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Pockets

Pockets

Several people have remarked of late that they wish they had pockets in their robes. Pockets are an easy thing to add to robes – so here’s my guide to adding pockets, especially for people who don’t often sew. The easiest pocket Cut a square of fabric (or a rectangle, depending on what size/shape pocket you want) Fold over the edges and iron them down When all the edges are ironed place it against the inside of your robe, wherever…

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The Unessay

The Unessay

I did not come up with the concept of The Unessay – I first saw the concept on Christopher Jones’ twitter back in April of 2017 and was wowed by the work his students were producing.  Since then, I’ve had at least one class per term that have done unessays instead of final papers or exams, and I could not be more in love with the practice.  Yet the unessay can seem daunting to some at the outset, and I…

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Timelining Mythologies

Timelining Mythologies

There’s rarely a time in my classes where my students read something or hear something for its own sake.  Instead, the reading or listening is a first step in some bigger activity that asks them to take the information they’ve learned and apply it a some new way, making decisions about the significance of events, people, and actions.  One example of this kind of processing is to have students build a collective timeline. Yesterday, in Power and Inequity in America…

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FAQ: Content Warnings

FAQ: Content Warnings

This FAQ is written from my perspective as an educator and as someone with complex PTSD.  It does not constitute medical advice; I am not a medical professional. Content Warnings: Frequently Asked Questions What is a content (or trigger) warning? A content warning alerts students that there is potentially traumatizing subject matter in a reading, a film, other educational materials, or in an upcoming discussion or lecture. Why do people ask for content warnings? Individuals who have been traumatized (by…

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Having Students Teach

Having Students Teach

There’s an old adage that to know something really well you have to teach it, an adage that’s backed up by countless studies about the concept of retrieval practice.  Retrieval practice is the act of having students pull information from memory – ideas they’ve studied on their own, things they’ve read, something they heard, or data they learned in a previous class session, for example, and applying that information in a new way.  By remembering information – by retrieving it…

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Academia is Ableist

Academia is Ableist

There’s a conversation happening on Twitter right now about accommodations in college classrooms for students with disabilities.  Many people have articulated beautifully why accommodations are not just a matter of law, but of justice, ethics, and professional responsibility.  But there’s one more big piece of this that I think we’re missing. Institutions of higher education in the United States are inherently ableist.  The ways in which we typically assess student learning are predicated on being able-bodied and neurotypical.  It’s not…

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The Tyranny of the To-Do List

The Tyranny of the To-Do List

I’m someone who needs to-do lists. If I try to carry around everything I need to do in my brain alone I forget things (including deadlines), and I feel a tremendous pressure to not forget things, which is a terrible one-two punch. I’m constantly searching my memory for things I know I’m not keeping track of, and when I do remember those things it’s usually somewhere inconvenient – the shower; in bed as I’m falling asleep; at the grocery store….

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Why They Can’t Write

Why They Can’t Write

I picked up John Warner’s Why They Can’t Write : Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities after hearing good things about it from colleagues, and following John himself on twitter.  I quite frankly longed to be told why my students found writing challenging.  (There is much I can intuit about my students’ habits, and still more I suspect, but there are limits to both.)  I thought the book would be a brief accounting of someone’s faults (students, faculty, administrators…

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Revisiting the First Day

Revisiting the First Day

I was lucky enough to be part of a panel at the AHA last week that talked about formative assessment – assessment that provides an instructor with an opportunity to see what students are learning and provide them with feedback mid-stream, usually separate from the act of awarding a grade. I talked about SOCC, a structured way of teaching my students how to analyze primary sources that doubles as a formative assessment method. You can read all about the panel…

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