• Memorable Reading, Part 3: Non-Fiction, Pedagogy, and Writing Studies

    This post is the third in a series on Memorable Reading. For the first post and second posts, see Memorable Reading, Part 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama and Memorable Reading, Part 2: History, Philosophy, and Psyc...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Memorable Reading, Part 2: History, Philosophy, and Psychology

    This post is the second in a series on Memorable Reading. For the first post, see Memorable Reading, Part 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.   It is August, and the minds of many of us are turning back to school and ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • The Three Rs of Summer: Reading, Reflection, and Renewal

    [This post originally published May 23, 2011.]   This time of year, thoughts often turn to summer book lists. The International Writing Centers Association discussion list includes a query and recommendatio...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Memorable Reading, Part 1: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama

    It is August, and the minds of many of us are turning back to school and the need for creating new syllabi, retooling old syllabi, or learning how to teach syllabi that we are required to use. As I begin the process o...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Lifelong Learning: Writing and Trauma in the First-Year Experience

    Written with guest blogger Steve Cormany.   For this month’s post, I have asked my life partner, Steve Cormany, a writer and retired writing teacher, for an oral history of his first published piece of writ...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • New Classroom Transitions: Lessons from My Cat on Moving Cross Country

    The late spring and early summer months are seasons of moving for many of us, and last month, my partner and I and our orange tabby cat Destiny left Arizona to return to Queens, New York. While uprooting from a famili...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Final Writing Assignment: Graduation Speech

    Before the beginning of the spring semester, as I planned our assignments for the course, I tried to imagine where we might be by the end of the semester. I thought of skills to be practiced and outcomes to be measure...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Hearing Loss and Listening to Loss in the Basic Writing Classroom

    Teaching basic writing involves imagining more accessible classrooms for students that account for hearing losses of all kinds. That is, the loss of audible sound, and the signs of loss or trauma that may be inaudible...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Creative Projects and a Moment of Silence

    This semester, students have been invited to engage with reading a whole nonfiction book from a choice of three twentieth-century texts: Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera, James Baldwin’s No...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Reading and Writing for Genre: James Baldwin’s “Letter to My Nephew”

      “Yet one must also recognize that morality is based on ideas and that all ideas are dangerous — dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say.” Stud...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Synthesis and the Imperfect Rectangle:  An Icebreaker for a Slower Classroom

      There is, I know, a vast amount of privilege that comes from making an imperfect rectangle on the first day of class. The chairs and the tables have to be moveable, not nailed down to the floor. We—the s...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • Investigating Space: A First Assignment in Basic Writing

    Today's guest blogger is Meghan Kelsey, who is completing the MFA program in poetry at Arizona State University. An experienced teacher and zine artist, she has just finished her first semester of teaching in ASU...
    Susan Naomi Bernstein
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  • 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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