• The Nice White Lady Searches Her Conscience

    The discussions around the 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) convention in Kansas City, Missouri, are provocative and inspiring and offer substantial motivation for me to search my consci...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Studying an Idea in Depth: A Closer Look at James Baldwin

    As a transition between Writing Project 1 and Writing Project 2, I invited students to watch and reflect in writing on a video preview of Raoul Peck’s film “I Am Not Your Negro,” publi...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Breaking with Conventions -- A Blog in 3 Vignettes: American Sports History, Grammar Conventions, James Baldwin

    Vignette 1: American Sports History Perhaps, dear reader, you have just read the title of this week’s post and you are thinking: “Because the writers in my classrooms do not know the conventions, they do ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Why Is Writing So Hard? A Writing Assignment for Difficult Times

    This semester, our first writing project in Stretch is called: “Why is writing so hard?” The title is inspired by our first reading of the semester,  “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity,&...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • What is Your Philosophy of Writing?

    At the end of spring semester, which is also the end of our year-long Stretch Writing program (English 101 stretched across two semesters), I request that students respond to the question: “What is your philosop...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • The Final Project: Writing Heals

    As the semester moves toward its final month, students have asked for a final writing project that would allow them to choose their own topics. They wanted, they said, a chance to show their creativity and to find a s...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Letter to My Students: Writing a Literature Review

    Dear Students,   An important goal for writing this literature review is to practice thinking outside the box for drafting and revising an essay. We have spoken about the differences between written product and w...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Integrated Reading and Writing: Plato Theatre

    The setting: The Cave: a face-to-face classroom on a cool and cloudy desert southwest winter morning.   The text: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (previously described in First-Day Activity: What Is Truth...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • First-Day Activity: What Is Truth?

    Four years ago in the Bronx, I taught Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in a first-year writing course. New York City was still emerging from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, and the trauma of unanticipat...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Teaching with Depression

    The end of any semester inspires reflection on successful projects and areas that need improvement. This semester, I hope to take that reflection a step further by making plain what I usually try to keep invisible. I ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Teaching and Learning at Midterm: Free Empathy (Meditation 2)

    This post is a continuation of Teaching and Learning at Midterm: Free Empathy (Meditation 1)Second Meditation: On Creativity and Slow GradingThis semester, the graduate students enrolled in my Practicum course ha...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Teaching and Learning at Midterm: Free Empathy (Meditation 1)

    This post is dedicated to all of us who, at midterm, amid a wide variety of distractions, grapple with catching up on grading and class prep, keeping track of meetings and  social media (including email), and res...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Thinking Outside the Box: A Tale of Emojis in 2 Images

    As I prepared for my fall classes, I grappled with questions that students often ask on the first day of the basic writing course: “Is this course remedial? Is it a review of high school?” In the past, I h...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • File Card Discussion: A Beginning-of-Semester Activity

    Near the beginning of the semester, once my students have had time to digest the syllabus, the assignments, and my teaching style,  we engage in a file card discussion. The activity unfolds in five basic steps: ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Reading Lists for Course Planning and Professional Development

    What can we do to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for our students? How can we connect writing and reading instruction with our students’ concerns? The following reading lists offer links to short t...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • An Assignment Sequence for Basic Writing

    In drafting the assignment sequence for the fall semester basic writing course, Introduction to Academic Writing, I keep in mind one of Shaughnessy’s key questions from her essay, “Some Needed Research on ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Writing and Movement: Changing the Scene

    This past April, at the Council on Basic Writing’s Wednesday Workshop at 4C16, Houston’s Writers in the Schools teaching artist Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton offered a session on writing and movement.  In t...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • A Place for Reading Instruction in our Writing Classrooms

    Today’s guest bloggers are Maureen McBride, Writing Center Director at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Meghan Sweeney, Assistant Professor of English at Saint Mary’s College of California.   We ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Preachers and Primaries: MLK in 2016

    “We couldn’t talk about politics in high school,” my students tell me. “They said it caused too many arguments.” This experience is not universal among my students. Many of my students ar...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • The Roadblock: Changing Practice to Transform Process

    “Let’s consider beginning the writing process not with the introduction, but with drafting body paragraphs,” I suggest to students in the third week of class.  “Imagine that you have taken...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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