English 790: Practicum and Pro-Seminar in the Teaching of Writing

For New Instructors of English 100

Fall 2016 (Sept. 8-Oct. 27)

Section 01: Thursday, 9:30-10:45, 6172 Helen C. White
Section 02: Thursday, 1:00-2:15, 6172

Morris Young, Director                                                                     6187C HCW                                msyoung4@wisc.edu
Stephanie Larson, Senior Assistant Director                       6189B HCW                                 srlarson5@wisc.edu
Elisa Findlay, Assistant Director                                                  6189B HCW                             elisa.findlay@wisc.edu

Class e-mail lists:
New TAs: newstaff-100@lists.services.wisc.edu
All Staff: comp-100@lists.services.wisc.edu

Shared Materials: In English 100 Instructor Materials BOX, “Fall 2016 English 790 Materials”


Designed to support, inspire, and assist instructors during their first semester in the English 100 program, this pro­seminar aims to create a productive community where instructors and the course directors can discuss teaching experiences, especially as they relate to the teaching of writing. Our meetings will rely on the expertise and contributions of all participants. You will be asked to think critically, reflectively, and deeply about your work as teachers of writing, and you will receive guidance in working with the course structure and materials. Some time will be spent helping you develop assignments that reflect both the program’s and your own goals for student learning. Other key topics will likely include portfolio assessment, providing feedback that supports student learning, and developing strategies for active learning. Reading and writing in the course will be practical and reflective.

Each section will be team­ taught with one of the assistant directors. Textbooks will be provided by the English 100 program: English 100 Instructors’ Guide (2016­17 edition) and The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing (7th ed.).

All new instructors attend meetings of the practicum/proseminar and complete the same work. Participants who enroll in English 790 will earn one credit for this course. (The grade is pass/fail.)

  • To support instructors who are teaching English 100 for the first time, by providing guidance as they work with required course elements and the model syllabus.
  • To provide opportunities for instructors to support each other, by talking through teaching experiences, sharing lessons, and working with feedback.
  • To provide instructors with pedagogical and theoretical grounding for the teaching of writing.
  • To foster an approach to the teaching of writing where instructors see themselves as teacher­-researchers who construct knowledge about their own teaching by reflecting on their experiences, including interactions with students and with student writing.
  • To foster an appreciation for the pleasures of teaching a writing course.
  • To have instructors learn something about who they are as teachers of writing and as writers.
An Approach to Discussion

Connecting to these course objectives, we aim to build understandings and generate a set of ideas together that will serve the individuals in this proseminar as they develop productive approaches to the teaching of writing. To build understandings doesn’t require us to agree or disagree with one another. Rather, we must all commit ourselves to comment and discuss generously in an effort to move our thinking and our practices further along. This attitude of generosity asks us to comment and discuss in a generative way, one that pushes us to consider how, why, and in what ways our colleagues approach the teaching of writing as they do. To foster a community of teachers where each person is developing his or her own pedagogical identity requires this attunement to generous discussion—through both listening and speaking.


Share a Teaching Resource. All practicum participants will sign up for a day to make a brief (5 minute) presentation on a lesson plan, short assignment or other teaching resource used this semester in their English 100 section. Presentations will connect to course learning outcomes and include practical advice. You may also address or raise questions about pedagogy or theory in relation to your resource. The resource will be posted on English 100’s LessonShare within one week of presenting it. Presentations begin September 15.

Teaching Narrative and Calendar for Sequences 2 and 3. The practicum will provide an opportunity for you to workshop the second two assignment sequences for your course before you upload your calendar to BOX. As you draft each sequence, you’ll compose an informal narrative to tell its story. What’s the journey of the sequence ­­ where will students begin and where will they end up? What kind of intellectual work will be accomplished? How do you expect students to engage with sources while they’re writing? Composing your narrative and sharing it in a small group of your peers will allow you to practice how you’ll articulate goals and make sense of it for your students. Include descriptions of your writing assignments. You may use any form or media to present the narrative/calendar to your workshop group, but plan to bring some kind of artifact to share (print, PP, infographic, etc.). See course calendar for due dates.


Week 1, September 8

Topic: First weeks. What have you learned about your students?

Establishing and connecting expectations for your class and for college writing Resources in BOX:

  • “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing”
  • “Comm A Criteria (2012)”

Suggested readings that could be helpful at this time in your teaching:

  • Murray, “The Teaching Craft: Telling, Listening, Revealing” pp. 305-­08
  • “Everyday Activities,” in St. Martin’s Guide, pp. 59­-94

Week 2, September 15

Topic: Commenting, editing, and revision as rhetorical practices

Bring to our meeting:

  • Two pieces of student writing with different feedback needs from your current class.

To read or review before we meet:

  • Shapiro, “How to Talk with a Student Who Isn’t There,” from Another Word, from the WritingCenter of the University of Wisconsin­ Madison 
  • Instructors’ Guide, pp. 101­-104 (on conferencing)
  • Sommers, “Responding to Student Writing,” in St. Martin’s Guide, pp. 333­-41

Other suggested readings that could be helpful at this time in your teaching:

  • “Teaching Arrangement and Form” in St. Martin’s Guide, pp. 186­-210
  • Lunsford and Lunsford, “‘Mistakes Are a Fact of Life’: A National Comparative Study” in St. Martin’s Guide, pp. 342­-64

Week 3, September 22

Topic: Sequence 2 Workshop

Bring to our meeting:

  • A draft of your Sequence 2 narrative and calendar to share with a workshop group. (print or electronic copies)

To read or review before we meet:

  • Instructors’ Guide, pp. 28-­34 (Grading and Assessment)
  • Sift & Winnow modules

Week 4, September 29

Submit Sequence 2 calendar and narrative to BOX by 9/29

Topic: Portfolios and Assessment

Bring to our meeting:

  • One student portfolio from your class, along with your Sequence 1 Writing Project assignment. (Plan ahead—if you will be returning portfolios before this date, make a copy of one for use during this meeting.)

To read or review before we meet:

Week 5, October 6

Topic: Choices and strategies for teaching voice and style, especially when working with sources. (How do we think about “teaching grammar” in this context?)

Bring to our meeting:

  • Both strong and challenging examples of student writing where students are working to integrate sources and/or establishing ethos in other ways

To read before we meet:

  • St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing, pp. 211­-233 (on teaching style)
  • Roberts, “How to Say Nothing in Five Hundred Words” in CCC, pp. 152-­64

Week 6, October 13

Topic: Student presentations, multimodal assignments, audience (and classroom) engagement

Bring to our meeting:

  • Draft of a presentation or multimodal assignment

To read or watch before we meet:

  • Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole, Introduction (on Box)

Week 7, October 20

Topic: Teaching the art of quotation, paraphrase, and synthesis. Approaches to plagiarism.

To read or watch before we meet:

  • Gladwell, “Something Borrowed” in CCC, pp. 73-­86

Week 8, October 27

Topic: Sequence 3 Workshop

Bring to our meeting:

  • A draft of your Sequence 3 narrative and calendar to share with a workshop group. (print or electronic copies)

To read or review before we meet:

  • TBD

Submit Sequence 3 calendar and narrative to BOX by 10/31