Item #1: New Bloggers
Three out of my five classes did their blog wrap-ups today, and at least a handful said that they were going to keep blogging. Some said they had always wanted/meant to start a blog. One even said she thought you had to be interesting to blog but now she knows better. (And no, she didn’t read my blog to come to that conclusion. 😂) And another student is excited class is over so she can focus her blog on her favorite interest–something she’s always wanted to do.
So, basically, blogging in class gave some of my students the confidence to start their own blogs because they got to play around with the platform in a safe space with a safe audience.
Item #2: New Readers
Forcing my students to read (at least for those three classes) was a success. Almost all of them said they were glad to do it since it got them to read books they always meant to read but hadn’t gotten a chance to. Or they were glad (for 1102) that we read off the banned books list because it introduced them to books they may not have read otherwise.
I told two students about the Serial Reader app and they downloaded it. Oh, and one student told me he was going to keep reading to which I said “Yay!” but he quickly said, “NOT THAT MUCH.” Students: they giveth and taketh away.
Okay, but here is the best comment a student made: Reading off the banned books list made it easier for her to do her reading for other classes, including the textbooks.
READING FOR THE WIN. ALWAYS.
Item #3: Blogging Book Reviews
Forcing them to write reviews on their blog was also a success, especially for my creative writing students. They really did think more critically about the books they were reading when they had to explain why they liked them or not. One student said that the only reviews he ever read were from old people (professional book reviewers) and this was the first time he’d read reviews from his peers, which he really appreciated since people from his age group bring a different perspective. Another student said he never talked about the books he read before and was glad he got a chance to share his reading with people.
My favorite, though, is that one of my students has already positioned herself as a book blogger. Her about page says that she is accepting ARCs. 😍
So, yes. I wasn’t planning for this to be a reflection on using blogging in my classes. I just wanted to point out that some of my students are excited about blogging, which is great, and that most of them are now reading, which of course makes me the happiest.
For the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year, my theme is gratitude. Every day, I am going to post about something I am grateful for. Tune in tomorrow to see what I pick for O.
I don’t know about anybody else, but teaching my students how to do a Works Cited page can be tedious at best. If I go over it in class, it’s like they don’t hear me. I tell them where to find the information in their book to make sure they’re doing it right–they do what they want.
I don’t have a problem with those sites in general. My issue is that the sites always miss information or put the information in the wrong place. I tell my students if they use the sites to still double check because the citations might be wrong.
So! This semester I decided to do a different type of citation activity. I took them to the campus computer lab and gave them the following activity. This activity concentrates on formatting the works cited page as well as finding information of web sources to do citations.
From working with my students and my work in the Writing Lab, I’ve learned that a lot of times, students’ citations are incomplete because they don’t know where to look for the information to complete their citations, so they don’t take the time to do so.
For this assignment, students need computers with internet access. They also need their assigned handbook. My class used The Bedford Handbook (8th Edition), so any page numbers referenced are from that. The Practical Argument referenced is the 2nd edition. (Again, whichever book they use is fine. It should just have a sample works cited page and a section on how to do citations.) I always have students who come unprepared to class, so I also used The Purdue Owl.
The sites below were all chosen randomly. I tried to get a good mix of blogs, news sites, and sites with no author since my students could use a small number of non-scholarly internet sources for their forthcoming paper. I present the links as numbers because I didn’t want to give them any information about the sites. I wanted them to find all the information on their own.
I start with explicit formatting instructions because Microsoft Word has that new default that automatically adds space when you hit enter, even if a document is single-spaced.
Our lab has all Windows computers that run Office 2013.
Directions for the activity:
- Open Microsoft Word.
- Click on the Page Layout tab. Click on Margins. Select Normal.
- Click on the Home tab. Change the font to Times New Roman and the font size to 12.
- Click on the Home tab, go to Paragraph and click the little arrow in the bottom right corner. Under Spacing, set the After to 0 pt.
- Put a heading on your paper. Hit enter.
- Press Ctrl + E.
- Type Works Cited in plain text (do not bold or italicize or make larger). Press enter.
- Press Ctrl + L.
- Save your document to the desktop or to your flash/jump drive.
For this assignment, you will type up citations for the links given below.
On pg. 550 of the Bedford Handbook is a sample web page with information on how to find the information needed for an online citation. Refer to that as you complete your assignment. You should also refer to pgs. 548-557 for how to cite the various types of online sources you may encounter.
If you do not have your handbook, you should refer to pgs. 338-341 in Practical Argument.
If you do not have either book, go here.
Use the following links to complete your citations and SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN as you go:
Now that you have finished typing up your citations, you need to properly format your document.
- Put the list in alphabetical order (see pg. 572 in BH and pg. 530 in PA for directions).
- Properly indent your citations.
- In Microsoft Word, click on the Home tab, go to Paragraph and click the little arrow in the bottom right corner.
- Under Indentation, set the Special dropdown to Hanging.
- Double space your document.
- Press Ctrl + A to highlight the entire document.
- Click on the Home tab, go to Paragraph and click the little arrow in the bottom right corner.
- Under Spacing, set the Line Spacing dropdown to Double.
- Check that your list of citations looks like the sample on pg. 588 in BH, pg. 349 in PA, or this one.
- Double check your citations to make sure they are complete.
- Submit your assignment to Canvas. You may work quietly on other assignments until you are given further instruction.
And that’s it!
As a follow up, I tell them that they are allowed to use the citation generators (because they will anyway) but that they need to make sure to refer to their book or The Owl to make sure the citations are complete and correctly formatted. And since they have to do that anyway, they may as well just type up the citations themselves since I think it’s faster and less work. But, you know, do what you want, I say.
This work by Akilah @ The Englishist is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.