stealing from dr. crazy: teaching close reading and using grading sheets

My students generally have no idea what I’m talking about when I ask them to analyse a website or blog or work of digital art or literature. A close reading, I say, textual analysis, and I try to explain it but I clearly haven’t worked out how to get it across because most are just as baffled at the end of the semester (or in the next class they take with me) as they were to begin with. So I found Dr. Crazy’s very specific explanation of how she teaches close reading very useful, and I’m definitely going to try to adapt it for the kinds of texts I teach. Not just yet though – I’m actually done with classroom teaching until after my sabbatical – don’t worry, I have plenty of advising and grading left this semester, so won’t get bored or anything, but I organised the semester so that all the regular teaching was in the first half of the semester. The plan is that this will leave me time for all the writing I have to do in the next months. And the admin, of course, let’s not forget the admin.

I also tried Dr. Crazy’s grading sheets for giving feedback on student essay this week, and the students loved them! It made it really clear to them what they need to work on to improve their essays for the final portfolio. I liked the sheets because it helped me remember the main points I wanted to communicate to the student (hard to remember when you have 20 papers mostly on the same assignment, they all blur a bit) and it also helped me think about what is important in the paper – and as Dr. Crazy wrote, I think it actually saved a little time on grading. Made it clearer to me what I was doing, somehow.

16. March 2007 by Jill

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