These are some student exercises I’ve developed over the last several years. The first two are adaptable to undergraduate composition or rhetoric classes and the third is for undergraduate poetry students.

Exercise 1: Disciplinary Lenses

This is an exercise I developed for first-year composition students but could be adapted to any undergraduate research project. The learning objectives stressed in the exercise are to identify potential stakeholders for a research issue and what aspects of the issue these stakeholders might be interested in. By this point in the semester, each student has an idea of a topic they would like to research, with the specification, in this case, that the issue affect the city of Milwaukee and its residents. However, the exercise could work around any research topic.

Exercise 2: Synthesize!

This exercise is intended for first-year composition students. I developed it during my MA studies at Missouri State University. The learning objectives are to identify key components of research sources and the process of quick summarization in a small group environment. At this point in the semester, students had begun to investigate a potential topic for a research paper.

Exercise 3: Make a List!

This exercise is adapted from a poet named Sheila Bender, with the original featured in her book Writing Personal Poetry (Writers Digest Books; First Edition. March 1, 1999). The exercise is intended for first-year poetry students and is designed as a brainstorming for their first poem – a concrete image narrative.