A Day in the Classroom: Project 1 Revisions

A Classroom Observation! Yikes!

For teachers, the classroom observation can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Exciting in that you can finally share your teaching with another instructor, but nerve wracking in that it's normally your supervisor. (Yikes!)

Today, Tom McCulley visited my class to observe my teaching as part of the standard promotion procedures. As part of the v

In my English 102 class you observed, the focus was on the revisions my students will complete for their Project 1. At this stage in the project, students have already completed five articles of 500 words each, and they gave group presentations on Monday. Each student is now selecting one article for expansion and revision. This will take place in two stages:

  1. Expansion 1: Students expand a 500-word article to a 1,000-word article with 2 scholarly sources. The emphasis is on adding research materials. Link to Expansion 1 Assignment.
  2. Expansion 2: Students will add 500 more words to produce a 1,500-word expansion. This will require a total of 3 scholarly sources. The emphasis here is on arranging the materials into a coherent whole and then revising to make the language more effective. Link to Expansion 2 Assignment.

Here’s a brief outline of everything we covered:


  • I asked students how they felt about their presentations from Monday.
  • We talked briefly about coronavirus and ending the exchange of papers during classroom activities.

Instructional Presentation: Project 1 Planning

  • I covered the deadlines for Project 1 revisions, and added some flexible deadlines with Spring Break coming up.
  • In their project groups, students talked about their revision plans. I had students do a “status check,” where each student tells their group members about their plans for the revision, and then the other group members take notes.
  • Onscreen, I went over the resources available on Canvas to help with their revisions. We covered the Week 8 revisions module, and then referenced the Expansion 1 and Expansion 2 assignments linked above.
  • We then spent time going over two online resources:
    • Guide to Heartland Library: I prepared a guide to the Search Anything tab on the Heartland library website. I also included two videos where I guide students through keyword searches.
    • Guide to Writing Style: I prepared a guide to key considerations in academic writing. Today we focused on how diction affects the tone of writing and the implied educational level of the writer. We also discussed the relationships between everyday language, “educated” register, “pretentious” writing, and “fluff” when it comes to writing academic papers.
    • I also linked to additional sources on grammar and style, but I told students that we’ll focus on these resources after Spring Break.

Group Work: Revision Planning

  • After the presentation, I asked students to continue their status check by talking with each other about the aspects of their writing they’ll most need to focus on.
  • As students worked together, I spent a few minutes with each group asking individual students about their plans for the Project 1 revisions. Particular questions I asked were about their articles choices and the types of scholarly sources they would search for.