not the same old, same old rethinking writing style in the composition classroom
introduction • Questions about the teaching and learning of writing.. --How do people learn to write? --What is the most effective way to teach writing? --How do the processes of expert writers differ from the processes of novice writers? --What do people write, for whom, and to what end? --How do we recognize good writing? --What effects does writing have on thinking? --If we are all individuals, why must we all write the same way?
introduction • Place of narrative in writing... --We learn in the form of stories. Stories fit all ages, places, times, and circumstances. Children are natural storytellers. Combining children's natural storytelling abilities with quality multicultural literature enlarges and enriches students' language skills and appreciation of cultural differences. Storytelling enables children's creativity, language enrichment, and experimentation. --When children share stories about their home/family lives, it helps others learn about them, strengthening social ties. This also connects curriculum to students' lives, showing that educational experiences are meaningful and relevant.
example story • Once upon a time, ________ [insert name of big, brawny, manly man hero here] went on an adventure. • Event A occurred. • Event B occurred. • Event C occurred. • In conclusion, ________ got the girl/won the prize/etc… and he lived happily ever after.
example essay • Introduction with explicit thesis. • Body paragraph with reasons, explanations. • Body paragraph with reasons, explanations. • Body paragraph with reasons, explanations. • Conclusion with summary of main points and restated thesis.
traditional writing style • only one correct way to write • beginning, middle, end • linear, predetermined manner • explicit thesis • clearly-defined thesis, topic-driven paragraphs, review of main points • moves from page to page, chapter to chapter • goes towards an end where the plot is finally resolved • scientific, logical, objective • proposes an argument, presents the facts, interprets those facts • writer is disconnected from the material • writer never uses the words "feel" or "I think" • dominated by males, English-speakers, power, & politics • silences voices of "others"
traditional writing process • linear • prewrite, rough draft, edit, revise, final draft, publish
non-traditional writing style • expressive • flows • fragmentary • indirection • circuitness • recursive • unclear transitions • focus on themes • implicit thesis • deferred closure • spirals of storytelling & meaning • process of writing • qualification • figurative language
non-traditional writing style, cont. • reflects on the author's marginal experiences • challenges stereotypes • explains oneself • makes the invisible visible • contributes a voice • writing as a learned form of art • private experiences and emotions • emphasizes and engages reader/audience • leads to a transactional experience • community of readers makes & communicates the meaning behind the work, makes connections between ideas and understands context • makes BOTH reader & writer discover/explore/ponder/ personalize/raise questions • used by females, but by any 'outsider', be it by gender,class,culture
non-traditional writing process • Cyclical • inspire, explore, incubate, illuminate compose, reformulate, edit, share
task • Create a reflective portfolio to show your progress throughout the course & how your views (self,writing,society) have changed --No single voice can represent an entire culture or ethnicity. --Students will produce better writing simply because they are not struggling to fit a formulaic model. --Use writing as a tool for thinking. --Write about your experiences because self-discovery is enlightening in positive, therapeutic ways.
task components introductory autobiography -- 11 pieces exploring self & others -- 6 pieces discovering non-traditional writing styles -- final reflective autobiography
task overview • Each entry should include evidence of all parts of the writing/thinking process. Include a reflective statement at the end of each piece showing what you learned about the topic, the writing style/type, and yourself. • beginnings & endings • stories of self & others • i’m just expressin’ my style
assessment • Your reflective portfolio should include… -- introductory autobiography -- 11 pieces exploring self & others -- 6 pieces discovering non-traditional writing styles -- final reflective autobiography (counts as 2) • Each of the 20 pieces will be graded as its own homework assignment, but then will be included in a final portfolio grade based on a rubric.
assessment rubric Each of the ten categories is rated on a scale of [needs improvement], [satisfactory], [exceeds expectations] • Shows evidence of use of cyclical writing process • Includes reflective statement • Focuses on the topic • Focuses on the writing style/type • Is developed and descriptive • Includes pieces of YOU & your LIFE • Uses writing conventions well • Uses creativity & imagination • Shows movement from a traditional style to a non-traditional style • Final reflective autobiography is written in a totally non-traditional style, employing at least five of the characteristics of such style
conclusion • People are individuals with their own quirks, their own stories to tell, and their own way of expressing those experiences. • We cannot expect them all to fit their unique lives into one cookie-cutter format. Various writing styles must be used and accepted. • However, we cannot make the non-traditional style the new standard. We have to continue to value differences, while still having standards to reach. • Writing in a style that shows who you are is a way to reflect on your life and shape your identity, as well as a way to connect with others and learn from their stories. We may all be different, but we are all still connected.
beginnings & endings • introductory autobiography – write at the beginning of unit/course • final reflective autobiography – write at the end of unit/course
introductory autobiography • Write the story of your life. However, write it from the perspective of someone/something that is not you – ex. your shoe, your little brother, your car, your worst enemy. Don’t just list the events in your life – explain them. Remember, this is just an introductory activity to get you thinking about your life and get you used to sharing your experiences.
final reflective autobiography Write the story of your life – using aspects of non-traditional writing styles. Include at least two of the experiences mentioned used in the exercises about self & others. Include at least two experiences you used in the exercises about style. Include at least two experiences you have not written about yet. *vignette *written in a circular writing style that begins and ends at the same point *use of imagery and figurative language *lack of traditional summative ending *lack of conjunctive adverb transitions – use of fragmentary writing
stories of self & others • i wanna talk about me • how embarrassing • hot spot • gossip • annoying repetition • e-m-o-t-i-o-n • the ties that bind • those who don’t • crossing the abyss • opposites attract • ego trippin’
i wanna talk about me • “My Name” • http://www.humboldt.edu/~engl406/2002a/myname.html • “I Wanna Talk About Me” • http://www.lyricsondemand.com/t/tobykeithlyrics/iwannatalkaboutmelyrics.html • The vignette and the song both deal with the self, the individual, what makes one who one really is, one’s identity. • Write a poem that focuses on your identity and your name, tying the two together.
how embarrassing! • Pulitzer prize winning poet Henry Taylor suggests this exercise for loosening yourself: "Remember how it feels to suddenly think of one of the most embarrassing moments in your life: how it surfaces without being invited and makes your skin crawl, and you may have to pull over on the shoulder for a second and compose yourself, but you mash the thing back down into the subconscious where it belongs, and get on with the day. Okay. This time, write it down. Make sure you linger lovingly over the painful details." • http://www.cortlandreview.com/features/99/readings/
hot spot • Novelist and short story writer Merrill Joan Gerber suggests inspiring your story by thinking of a "hot spot," something that happened in the past that still compels your attention, something that attracts your thoughts over and over, an incident, a fright, an argument, an insult, some mystery in a relationship that hasn't been solved or is still exciting over time. • http://www.its.caltech.edu/~mjgerber/lostairman.html • http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~mjgerber/oldmother.html
gossip • A loosening exercise used by novelist Nora Okja Keller (Comfort Woman) with her students is to begin with a family story, or some gossip you have heard. Write another version of it, from behind the scenes. Or write out a dream you had, then pare it down and shape it. • http://www.penguinputnam.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,0_0142001961,00.html?sym=EXC
opposites attract • Write something almost diametrically opposed to what you've been comfortable writing up to now. "The idea," says Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Sister of My Heart and Mistress of Spices, "is not necessarily, don't write what you know, but try to look at it from a whole other angle. Write about someone who is absolutely not yourself." • http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/books/mistress_of_spices/excerpt/ • http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/books/sister_of_my_heart/excerpt/
annoying repetition • Memoirist and fiction writer Bernard Cooper finds this one useful: Write down the story you've been telling people over and over, a story that irritates or amuses or has gotten into your craw in some way, a story that is so strange or so outrageous that you have to keep telling it to kind of corroborate what's happening with yourself. Such an exercise tends to get you writing very loosely and quickly. • http://www.kcrw.org/dialabook/Guess_Again.htm
e-m-o-t-i-o-n • Rage, fury, and revenge are huge emotions you can use to loosen up your writing, according to novelist Margot Livesey (Criminals). Write a character description (or a poem) from the point of view of one character detesting another. • http://www.henryholt.com/holt/banishingveronaexcerpt.htm
the ties that bind • An anthology edited by Nikki Giovanni, Grand Mothers contains short stories, poems, and memories of grandmothers by people of various ages, genders, geographic locations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. • Read “A Conspiracy of Grace” by Ethel Morgan Smith and “Roofwalker” by Susan Power. • Discuss... How did the writer develop and present her characters in such away that the reader had a vested interest in their well-being? Did the characters seem to be three dimensional (real)? Why? • Write... about the things and people closest to you. Select someone in your family that you want to write about. Select a memory and use it to write a short story about the family member you had selected. • http://www.da.wvu.edu/archives/003011/news/003011,01,02.html
those who don’t • Sandra Cisneros’ book The House on Mango Street is a collection of short stories about growing up female, Hispanic, in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago in a house on Mango Street. It is also about the neighborhood -- the people who inhabit it -- their hopes, dreams, heartaches, disappointments and lives. • In "those who don't" Cisneros considers the way her neighborhood appears outsiders as opposed to its inhabitants: • Discuss appearances, formulating assumptions, and walking a mile in another person's shoes. Discuss making judgments based on personal values and experiences as opposed to considering another perspective. • Read Nikki Giovanni’s "Nikki Rosa" to reinforce these themes. • Write about being in an unfamiliar place or situation (i.e. a strange neighborhood in a strange city; meeting new people) and how you reacted to it. Describe how your neighborhood feels to you and how it would appear to an outsider (perhaps someone from another part of town, an different city, an other country, or even another planet). • http://wonders.eburg.wednet.edu/Morgan/ThoseWhoDont.htm
crossing the abyss • From editor Ray Gonzalez's Dancing River: Contemporary Latino Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry , read “Kitchens” by Aurora Levins Morales. Explore her status as an immigrant as Morales recalls the cooking lesson she received in her mother’s kitchen. In so doing she discusses the dishes they cooked and the methods of preparation that they applied. • Read a poem by Juan Felipe Herrera, “Notes on Other Chicana & Chicano Inventions.” • Read "Ending Poem” Rosario Morales and Aurora Levins Morales, in which the poets compare the ways they are alike with the ways they are different. Write a poem in which you discuss the similarities and differences you have with another person. • http://english.cla.umn.edu/creativewriting/dislocate/fall04/Herrera_interview.html
ego trippin’ • Define the term "ego trippin'". • Read Nikki Giovanni’s poem “Ego Trippin”, in which Giovanni gives Africa a feminine persona, a voice and an extremely well developed ego. Discuss the images she has presented in this piece and the manner in which she has transformed the continent of Africa into a woman with extraordinary powers. I • Write an “Ego Trippin” poem about yourself. You may claim any super-human traits or powers that you desire. • http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/poetry/giovanni_nikki.html#ego%20tripping
i’m just expressin’ my style • vignettes • this is the song that never ends • reader as worker • circles, cycles, & spirals, oh my! • paint me a picture • language is like blood
paint me a picture • Paint a picture with words. • Let the reader see what you write. • Write an imagery poem by using the website: • http://www.bsu.edu/web/kmewers/docs/imagery.html
language is like blood • Play with language, figurative language, that is. • Write a figurative language poem using metaphors, similes, and personification with the website: • http://www.bsu.edu/web/kmewers/docs/figurative%20language.html
reader as worker • The reader actually has to work to figure out the meanings and to connect ideas, at least according to many Asian and feminist authors. • Transitions are not as important as they are in traditional Western writing. Ideas are fragmentary. • Write a short story about an experience you had when you felt as if you didn’t fit it. Jump from emotions and images, but the theme behind it all should be one, large, interconnected idea. • http://www.nyu.edu/clubs/generasian/fall03/Features/story.htm
this is the song that never ends • Realism • Many writings in the feminist vein do not attempt to have a neat & tidy conclusion. • They recognize that life goes on, even after the story is supposedly finished. • Everything we do feeds into something else. • This shows the inherent need for self-growth and self-discovery. • It leaves room for the reader to make meaning & to create interpretations. • Write a short story about an obstacle that had to be overcome. However, do not end it in a tried-&-true fashion. Leave it open, yet not unfinished. • http://www.english.vt.edu/~kagraham/childlit/realism.htm • http://oblog.typepad.com/oblog/files/endings.doc
vignette • sketch or essay or brief narrative characterized by great precision and delicate accuracy of composition -- a separate whole or a portion of a larger work. • Write a vignette in which you recapture a moment of time. Use the website to help: • http://www.rbc.edu/Syllabus/EFloyd/Eng102vignette.html
circles, cycles, & spirals – oh my! • Pantoum • Write a pantoum. • rhymes with zoom • a spiral form of writing • even with repeated lines, new meaning is created • --verse form composed of stanzas of four lines • --the second and fourth lines are repeated as the first and third lines in the following stanzas • --the first line in the poem becomes the last line in the final stanza • --the third line in the poem becomes the second line in the final stanza http://dragonnet.hkis.edu.hk/ms/grade_8/grade_8_2003_4/Poetry/pantoum%20examples.htm
circles, cycles, & spirals – oh my! – cont. • A kiss hello...a wave good-bye...an airplane fading in the sky. • Our lives are marked by beginnings and endings. In the things we do every day, we look for starting and ending points. We hold those images' sight, smell, taste, and feel. It's no wonder, then, that writers take such care to develop strong introductions that grab readers and conclusions that leave them feeling satisfied. • The best leads and endings don't just happen; they are crafted. This can be a painstaking process that, as any experienced writer knows, becomes somewhat easier with practice. • http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/lessonplans/instructor/power.htm
circles, cycles, & spirals – oh my! - cont. • Much good fiction is written in a circular style. • The Bone People by Keri Hulme is a wonderful example of this cyclical nature. • http://www.postcolonialweb.org/nz/kerihulme/kh13.html • http://communication.students.rmit.edu.au/media/clare_oataway/BonePeople.html
circles, cycles, & spirals – oh my! -- cont. • Once a first draft is completed, a circular lead/close is easy to create. Look at your endings and try to begin with those closing words as well. This type of lead brings the pieces full circle. It's a tidy way to begin and end. • Ex. Eric Carle, The Grouchy Ladybug • http://www.readinglady.com/wr/Fluent_Lessons/fluent_lessons.html
circles, cycles, & spirals – oh my! -- cont. • Circular writing is when a writer's introduction and conclusion solidly connect. The end comes back to the beginning somehow. Writers can write in circles by simply repeating the same sentence at the beginning and the end. Or--better yet--they can remind the reader how the starting and stopping point of their writing are connected with one word or phrase that's repeated. Linking an introduction to a conclusion is an effective skill writers might think about when thinking about the organization of their writing, and it's good to practice once in a while. • Think of a funny scene or experience. Use the same word or phrase to begin and end the story. • http://www.writingfix.com/leftbrain/start_and_end_with_phrase.htm
circles, cycles, & spirals – oh my! -- cont. • Unwinding a circular plot • Circular stories follow a “round” pattern—they begin and end in the same. Like the cycle of seasons or the life cycle, circular stories follow a predictable series of events that returns to the starting point. • Ex. “If you give a mouse a cookie” or Louise Erdrich’s Native American novels & poems • Follow the instructions on the website to create your own circular story: • http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=292
references Aronson, D. (2005). Isabel Allende Loves the Writing Process. The Council Chronicle, 9, 6. Jenkins, R.Y. (1993). The Intersection of Gender and Culture in the Teaching of Writing. College Teaching, 41, 19-24. Luna, C. (1993). Story, Voice, and Culture: The Politics of Narrative in Multicultural Education. Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 9 (1), 127-142. Perry, S. (1999). Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity. Writer’s Digest Books. Reid, G. (2004). Non-linear narrative and EFL/ESL: Projects for Creative Writing. The Onestop Magazine. Satie, S. (2001). Pre-Creating the HyperNews Classroom Community: (Not) Speaking, (Not) Writing the Subtext. Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, 3-8. St. Amour, M.J. (2003). Connecting Children's Stories to Children's Literature: Meeting Diversity Needs. Early Childhood Education Journal, 31 (1), 47-51. Stewart, J. Rhythm Science. Critical Studies in Improvisation. Surfus, B. L. (1994). Autobiography and the Ascent of Multiculturalism: A Negotiation. Viewpoints, 120, 2-5. Tohe, L. (1993). A Native American's Perspective on the Writing Classroom. Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2-9.
credits • http://www.learnnc.org/lessons/SharonMackenzie3262003584 • http://www.cortlandreview.com/features/99/readings/ • http://www.its.caltech.edu/~mjgerber/lostairman.html • http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~mjgerber/oldmother.html • http://www.penguinputnam.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,0_0142001961,00.html?sym=EXC • http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/books/mistress_of_spices/excerpt/ • http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/books/sister_of_my_heart/excerpt/ • http://www.kcrw.org/dialabook/Guess_Again.htm • http://www.henryholt.com/holt/banishingveronaexcerpt.htm • http://www.da.wvu.edu/archives/003011/news/003011,01,02.html • http://wonders.eburg.wednet.edu/Morgan/ThoseWhoDont.htm • http://english.cla.umn.edu/creativewriting/dislocate/fall04/Herrera_interview.html • http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/poetry/giovanni_nikki.html#ego%20tripping • http://www.nyu.edu/clubs/generasian/fall03/Features/story.htm
credits • http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/lessonplans/instructor/power.htm • http://www.postcolonialweb.org/nz/kerihulme/kh13.html • http://communication.students.rmit.edu.au/media/clare_oataway/BonePeople.html • http://www.readinglady.com/wr/Fluent_Lessons/fluent_lessons.html • http://www.writingfix.com/leftbrain/start_and_end_with_phrase.htm • http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=292 • http://www.bsu.edu/web/kmewers/docs/imagery.html • http://www.bsu.edu/web/kmewers/docs/figurative%20language.html • http://www.english.vt.edu/~kagraham/childlit/realism.htm • http://oblog.typepad.com/oblog/files/endings.doc • http://www.rbc.edu/Syllabus/EFloyd/Eng102vignette.html • http://dragonnet.hkis.edu.hk/ms/grade_8/grade_8_2003_4/Poetry/pantoum%20examples.htm • http://www.humboldt.edu/~engl406/2002a/myname.html • http://www.lyricsondemand.com/t/tobykeithlyrics/iwannatalkaboutmelyrics.html