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Do You Really Wanna Grade That? Practical Questions for Assignment Design

When I was in 8th grade, my English Teacher assigned a research paper. I think it was only 5-8 pages, honestly. I can’t remember the exact numbers. It was, though, the longest research paper any of us had written for a class up to that point, and the class was, in a word, shook. OnContinue reading “Do You Really Wanna Grade That? Practical Questions for Assignment Design”

Memento Mori: A Visit to Beech Grove

Something that is safe and pleasant right now is to take a walk in your local cemetery. In a twist that runs contrary to every impulse most people have, the living are dangerous right now, but the dead? Perfectly safe. Cemeteries used to be popular gathering places, no different than other parks. People would haveContinue reading “Memento Mori: A Visit to Beech Grove”

How To Decide To Cut A Scene: A Heuristic for Writers

Almost every fiction writer has heard “kill your darlings” and “show don’t tell.” These pithy sayings get repeated so much that they lose a lot of meaning and they’re frankly a little annoying, because they don’t really help writers know when to kill darlings, or which darlings to kill, or what to show and notContinue reading “How To Decide To Cut A Scene: A Heuristic for Writers”

About Those Staggered Due Dates…

Previously I wrote about my scheme this semester to stagger due dates by having students sign up for a date during a “due week,” and reported that it was doing pretty well. I wrote too soon. As you may have surmised, time simply has no meaning anymore. Even self-selected due dates became meaningless when myContinue reading “About Those Staggered Due Dates…”

Whom Do You Write For?

One of the hardest questions that authors get asked perhaps too seldom is “Who are you writing for?” It’s also, perhaps, the most important. More important even than “Why are you writing?” or “What are you writing?” Writing without an audience just doesn’t work. The audience completes the text, you see. Sure, the author mayContinue reading “Whom Do You Write For?”

In Defense of the Unfinished Project

In my family, I’m known as the finisher of projects. My mother has given me a number of projects—some started before I was born!—and I’ve finished many of them for her. I have a reputation for getting things done, for being cunning and not even attempting something until I’ve made a plan for its executionContinue reading “In Defense of the Unfinished Project”

Redundancy Is Good Praxis

I just got done setting up the second online module for my formerly face-to-face classes. When we all were preparing to go online, I knew I had some advantages: I’ve done this before (in fact, I’ve been plundering some of my previous online classes’ resources to help the shift), and I know from experience thatContinue reading “Redundancy Is Good Praxis”

The Lamb Said Meow

Here’s a fun little fairy tale suitable to read aloud to kids. It was time for the annual animal assembly, where the animals agreed every year on rules for the animal kingdom. All the animals were there, and there was such a noise! No one could hear each other over all the sounds, so theContinue reading “The Lamb Said Meow”

Facing Mistakes: What Being Mature Means

On a recent Sunday, I woke up 7 minutes after I was supposed to be at choir rehearsal. This is, of course, my greatest fear in life. Not missing choir rehearsal specifically, but the thing I dread most, literally the thing that keeps me awake at night, is being late to social obligations. This isContinue reading “Facing Mistakes: What Being Mature Means”

The Good, The Bad, and The Covid-19

Yesterday, Ball State University announced that we will be suspending in-person classes for the remainder of the semester, effective Monday. I wasn’t surprised, honestly, and I’m actually a little relieved. I’m not given to panic. But I know I’ve been dragging lately, and honestly the requirement to entirely change my teaching strategy overnight excites me.Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, and The Covid-19”