DU

Video Killed the Paper Star (Part II)

In the first of these VKPS posts, I discussed and showed the Grammar Video Lesson assignment. Of course, you can surely see, lovely lurkers, how this assignment could work quite well in any class subject, any field.

The second way I encourage video projects instead of writing is in the Reading Response. Now, as a prof of the humanities, I perforce assign lots of reading to my students. I curate the reading carefully, and I always ask for a Reading Response (with a few specific guidelines as far as what I’d like to see in their responses). Basically, I want to see that they’ve done the reading, and I want to know what they think about it. More: I want them to connect the readings to other stuff they’re doing, and synthesize it within the rest of their scholarly (and other) experiences.

The Reading Responses (oh, and these are for ALL my courses, not just the ones on writing) usually end up being a few paragraphs of sloppy writing and an accompanying image up on a blog (my assigning blog creation for classes is a whole ‘nother post). But I always give the students the vlog option. Which is simply that they can record a video of their reading response in lieu of a written one, and they post it the same way they would a written response.

Surprisingly, not many students opt for the video version of this, but two students in particular found the option invaluable.

Nate’s writing skill wasn’t top notch, but his immersion in the stage combat class material was. He would ruminate on the readings into his phone while walking through campus, interspersing his thoughts with footage from class, making for an engaging, thoughtful, and thorough response. I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much from a written response from him, and he also got interested in video composition, adding these skills to his technological knowledge in classes. There’s a technology requirement in all general ed courses (which this one wasn’t), which is another reason why assigning videos is a good thing in the comp courses. Here are two examples of Nate’s work from advanced stage combat at Metro. These were from a few years ago, so if you wonder at the video quality, that’s why.

the final over view from Nathan Taves on Vimeo.

Another interview with me and suported by the club. from Nathan Taves on Vimeo.

Jackson is a Composition student of mine. Now these classes are all about writing essays, and for him, writing is a major struggle. So when I gave him the vlog option for the reading responses, he jumped at the chance to have some assignments that didn’t involve writing. Thing is, when he shared his notes for his video responses with me, it was apparent that his understanding of the reading was complete, and when you see his videos, you can hear yourself how intelligent and on top of the material he is. If I had not given him the option to respond with video instead of writing, you better believe I wouldn’t have been able to tell this.

Reading Response Chapter 1 from Jackson Stallings on Vimeo.

Reading response ch 14 from Jackson Stallings on Vimeo.

So there you have it. Two instances of video assignments working well for higher education. That’s not to mention the read-aloud assignment for Children’s Literature…..

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Musings Upon a New (ish) Semester

Well fuck. 

I use invective, lovely lurkers, with conscience and reason. Why I just used one of the words that would make my movie Rated R in America is that I just saw that the last post on this blog was posted in, like, mid-August. Seriously, what the fuck? Why do you tolerate this kind of behavior from me, huh? Are you all so busy reading Parallel Bars that you can’t be bothered? Can’t say I blame you, truth be told…

So I’m jogging in the reins of Week 4 at both Metro and Front Range, Week 2 of Regis, and the verrrry beginning of Week 1 at DU. And lemme tell ya about the cool shit that’s happening at all those fine institutions (okay, I’m going with this invective thing):

At Metro: I’m teaching that online Staging Cultures course I’ve told you about before. It’s a really good reading list, lovely lurkers. Let me know if you want it. I’m also doing a MW (that’s Monday & Wednesday, kids) Intro to Theatre, which is a delightful gen ed course I haven’t done in a while. Man are those First Year Success students bright eyed and enthusiastically bushy tailed! They’re just about to embark on their historical presentation projects AND their Raisin in the Sun unit, so wow how much good material can we stomach at 11am? A lot, apparently. Youthful energy, I’m tellin ya…

Beginning Stage Combat over at Metro is Friday mornings as is usual, but as is not usual, it’s SO FULL YOU GUYS! There’s, like, 24 or something people in it, and they’re all lovely young talented energetic insane theatre majors and I am having so much fun and getting so old…. They’re just about to start choreographing their Unarmed fights, and I could not be more excited!

At Regis: I have two lovely and talented grad students doing a one on one Writing the Novel course w me; and one other lovely and talented grad student doing my own self-constructed YA Literature course (one on one, natch. It’s nearly always one on one at Regis). It’s going to be some stellar writing, which will only make me wish I had more time to work on my own work….

At Front Range: it’s two evening courses: a Comp I and a Comp II. The former is revising their Mini-Essays as we speak (Er, as I type), and you know what that means! That’s right: the Mini-Essay Contest winner post is imminent! Let’s hope it’s not the next one, as I need to be more frequent than that here….

Comp II as is usual these days for me, functions under a theme of Creativity and Innovation. They just finished their (quite high quality) Elevator Pitches, and now have just been introduced to the Analyzing An Image essay, which is where they pick an ad or psa and analyze it in essay format. Should be some good reading.

And finally,

At DU: Children’s Literature started today! As my ancient, steam-powered laptop decided to become a doorstop recently, it was quite the challenge to get that course shell updated and ready to go for a fresh crop of Professional Writing graduate students. But I am nothing if not diligent. And, yes, I have a lot of work to do still, but hey at least it’s up and functioning, and thanks to the SO, I have a brand spanking new refurbished box I can now use to get everything even more ship-shape. Thanks to that generous soul…

Oh but that’s not all! I also continue to have professional endeavors:

Bronze Fox Burlesque is doing their next show at License no.1 under the loose theme of Clue (the movie) and murder mysteries in general. I am mulling over choreography for a duet and a new solo right now…

Metro is doing The Country Wife in a couple weeks, a ribald comedy of no manners at all, and I am consulting the period movement as well as choreographing and directing a raucous chick fight with fans. And maybe fisticuffs.

I’m still writing for Parallel Bars and Your Boulder, editing the SO’s spectacular new book, and I’m just now starting to think I could remount my Retro Reviews of Sherlock, over on Sherlock’s Home, now the 4th season is far enough away…..

So.

Megan shows my Intro students the ropes. Literally.

Hm.

I guess there’s a reason it’s taken me so long to post here. Yeah, well. NO FUCKING EXCUSES, AMIRITE?

Ahem. Carry on….

Not that I’m on a break now or anything…

…but the peeps that are finished with their semesters, I have finished as well. Finally. As I said, lots and lots and lots (and lots) of research papers. I just might (might, mind you) have a half a handle on the new 8th edition of MLA format at this point. Might.

18582290_10155432990898028_6479972419694655595_nWhat else is on my plate? Well, I presented at the Teaching and Learning With Technology conference over at Front Range yesterday, which was pretty fun. Had a good, inquisitive audience that had more questions afterwards and cornered me at other sessions and stuff too. It was called “Video Killed the Paper Star” and covered a few innovative ways that assigning videos to students in lieu of papers can be a fruitful endeavor. I may do a little mini-article about it here, so stay tuned. Anyway, got to share a bunch of those grammar videos you’ve seen here, and some old reading responses in video form, especially Nate’s old ones from Advanced Stage Combat back in the day. His were so creative and thoughtful and it made me miss all you Stage Combat Club guys: Nate and Scott and Nick and Chris, Paul, and Geri, and the others that came in and out…(sniff)…

I also went to the opera recently with The S.O. and I was amused to find that I knew exactly where all those swords were from, and mused that they all needed a little coaching as far as handling them went (fight scenes though there were none). I also was shocked at the rust that has somehow coated my Schmooze Nozzle, which I guess goes to show that if you don’t use it, you lose it. So I’m polishing my charisma these days. If you run into me, force me to give you an  elevator pitch or something, would ya? Help me get back in shape.

Writing wise, I’m still doing stuff for YourBoulder.com, mainly their weekend round up thingies. It’s a fun gig, and a paid one, so I’m happy about that. The other blog I’m writing with The S.O. is also a very fulfilling project–it’s a style of personal writing I’m not super familiar with, but the pieces there are really, really good. It’s nice to have a quasi-journalling habit again, and him being such a good writer himself, it’s also nice to have a high bar to have to live up to. Write up to. You know what I mean…

Now I do have one breath before the new wave of stuff begins. During that deep breath, I will still be working closely with DU folks on their Capstones, and also working with a new batch of Regis peeps too: Children’s Lit, Editing Fiction, and Editing Non-Fiction is on my platter there.

After I take the breath, it’ll be time for summer at FRCC (two Comp 1 courses) and at Boulder_FringeMetro (an online Staging Cultures class). It’ll also be time for the first summer theatrical gigs to begin: early June I’ll be dancing with Boulder Burlesque, mid-June I may be dancing with Bronze Fox Burlesque, and late June is Denver Comic Con, where I will be presenting The Fight is the Story again, but I’ll keep you up on those things when we get closer to time. After that, I’ve got stage combat at the LDT and burlesque at the Fringe Fest to look forward to, amidst who knows indeed what else will pop up.

So there you go: the update on the workload. Now back to it.

I’m Such a Bad Blogger You Guys

…seriously though, it’s because of my busy life! Wanna hear what I’ve been up to, instead of blogging here?

Well I have been contributing to another blog, under a pen name, with my significant other. Some really great personal memoir type essays, and it’s writing I’m proud of. Not going to share it here publicly, but if you know me well personally, ask me and I’ll give you the link to that.

The FRCC comp 1 students have just handed in their research papers, and the Comp 2 students have just finished their rough drafts of theirs. Topics for these include: Farming, steroid abuse, censorship in music, arts in the schools, the innovation of the electric guitar, police discretion, free speech on college campuses, trans rights and health, immigration, damage of video games and social media on youth, and the cruelty of zoos. Lots of important things, my students are writing about.

My Regis Capstone student is sending me big chunks of her high-Fantasy novel, set in a world where the sun is destructive and there’s all kinds of well written political intrigue and a telepathic power that certain people possess, and really cool ninja-like warriors, and. It’s a good piece, and I can’t wait till it’s published and I can share it with you. I also have seven Capstone students in DU’s seminar course who are entering proposals and getting their big projects nearly to the midterm point. Some really interesting projects there, too.

But. You can see why I haven’t had much time to write here, lovely lurkers.

In performance news, I have performed burlesque for Bronze Fox just this Wednesday, and will be appearing onstage for Boulder Burlesque’s upcoming Spring Fling Kink party. I’m having a heckuva lot of fun doing this particular movement hobby, and if you’re interested in keeping up with that stuff, follow Valkyrie Rose on Facebook.

I’ll write to you again on the other side of grading. When will that be? Who knows…

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The group curtain call at Wednesday’s Nearly 4/20 Bronze Fox Burlesque show. A stellar group.

No Rest For the Weary…

I am just on the exhale end of the one deep breath I had between Spring semesters-and-quarters and what’s coming up for me for Summer. Plus enough personal-life / health complications to drive one to drink (not that I need an excuse)…(not my health, btw, in case you were concerned)…

Front Range ended in an avalanche of research papers, followed by Metro, ending rather the same way but in an online format.

These troublemakers called their course blog World Wide Bromance. From FRCC, Comp I.


DU’s Children’s Lit course just had its conclusive class last night, and it was some illuminating conversation re: Ender’s Game as YA lit (or not), and Harry Potter, censorship, and mythology. Also the importance of instilling the love of reading in young people.

Inspired by the “shelfie” movement, I have been enjoying arranging still lifes including books in use. This from the last day of Children’s Lit at DU.


Regis, as per usual, is all one-on-one and online. I am still working with the children’s author/psychology Capstone project with one student, and facilitating Writing The Novel I with another. Her novel is this great piece of politically-intricate High Fantasy which I’m excited to help her hone.

So, lots going on, right? sorry it’s been a bit, lovely lurkers, but here’s what’s up:

Starting next week, I’ve got a Comp II class at Front Range, which I’m going to attempt to teach under a theme. This summer’s theme is: Creativity and Innovation. This should make for more interesting required reading and still a wide array of topic choices for the students’ research.

The week after, both DU and Metro begin: the latter is another online section of Staging Cultures, which you’ve heard me describe before, and the former is an undergrad course called Art and Interpretation. We’ll be looking at art, looking at how to look at art, and making some art of our own.

Non-university teachings and lecturings and such include my annual panel presentation “The Fight is the Story” over at Denver Comic Con, and the delightful summer dance camp class I do in Longmont each summer, wherein I show young ballerinas how to fake-punch each other in the face.

Finally, there’s the Five 5ths benefit performance at the BPL–this year, it’s the Five 5ths of Labyrinth. I’m in two of the five fifths, and am having a blast while having trouble remembering my lines….


So, that’s about it. Kinda plenty, eh? Oh, you want to know about the personal stuff now? Nope, sorry, that’s confidential (unless you meet up w me in person and buy me a pint. Then we’ll talk)…

Hey. Just checking in…

rubricpic

The rubric for the research papers for Comp I at FRCC. My notes on grade norming in 3 colors. Being helped by Popcorn. She’s a helpful sort…

So hey, lovely lurkers. What’s happening? Yeah, I’ve been okay. Kinda depressed, very busy…you know, the norm. So how’s it been going? Well that’s good.

It’s coming up on the home stretch in all my classes, which is why I’ve been rather scarce here lately. Since I assign blog posts to my comp students, I feel the lag in my own blog breathing down my sore, tight, stressed-out neck. So here ’tis.

I have a Capstone student at Regis finishing up a combination creative and psychology project, and the two Comp I classes as well as the Comp II class at Front Range are all neck-deep in their research papers. Some interesting topics this semester, including: Syrian refugees in France, the U.S. policy on immigration, psychedelics (also cannabis) as legit medicine for treating/healing mental illness, the dangerous levels of stress school (particularly standardized testing) causes American students, the unfairness of the judicial system, effects of wrongful conviction in court, and whether Hitler was inspired by the Armenian genocide to design his own.

Children’s Literature at DU just had its read-aloud day (for previous online-only class’ read-alouds, have fun on our Vimeo channel), which marks the transition between picture books and novels for this course. The novel list includes classics like Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, and Harriet the Spy, as well as perhaps not as well known to a lay-adult books like Bud, not Buddy, Holes, and The Thief, and of course Harry Potter #1 and Ender’s Game. Before you go off on what books I should have included in my reading list, know that I have one book assigned per literary genre (plus two pre-1920), and so had to make some tough decisions. But then you all are called Lovely Lurkers for a reason, aren’t you…

Lastly, I just recorded a session of Left Hand Right Brain with former student JD, which should air sometime in May, so keep your ears (and this blog) peeled.

Now off to go grade some more…..

Yet Another Semester (and Quarter)

…and my musings withal.

This quarter at DU I’m teaching a grad level creative writing course called Fiction Fundamentals. We are putting the “fun” in “da mental.” Or something. So far, I’ve very much enjoyed our discussions about the readings especially, and I can’t wait for our first big workshop!

Front Range started last week, and I’m teaching two Comp I classes and one Comp II class (that last is on Saturday mornings. Ugh.), and they’ve already started their class blogs. Comp I is now embarking on their Mini-Essays (stay tuned here for winning ones), and Comp II is about to be assigned the Elevator Pitch, which is a fun way I like to begin a class all about arguments, all the time.

It’s a lot of bus/light rail commuting (4X/week), so I’ve been listening to podcasts: mainly the Columbo podcast and former student JD’s Left Hand/Right Brain podcast (on which I will appear soon–stay tuned)!

At Regis, I’m doing the one-on-one thing as usual: this session it’s a Developing Character course, a Travel Writing course, and I’m advising a Creative Capstone as well. At Metro, I’m teaching the online version of Staging Cultures again, which is always fun, as it has a wide and odd array of plays to read.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

The show I’m in, I Miss My MTV, is opening Friday night at the DCPA!! It’s tech week, kids! Will I live? Only if I can find a way to buy more coffee for the household…….

the freshly raised graffiti backdrop of IMMMTV, made by talented tattoo artist Sal Tino.

the freshly raised graffiti backdrop of IMMMTV, made by talented tattoo artist Sal Tino.

Every link rings true

Look, lovely lurkers, I know I very recently made a brilliant and comprehensive Link List post, but I’ll tell ya: I feel the need to post this one for you too, and I’ll tell you why (my reasons are twofold): 

1) I was inspired by my Creativity and Innovation class last night. They had three reading assignments from the past couple weeks under their belts, and I sat them down at the beginning of class and said, “Hey, let’s talk about our readings.” What ensued was a fricking hour and a half of good discussion, of all the readings and then some. I mean…seriously. No blank stares, no “I didn’t do it,” just rich conversation. And they also made connections between the readings and previous ones, and with their current assignment. It’s just…really. I throw readings at you and you a) synthesize, and b) engage in stimulating conversation? Wow. That’s college. Or should be, anyway.   

2) I was digging through some archives from the stage combat course at Metro which hasn’t run for the past couple years and rediscovered many excellent resources besides (ahem) my book, which were very worth a re-read. Since so many of you lovely lurkers are new followers, too, you won’t have gotten these from me before. 

So. 

Without further ado: these are all required readings for my stage combat students. Since I have none right now, you all are them. Yer welcome.

Ne’er the Twain: an excellent scholarly musing about the martial and theatrical arts dichotomy.

David Bordwell compares Bond vs. Chan, showing what constitutes a good fight scene in cinema.

Striking Distance is actually a recent article from American Theatre magazine, which deconstructs different flavors of direct and indirect violence onstage.

5 Ways to Fight Like Mamet Writes. The title says it all, methinks.

Oh, and bonus points if you know from where I took the title of this post.

(The below meme was posted by a Metro student on the class blog.)

  

Musings on a New Semester

…and a new quarter, too. As DU is on the quarter system, my two classes for them begin this week. one is an online course called Writing the Short Story, which is a graduate-level writing workshop on, you guessed it: short stories. This is a new one for me, so right now I’m doing the dance of the teacher-as-pirate: deciding what materials to keep from the other professor’s work, what to invent of my own, and how to adapt. It should be fun–the most fulfilling courses I get to teach is when I help students with their creative work. Of course, it’s also the most hard work…

IMG_2218

I found this on my facebook feed, so I have no credit for this image. Wait–do you have to give credit for a meme?

The other DU course I’ve got going on is an on-ground course called Discovering Creative Energies. It’s a course for undergrads (adult learners), about the form and function of creativity: what it is, what it does and means cognitively, etc. Plus we get to keep a journal, which I always love. And need. I don’t do enough creative work on my own without external requirements like this, and even though it’s actually a requirement for my students and not me, I impart the deadlines on myself too. As my Mom always taught me, too: it’s good practice as a teacher to do the generation/output with the students–to model the process as well as be inspiring with her product.

At Metro, I’m riding along in Week 4 of an online class called Staging Cultures, which is an upper-division course for undergrads that centers on diversity in theatre through history. This iteration of the course focuses on colonialism in particular, and how that feeds into the theatrical works of both the conquerors and the conquered. We read a play a week in that class, and most of them were ones I hadn’t read before teaching this for the first time last Fall. Celebrating the brilliant obscure, in many cases.

Finally, at Front Range I’m teaching three (count ’em: 3) sections of Composition I. Beginning essay writing for incoming community college freshmen. Times three. Twice a week. Right now we’re in Week 3, and they just handed in their mini-essays (look for prize-winners here forthwith), and are now beginning Exemplification Essays. Which are essays that center on use of examples for support. Also I know from this class one shouldn’t use “finally” in one’s conclusion as that’s hacky high school writing. That reminds me: I actually have a few high school kids in these classes. So far they’re right up to par with the rest.

Of course, at Regis I’m doing my normal handful of one-on-one writing courses and Capstones. I’ve got a Creative Non-Fiction student this session, which is refreshing as I don’t work in that genre very much.

So.

Yeah.

I’m not picking this semester to quit my addiction to caffeine.