Modeling for Students

By “modeling,” I’m not referring to vamping in front of a classroom, but rather to the example projects I provide students. Penn Statements is an excellent resource for all English 15 instructors, furnishing example student compositions in fifteen genres. But it’s impossible for this compilation to include samples in every potential medium for each genre.

For Project #2, the (Re)Definition Webpage, I assigned my students to read several (re)definition papers from Penn Statements. But I wasn’t asking them to write papers–they had to compose an online article, which offers affordances beyond the traditional word-processed composition, such as hyperlinks and embedded visuals.

I needed to give my students an example of the medium. Certainly, I could have chosen a few of the millions of articles published online. But I wanted them to see how this particular genre–a definitional argument–would look as a webpage. So, I made my own. It was an odd exercise to complete an assignment that I created myself, but certainly a useful one. As instructors, we typically rely on our imaginations to predict how our prompts will result. But that’s ultimately guesswork until students actually respond to the assignment. Or until the instructor tries it out herself.

Please click here to view the sample (re)definition webpage I created and shared with my students at the beginning of Unit 2.