Friday, March 16, 2012

My Students!

I had 20+ students come to class, and they were great.

I got all teary-eyed reading Hal's farewell to Hotspur. But I noticed one of my students wiping her eye, too :)


As for what I do with a class of 30+ for Shakespeare?

This is a sophomore level class, though my junior level classes also cap at 35.

Mostly discussion: break out groups look at passages, then come back for full class discussion. Mini-lecture moments, but mostly looking at the text and pulling from there to talk about themes and issues. Sometimes we draw stuff, enact moments, read aloud, etc.

For grading:
10 short journals (on a specific passage in a text)
4 Research Question assignments (prep for later assignment)
Explication Paper
Research paper based on question (find a published essay that responds to the research question, write a summary of it and how it answers your question, basically)
Final Exam

I'd guess I get about 15 full pages of prose from the average student, with some doing up to 30, and some a bit less (not counting the midterm and final). They have some choice on journals (they have to turn in 10 of about 15 possible journals), and on research questions.

At this point in the semester, I've graded 7 of the short journals, and 4 out of the 5 research question assignment possibilities. They've done the explication, and taken the midterm. So the next big thing is the research assigment, and then the final.

Our students tend to be willing to work hard if you ask them to, and are very capable readers and thinkers. They're good people to work with.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I think that sounds manageable, grading-wise. How many plays do you teach? And do you do any poems? I have taught as many as ten and as few as seven plays in a semester. The fewer plays, the more scholarship I use. (Do you assign scholarly articles?) But then, I was at a different kind of school when I was teaching in CA. Plus, the class was graduate and undergraduate combined. Here, I'm not sure I'd use quite that much scholarship. Who knows? I won't be teaching Shakespeare until spring next year. I have time to think about it.

  2. I think 7 plays plus RoL, plus a few sonnets. They also use the Bedford Companion, and we read one Traub essay (on sonnets) together as preparation for their research project. They'll also watch a film while I'm at SAA :)