Back to Table of Contents for the On Course I Workshop

1. Strategy: DAPPS Rule

Application: Reading

Educator: Tina Luffman, Coordinator, Developmental Education, Yavapai Community College, AZ

Implementation: I have developmental reading students take a diagnostic reading test in Reading Power Modules by Steck-Vaughn Software, which provides students with their reading comprehension speed. Next, I explain the process for using the software correctly for increasing reading speed while maintaining comprehension. Before students actually use the software, I teach them the five qualities of an effective goal represented by the DAPPS rule. Then I have each student write a DAPPS goal related to his/her desired reading speed. To be effective, each student’s goal should be Dated (which, for this activity, might be the same for all students), Achievable, Personal, Positive, and Specific (e.g., a specific reading speed). When the chosen date arrives, I have students retake the diagnostic test and compare their score with their goal score. Optional: Have students discuss/write how they achieved their goal or why they did not.

2. Strategy: Language of Responsibility

Application: Developmental Reading & Writing or Any Course

Educator: Allison Carr, Faculty, Humanities, El Camino College, CA

Implementation: The goal of this activity is to aid students in taking ownership of any reading/writing (or math, public speaking, etc.) fears, concerns or excuses and translate them into Creator language. Early in the course, have students anonymously write any fears they have about reading and/or writing on index cards and turn them in. Later in the course, introduce students to Victim/Creator Language. Give them an opportunity to practice translating general life Victim Statements into Creator statements. For example, “I never get a raise or a promotion because my boss plays favorites.” When students have an understanding of how to identify Victim language and translate it into Creator statements, give out a handout on which you have typed Victim statements about reading/writing fears, concerns or excuses that you collected earlier. Model what you want them to do by demonstrating how to translate “I hate reading because it’s boring” into a Creator statement (“I don’t enjoy reading because I read so slowly. I’m going to practice reading faster without lowering my comprehension.”) Point out that Creator language is characterized by accountability and a plan. Next, have students work individually to translate the Victim statements from the class members into Creator statements. Then, call out a Victim statement and invite volunteers to stand one at a time and read their Creator language statement. This allows students to fill in any blanks they have on their own paper. End by discussing the advantage of approaching the course (and life) as a Creator instead of a Victim.

3. Strategy: Professor Rogers’ Trial (Case Study)

Application: Critical Reading or Speech

Educator: Rachel Hoover, Coordinator, Academic Skills Development, Frostburg State University, MD

Implementation: Use “Professor Rogers’ Trial” to help students learn the three main components of arguments as well as the role they play in group projects. First, “popcorn read” the case study. Next, have students choose the person in the case study they think is most responsible for the group’s grade of D. Then have students separate into groups based on who they chose as most responsible. Next, introduce their assignment: “Next week, your group will present an argument in support of the person you chose as most responsible.” Then, introduce and explain the three main parts of an argument: 1) Conclusion, 2) Premises, and 3) Assumptions. Also, explain the qualities of a “good argument” (e.g., the importance of utilizing facts to support opinions). Give groups some time to work in class, but also require that each group meet out of class as well. Use a rubric to score the group presentations about which character they thought was most responsible for the group’s grade of D. Provide feedback on the overall strengths of the group presentation as well as areas needing improvement. Brainstorm how to address areas needing improvement. Finally, have each student write a confidential journal entry to assess group participation. The first part of the entry requires that they reflect on their own role in their group, describing which character (Anthony, Sylvia, or Donald) from the case study they most behaved like…or (if they claim not to have behaved like any of the case study characters), they should describe how they did behave. In the second part of the journal entry, they list their group members and compare/contrast them to the characters in the case study.

4. Strategy: Class Constitution

Application: Developmental Reading or Any Course

Educator: Wei Li, Faculty, English, Lone Star College-North Harris, TX

Implementation: Instead of making the course rules myself, I asked my students to come up with their own ideas about a number of common problems such as tardiness, late work, unexcused absences, cell phones, side-talking in class, etc. I asked them to give me suggestions on how to handle those problems by writing down their ideas individually. When they were done, I had them do a “handup-standup” to exchange and discuss their ideas with each other. Finally, I collected copies of their suggestions, which I compiled and distributed the next day. This approach worked really well because the rules were made by themselves; therefore there was very little resistance. For example, when students were late more than 10 minutes, they had to wait until break time to come into the classroom. As a matter of fact, I had the fewest number of tardy students this class in years!

5. Strategy: Silent Socratic Dialogue

Application: Developmental Reading or Any Course with a Reading Assignment

Educator: Sarah K. Thomason, Faculty, English, Roane State Community College, TN

Implementation: Use the Silent Socratic Dialogue to help developmental readers dive more deeply into reading assignments and help some reluctant readers to experience the joy of reading. Give students an essay to read, such as Alex Haley’s “Thank You.” Have students write their initial response to the reading with the clear understanding that another student will be reading their response. As the Silent Socratic Dialogue unfolds, prompt students to think even more deeply about the reading.

6. Strategy: Wise Choice Process

Application: Developmental Reading

Educator: Jenny Nolen, Faculty, Reading, Grossmont College, CA

Implementation: While students are working on lab activities in my reading class, I have individual conferences with each student every few weeks to discuss grades. I use the Wise Choice Process with students who are not passing the class as a way to get them back on course.

7. Strategy: Language of Responsibility

Application: Vocabulary Course

Educator: Gerry Huerth, Faculty, Academic Development/FYE, North Hennepin Community College, MN

Implementation: I teach a one credit vocabulary course that is part of our Academic Development Program. Students whose admission scores are low in English must take this course, but they don’t get college credit. Many students enter this course experiencing a sense of academic failure. Some students handle this by becoming very passive (shame-Inner Critic) or by becoming hostile (blame-Inner Defender). They tend to react and not respond creatively to the situation of this course. Frequently about three weeks into the course a number of students begin withdrawing or simply disappearing. I do the following activity based on The Language of Responsibility. It is important that the tone of this activity be benign, neutral curiosity, not scolding or pleading. Since we meet once a week for only 50 minutes, I want the activity to be compelling but brief. 1) On the first day of class, as part of an ice breaker I have students identify and briefly write what they want to get out of this class (desired outcomes). I invite them not to idealize and be very frank. I collect these. 2) During the third week I briefly explore the meaning of “responsibility” not as a “should” but as the ability to respond to a situation creatively. 3) I ask the students to identify and write about an assignment or class that they missed or a quiz on which they didn’t score as well as they expected. If they can’t find something in the vocabulary class, they can use another class. 4) I pass out the statements of intent that they wrote in the first class and ask them to explore how their behavior aligns with their original intent. Again tone is extremely important… benign neutral curiosity. 5) I ask them to meet in groups of three’s and brainstorm other options that they can take in the future when they face similar situations. 6) One person from each group records these creative options on the board. 7) Student then take a minute to write and reflect on these options.

8. Strategy: The Jigsaw

Application: Reading

Educator: Adrienne Soucy, Faculty, Reading Bay College, MI

Implementation: In home groups of four, have students choose to become the group’s expert in one of the four methods discussed in class for organizing information gathered from assigned reading material: 1) highlighting, 2) outlining, 3) using graphic organizers, 4) marking/annotating. To complete Step A, tell students about their resources (i.e., course text and practice reading passages) and the time they have available to become their group’s expert (i.e., next class meeting). In Step B, have the four expert groups meet to plan how to teach their method of organization to their home group members, collecting examples. Also, each expert group develops a list of arguments and reason why their method is better than any other method. In Step C, experts return to their home groups, and after each expert has taught his/her method and displayed and explained examples, the experts try to convince the other group members that their method of organization is better than the other methods using the list of argument created in Step B. Hold a vote to determine the class go-to method of organization. This “go-to” method can become part of the daily lesson strategy.

9. Strategy: 32-Day Commitment

Application: Reading 120: Critical Thinking or Student Success

Educator: Pam Gordon, Faculty, Reading, Linn Benton Community College, OR

Implementation: After analyzing the characteristics of a good critical thinker, have students identify their three strongest characteristics. Then have them identify their three weakest characteristics. Finally, ask them to choose one of these weak characteristics that they would like to strengthen. Ask them to make a 32-Day Commitment to take an action every day that would strengthen that characteristic. It is important that the action is a specific, simple action: “I will ask a question to clarify information before I respond to what someone is saying,” When facing a problem, I will use the Wise Choice Process before making a decision,” or “When I become emotional, I will stop and seek to identify where that emotions is coming from and how I can react differently.” After the 32 days, ask for a short paper in which students explain how the process worked for them and what they believe the results meant for them. Did they see change? If so, how much? What obstacles did they encounter? What benefits did they get? What did they learn or relearn?

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