One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings

Every Friday since Columbine, one schoolteacher has asked her students to to submit a list. Who would they like to sit next to next week? Who has been an exceptional classroom citizen this week? Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little…

An Hour of Monastic Silence in Media Studies Class (plus an awesome drum solo)

I announced that my 300-level Media and Culture class would spend an hour in monastic silence, collaborating on a Google Doc. I expected the students would understand I was helping them get into the mood to appreciate the 14th century setting of The Name of the Rose. What I didn’t expect was an awesome drum solo. I had already encouraged my students to approach The Name of the Rose the…

‘A slow-motion disaster’: Journalism museum in talks about possible building sale

Last year, SHU did not sponsor a bus trip to Washington D.C., so I did not arrange a field trip to the Newseum. Seeing a chunk of the Berlin Wall, an antenna from the World Trade Center in front of a display of 9/11 front pages from around the world, Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski’s cabin, and historical printing presses were highlights for me. This humble educator did think that the building…

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What Grammar and Style Checkers Miss

Teaching students to write does not mean correcting their errors, or even preventing them from making errors. While I’m grateful that autocorrect catches most of my typographical errors, I have so far been unimpressed by software tools that aim to check grammar and style. Most of my students are pretty good readers and writers; if they are familiar with the material, when given a prompt they can churn out a…

You come very close to successfully combining argument and explication here…

I recently came across a box of old writing, including a binder where I had saved some undergraduate papers.   When returning a Beowulf paper for a Brit Lit survey, my instructor had stapled a page of hand-written notes that began, “You come very close to successfully combining argument and explication here, much closer than most papers in the class.”   What I’m asking my students to do is not…