Teaching First-Year Composition

This page will collect a series of posts related to starting out as a new First-Year Composition teacher.

So You’re Going to Teach Composition–A list of broad concerns for designing a new composition course.

Stretch Learning Outcomes–This is an initial post on the learning outcomes of our stretch program. It deals with “fluency.”

Cultural Studies Outcomes–Should you teach a cultural studies course? This post discusses the advantages and disadvantages.

Genre, Research, and Disciplinary Outcomes–Our program is somewhat ambitious in that it goes beyond the essay and attempts to connect First Year Composition with writing in the student’s major.

Responding to Student Writing–This post is about providing a balanced response to a student paper.

Designing Reading/Writing Assignments–The basics of designing a short reading/writing sequence or what might be called a “mini-module.”

Creating and Using Rubrics–Rubrics can help articulate the goals of the assignment and help you assess responses quickly and consistently.

Crafting a Syllabus–The basics of creating a well-designed syllabus in Canvas or Blackboard.

How Is a Course Like a Song?–This post compares the typical elements of a pop song–intro, verses, chorus, bridge, outro– to the elements of a course. It emphasizes the power of repetition and difference.

Mini-Module: Exploring Disciplinary Discourse–This post introduces a mini-module that helps students make connections between what they learn in an FYC course and future writing in other classes and careers.

What About the Five-Paragraph Essay?–Most students entering college have been taught the five-paragraph essay at some point. Some are quite dependent on it and think it is the key to all writing. Their teachers may have told them, “You need to know this for college.” This post is about helping them move beyond this tired formula toward more effective writing.