ENG496A Assignments

banner image 166wEnglish 496A  Teaching for a Living
Sect. 6, Tues. & Thurs. 9:30am-10:45, Psych. 205
Thomas P. Miller, tpm@u.arizona.edu, 621-6152
Office Hours: On Tuesdays 11-12:30 and Wednesdays 8:30-10
Modern Languages Building 473, and by appointment
Course page: http://www.tmiller.faculty.arizona.edu

  Syllabus | Assignment Page | Resources Page 



Daily Assignments
Unit 1: What is it like to teach for a living?
Unit 2: What do you need to know about teaching language, writing, and literature?      (Download list of readings from unit)
Unit 3: What benchmarks will you have to work from?
Unit 4: Preparing yourself for the next step in your career

Major Assignments

1) Journal 5
How do two readings relate to each other? (16 copies due in class on the day of the reading)
You are to relate one of the assigned readings to those from the previous unit.  Include specifics from the readings to make a point about teaching strategies (as you will need to do in the unit plan), or you could argue for or against a point made in a day’s readings.  This assignment will help you connect readings and raise questions for discussions.  The criteria for the assignment are the same as for previous journals: a focused analysis of an original idea that is developed with specifics in a clear and polished style.

2) Teaching Demo
Teach a 15-20 minute lesson from unit (scheduled for classes 10/2 through 10/23)
You will teach a short lesson related to the day’s topic.  You should give me your Lesson Plan before you begin, and you should introduce the lesson with a brief overview of the unit.   Your teaching activity should include the strategies that we are studying, especially interactive workshop methods and clearly defined outcomes.  Your Teaching Demo will be evaluated on how well you integrate these strategies into a well planned and purposeful activity that is effectively delivered in the time allowed.

3) Lesson Plan
Prepare a plan for one class in your unit (due in the class of your Teaching Demo)
Your lesson plan should include a paragraph that outlines the course and unit content and goals.  You should then list several objectives for the class, outline all the activities for the fifty minute class, and specify the segment that you will teach.  The outline of the class should specify a warm-up activity and review from previous classes in the unit.  The class should include several hands-on activities and other modes of instruction.  Your lesson plan will be evaluated according to its clarity, pacing, and focus.  The lesson plan should be clear enough to be taught by another instructor, it should be paced to allow for interaction, and it should be focused on specific outcomes that are consistent with the unit and course goals.  The lesson plan and supporting materials should be well formatted and well written

Lesson Plan Template
For learning objectives, see the AIMS links on the State Standards section of our Resource page.

4) Teaching Philosophy or Professional Statement
(Rough draft to Caucus by midnight 10/21, revision in class 10/25)        
As we have discussed, this essay should be four pages double spaced (1200 words, or two pages single spaced).  You may draw directly on your previous essay.  However, the audience and purpose of this assignment is quite different, for it is meant to serve as part of your portfolio for applying for teaching jobs or for admission to graduate school or for applications for grants for graduate school.  Most of you are considering applying for jobs, but as we have discussed, I want the last assignments to be useful to those of you who are considering graduate school. 

If you going to be applying for teaching jobs, here are a couple of sources to consider:

If you are considering applying for graduate school or funding to attend graduate school, then the genre for this assignment is the personal statement.  Here are a couple of sources on that genre:

Your teaching philosophy or personal statement can draw heavily upon your previous essay, your course overview for your teaching unit, and the research you worked with in this unit.  In the essay you will set out a philosophical justification for your approach and plans.  This essay will be evaluated on how effectively you develop a well defined philosophy that is supported by specifics from research and written in a clear and engaging style that demonstrates the attention to detail expected from professionals.

5) Self-Assessment Learning Journal
(Due in class on 11/8, with four or five papers from previous classes)
This one-page, single-spaced letter is a required part of English 496 (see http://english.arizona.edu/index_site.php?id=343).  You are to use the goals of the English major as points of departure, and you are to include four to five papers from previous undergraduate classes.  We will follow up on this assignment to hold our second conference to discuss your writing, and if you are applying to graduate school, we will use this conference to select your writing sample.  If you are not applying for graduate school, we will use this conference to consider your job search and/or teaching certification options.  This learning journal will be assessed on how well you develop precisely defined and well supported reflections upon your undergraduate studies.

6) Unit Plan or Graduate Program Exploration Assignment
(Rough draft to Caucus on 11/11 by midnight, with revision due to my mailbox on 11/16)
The Unit Plan is intended to provide you with some experience drafting out a sequence of activities that work creatively and strategically from state standards to develop a workshop approach to teaching writing, literature, and language.  You will work from the principles that we have studied in the second unit and from the Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS), which we will review in the third unit.  The unit plan should include a one-page single-spaced overview of the course (which can draw upon your lesson plan).  This overview should outline the overall structure of the course, the goals for the course, and the objectives for the unit along with at least ten references to readings that support your approach.  You may draw assignments and other instructional materials for the unit from the websites included on our Resource Page and other sources, but you cannot simply take whole units or class sequences from any individual source.  While you do not need to write up your own materials, you do need to document exactly what you have taken from other sources along with the readings that support your approach in a Works Cited page with website addresses in the appropriate MLA format.  You may include whole assignment pages (with proper attributions on the handouts), but you must include parenthetical references on each page for each assignment that is taken from a source.  The Unit Plan should be about eight pages, single spaced.

The process of working from general goals through well-defined objectives to specific classroom activities is set out in “How to Develop a Lesson Plan” (http://www.eduref.org/Virtual/Lessons/Guide.shtml), which should help you to build on the strategies that you used to fill in the Lesson Plan Template for your Teaching Demo (http://www.gened.arizona.edu/tmiller/word%20files/lessonplantemplate.doc).

As a template for this assignment, you should consider Professor Etheridge’s Sample Unit Template (http://falcon.tamucc.edu/%7Estalley/UnitPlan3360.htm), though you will need to include brief synopses of daily assignments and you do not need to include details on technology, printed materials, other materials, and accommodations for students with differing abilities.

The Graduate Program Exploration is a researched paper of approximately five pages double spaced that includes citations to major programs, funding sources, application manuals, and other print and online sources.  This paper may address several questions:

  • What are the major areas of English studies or the field you are planning on pursuing graduate study?
  • What are the leading graduate programs in those areas of study, and how do the curricula of those program differ?
  • What are the career prospects of people working in those areas?  Are there nonacademic jobs in related areas?  Are people in those areas satisfied with their prospects, and what trends do they believe will be important in the next decade?
  • What are the major sources on those trends?  What are major journals, books, and resources in the areas of study?
  • What possibilities for support are available to work as a teaching assistant (TA), and what grants and scholarships are available to support graduate studies?

Your paper does not need to address all of these questions.  You might decide to focus on one or two, but you must do detailed research on the specifics of the issues involved.  For example, if you decide to focus on the last question, you should research funding sources (see our Resources Page to get started), and then you should follow up to look at the particular funding sources to assess their priorities and criteria with an eye to whether you would be a competitive candidate.  You would then follow up to research print and online sources on how to apply for grants and scholarships.

Your paper should include a dozen or more sources and should develop a sustained argument with specifics from research.  If you would like to propose an alternative to the Graduate Program Exploration paper, you should send me an email detailing the line of research and analysis that you want to develop to assist you with your plans after graduation.

7) Exam on Methods of Teaching Language, Literature, and Writing

The exam will include short answer and multiple choice questions on the major concepts and strategies from the readings and discussions in this unit.

Unit 1: What is it like to teach for a living?

Aug. 21: When you think of teaching, what do you hope for, what do you fear, and how do your hopes and fears intersect?

We will start by writing about what sorts of student we hope for, what ones we fear getting, and what our hopes and fears suggest about how we think about teaching.  You will then introduce yourself, and we will survey the course units and the major assignments.

Aug. 23: What are you reading, and what’s “reading” anyhow?

For class, keep an hourly log of what you read on Wednesday (see Smith and Wilhelm 206-8).  Read the Preface, Introduction and first chapter of Smith and Wilhelm (xv-xxiii and 1-25).  Try to read against the grain: do you agree with the assumptions about “reading”?  Are they consistent with your experience?  What do the authors understand, and what do they miss with respect to how and what young people read?

Aug. 28: How do your reading habits differ from those of high school students, and what do the differences tell us about literacy?

As an English major, you have spent years learning how to read.  What distinguishes a good reading experience?  To answer those questions, read Smith and Wilhelm (26-57), and use their concept of “flow” to think about the readings in 110 Degrees.  Do the readings provide models for a sense of “flow” that can help us think about what motivates learning, reading, and writing?   How do the readings in 110 Degrees and the concept of “flow” relate to what is studied and experienced in English classes?

Aug. 30: What do we expect to get out of reading, writing, and studying English?

For class, read Smith and Wilhelm (58-91).  The reading discusses what motivates people, what values motivate them to seek out some activities, and how those values are shaped by differences in gender, class, ethnicity, and other factors such as sexual orientation.  For cases in point, read Isabella Soto’s “The Inconvenient Gender” and Ashley Escalante’s “Cultural DNA” (110 Degrees 40-4 and 34-5).

You will follow through from class to write a journal entry reflecting on how you write and read, using the readings from class as points of reference.  The journal entry should be about 300 words and must be posted to our Caucus page by 5:00 on September 1.

Sept. 4: What makes school work?

For class, read “What It Takes to Make a Student,” an article by Paul Tough from The New York Times Magazine.  Tough discusses a school that gained acclaim because it was able to “close the education gap,” in part by “teaching poor children to act more like middle-class children.”  The article’s attention to class differences will provides a counterpoint to Smith and Wilhelm’s emphasis on gender.  Be ready to discuss how gender, class, race, and other differences shape how we read, with the cases in point being your journal entries on Caucus, which you should print out, read, and bring to class.  What would you do with these pieces of writing if you were the writers’ teacher?

Sept. 6: How can we make school work better?

By September 6, you should have visited a school and observed the classes of the teacher with whom you will spend five hours.  Print off, read, and bring copies of all the descriptions of classes and schools from Caucus.  Also read Hawa Bealue’s “This Place We Call School” (110 Degrees 20-24).

Sept. 11: How can you get students to talk about what matters?

Bring the notes of your interview to class and be ready to talk about what you talked about.  Read Smith and Wilhelms 92-139.  As part of our discussions of what matters to students and how they think about it, we will also consider how getting students talking can help them develop and reflect upon ideas in ways that can build fluency and reflective learning.

Sept. 13: What we talk about when we talk about writing

Print off the drafts of your interviews from Caucus and consider how you would respond if the writers were your students.  Note one thing that you would praise, one thing that you ask to be revised, and one question that you have that might help the writers advance their inquiries.  Write a note including comments on these points to each writer. 

Sept 18: What’s learning go to do with literature?

Following up on the last class on responding to writing, we will use literature to help us move beyond thinking about learning, teaching, and classrooms in general terms and begin to think about how to teach English.  Read Smith and Wilhelm 140-181, and come to class ready to talk about you learn about individual motivations and the values of literature from your own studies and reading.

Sept. 20: Composing a philosophy of learning and literacy

Read the drafts of learning philosophies on Caucus and come to class ready to workshop them according to the criteria we worked out.  Class meets in Computer Center 311, so there is no need to print drafts.

Unit 2: What do you need to know about teaching language, writing, and literature?

9/25 Setting up Classes and Classrooms

To prepare for our discussion of classroom strategies, you should read Darryl Johnson’s “Speaking My Mind: The Intellectual Carnival” (if you have lost the second unit syllabus, email me for the password).  Also read Fred Barton’s “The Fire This Time: Renewing the Poetry Unit” and the first chapters from English Teacher’s Survival Guide (Brandvik 2-41).

Resources for the Day: Please look at Virtual Library of Conceptual Units for middle and high school English classes, which is based on George Hillocks' The Dynamics of English Instruction.  This website includes numerous sets of resources, including Writing Instructional Units and pages of links on topics ranging from website design through teaching literature and writing to working with students with disabilities.

9/27 Setting up Courses

This class will discuss the process of purposeful planning that begins with outcomes and works back through cumulative assignment sequences to plan daily classes.  Read Brandvik 43-60, Gerald Nelms’ “Making Assignments Worth Grading,” and Arthur Applebee’s “Engaging Students in the Disciplines of English” (password is on Unit 2 syllabus).

Resources for the Day: Please look at Designing Assignments from the Writing Resource Center at Case Western Reserve University.  The website provides a simple overview of the process of developing and sequencing assignments.

10/2 Writing to Learn and Learning to Write (Demos: Sarah E and Jess)

Workshop methods for teaching writing provide a model for learning in general, and learning language and literature in particular.  Read “Teaching Writing” from our handbook (Brandvik 86-151).

Resources for the Day: Review the Writing Strategies website from the University of Buffalo, which includes Writing Strategies Grades 6-12 that provide step by step instructions on the writing process.  Pay particular attention to Teaching Writing Strategies because it provides an excellent overview of planning lessons in writing. Also, to improve and learn from your own writing, review the principles of Sentence Clarity from the Purdue's Online Writing Lab, or OWL.  Finally, for those of you who need to review punctuation, please at least review these two other pages from the Purdue OWL: Commas: Quick Rules and Sentence Punctuation Problems, and if you want to put your punctuation problems behind you, also look at the other pages on commas.  With about half an hour or less of study and some careful monitoring of your own writing, you could put such problems behind you.

10/4 Workshopping Writing—and Reading (Demos:Kristin L. and Matt)

Read John Noell Moore’s “Practicing Poetry: Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach,” Wendy Bishop’s “Helping Peer Writing Groups Succeed” (from her Teaching Lives), and chapter four from our handbook (Brandvik 61-85).

Resources for the Day: Browse around in the Writer's Web from the University of Richmond, which provides an accessible set of links on various aspects of the writing, including workshopping, as well as topics ranging from argument to editing.  Also, here are Berry's "On Reading Poems to the Senior Class at South High School" and Sandburg's "Jazz Fantasia," which is referred to by Moore.

10/9 Literacy and Literature (Demos: Valerie and Kristina)

Read  Brandvik’s “Teaching Reading and Literature” (151-192) and the chapters on “Addressing the Youth Violence Crisis” and “Shakespeare and the New Multicultural British and World Literatures” from Allen Carey-Webb's Literature and Lives: A Response Based, Cultural Studies Approach to Teaching English.  Also for examples to think about teaching, read Langston Hughes's Theme for English B, Spencer Holst's "Zebra Storyteller," and Ernest Hemingway's "Very Short Story."

Resources for the Day: Visit English Language and Literature Resources from Chico High School. The website includes a wide range of instructional materials on particular literary works, interdisciplinary thematic units, and English as a second language concerns, with particular strengths in mythology, Shakespearean England, and poetry.

10/11 It’s All about Language (Demos: Kristin D. and Jon)

Read Gregory Shafer, Stephine Swindle and Nancy Joseph's “Teacher to Teacher: What Activity Do You Recommend for Teaching Grammar?”  Also, be ready to talk about “Lessons on Selected Aspects of Grammar” from Constance Weaver’s Teaching Grammar in Context.

Resources for the Day: Browse around in Language and Linguistics which includes basic overviews of such issues of language change and dialectical differences with a wealth of interesting materials such as audio clips of Middle English and regional dialects.

10/16 Review Readings and Discussions of Teaching Writing, Literature, and Language

10/18 What’s Worth Remembering about Teaching Writing, Literature, and Language?

(Demo: Evelyn )

Class meets in ECE 229

You will work in groups to draw up the study guide questions and items for the exam on this unit.  Come to class with three concepts and their definitions, three lists of strategies and related items (for multiple choice items), and three major themes and ideas (for the paragraph response items).  These concepts, lists, and ideas should be on a flash drive, or you can email them to yourself because each group will be responsible to come up with a list of ten of each set of items by the end of class.

10/23 Draft Workshop on Teaching Philosophy or Personal Statement

Class meets in PSYCH 209 (our regular classroom)

A single-spaced copy of the draft of your teaching philosophy or personal statement is due to Caucus by midnight on 10/21 (Please remember that part of the grade of the course is determined by meeting such deadlines).  For class, print out all the members in your group and make comments upon them so that you can contribute to the draft workshop.  For the workshop, review the Six-Trait Analytic Writing Rubric used by AIMS.  Click on each of the six terms, and you will find tables with levels of achievement.  While you are obviously writing at different levels of achievement, consider how useful the categories are in discussing the strengths and weaknesses of your own drafts.

10/25 Teaching Demos

(Demos: Sarah B, Breanna, Clinton, and Noelle)

Your Teaching Philosophy or Personal Statement is due in class.  Email me your essay, and come to class with a hard copy in a pocket folder that includes a copy of your previous essay with my comments.

10/30 Unit Exam

The unit exam will be comprised of short answer, fill in the blank, and multiple choice items based on your questions.

Unit 3: What are the benchmarks that you will have to work from?

11/1 Review Exam and Essays

(Demos: Corey and Amanda)

Read the essays that I have put up on Caucus for class discussion, and

11/6 Split Class Discussion for Those Working on Teaching Unit and Applying to Graduate School

(class meets in ECE 229)

We will begin by wrapping up our discussion of the six point rubric that I used to respond to your last papers.  Please read Jonathan's journal entry for that discussion.  After that, we will split the class into groups of those who are doing the teaching unit assignment and the graduate program exploration assignment.

1) Review Arizona State Standards for High School and Work on Unit Plan

We will consider how we can work from the principles that we reviewed to prepare students to meet state standards.  Review the following materials on the Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test, which is taken in the tenth grade, and then repeated by those who fail it.  Be ready to talk about what you are going to do in your unit in class.

* AIMS HS Student Guide,
* Arizona Writing Standard Performance Level Descriptors for Writing for High School, and
* Arizona Reading Standard Performance Level Descriptors for Reading for High School

Come to class having browsed around on the Resources page and ready to talk through your unit.  You will work individually and in groups to develop the sequences of activities that culminate with objectives drawn from the AIMS benchmarks.

2) Finding Funding and Applying to Graduate Programs

To develop an overview of the process, review this UofA Graduate College presentation on applying to graduate schools the Planning to Apply to Grad School page from gradschools.com.  After you have gotten a quick sense of the process, browse around on the gradschools.com website and review the writing assignment  Be ready to talk about the assignment in class. those who are interested in attending graduate school will review the application process with our guest speaker: Georgia Ehlers.  Also visit our Applying to Graduate School on our Resources page for additional related websites that will help you get going on your essay.  Review the assignment and be ready to talk about how you are going to make it work for you.

11/8 Split Class Small Group Work on Teaching Unit and Applying to Graduate School (Teaching Demo: Corey)

1) Working Backward from Outcomes to Activities in Designing Units

Review the chapters from English Teacher's Survival Guide on planning lessons and units (Brandvik 43-60).  In this class, you will work through the various elements of a teaching unit and discuss how to translate AIMS benchmarks into learning objectives with guest speaker Chris Wald Hopkins.

2) Trends and Resources on Graduate Studies in English

We will talk about some of the major areas of graduate studies in literary and cultural studies, English as a Second Language, rhetoric and composition, and creative writing, including interdisciplinary areas such as media studies, women’s studies, and African-American and Hispanic studies.  Browse the resources on Exploring Trends in Graduate Studies and be ready to talk through the line of inquiry you are going to develop in your paper.

 * Your Self-Assessment is due in class along with copies of four or five of your undergraduate papers, preferably with the instructors’ comments.

11/13 Workshop on your Unit Plan with Writing Assignments or Your Researched Paper on Pursuing Graduate Studies

Class meets in ECE 229

Unit 4: Preparing yourself of the next step in your career

11/15 Resume, Letter Writing, and Job Search Resources

Review the job search materials from the English Department at the University of Washington, particularly the Resumes for English Majors and Writing the Cover Letter pages.  We will follow through from our last class discussion of your undergraduate program of study to inventory how to represent what you have learned in ways that will be effective with hiring committees.  Review your skills and strengths using the heuristic we have discussed:  What have you done, and what have you achieved?  How do these experiences and achievements benchmark your specific skills and strengths?  And how do those skills and strengths relate to the needs of possible employers?  "Taking Stock of Yourself" can help you with this process, as can other pages linked to our Resources page.  Come to class with notes on your experiences and strengths. Your unit plan or researched paper on graduate studies is due in class.

11/20 Getting Certified and Searching for Jobs, Here and Abroad

Using the models we reviewed in the last class, draft a resume, and then find a job posting that you might apply for and draft a letter of application for that job.  You can find job postings on Monster and on some of the other pages on our course Resources page.  Browse the resources and come to class with at least three specific recommendations for other students looking for jobs similar to the ones you are searching for.

Bring hard four copies of your cover memo and resume to class to workshop.

11/27 Review Principles of Grammar and Punctuation

Review the “Most Commonly Occurring Errors” and look at "Not All Errors are Created Equal" by Maxine Hairston. Hairston's article is based on a survey of 100 college graduates about what errors they found most objectionable that was published in College English (43.8 [Dec. 1981]: 794-806).  This article is copyrighted, so the file is password protected (email me if you have forgotten the password).  Here is is the survey itself with the results of the respondents.  We will go over the survey and the list of errors, so be ready to ask questions about any of the examples that you do not understand.

11/29 Workshop on Application Portfolio

Class meets in ECE 229

To help you improve your cover letter and revise your other writings for the portfolio, review the Workplace Writers page on the OWL website from Purdue University.  Also review Professor Craig Waddell's Basic Prose Style and Mechanics, which we will work with in class.  You are expected to revise at least one essay for the portfolio, and you may revise more than one.

Any essays that you are revising should be posted to Caucus before class along with a note specifying the revisions you have made.

Your portfolio is due to my box on 11/30.  This portfolio is comprised of your cover memo, resume, and all your other writings from the class.  Please make sure to include previous versions of any papers that you have revised, and note the revisions that you have made.

12/4 Exam on Grammar and Punctuation

In addition to doing a short exam on grammar and punctuation, you will fill out the final course evaluations.


banner image 166wEnglish 496A  Teaching for a Living
Sect. 6, Tues. & Thurs. 9:30am-10:45, Psych. 205
Thomas P. Miller, tpm@u.arizona.edu, 621-6152
Office Hours: On Tuesdays 11-12:30 and Wednesdays 8:30-10
Modern Languages Building 473, and by appointment
Course page: http://www.tmiller.faculty.arizona.edu

  Syllabus | Assignment Page | Resources Page