Thursday, January 18, 2007

a neat little short-short-story

The first week or so of classes is always a crapshoot when it comes to students and textbooks. Our school is notorious for releasing financial aid checks late, meaning students often don't get their books until the second or third week of class.

In our comp classes, this situation is somewhat mitigated by the first two class periods being sort of throwaway days: the first day is syllabus day and the second day is diagnostic essay day. The third day we spend a little bit of time talking about the diagnostic essay results, things we'll work on as a class and so on, and start into "intro to narration." By this time, it's February.

I've decided to have an assignment due on the second day of class. Since the first day of class is on a Thursday and the second day of class is on a Tuesday, I figure they can read a 750-word short-short-story and answer three questions about it. This assignment is also going to serve as a "format check" to see if they can follow the handout regarding how to set up their document in MLA format (margins, font size, etc).

The trick was to find a reading that would fit on one side of a piece of paper. I'm using Cory Doctorow's "Printcrime". It should be interesting to see what the freshmen say to the question "Lanie's father: crazy or brilliant?"