Assignments and Lessons

Tutoring in USM's Writing Center

Tutoring in USM’s Writing Center

*All assignments and lessons are original*


English 203 Class Blog Assignment

This assignment asks students to relate the texts we read in class to the real world and to publish their thoughts in a public place–our class blog–so that our in-class conversations can continue outside of the classroom.

Close Reading Essay

I consider this essay the rhetorical analysis of literature: students must choose a small piece of text from a larger work and analyze HOW an author makes an argument or compels the reader to feel a certain way.

Personal Narrative/Character Analysis

This is a hybrid assignment that asks students to use personal evidence in order to more fully analyze a character. The ultimate goal of this assignment is to have students analyze themselves as much as they analyze a text and to see that we have intimate connections with the literature we read.

Empathy Walls Narrative

This first assignment in my composition courses is derived from Arlie Hochschild’s aim in her recent book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. The goal of this assignment is, as Hochschild puts it, to “know others from the inside, to see reality through their eyes.” A provocative assignment to teach, it asks students to do something radical: to earnestly listen to the very ideas they may abhor.


Close Reading

A guide sheet to help students fine-tune their close reading skills. This handout uses Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” as an example because it is a text we read on the first day of the semester.

Paragraph Development

A handout that aims to break down a paragraph and demonstrate that it is a mini-essay in itself, with a focus (topic sentence), evidence (quotes, summary, etc.), and analysis.

Tutoring the Thesis Statement

A tutoring aid that helps teachers and tutors explain a thesis statement to students.

Rhetorical Toolbox

Primarily used in Composition classes, the toolbox is a method of discussing the various types of evidence an author can use to persuade his or her reader.



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