This will be my first post in that blog for my class as soon as I can come up with a name for it I like.

You know that technology is having a huge impact on school when one can turn a simple journal assignment into a blog only to motivate themselves to complete it more thoroughly and in a timely fashion.

Such is this blog. For what looks to be quite an exciting course, I must keep a journal of thoughts related to writing and the teaching of writing. With the help of Google Analytics, I will be able to motivate myself to keep writing so as to keep some sort of audience interested. On that note, I have my first self-created prompt for this journal…

How on earth am I actually going to ever get a student motivated to write before the eve of the assigned due date?

Having been one of those students, I know exactly the thought process of the ones who are more than capable of doing any mundane task assigned, but not coming anywhere near caring enough to do them. In the first meeting of my American Gothic course today I was reminded of Professor Sweet’s practice of short quizzes on the assigned reading material and it got me thinking about applying something like this to writing.

Because I had her for American Lit a year ago, I know that Prof. Sweet’s quizzes are very simple ones, only really intended to motivate and reward keeping up with the reading assignments. As much as I hated them at the beginning of the last course, I came to love the easy credit for just doing what I should have found my own motivation to do.

I’d already attended Writing and the Young Writer when thinking about these American Gothic quizzes, and thought that if there was a way to modify this practice for writing, one might just be able to show high school and middle school students the benefit of staying ahead of their writing from the beginning. But just how would I ever be able to do that? I guess I have a few years until I’m in a classroom, and I have lots of teachers to learn from until then, so maybe I shouldn’t worry about it for the moment. If I can figure out a reasonable way though, I can’t wait to try and actually get students motivated.

I love how much better my writing is now that I start my writing earlier and have a chance to edit it. I wasn’t ready to admit that I needed that in high school though, and I’m sure I’ll run into plenty of students who feel the same way. I also feel as though I was able to scrape by and get B’s on papers that I pulled out of my ass the night before, so what real incentive did I have to start earlier?

Thinking about it in those terms has me remembering just last spring and my Advanced Composition course with Professor Dunstan. That’s actually where I finally found the drive to truly edit and give myself time to write. Dunstan was able to get me to see the light by having us turn in papers that were due at the end of the class around mid-terms, and giving us what our grades would be if we turned in that paper. Even the one that I had a solid B in then wasn’t enough for me when I still had the time to improve it. The notes that he’d made, made it very easy for me to spot what I didn’t like in my own writing and edit it to be more clear and definite.

I think before I write again I’ll pull out my old syllabus from that course and see if I can’t draw more inspiration from that, or in my current course with Dunstan!