FYS Resources

Teaching the FYS

The Six Aims of the Bates FYS

This collaboratively and locally designed document offers an overview of high impact practices around which to to build an FYS through intentional, student-centered design. It describes six specific learning aims that were developed with Bates faculty and staff in a Learning Community (Winter 2019).

Teaching WRITING in the FYS

The Writing-Attentive Curriculum

This web page describes the overarching structure and aims of the writing-attentive curriculum, or our W1-W2-W3 writing-across-the-curriculum program, at Bates.

FYS Writing Values Rhetorical Rubric

This locally-created writing rubric reflects the goals of the Bates W1 and ensures the ways we assess our first year students’ writing is accessible, equitable, and in line with best practices. Developed by Writing@Bates professional staff in response to a survey of 2017 FYS faculty about what they value in their first year students’ writing. We also grounded it in a rhetorical-approach to teaching first year writing, a widely accepted best practice in our field.

A Writing Values Statement

This two-page writing values statement will help you introduce your students to the FYS Writing Values Rubric. There is a Word version of the document available here.

Video Tutorials: Using The Norton Field Guide to Writing

Watch these helpful brief videoslocally developed by Writing@Bates and ARC Director, Dan Sanfordfor some effective tips and tricks on using our recommended textbook, The Norton Field Guide To Writing, and its associated online resources for student writers and for teaching writing at Bates.

P.A.G.E. for Effective Writing Assignment Design

This handout is an excellent and easy guide to help you design effective and consistent writing prompts.

Engaging Your Course-Attached Tutor (CAT)* for Writing & Speaking as Partner in the FYS
* formerly known as “PWSA” or Peer Writing and Speaking Assistant


Understanding the Role of Your CAT

This thorough document offers suggestions for instructors wishing to develop a healthy relationship of respect, reciprocity, and responsibility with their CAT — a relationship that benefits you, the CAT, and, most importantly, your first year students. It also describes the types of students we recruit for the CAT position, their academic support responsibilities and professional development commitments, as well as a sense of the specific types of activities you can expect them to engage in with you and your student writers and speakers, both in— and outside— your FYS.

You may also wish to hear from your colleagues and their FYS CATs about their experiences working together! Check out these Writing@Bates blog posts about some exceptional partnerships in semesters past: Fall 2018 and Fall 2019.

You can also visit this website to see all the CATs working in the Writing & Language Center this year (usually updated by first few weeks of the semester). Your CAT will likely be there!

Including Your CAT in Your Syllabus and on Your Lyceum Site

Please use this online guide to add the CAT to your Lyceum site.

You may also use or adapt these syllabus blurbs about your CAT and the Writing & Language Center (ARC).

Other Helpful Writing Resources

Collaborative Learning Techniques Quick Reference Guide

This quick-reference guide from a guide for faculty by the same name provides a helpful list of go-to collaborative activities to make your classroom an active one!

Textbooks and Open Educational Resources for Teaching Writing

Consider using or adopting any of the following textbooks and resources geared towards the first year college student writer-reader.

The Norton Field Guide to Writing (5th ed.)

The Bedford Guide for College Writers (12th ed.)

The Little Seagull Handbook (4th ed.)

They Say, I Say (5th ed.)

Everything’s An Argument (8th ed.)

A Writer’s Reference (10th ed.)

Univ. of Puget Sound’s Sound Writing Project

WAC Clearinghouse’s Writing Spaces

West Virginia Univ.’s Bad Ideas About Writing



2019 Common Read Suggested Activities

The documentary, Dolores, about United Farm Workers Union leader and activist, Dolores Huerta (also the 2019 Convocation Speaker!), was the Common Read for 2019’s incoming first year students. These resources and discussion and writing activities were designed to help FYS faculty engage in relevant, inclusive, and empathetic exchanges about the film with their first year students. 

This web page includes responses to the film from a selection of Peer Writing & Speaking Assistants, the peer educators assigned to support the students in every First Year Seminar as they make the transition from high school to college-level writing, speaking, and learning. FYS students will enjoy considering these Bates-specific themes, issues, and questions from their peers.

2018 Common Read Suggested Activities

The 2018 Common Read was Real American, by Julie Lythcott-Haims. Suggested activities for discussion and writing are available in this (PDF)  or (Word) document.