Archive for ‘For the Writers’

October 29th, 2016

The L.A.S.T. Paper Model

For several years now I have been developing and using a term long paper writing model to help my students become better researchers and writers—and it is paying dividends.

  • It breaks up the tasks students need to complete into Six Steps so that I can use Specifications Grading.
  • My colleagues report that our students’ writing has improved in the higher level courses.
  • Most of all, it yields papers that are more interesting to read at the end of the semester.

Recently, while I was explaining the process to a colleague, I realized that every step of this paper process corresponds to the flow of Benjamin Bloom’s Hierarchy of Learning Model (Bloom’s Taxonomy).  So I created a visual…


February 13th, 2016

Working on my 10 commandments…

  1. Thou shalt not refer to any work of non-fiction as a “novel.” You may say text, book, work… but NEVER “novel”!
  2. Thou shalt not use “pg” or “pg.” for “page” — that abbreviation does not exist in any citation style I have ever seen. If you can find one, let me know. In APA it is “p.” for a single page and “pp.” for multiple pages. Period.
  3. To be continued…
April 17th, 2015

A page is still a page

But abbreviations for page in APA are NOT “pg”.

See this discussion on the English Language & Usage blog.

March 6th, 2015

APA questions are rolling in…

Instead of putting these responses in all the course companion websites… I am posting them here:

1. How to create a hanging indent for the APA References in your paper:

2. How to cite email correspondence in APA:

3. How to cite websites, tweets, blog posts, and other pesky sources:
Handy PDF of missings…

APA Website – examples

February 16th, 2015

What’s “good” writing?

I’m putting this here for the benefit of ALL my students, not just those who will have to write one or more papers in my classes. Instead, I will put a link to this post on all my course companion websites in the syllabi.

Walvoord, B. E.  (2014). Assessing and Improving Student Writing in College: A Guide for Institutions, General Education, Departments, and Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The expert writer:

    • Focuses the writing appropriately for the demands of the assignment, situation, and audience, whether that means constructing an argument, recommending solutions to a problem, or reporting scientific research. Uses the modes of reasoning and inquiry, as well as the conventions of correctness that are considered appropriate to the discipline, but also understands the rhetorical situatedness of those modes and their intellectual, political, and social consequences.
    • Organizes the writing in an effective way for its audiences and purposes. 
    • Locates, evaluates, integrates, and cites information from various sources. 
    • Follows ethical principles for research and writing, including collaboration with peers, use of sources (avoiding plagiarism), and ethics of the disciplines such as protecting privacy, presenting accurate data, and respecting alternative viewpoints.
    • Integrates quantitative material, charts and graphs, images, and other multimedia material as appropriate; understands, critically evaluates, and appropriately employs new technologies and new digital and multimedia forms. 
    • Produces clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs shaped for their audiences and purposes. 
    • Uses the grammar and punctuation of Edited Standard Written English (ESWE) in appropriate circumstances, such as formal academic, business, civic, and professional writing.
    • Follows productive writing processes. 
    • Collaborates effectively with others to both give and receive feedback on a writer’s emerging work. (my emphasis).

But before you can do that, you have to internalize the following:

  • See that writing is important and necessary 
  • Experience a safe, supportive, yet rigorous environment with instructors who believe in students’ ability to improve as writers
  • Read, read, read, and, more broadly, work within an interactive, language-rich environment
  • Write frequently in genres that require higher-order thinking
  • Learn to work in multimedia forms and use developing technologies
  • Get helpful guidance, feedback, and chances to revise
  • Learn mindfulness about their own writing (metacognition) and principles they can apply across contexts (again, my emphasis)

Taken from Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter #1387, February 16, 2015.

October 27th, 2013

For the writers among us…

Everyday I get an email from the Visual Thesaurus people… I love that site!

I particularly like those that my students might profit from… like today’s:

Stuff Happens Word of the Day: incidence

The most important take-home about today’s word, in view of modern usage, is that it’s a noncount noun, and so incidences are a confusion for which users probably mean incidents (plural of incident) or just incidence, which means “relative frequency.” The Latin root that gives us both words meant ‘happening.’

Visit the following URL to look up the word of the day in the Visual Thesaurus