On Monday, my upper level Shakespeare class will work on peer revising rough drafts of their semester projects. They have to turn in a draft of their project to their peer revision group on Sunday afternoon, and then have to come in Monday with print outs of the other peers' projects, with notes and such written, so that they spend Monday's class period in useful discussion.
Then they get a week to revise before turning in the final project.
There are several options for the project, the most intellectually difficult of which is to write a traditional lit crit paper.
So naturally, at the end of class today, when we'd discussed draft day stuff a bit more, one of the weaker students in the class came to ask if I have open office hours today. (I don't. I pretty much have job related stuff to do until 7 or 7:30 pm today. Happy Friday.) Then she asked if she could email me a question, and I asked her what the question was.
And she said that she's having difficulty writing her lit crit paper. So I asked her what her argument is.
And she said, and I did you not, "I want to write about women in Shakespeare." You might well be proud of me that I didn't burst out in laughter or in tears.
She doesn't have an argument yet. So I suggested she start by thinking about a specific play to make an argument about, and reread it, and think about what she might want to say about the play. For previous assignments, she's read some criticism, so I suggested that she might go back and think about where she disagrees with a critic or thinks a critic's argument misses something important, and that would form a starting point for her paper.
The good thing is, if she starts working intently today, and works hard through Sunday to do something to turn in, and then has a whole week to work hard, the paper will be a while lot better than it would be if she'd waited until next Friday to begin working, right?
I live a rich and full fantasy life. My students are going to be working hard this weekend to get a draft of this paper done. Better that than starting next week!