W@B Events: My Favorite Writing Assignment

Brett Huggett shares his “Natural History of a Tree” assignment from his Dendrology course. Students in the course create natural history essays on Bates trees. These essays are available to the public through QR-codes that physically tag each students’ tree.  

Bates faculty gathered during finals week in the fall semester for Writing@Bates’ “My Favorite Assignment” panel. Ten members of the Bates faculty each briefly shared one writing assignment they enjoyed assigning and responding to; panel attendees were able to enjoy the creativity of their colleagues, and gather ideas for their own courses. The pedagogical highlights for each faculty’s writing assignment is listed below.

Keiko Konoeda’s (Japanese/Asian Studies) students learned that writing is a way to engage their peers through Biblio Battles, an increasingly common type of assignment in Japan.

Bill Wallace’s (Education) students used writing to take a public stance on the local issue of lead with an editorial to the Lewiston Journal.

Myra Wright’s (English) students worked on sentence-level style with her “Faulty Sentence” prompt.

Adriana Salerno’s (Math) students used writing to reflect on their own growth as learners.

Brett Huggett’s (Geology) students used multimodal writing for active learning in creating an interactive guide to the trees on campus.

Stacy Smith’s (English) students embarked on an intellectual pilgrimage in crafting a Philosophy of Nonviolence.

Joe Hall’s (History) students prepared to write a research paper by thinking through how two of their sources were affecting their emerging vision for the paper.

Lynn Mandeltort’s (Biochemistry) students connected course concepts to their own personal experience through reflective writing on quantum chemistry.

Jane Costlow’s (Environmental Studies) students thought through the visibility and history of nature in Lewiston through her Lewiston Triptych assignment.

Michael Sargent’s (Psychology) students both prepared for a podcast interview and explored citation in writing a Podcast Guest Profile.

Overall, it was a collaborative success! Panelist Joe Hall reflected that “It was really inspiring and a great way to finish up the semester and start thinking about next term.”

Lynn Mandeltort commented that “Much like we see in our students, the benefits of peer interaction are many and so energizing!”

View a full video of the panel, with slides and handouts, here.

Read the Bates Today coverage on the event, which includes each faculty’s assignment details, here.