Questions to ask your students on the first day
Asking students about their writing experiences on the first day allows you to learn about them as writers, while also conveying how important writing is to you. Ideally, the conversations that emerge will set the stage for ongoing dialogues and explorations about the relationship among their reading, their writing, and their learning.
You might have students first write their responses to some of the questions below, or you might invite them to address the questions as part of their first assignment. You can respond individually, in writing, or in a conference or use the responses as a springboard into class discussion, as a whole or in groups.
- What are you really good at? (This does not have to be something that is academic.)
- What do you hope to contribute to this class?
- Which of the following do you have? For each, please indicate how often during the day you check and/or post to it: Facebook; Twitter; your own blog (please provide URL); TikTok; Snapchat; Instagram; Any other social media (list)
- If you were seeking another reader for a draft you wrote at Wheaton, where could you go? (List as many possibilities as you can think of/discover.)
- What do you read?
- What do you watch? What do you listen to?
- What do you write?
- What do you compose (e.g. videos, memes, etc.) ?
- What, for you, is the most difficult aspect of writing? What is the easiest part of writing?
- Do you enjoy writing? Why or why not?
- What kinds of responses to your writing are most helpful? Which are least helpful?
- Do you know where you can go to get help with your writing?
- What do you hope to gain from this class?
Writing faculty are available to offer the following workshops to any class.
We also take requests! E-mail Professor Lisa Lebduska, Director of College Writing (firstname.lastname@example.org), to request a workshop or to suggest additional topics.
Invention and Planning
- Finding and Shaping a Thesis
- Brainstorming, Mapping, Outlining, Conversing
- Role of Audience, Purpose and Genre in Reading and Writing
- Rhetorical Appeals: Using Ethos, Pathos and Logos
Developing, Supporting and Organizing and Drafting
- Constructing and Shaping an Argument
- Assessing and Incorporating Evidence in an Argument
- The Roles of Electronic Discourse in Writing Processes
- Summarizing, Quoting and Paraphrasing
- Critical Thinking and the Researched Argument
- Effective Paragraphs in Argument Essays
- Effective Introductions and Conclusions
Revising and Reflecting
- Reflective cover letters
- Providing feedback to other writers (peer review; class workshop)
- Writing collaboratively: Process, Planning, Drafting
- AI Syllabi Language Heuristic
- Classroom Policies for Generative AI Tools (varying approaches, drafted by faculty)
- Digital Writing Lesson Plans
- Online Research
- Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: Best Practices
- Working with ESL Writers
- Writing Handouts (OER)
- Addressing Issues of Writing Style
- Designing Writing Assignments to Engage
- Sequencing Writing Assignments
- Managing the Paper Load
- Sample Rubrics
- Critical Thinking with Sources Rubric
- Using Writing in Large Classes
Readings for Students
“Finding the Good Argument OR Why Bother with Logic”
“From Topic to Presentation: Making Choices to Develop Your Writing”
“How to Read Like a Writer”