar: link here

Author: kjaxon

Week 4: responding to fieldnotes

Week 4: responding to fieldnotes

Hello everyone,

Just a quick note about partners and fieldnotes. You are doing such a great job with tracing your workshop sessions, which I know is not easy when you’re also trying to be a productive participant. Seriously great work with these notes. As you give feedback to each other, I’m hoping you can start noticing more what is similar or different between the two sessions: how the workshop gets started or how it ends (are their differences or similarities between the mentor approaches?); how Zoom is used; what the mentor decides to spend the most time with; how many students talk. Are there structures that seem more useful than others for supporting writers? How might you keep track of that for your future teaching designs?

I might also look this week at the writing the students in your workshop are producing by going into their Currents community. Link here or on the front of Dr. Sparks course page if that doesn’t work. You can see your workshop number and mentor name in the categories on the left. This will help you to see the student writing from the workshop you are interning in. You’ll gain more insights into how the students are taking up the writing tasks, which you could also include in your fieldnotes.

Here is the link to Dr. Sparks week 4 plan too in case it’s useful for getting situated for your workshop this week.

Thank you for all the work you continue to do in these *gestures wildly* “unprecedented times.”

Appreciate you all.


Week 3 updates and reminders

Week 3 updates and reminders

Hello nice people!

Really enjoyed reading your fieldnotes this morning; thank you for jumping in. You did a great job with this first set of notes and I know they’ll just get better and better. You might check out Ceaira and Lumi’s fieldnotes if you’re wondering about other ways of keeping track or what to notice. They both had a nice level of detail in their notes that you might find helpful as a model. Also, Tabitha and Lumi already gave each other feedback on their notes and they are a nice example for how to do that. Thank you! You can’t do any of this wrong…you’re learning how to collect data and comment on data; you are doing great. Things you might consider adding to your notes: time on tasks, names of students, and perhaps some way to keep track of any writing they do (like keep the link to any google docs handy for yourself). You might keep this question in mind this week as you’re deciding what to trace: how does the session support writing?

You can find the tasks for weeks 3 & 4 under the Do The Thing page in the drop down menu.

This week:
—Read and comment on Nelson article in Perusall
—Find quotes and add those quotes plus short reflection about the Nelson reading in Currents (under your name). Hannah May already added hers and it’s exactly what I was hoping for if you want an example. Check under her name in our Currents community. Thanks Hannah May. The point of this “quote gathering” each week is so you can trace the readings over time. We’ll be writing a paper later called “what I know so far..” and I hope that keeping track of the quotes will be helpful for that assignment.
—Respond to partner’s fieldnotes. Your partner list again:

Lumi and Tabitha
Isaiah and Caleb
Matthew and Hannah S
Ceaira and Paytyn
Alaina and Hannah May

Again, I appreciate how you participated with the workshops this week. You are already great mentors for the freshmen. Thanks everyone!

Week 1 & Routines

Week 1 & Routines

Hey nice people,

As promised, here is a slightly longer video update that attempts to explain the course routines and plans for week 1. If you have not taken the survey yet that asks you to find an internship time, now would be a good time to do that: LINK HERE.  You can find other information on the Weeks 1 & 2 page. <–Linked here but also in the drop down menu above.

I look forward to working together! Hope you are safe and healthy!

Awkward Turtles: Making Introductions Not Teh Suck

Awkward Turtles: Making Introductions Not Teh Suck


I spent the morning reading 98 introductory blog posts from this class and the freshmen in my Academic Writing class. For part of the morning, my spouse sat across from me as we gulped coffee. At one point, he asked me what I was reading because I had a constant grin on my face (and one post from Elisa actually made me laugh out loud when I got to her lovingly modified quote from Szwed). 

As can be expected, many of us are not a fan of the introduction. Or even if we don’t mind, we struggle with what to say about who we are and what we like. These things matter. I am well aware that it is impossible to capture who we are in a blog post. For school. But it’s really really really not just a way to kill time in the first week for me. Everything I know about learning tells me that if we are going to learn together, we need to feel part of our small community of practice. At the end of the day, it is human to want to be seen and heard and to feel you are needed. The intros help do that.

In the spirit of that, here’s some stuff: I’m from Chico. My own children (now 25 and 27) are fifth or sixth generation in this area. I still can’t believe that I have a job that I love in my hometown. It’s never lost on me what a gift this is. I originally went back to school to get an English degree because it was the degree I could get the fastest (based on previous coursework) and I was trying to get out of a really horrible marriage. When I least expected it, I became completely engaged in literacy and composition studies and decided to go on to the MA (here at Chico) and the PhD (at Berkeley). I started back to school when my daughter was in kindergarten and finished the PhD her first year in college. Along the way, I remarried and am not embarrassed to say that even after 17 years, we have kind of a fairy tale partnership. I commuted to Cal for seven years from Chico (shout out to an amazing spouse and my kids for being incredibly supportive), so I have a lot of empathy for students who do this school gig while commuting, holding other jobs, and/or supporting families. I study digital literacies, writing in the sciences, and I dabble in game theory. I spent a small portion of break returning old school to Warcraft II and III, which was a blast. I still have my Atari hooked up and we own Ms Pacman, Centipede, and other retro games. Geeks through and through in our house.

I’m completely fascinated by everyday literacies and will probably spend a career trying to convince other faculty to be gateways to literacies as opposed to gatekeepers. I look forward to working with y’all as we think about what it means to support writers.

Thanks for the introductions! Hoping it will make things less awkward turtle-like as we going into the semester.

We have a pretty big crew of mentors on Twitter together, so this could be a time to try Twitter out. You can follow me: @drjaxon