Leading Methods Activity


In order to engage with the composition research and teaching methods that are the focus of our readings in this class, you will lead an in-class methods activity in groups of 3-4, based on an article reading (not a chapter from Harris’ A Teaching Subject). Your in-class activity will last 30-45 minutes. This assignment includes 3 parts:

  • a planning meeting with me
  • leading the in-class activity
  • a followup report describing your research for the activity, detailing your activity, and explaining what you hoped the class will learn from it (how it will help them understand or critique the method you use), and assessing the extent
  • added based on discussion of group/individual grade distribution: a task checklist indicating which group member did to contribute to the assignment (see “On Group Work” section at bottom of page)

You do NOT have to do the regular blog post and classmate comment on the day your group leads its methods activity.

Planning Meeting:

To prepare for your activity, your entire group will meet with me no later than 1 week before the activity day. To prepare for this meeting, your group should confer beforehand and should have

  • read the article
  • identified a research or teaching method you want to focus on
  • developed some preliminary ideas about what you’ll do for your activity
  • have ready your questions (if any) about the in-class and follow-up paper parts of the assignment

Planning meetings usually take 15-20 minutes. You can drop in during office hours or schedule a meeting at another time.

In-Class Activity

Since the whole class will read the article, you will not summarize its content. Instead, your provide additional background information and lead an activity about the methods it advocates. You will present:

  • a short background for the article (author’s professional bio and work, date and place of publication [description, not just stated])
  • an introduction to the method your activity will focus on:
  • brief description of what the method is, where it comes from, and what its purpose is (using methods citations in article if provided, based on outside research if no methods citations are given)
  • brief description of how the article uses this method
  • instructions for the activity must be clear/detailed, provided both in writing and orally, tell classmates how long they’ll have to work and what they’ll be expected to share/turn in/etc at the end
  • a concluding activity where you draw on the work classmates have done to discuss how it uses or modifies the method described in the article. This can be done either in lecture, discussion, share-your-work, or some other format.

I will model at least one way of approaching the in-class portion of this assignment in class on Wednesday, October 1.

Follow-up Paper:

To document your preparation work for the activity, you will write a report covering

  • the background research you did to prepare for the activity (including any citations–use MLA format for in-text citations and works cited list),
  • a detailed “lesson plan” of the activity itself,
  • how the activity you led relates to the reading
  • what you wanted the class to get from the activity,
  • an assessment of how well the activity “worked,” that is, the extent to which it helped your classmates learn from the activity what you wanted them to. This assessment will also indicate how you know what/whether they learned from the activity.

Along with your report, include any materials you created for the presentation (like a slideshow, handout, etc), and any material you collected from students.

Follow-up Paper Format, Requirements, & Submission Instructions:

  • Length: 1000 words, excluding citations
  • Submission Instructions: Unlike your other assignments, compose this as a word processing document, not on the course blog. Submit all documents as files uploaded to Camino.
  • ALSO SUBMIT any materials (slideshows, documents, writing prompts, artifacts to analyze, etc) used during your in-class activity
  • Due date: follow-up report & additional materials due by the end of day 1 week after your in-class activity

On Group Work:

I don’t expect your groups to work together for every second your spend preparing for this assignment. But I do expect each member to contribute to the planning, running, and reporting of your activity. All group members must attend the planning meeting with me.

Group/Individual Grading Policy:

  • Grades for this assignment will be a 50/50 split between individual and group performance, based on the equal distribution of work among group members.
  • In addition to the report and any materials created for the in-class methods activity, each group will turn in a “task checklist” that details what each group member contributed. Since different groups will do differing activities and distribute the work differently, there isn’t a standard checklist form. Each group will write its own checklist and indicate who did what according to the methods activity you design and how your group carries out the work for it.
  • There is also an optional, confidential evaluation you can fill out to provide added commentary on group members’ performance. Use this link to access the evaluation form. A link to the evaluation form is also posted on the Camino assignment page where the report, materials, and checklist will be turned in.

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