When I was taking some basic pedagogy classes, back in the days of purple professorial fingers and dot matrix printers, I learned that writing an essay assignment along with students was a great idea because it would make you really think about the do-ability of the assignment, it would give you opportunities to model the assignment (at varying stages), and so forth.
I have, on occasion, written essay assignments along with students, though, I confess, not often. More often, especially for exams, I'll sketch out a couple possible essay responses, just to make sure that what I've set up in a prompt is do-able in the time allotted. (If I can't sketch out the basics of a response in 10-15 minutes, then students are likely to have a hard time writing an exam, especially since my warped mind WROTE the prompt, and they aren't mindreaders.)
I'm thinking of doing an essay along with my first year writing students. It would be the first time in a long while, but I'm sort of feeling that it might be helpful and interesting. And it's a new assignment, so I think it's a useful check on my perceptions.
I'm thinking of contributing my thesis to the load we critique on thesis day, and to setting up a draft on draft day. What do you think?
For those of you in the comp/rhet business, who know so much more theory about composition teaching than I do:
Do you write along with your students? Does anyone even talk about that these days?
Do you model writing for your students?
Do you have suggestions (if I do this), for doing it as effectively as possible?