planning for WR 121 with “becalmed sailors”

It’s already Wednesday night of orientation week. (Me, Julie, and Peter are helping Sara train/orient the new TAs). I’m fairly stressed, but not half as much as I worried I’d be (or one-fourth as much as I was last Fall when I was new to OSU). I guess I’m stressed enough, though, since I’m not sleeping much lately (just too much on my mind, I guess). But I expect that to improve. I hope.

I think I’m STARTING to get a decent feel for the outline, the course of the whole course (WR 121), what happens when, etc. Still not exactly sure what I’m going to do on the first day — I mean, specifically how I’m going to have the students introduce themselves (how I’m going to have them “break their ice,” as Peter says),  what writing I’ll have them do in class, and what their first writing homework will be. But I’m close. I hope. ;-)

I like Julie’s idea of having the second (informal) homework be something re “What would you do in education, what would you major in, what would you study, if you could do anything else other than what you’re doing?” (except of course for the UESP (University Exploratory Studies Program) students who are undecided as it is)… because I can then use this homework/freewrite to help students decide what to do their research paper on… a way to avoid fall-back (and therefore over-done) topics like abortion, steroids in baseball, etc.

I was just going over the assignment sheet for Essay #1, and it occured to me one early activity could be simply going over the terms “synthesis” and “thesis” and “thematic.”  The essay assignment is titled a “thematic synthesis” and students are supposed to practice “extracting a theme from close readings, juxtaposing positions, [and] creating a thesis.”

And now for something completely different…  I have this “Wizardology” calendar in my bathroom. It’s very Harry Potter-esque, and I love the drawings, the text about things like “Jupiter Amulets” and Gryphons, and the cool pre-1700 fonts/printing style. Anyway, this morning I read about “Wind-Knots”

Some unscrupulous wizards make money at ports and harbours selling wind knots. Each time a knot is untied, a wind blows to aid becalmed sailors. The strength and direction of the wind cannot be predicted.

I like that. I like the phrase “to aid becalmed sailors.” What a cool word – becalmed. It’s at once a positive-sounding word (because “calm” is usually a desired state of being) and a negative one (because sailors require wind). And the whole description is just fun. I love the last sentence, too — “The strength and direction of the wind cannot be predicted.” Heheh, it conveys how, hey, these wind-knots are taken very seriously, and since they are, one must be warned about their limitations. Yes! Don’t buy your wind-knots from just any old wizard,  now.


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