No Room at the Torso Inn

Ugh. It's 1:25 in the afternoon and I haven't eaten anything yet today, but I still don't feel the least bit hungry. My abdomen shouldn't be this huge until, like, March. I went to a lovely party last night and ate a fair amount of food from the spread my friends had, and then upon eating it, I had a lot of discomfort, like I was about to explode.

So today I'm thinking that however yummy many different foods may sound to me, especially a pulled pork BBQ sandwich with hot sauce, a big salad from a salad bar, apples, pears, and more of those candy buckeyes from last night, I am SO UNCOMFORTABLE that I don't want to do anything that will result in MORE space being taken up in my torso.

For Christmas, I would like several more inches of skin, plz.

Grace Zabriskie: Quite Possibly the Most Underrated Actress Ever

Having seen Grace Zabriskie in at least three phenomenal performances -- Twin Peaks, Big Love, and Inland Empire -- I suspected she was probably underrated. Then I looked her up on IMDB and found under awards only this: one nomination for a Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress in Inland Empire. What?! She deserves at least an Emmy for Big Love, an Academy Award for Inland Empire (she's that good), and consideration for some kind of retroactive Emmy for Twin Peaks. That is all.


Not sure if it works, really, but it's been stuck in my mind:

Facebook : social software :: the diamond journey pendant : jewelry.

Both are very popular but not anything special. I realize Facebook has a lot of fans, but I must just not get it, or something. It doesn't seem to have the potential for cleverness, spontaneity, or appropriation that a space like FARK does. The architecture is too "Select which action you want to do!" and predetermined. "Oooh, I could throw a cake at someone, or I could make meatpie of someone, or spit game at someone!" Facebook, to me, is like a feeble translation of an online community for those who have no idea what online communities are. Or have I not given Facebook enough of a chance?

Syllabus for Composition Pedagogy Course

I banged out a draft of my syllabus for the course I'm teaching next semester, which is a required composition pedagogy course. I'd like some feedback on it, especially on the following:

1. arrangement of the topics
2. reading selections.
3. spreading out of assignments
4. "uh, you are so totally not going to feel like doing that so close to delivering a baby (due May 2!)."

First let me provide some background on the course itself and its place in the graduate curriculum. Students typically take this course (English 501) before they start teaching FYC. It's meant both to introduce them to the major ideas in composition pedagogy and to prepare them for teaching their own classes.

Then, when they do start teaching, they take another course: English 509, which is the practicum. It's intended to be a very practical discussion of problems graduate students are facing in class, situations they're not sure how to handle, activities they try and how those go, etc. I taught 509 this fall.

Also, there's a course (not required) called Modern Composition Theory, which is not a special topics course, though I don't believe there's anything stopping us from focusing on a couple of ideas in depth throughout the semester. I mention this one because it has informed my thinking as I'm preparing my English 501 course; I don't want the two to overlap too much.

I'm using the second edition of Cross -Talk and the Guide as the course texts, and here are my assignments as I've envisioned them now (students are now the audience I'm addressing):

Reading Presentation: Pair up with another student, and select an article from one of the books that isn’t already on the syllabus. Assign it to the class to read, and lead the class discussion that day.

Weekly Reading Responses: These will be posted to the course web site each Friday by midnight. I intend these to be syntheses and evaluations of the reading selections from the past week.

Teaching Philosophy Statement (of Intent): 2-3 pages, double-spaced. [NOTE: the students in my 509 course had to write a teaching philosophy statement when they took 501, and they said that it was more like a statement of intent since they hadn't taught before, and I like that so I decided to implement that as the name of the assignment.]

Class Participation: I will distribute discussion questions for each reading assignment. These will be directed toward classroom practice; for example, I might ask how you would use the ideas in the article to design a writing assignment or draft classroom policies on your syllabus.

Annotated Syllabus: This is a syllabus for a first-year writing course that you will annotate with your rationales for each section. [NOTE: hopefully the choices made in the syllabus design will be informed by material in the reading.]

(No longer addressing students.) Here's the schedule. Yes, this class meets three days a week. Perhaps I should have been more vocal in trying to get that changed, but oh well. It will be good experience for me to be disciplined in my planning and management of class time. Dates reflect class cancellations for Mardi Gras (yuh-huh, we get three days off!), Spring Break, and CCCC.

Class Schedule (subject to change)

Week 1: Introductions

23 January: Introduction to course: History of composition studies, assumptions about teaching writing
25 January: James Berlin, “Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories”

Week 2: Process and Post-Process Pedagogy

28 January: Donald Murray, “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product”
30 January: Lad Tobin, “Process Pedagogy”
1 February: Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, “Post-Process ‘Pedagogy’: A Philosophical Exercise”

Week 3: Rhetorical Pedagogy

8 February: William A. Covino, “Rhetorical Pedagogy”

Week 4: Collaborative Pedagogy

11 February: Kenneth A. Bruffee, “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind’”
13 February: John Trimbur, “Consensus and Difference in Collaborative Learning”
15 February: Rebecca Moore Howard, “Collaborative Pedagogy”

Week 5: Cognitive Theory and Teaching Writing

18 February: Linda Flower and John R. Hayes, “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing”
20 February: Mike Rose, “Narrowing the Mind and Page: Remedial Writers and Cognitive Reductionism”
22 February: Attend panel at the Louisiana Conference on Language and Literature [NOTE: I'm moderating this]:

Crossing Boundaries: Exploring New Pedagogical Sites
• Nathan Shepley (Ohio University) Composition Borderlands: Contextualizing Writing Processes through Considerations of Place
• Suzan Aiken and David McClure (Bowling Green State University) (Re)Signifying the Composition Classroom Space: Acknowledging the
(De)Centering Myth
• Adeline J. Smith (University of Texas at Austin) The Importance of the Body as a Place in Literature for Transgendered Adolescents
• Daniel Eiland, (Louisiana State University) Distance Learning Frameworks: Using Multiple Technologies to Inspire Community

Week 6: Critical Pedagogy

25 February: Maxine Hairston, “Diversity, Ideology, and Teaching Writing”
27 February: James Berlin, “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class”
29 February: Ann George, “Critical Pedagogy”

Week 7: Creating a Syllabus

3 March: The Function of the Syllabus
5 March: Review and Discussion of Sample Syllabi
7 March: The Syllabus and the Teaching Persona

Week 8: Reading Presentations

10 March: Reading Presentations
12 March: Reading Presentations
14 March: Reading Presentations

Week 9: Reading Presentations

17 March: Reading Presentations
19 March: Reading Presentations

Week 10: Reading Presentations

31 March: Reading Presentations

Week 11: Drafting a Teaching Philosophy Statement (of Intent)

7 April: The Function of the Teaching Philosophy Statement
[DUE: Annotated Syllabus]
9 April: Review and Discussion of Sample Teaching Philosophy Statements
11 April: Review and Discussion of Sample Teaching Portfolios

Week 12: Technology and Teaching Writing

14 April: Technology: Praise and Blame
16 April: Chris Anson, “Distant Voices: Teaching and Writing in a Culture of Technology”
18 April: Charles Moran, “Technology and the Teaching of Writing”

Week 13: Writing in the Institutional Context

21 April: Mike Rose, “The Language of Exclusion: Writing Instruction at the University”
23 April: David Bartholomae, “Inventing the University”
25 April: Richard E. Miller, “The Arts of Complicity: Pragmatism and the Culture of Schooling” [final Weekly Reading Response due]

Week 14: Literature in the Composition Class [NOTE: Here I'm thinking I'd bring in guest speakers]

28 April: TBA
30 April: TBA
2 May: TBA

Week 15: TBA [Work on teaching philosophy statements as it's likely that the prof will be in the hospital?]

5 May:
7 May:
9 May: DUE: Teaching Philosophy Statement (of Intent)

In Transition

I've been quiet all semester almost, huh? Well, as many of you know by now if you look at my photographs on Flickr, I have been in the family way for 20 weeks now. Our son is due to get here on May 2. It makes for sparse blogging, I guess, because while my mind has been racing, it's been with thoughts I doubt anyone would really find interesting, such as:

1. Are family members going to respect my birth plan, the first sentence and main point of which says that besides hospital staff, I want only Jonathan to be there?

2. I'm feeling movement, but not as much as I would like to feel.

3. I am terrified of gaining over 25 pounds, or too much weight that I can't lose or that would be very hard to lose. I write down what I eat every day just to be mindful of it and what I weigh every morning, and I dread looking on the scale and possibly seeing that I've gained more than the one-pound-per-week during the second and third trimesters guideline.

4. Am I going to be able to go to CCCC and do my presentation at 36 weeks? Certainly I wouldn't be able to if the conference were held anywhere else this year.

5. Will I freak out once he's born? Will I be put on anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants? My fear is not so much that I'll be put on meds, but rather that I won't get put on meds despite feeling that I need them.

6. Will I ever get over the paralysis of fear that I already feel? I already suspect that I absolutely will not be able to STAND it if other people ask to hold the baby. I especially don't want them to bounce him.

7. Will people, especially family, respect my requests regarding baby gifts if they want to give us anything? Will they stick to organic baby soap and lotion because I don't want to expose him to parabens and dioxin and junk just yet? Will they buy only toys vetted by this site or something like it? Will they get gender-neutral clothes and toys even though we know the gender, because we'll want to reuse them for subsequent children? Will they not buy any clothing with writing on it, since that's kind of a personal preference of ours?

Sigh. What we have here is a bit of a neurosis dump. Thanks for reading, but be warned that there may be more of the same to come.

(I really am very very happy about this! We've been wanting a child for quite some time.)

Trivial Sci-Fi TV Post

I love the Star Trek Fan Collective compilation DVD sets of episodes from the various series centered on given themes. I own the Borg one, and I've just bought the time travel one. I'd like the one on Klingons, but I'm less interested in the fan collective about Q and the "captain's log" one.

Also, I feel like I have a gaping hole in my life that only the fourth season of The 4400 can fill. WHEN is that coming out on DVD?

How terrible am I

for thinking this article is hilarious?

My attempt at NaBloPoMo

Sorry folks. Thanksgiving weekend, for me, was spent at my parents' house in Alabama, and it was like I was a Borg drone in a regeneration cycle. (Regeneration cycle incomplete, BTW.) I hope to do better in the future, though.

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