So we did it. We wrote our own prompt as a class. The new promopt was almost identical to the one the department had written, but because they wrote it they felt confident about the assignement. Here’s how I did it:
First, I had them look at the old prompt and establish goals for the paper. For instance, I had them decide as a class what broad topics they would discuss for the paper like morals/ethics, regulations, gov’t and so on. The simple I question I asked them to have them think about these goals was, “what major points are you going to have when writing this paper?” And so, they rattled off the basics.
Then I had them think about the goals and we applied them when writing the second prompt. I had them put these basics into a prompt which to my surprise (I sadly wasn’t expecting this experiment to do as well as it did) they wrote a really thoughtful and insightful prompt both they and I were pleased with.
Though some of the students did not understand what the prompt (either one) was asking so what we did then was decide as a class what we would be looking for in a paper using this prompt. This was the best part of the experiment because it forced them to think about the readings and what they wanted to write about. We listed all of these things on the board and all I could see was light-bulbs going off. In fact, I even had students tell me, “Miss, this is the best way you’ve ever explained a prompt.” That for me was enough to do it again.
Well, this happened last Tuesday and since then they’ve had to outline their papers and come up with some kind of argument. While I think it was sucessful the true test will be when I read their papers. I’ll keep you all posted.
p.s. My apologies for the irregular posts. I’m trying, but it is that time in the semester where it’s like 10 pgs due here 20 pgs due there, read a 400 pg novel and so it’s all a bit stressful. Not to mention I’ll be grading papers come Tuesday. You all know how that goes. Thanks for stopping by and please leave comments and suggestions. I’m curious what you all think about this experiment and how you think I could improve it.