Training Day 2 (writing)

Nadia commends me: “It’s very socially responsible of you” to tell people I might blog about them. 🙂 Yeah well. Nothing like trial and error (and social sanctions &emdash; not recommended!) to whip one into etiquette!
Yesterday was a nuts and bolts day. Serious. Down to business. I was resistant but Sarah, Haesang, Kate and Kyle got right to work. Troopers! When the group did report outs I was intrigued that Johanna reported for her group about the movement in McBride &emdash; purely selfish, since that’s a major theme of my “Self in Contradiction” essay (Generation). I got great feedback from Phil. Haesang spied on my notes. I received some requests not to be blogged. (If you feel this way, just tell me &emdash; I always try to ask first but it might slip…)
Lunch was fun, with Kyle, Janel, “Boomer,” and Roy B. Giv. Donna told me my first blog post was “sweet.” SWEET! She is obviously confusing me with someone else. 🙂 I dropped my camera in the parking lot and now it won’t turn on. Is it possible the batteries coincidentally died or is it broken? Dang.
My syllabus and plan for the first two days is taking shape. I still think I’ll show The Wall on Day 1. On the board I’ll write:

If you arrive late, please pick up the handout (table near door)
(ps, tardiness makes me unhappy)

(I discovered that it really does annoy me when students arrive late &emdash; although I’d much rather they come late than not at all. I’m less triggered when I’ve suitably warned them. Students are still occasionally late, but I have more trust that they have a legitimate reason and find that such tardies bother me less than when I say nothing.)
I have the obituary for Syd Barrett from The Economist (July 22, 2006) to distribute, and I want them to check out the COM375 wiki.
HW: 2-3 pages about connections and associations between the movie, the obit, the wiki and relevant other experiences as week-old freshpersons here at UMass. Bring two typed copies to class! There will be 1) a test (critical thinking & to put some fear into them to Really Do the homework) and 2) discussion concerning whether we (their peers and me) compose a single or multiple audience). 3) additional activities related to the writing itself… probably peer response and reflective letters, but TBDL (to be decided later).
Syllabus. I like to give students a choice. We’ll discuss this on Day 2. Do they want the detailed blow-by-blow description or can they trust me to guide ’em week-by-week? I much prefer the more spontaneous organic method but know some need structure. Usually, through discussion, they vote for shorter rather than longer and decide to trust me. This gives them immediate practice with The Peggy Principle (shared in context of students’ sense of assignments being vague):
”Part of the assignment is negotiating the assignment.”

Here are my three basic rules:
1. Do your work.
2. Don’t be stupid.
3. If you are stupid:
a. Admit it
b. Deal with the consequences

I have some great photos from today; hopefully I’ll be able to retrieve and post them sooner rather than never. :-/
[Done, 1 September 2006.]

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