I’m gushing over Writing Spaces, and I don’t care who knows it. I can love a book about writing damn it. Well, it’s a book that could be a book but doesn’t have to be a book…and this might be the most fabulous part about Writing Spaces.
At my university, we’re using Writing Spaces texts to help teach writing… in classes where writing is the subject. Success so far. Teachers of writing classes from FYC to basic writing to junior-level writing courses are reporting that students like what they are reading and are finding the chapters helpful in many ways. Teachers are looking forward to the second volume coming out in December.
We have shared the WS link with our WAC/WID colleagues who are just this year undergoing training for incorporating writing into content classes across the curriculum/disciplines. We feel that multiple essays from Vol. 1 will prove to be indispensable to our colleagues and their students. I’m really excited to think about mathematics instruction using these essays–in our basic writing program overhaul this spring, I want to use some of these essays in conjunction with experiments in linking basic math and basic writing instruction. These essays will also help us teach our basic writers to be teachers of basic writing to each other and younger children via video tutorials. We hope to connect with local and international elementary-aged students through our online writing/learning portal. The reading component will be based on long-time successful partnerships between college students and elementary students (like those of Write to Succeed’s Writing Partners program I and some grad school friends started in the late 1990s).
We are also using WS, Vol. 1 in a dual-enrollment course so high school students are reading texts intended for the college student writer. Next semester–no publishing house text, only a handbook and WS, Vol. 1 and 2. Students like reading about writing and reading essays written for college students.
This spring we’ll also use selected chapters to support a new series of informational/teaching sessions on college writing for our community: students and parents come to campus for AUM Writing Night. They are escorted to different rooms: students read, think, and write with writing teachers. Parents brainstorm how they can be effective supporters for their children who will be learning how to be college writers with more writing teachers. Everyone gets something to write about; everyone gets a little refreshment; everyone gets to “take” home an open educational resource “textbook” they can study to truly get ready for the coming college writing years. Based on the initial feedback from the dual classes, we suspect this will be a fantastic series.
Next summer, I’ll be using WS, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 to teach an NSF grant-supported Bridge Course (along with a handbook). I can easily ask my students to read some chapters before actually entering the program. I think it’s going to be spectacular. One task: determine which pieces they will take with them to college to use, why, and name that collection of their own design.
Do you honestly think I wouldn’t use WS Vol. 1 and 2 in my grad writing across the curriculum class next summer? I have to do it. And my students will love it because they will take their learning and these essays from my classroom to their classrooms where they’ll teach: science, math, education, health, geology, social studies, psychology, and whatever.
Our illustrious Learning Center writing tutors are beginning to use Writing Spaces for prescriptions. Being able to recommend a reading to students to help in their research phase, or invention phase, is a powerful tool for consultation. Happy, Happy LC.
I used to dream of a project like this. And here it is. Some dreams do come true.