Category: Composition

Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Two – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

This week we continued to explore chemistry, using exciting experiments ranging from dissolving magnesium in acid to inflating balloons with dry ice to learn about solution concentration, gas laws, electromagnetic radiation, and the organization of the periodic table! I was very impressed with the students’ commitment to laboratory safety. Their curiosity about the world around them continues to encourage and inspire me!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students shared their first finished fiction piece this week and participated in a writing workshop. In the writing workshop, the class was respectful, collaborative, and communicative. I am impressed with their feedback and creativity! In addition to workshop, they have become more comfortable with literary analysis. Overall, this was a great week! I am looking forward to seeing the class grow in their writing as the summer continues.

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week we continued learning about communication in society by learning about logical fallacies that often pop up in arguments to distract audiences from the main purpose of a message or to attempt to defend a weak position. If an audience can recognize fallacies, they can better analyze the true purpose behind a speaker’s message. After learning about persuasive techniques last week and logical fallacies this week, students wrote a letter of application for acceptance into a zombie-proof compound during a zombie apocalypse, hoping to convince the staff at the compound of their value to the community and the future of humanity. This week, students will vote based upon the merits of the contents of the letters, which are written anonymously using fake names and identities.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

For week two, the students chose to focus on gender issues, the details of which appear in the day-by-day breakdown. The week went well.

Monday: I carried over one of the concepts from Freud by explaining one of the most famous psychological assessments—the Rorschach Inkblot Test. That test dates back to the early part of the 1900s, when Hermann Rorschach borrowed Freud’s concept of projection (seeing our own faults in others rather than in ourselves). He constructed blots of ink as ambiguous stimuli and asked psychiatric patients to interpret these images. The test became very popular and continues in the present, although its validity as a psychiatric diagnostic is questionable.


Tuesday: We began the material on gender with an examination of gender stereotypes and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. We also reviewed the history of gender stereotypes and how those beliefs still echo in our society. Our discussion included both how men and women are subject to stereotyping, as well as prejudice and discrimination based on these stereotypes.


Wednesday: I led them through a review of the “bad old days” when sex discrimination was legal and some of the changes that have occurred as a result of legal changes.


Thursday: We ended the week with an assessment that I intended to test how well they had paid attention and remembered some of the terminology that we discussed.


Our continuation of the topic of gender consisted of a discussion of some of the big changes that have occurred in gender roles and how those changes are well-accepted by some people but not others.


The students asked for next week’s topic to focus on mental disorders, which is always of interest.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week we discussed three major paradigms of international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism). We discussed the rise of weapons of mass destruction and the impact they had on conflict and diplomacy during the Cold War and in a post Cold War environment. Coercive diplomacy, the use of force, and interstate conflict were explained. Students learned about game theory and how it relates to conflict including the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, and Stag Hunt games. Bargaining theory and a basic theorem for bargaining was introduced.

Readings for the week included: Arms and Influence, Chapter 1, by Thomas Schelling; Night of the Living Wonks by Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy, June 15, 2010; Leashing the Dogs of War, Chapter 2, International Sources of Interstate and Intrastate Conflict, by Jack Levy, 2007.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

This week was great! Students shared their flash fiction pieces. They were enthusiastic, focused, and collaborative. They effectively communicated their goals for each piece and provided constructive feedback for each other as a class. They are making progress in their writing and I am excited to see them continue to grow as writers.

 


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week One – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors. We will be posting the first issue of The Thinker (the student newspaper) as soon as the online version is ready.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

We had an excellent first week in science. The students were each assigned a plant for the summer, and they were asked to choose any ONE aspect of its care to change — we’ll compare each plant’s growth to a control plant over the course of the summer. The kids got pretty creative, from watering their plants with Gatorade instead of water to depriving their plant of light. In class this week, we carried out experiments to explore important topics in chemistry such as density, precision versus accuracy, and acid-base reactions. We are emphasizing laboratory safety, scientific note taking, and above all, excitement and curiosity about the world around us!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were exposed to major literary genres. They discussed and analyzed works of short fiction and wrote stories of their own. Students are becoming more comfortable with their own writing and the class atmosphere is encouraging and community-focused. Students have been excited to share their work aloud with the class and their feedback has been constructive and thoughtful. Overall, this was a wonderful first week of class! I am impressed by the students’ creative ideas, writing capabilities, and critical thinking skills!

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

We all differ in our beliefs and values, holding a wide diversity of opinions on everything from politics to popsicles. While these differences could and should present opportunities for fascinating, engaging civil discourse, a quick peek at Facebook proves that instead of celebrating and embracing others’ views and taking the time to find commonalities, many of us instead attack and disparage one another. It should be clear to anyone living in our society today that humanity as a whole needs better communication skills.

Considering the need for better communication skills overall and as a foundation for continued discussion, this week the Humanities I class has focused on the art of discussion and persuasion, identifying various means of conveying one’s message. We’ve considered various categories of thought and evidence, including illogical, emotional reasoning, scientific reasoning based on empirical proof, and philosophical reasoning based on subjective but logical assumptions. We then explored the three primary categories of rhetorical appeals used in persuasion (logos, pathos, ethos) to equip students to recognize them in texts or media and to use them for developing their own arguments.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Psychology includes a wide range of topic, which even a full college semester cannot cover adequately. No chance to do so during the 6-week GPGC session. Therefore, I chose to ask students what they were most interested in so that we could cover information about their interests.
I began by showing them a 40-item True/False quiz that includes some of the “myths” of psychology—things that are “common knowledge” yet incorrect. As expected, the students did poorly (but I did not score the activity or count it for a grade). The activity worked to prompt a discussion that covered many topics in psychology.


I asked students to write down topics that were covered in the quiz or that they had heard about and wanted to know more. This list forms the basis for the class this summer.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

Students watched the movie Dr. Strangelove. It provides an understanding of the Cold War international system and brinksmanship. The class engaged in a discussion regarding the Russian invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazian regions of Georgia in 2008, the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The students started the state development project on Friday. Each student will run their own country and engage in international relations with the other countries in the fictitious international system.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were introduced to creative writing! We discussed genre, craft, and literary elements of fiction. Students were introduced to flash fiction this week. They read, analyzed, and discussed three pieces of flash fiction in class, as well as an article relating to craft. In addition to literary analysis, students participated in daily writing activities. Overall, this was a great first week of class! Due to the small size of the class, every student was able to share their work aloud and receive constructive feedback from each other! The work each student produced this week was creative and included strong sensory details and imagery. Each student has their own style of writing rooted in tone and interest! I am proud of their participation this week and very excited to read more of their work as their writing progresses in my class!


Weekly Reports – Composition, Final Weeks

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Composition (Mrs. Cecile Tate, Instructor)

Composition I continued working on adding concrete details and commentary to their literary response using one of the short stories they read in class. The plan was for the students to write  a topic sentence then structure the paragraph using one concrete detail from the story and two sentences explaining the concrete detail. This pattern was repeated and the paragraph ended with a concluding sentence. I wanted the students to be aware that literary responses are more meaningful if they have structure.

Senior Composition and Grad Composition (Ms. Sarah Harshbarger, Instructor)

With the seniors, we discussed poems from various periods of American literature. We talked about narrative poetry and lyric poetry and what differentiates each from flash fiction. The students began brainstorming for their poems to turn in on 7/3.

The Grads discussed poems from different periods of American literature and how each period influenced the poetry that came after it. We discussed different kinds of poetic technique and how to make writing choices based on the subject matter and tone of the poem. The students began brainstorming for their poems which are due on 7/3.

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Three

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week’s focus was on What is Rhetorical and the Art of Persuasive. Students began the week learning about ethos, logos, and pathos. They were assigned a topic then wrote an argumentative essay based on their stance on the issue. Then we spent some time learning about rhetorical analysis, by analyzing nytimes student written editorials and then wrote a rhetorical analysis of Steve Job’s Commencement Speech from 2005.

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week was short story week. We started the week off learning about, reading, and writing flash fiction pieces. We used the 8pt story arc, instead of the Freytag’s plot pyramid. Student flash fiction pieces were the best I’ve read in years and what made it challenging for the students is that they couldn’t have more than 500 words, this was a real struggle for many of them. We ended the week with each student analyzing an assigned short story and creating a Google Slides presentation about their story to present in class next week. (kind of a book report)

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week One

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Composition (Ms. Cecil Tate, Instructor)

We had a successful week in Composition 1. The students wrote a letter introducing themselves to me after they read my letter to them. Of course, not many people write friendly letters now, myself included, but the letters give me a chance to evaluate organization, mechanics, and sentence structure without making the assignment seem like a test. I also get to know them a little bit better. The assignment that caused some consternation was drawing a self-portrait! Some of the results are hilarious! Next, they used the poem ” If I Ruled the World” as a example for their own poem, but they used their own thoughts and ideas. These poems revealed that these students are very compassionate and kind. They read “Harrison Bergeron” aloud taking turns if they wished to read and discussed the story in class. We’ll use this story and the poem to create a utopian or dystopian short story next week.

 

Composition III (Ms. Sarah Harshbarger, Instructor)

This week, we began our unit on short fiction. The students read short stories and flash fiction by Tobias Wolff, Flannery O’Connor, George Saunders, and ZZ Packer. They did writing exercises individually and as a group to build skills that will help them write their own flash fiction stories, which will be due in the second week. We discussed genre conventions and point of view, as well as strategies for reading short fiction effectively.

 

English 001 (Ms. Sarah Harshbarger, Instructor)

This week, we started our unit on fiction and flash fiction. We read stories by Tobias Wolff, John Cheever, George Saunders, ZZ Packer, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, and more. The students were assigned a flash fiction piece of 500-1000 words due at the end of the second week. We did individual and group exercises to build skills that will be useful in writing the story. We discussed how to build tension through character development, how writers use elements of surrealism to explore theme, and how to read short stories effectively.

 

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Six

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Composition (Ms. Cecil Tate, Instructor)

During the last week of Composition I, the students wrote a constructed response based on a question from the short story “Harrison Bergeron.” They volunteered to read their responses to their classmates. After reading a short opinion piece, they began pre-writing which helped them prepare to compose a persuasive essay. On Wednesday the students began writing the actual persuasive essay. Thursday most students volunteered to read and we discussed the various opinions. We “cubed” a paper clip. Cubing is a six step writing strategy. One of the steps is arguing for or against the cubed object, and as you can imagine, everyone participated vociferously! On Friday the students, participated in logic games, and quiz bowl questions from their courses at GPGC.

 

Senior Composition and Grad Composition (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

English 002: The class read and discussed “Stone Animals” by Kelly Link.  We also discussed magical realism and the conventions of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing. We began to watch excerpts of films that follow these conventions and works of fiction that employ elements of fantasy, the unreal, and the surreal. The grads also worked in groups to answer analysis questions regarding “Stone Animals” and the excerpts of The Shining we watched. The grads turned in their final packets of poetry or short fiction.

Composition III:  We read and discussed the craft essay, “The Energy of Revision” by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux and discussed advanced strategies for revising creative work. The seniors also completed an in-class writing assignment analyzing a work of literature or film we’ve previously discussed in class.

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Four

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Composition (Ms. Cecil Tate, Instructor)

Students read about the trial, and death of Socrates from the biography by Cora Mason. They then wrote a short opinion about Socrates’ verdict. On Tuesday the class read Aristotle’s description of friendship. They applied the descriptions to one of their friends in a short essay. Next they read “The Cask of Amontillado” and began analyzing the story using the elements of drama and the parts of a short story. On Thursday the students filled in a short guided writing planner and developed an original short story.

 

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week’s focus was Poetry. Each day we concentrated on learning about a different type of poem. Monday-Blackout Poetry, Tuesday-Ode, Wednesday, Ekphrastic, Thursday-Sonnet, Friday-Freevers. Several students really shined this week as poetry was their niche.

 


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Three

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshman Composition (Ms. Cecil Tate, Instructor)

On Monday of week three, the composition classes read story beginnings and practiced writing an original descriptive beginning, The next day they read “The Lady or the Tiger” and wrote their own endings. On Wednesday they volunteered to share their endings with the class, then they wrote apostrophe poems to subjects of their choice. We found a few examples of apostrophes and they were interested in the form. Thursday was another day of poetry writing. This time the students had to try to create poem using a list of words given to them. They seemed to enjoy trying to make sense out of nonsense. They also tried creating a snapshot of a friend just using words. Friday was freshman fun day.

 

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week was all about rhetoric. We explored rhetorical devices with a fun Quizziz on iPads and through songs. We then reviewed the rhetorical appeals in advertisements. This week’s writing was an argumentative essay due on Friday.

 

Senior Composition (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In Composition III, we discussed how to model plot in fiction, completed a critical analysis of a short story, completed a 100-word story, and read fiction by Amelia Gray, George Saunders, Lydia Davis, ZZ Packer, and Michael Cunningham.

 

Grad English (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In English 002, we discussed key elements of flash fiction and plot, completed in-class creative and academic writing assignments, and read stories by Lorrie Moore, ZZ Packer, and Michael Cunningham.


Weekly Reports – Composition, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Composition classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Sophomore Composition (Ms. Stacey Simien, Instructor)

This week’s focus was on the Short Story. Each day this week we reviewed the elements that make a story good. The 6 traits of effective writing, short story elements-irony, characterization, conflict, theme, symbols and Freytag’s Plot diagram. The weekly assignment was an original short story that demonstrates their knowledge and understanding of the literary elements of fiction.

 

Senior Composition (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In Composition III, we read and discussed craft essays about writing what you know and writing about place. Students completed exercises to help them compose their own poems about home and family. They also read a collection of modern and contemporary poetry and participated in class discussions about what we read. Two original poems were due at the end of the week, and we began discussion flash fiction on Friday. Seniors who chose to write poetry for their senior projects met with me individually to discuss their work.

 

Grad English (Brett Hanley, Instructor)

In English 002, we read and discussed craft essays regarding writing what you know, using images in poetry, writing about place, and writing about family. We also read an array of contemporary poetry and discussed common craft choices contemporary poets make. Students also composed a critical analysis of a poem of their choice and turned in two original poems of their own at the end of the week.