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Steven's Intake Assingment

I was thinking of this as informal writing assingment given to them on the first day of class. It would give me a quick sense of their writing ability and also, hopefully, get them thinking about how they feel about the news. My experience is that most undergraduates feel very guilty about not being better informed, but is this really their fault?

Write for twenty minutes about your feelings about “the news.? You may focus on a particular news story that you’ve been following or that you’re interested in knowing more about. Alternately, you can write about your relationship with “the news.? What role has it played in your life? Do you read or watch it? If so, which news sources and how often? If not, feel free to write about why not. Please try your best to write in formal English, but do not worry too much about organization.

Comments

I like this... Is 20 minutes too much? Could you get more out of them by trying to do one part of the question for seven minutes, and then another part for seven minutes, and then another part for seven minutes, so they always feel like they have more to say than they're getting down on paper?

I saw Michael Dennis Browne do this with the 1101 Intro to Creative Writing lecture, and my students really enjoyed his exercises. I think, in part, they enjoyed never being stalled out.

Anyhow, it's something I've been thinking about. The tension between letting them get it all down vs. stalling out and staring at the ceiling. Maybe it's more something to worry about for freewrite stuff.

Yes---I agree with Marcia---20 minutes might be a bit long for an in-class intake in which students are writing about a topic.

What will you do with the results? Collect them? Summarize them? Comment on them and hand them back?

This intake will get to students' initial attitudes about news, but not help you to know where they are with some of the conventions of academic writing. Would it be useful to find that out also?