Category Archives: In-Class Stuff

this i believe :: statement criteria

Authentic voice
The writer must create a narrative persona (or stance) that the reader believes authentic, or else the text risks coming off as trite or condescending. Voice is a difficult feature to discuss in writing, but readers can describe the stance a writer is taking as they react to a given style, dialogue, and point of view; they must choose whether to believe or identify. Thus, writers must seek to reveal true experiences, moments of relevance, and believed lessons learned; else, write fictional accounts as if they believed them to be true.

Narrative coherence
Most often covered in literary settings, the feature of narrative coherence regards the business of telling stories well: vivid description, controlled and appropriate pacing, subtle transitions, lively dialogue, and rich character development, for example. A personal essay generally relates a story and lessons learned; thus, if the storytelling fails, the whole essay usually fails. The same elements of narration that we celebrate in studies of canonical literature can be studied and applied to student narratives.

Communal relevance
At the end of the essay, the reader has the right to ask “So what?” and have it answered. A writer does not merely tell a story for personal reasons, but in order to communicate a larger truth to the reader; the story is the vehicle on which this truth, often metaphorically, rides. The personal essay argues, in a way, that the beauty associated with being a human can often best be expressed through the sharing of stories. Thus, there often appear two distinct sections of a personal essay: narrative and comment. Sometimes they are neatly divided, with an immediate lapsing into a story with brief comments at the end, but such segmenting is not always the case. Other writers will choose to comment along the way, interspersing authorial intrusions into the narrative to call attention to pertinent ideas. Whatever the format, the reader understands the reason and the importance of the story beyond its aesthetic appeal.


Agenda :: 1/20

course information:
course website:
introduction to writing with video ::
welcome to ART 350: writing with video! we’re going to be covering the basic background and objectives for the class today, so feel free to follow along on your own laptop if you need. also, be sure to bookmark these websites for your future reference.

tour of course website :: 

  • course background/objectives
  • modules and grading rubrics
  • course policies :: attendance, late work, etc.
  • curriculum :: what will we be doing in this class? course materials and requirements
  • tools :: a good place to find resources to help you out with technical issues throughout the semester

tour of this specific section’s blog ::

  • daily agendas :: this is where i will post information relevant to our class schedule, activities, and homework assignments. you will also be asked to set up your own blog for posting your homework and other in-class assignments on thursday.
  • course info :: modules; personal policies; tentative schedule

ice breaker // introductions :: three truths and a lie

  1. On paper, write down 4 statements. 3 of these statements should be true things about you, and one should be false. try not to go too outrageous with the lie, the point is to try to make it difficult for the rest of us to know which one is the lie.
  2. when everyone has written down their statements, we will have someone start the chain by reading all four out loud to the class. the person to their left will have to guess which statement is the lie before reading their own list. we’ll follow this chain around the classroom until everyone has shared!


  1. make a list of 100 questions that are important to you.  This class will require you to ask a lot of questions, so the best way to start is by asking some of yourself. Your list can include any kind of question as long as it’s something you deem significant: anything from “How can I save more money?” or “How can I have more fun?” to “What is the meaning and purpose of my existence?” and “How can I best be helpful on this earth.”  Do this list in one sitting.  Write quickly; don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or repeating the same question in different words.  You may find that the first 20 easily come off the top of your head.  In the next 30-40, themes often begin to emerge, and in the last section you are likely to find unexpected questions that are profound. When finished look through your list and see if any themes emerge with out judging them.  Are your questions mostly about relationships, business, money, fun, or the meaning of life? 
  2. bring something that you can use to take a few photos with during an in-class exercise::  this could be a
    1. a digital camera with a connector cord or sd card reader,
    2. your cell phone  – whether you transfer your photos to your computer by cable or wirelessly, please have this process figured out before class and bring all necessary cables.
    3. the camera on your laptop or ipad