Saturday, December 10, 2016

Supporting Bassick Seniors with Ubuntu @writingproject

Earlier this semester, students from Ubuntu Academy visited with my undergraduate courses and, later, wrote essays that they sent to my graduate students in EN 411: Teaching the Composing Processes. The essays were about community service, correcting blindness, broken bones, and carrying scars, where I was able to use in an evening's discussion about assessing student writers and offering feedback in support of their revision.

In my vision, there was more time to meet face to face, but because of divergent school hours, much of the feedback had to be created in exchange rather than gatherings.

Yesterday, I brought several of the essays to Bassick High School and sat one on one with kids from Ubuntu Academy to go over what my graduate students had to say. We read the graduate student feedback, discussed the rubrics, then read the essays together and thought about ways to improve the writing given what their "wider" audiences had to say.

The feedback was spot on, and together we were able to think about organization, communicating with greater detail, combining sentences, and writing with authority. All the young people were anxious to rewrite their essays given the feedback received from those enrolled in my graduate class.

I brought candy canes and nectarines, and they asked me difficult questions about God, purpose, and having a role in the United States. I didn't anticipate the harder questions, but they wanted to know whey the Great Whatever chose them for an opportunity when so many others in their home nations were left behind. I did as only I know how and continually put the questions back on them. They came to a conclusion that it was 50% chance and 50% what they make of their access to an education. These are young people who want to be lawyers, social workers, and opthamologists. They are loyal to their families, their histories and new roles as soon-to-graduates.

"Can we see the photo you took, Crandall?" they asked. "We want to be sure we look good." I assured them they looked great.

In a perfect world, there'd be enough time in a semester to have the graduate students with me. "We want to thank them for all their help," they stated. I promised them I would share how they received the feedback and hopefully, with revision, I'll be able to send final drafts to them, even if it is next semester.

Wow. Is it Saturday already?

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