Sunday, May 20, 2012

Updating us on your current project

Before class on Monday, I'd like you take a few minutes and give the rest of us an update on your current project. What topic or issue have you chosen to write about? Who are you directing your writing to? What's your purpose in writing to them? How is your argument, claim, or main point evolving? What resources have you found helpful thus far, and what resources would you like to find and use that you haven't yet? (Please feel free to contact each other, too, if you find you're working on similar issues, and share resources!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reflecting on your growth as a writer and a researcher

To start class today, I’d like you to take a few minutes and reflect on what you’ve learned as a writer and researcher thus far in our class and consider these larger questions: How have you developed as a writer? What have you learned about conducting research? To find your way into these questions, you might start by first reflecting on what you’ve learned from completing our current assignment for The Gathering Place. What insights into qualitative research have you gained? What did you learn about writing as you moved from conducting the interviews, to transcribing the recordings, to creating a written piece appropriate for the members of community that comprises The Gathering Place? To enrich this reflection, you then might contrast this experience to what you learned about writing and research from our first assignment, the literature review. What knowledge or expertise did you gain from this assignment that was distinct from the insights of our current assignment? How did this writing experience provide different sorts of lessons for you as a writer?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reflecting on your first round of interviews

After you complete your first set of interviews, I’d like you to take some time to reflect on your experience. First, share with the rest of us what happened during your time at The Gathering Place and describe the key highlights of your interactions with the women at TGP. Second, think back to the expectations you identified in your previous post: Did your experience confirm your expectations? If so, how? If not, why not? Did anything surprise you or unsettle your expectations? If so, what happened? Last, I’d like you to reflect on what you learned as a qualitative researcher: What techniques worked well as you conducted your interview(s)? What might you do differently next time?

Identifying key features of a compelling narrative

To start class today, I’d like you to get into pairs (and one group of three) and using Kozol’s book and the selections from Deborah Connolly’s work on homeless mothers (especially the chapter on Kristy), please identify 3-5 key features of what makes for an effective and compelling narrative. As you explain these features, be as specific as you can and include reference to a few examples. Last, please feel free to discuss any additional features that you as a writer think makes for a strong narrative that these two examples don’t include.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Taking stock of yourself before your first interview

Before Monday's class (or when you complete your first interview with the women at The Gathering Place), I would like you to take some time to reflect on your expectations for this next phase of our course. What do you expect your experience will be like as you conduct these interviews? What questions, concerns, hopes, or anxieties do you have? What do you hope to learn from this experience?

Second, I’d like you to reflect on who you are, your various identities, and the assumptions you bring to this work. What beliefs, values, or ideas about gender, poverty, homelessness, age, race, or any other social issue or identity do you think will inform your experience? What challenges do these issues pose for you? In what ways might they prepare you well for what’s to come?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reflecting on what you’ve learned thus far

As you prepare for our guest speakers from The Gathering Place (who will join us on Monday), I’d like you to reflect on what you’ve learned thus far in our course about gender, poverty, and/or homelessness (or any other related topic that has been significant). Take some time to share with us what the most powerful lessons have been for you. What new knowledge or insight(s) have you gained about the focus of our course? What helped you gain this insight or learn this information (that is, what reading, class discussion, or research study that you encountered helped you learn what you learned)? Last, I’d like you to post two or three questions about gender, poverty, homelessness, and/or The Gathering Place you might ask our guests when they join us on Monday.

If possible, please post your response to these questions by Sunday evening, so that our guests can review them before they join us. Thanks!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Characterizing and contrasting research methodologies

To start class today, I’d like you to take a few minutes and reflect on how Liebow and Knecht & Martinez designed and conducted their respective studies. First, characterize the methodology of each study: How did each set of scholars set out to study their topic in a systematic way? How did their methodologies respond and work to answer their research question? Then, reflect on the insights that their methods made available. What kind of knowledge did each methodology generate about its topic? What are the limitations of each study?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

For Mon., Apr 9: Posting three additional summaries

Before class on Monday, please post three additional summaries of your scholarly sources for our current project. (I encourage you to write more than three, but you can just post three for class. As you continue to draft, though, I think you'll find that the process of summarizing each of your sources will help you as shift to synthesizing them for your literature review essay.) Please follow the previous directions on what to include in your summaries. You may find that you need to include just one summary per comment.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For Wed., Apr. 4: Posting a practice APA reference page of five sources and a summary

Before class on Wednesday, April 4, I'd like you to identify at least five (very) promising sources that you think will be useful for your literature review essay. First, I'd like you to practice putting together a References page using APA style guidelines and post this practice page as a comment to this post.

In a second comment to this post, I'd then like you write a (substantial) summary of one of these sources. In this summary, you should clearly state the main findings, conclusions, or claim of this study. Then, describe the methodology of this study or how this source substantiates its claims. Then, identify a key example that illustrates the main finding or conclusion. Last, conclude by explaining why this source is significant (or how it sheds significant light on the topic you're exploring) and how it will contribute to your literature review essay. Your summary should be 250-350 words long.

For Mon., Apr. 2: Responding to Kozol, generating ideas for first essay

Before class on Monday, I would like you to do two things: First, after reading the first section of Jonathan Kozol’s Rachel and Her Children, I would like you to reflect on your initial response to this text. What do you find interesting so far? What issues strike you as significant? What do you find engaging about Kozol as a writer?

Second, share your initial thoughts with the rest of class about what topic or issue you’d like to focus on for our first assignment. Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose yet or be absolutely certain, but I’d like you to explore the issues that you think are the most promising at this point. What sub-topics in relation to gender and homelessness interest you? Which ones would you like to explore further? Feel free to sketch out a few ideas or ask questions. The point is to get you moving towards a focal point so that our research seminar with the librarian will be as productive as possible for you on Monday.

Please post your response as a comment to this post.

Reflecting on the need for stories

Dorothy Allison opens Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by acknowledging how other people view her family, especially the women who comprise it. “Peasants,” she writes, “that’s what we are and always have been. Call us the lower orders, the great unwashed, the working class, the poor, proletariat, trash, lowlife, and scum” (1). Despite the hostility she and the other women of her family have faced, she insists that she “can make a story of it, out of us” (1).

To start class today, I’d like you to reflect on the stories that Allison tells us. What do you think she’s trying to accomplish by telling them? What is she trying to tell us (or persuade us) about women, poverty, class, sexual violence, or agency? What does she mean when she writes, “The story becomes the thing needed” (3)?

As you respond to these questions, identify at least one significant passage that helps you answer them and that you would like us to discuss together as a class. Please post your response as a comment to this post.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hey-o class, meet Jonathon Seals

Jonathon Seals, hailing from Aurora, Colorado, is a diligent young man devoted to serving others. Having served as a Teen Attorney in the Aurora Teen Court Program, Jonathon gained valuable legal experience while providing guidance for troubled youth. At DU, Jonathon has taken the next step in his legal journey as a political science major, with future plans that include law school and eventually a potential corporate law career. He jokes that sometimes he takes his studies too seriously, and admits that at times he ends up sacrificing social time with late-night study sessions.

When he isn’t volunteering or studying the realms of the judicial system, Jonathon prefers to take it easy. At times he enjoys creating soothing melodies on the piano, perhaps after eating his favorite home cooked meal prepared by his mother: tender roast followed by homemade peach cobbler. You can also find Jonathon simply hanging out with his friends, a hobby that is extra satisfying because of his hard-working personality. He admits that he has never been the most active guy, jokingly calling himself “pretty clumsy.” But this year Jonathon hopes to hit the gym more and “try something new.”

Jonathon has always enjoyed writing, and he rarely dreads papers the way most college students do. As long as he doesn’t have to write poetry, Jonathon seems eager to grow as a writer, and he especially finds the self-reflection process rewarding. Jonathon’s inspirational work ethic seems to make everyone around him better, and I have no doubts that this will hold true for our class.

Meet Zachary Munson

There is no title, label or box to put Mr. Zachary Munson in. At a young age, the Arvada native was already combating social norms. Although his father is an Episcopalian priest he early on decided to branch off and figure out spirituality for himself. His mother is a psychologist specializing in trauma and couples psychology. Recognizing that him and his mother share the same traits, he’s currently majoring in psychology with the hopes of opening up his own practice and working with adults.

Unlike many youths today, Zach has always been very politically aware. In his free time he enjoys engaging in a good political discussion with his peers. Zach’s leisurely interest also span across a vast array of interest. Hockey, basketball, lacrosse, even cooking pasta dishes, Zach enjoys it all. What I found interesting was that this athlete is also a vegetarian. He decided to make the transition after having watched a documentary about corruption within the food industry.

Zach feels very confident with writing. He took AP writing in high school and had an excellent professor who he felt truly challenged him as a writer. He was even required to create a college level portfolio in his high school writing class. Zach feels safer with analytical writing and less comfortable with creative writing. Overall, because he judges himself harshly, he rarely feels as though he has written the perfect paper. However, his inner critic does not stop him from truly loving the experience that comes with writing.

Introducing Michaela Diamond!!

Michaela Diamond is a very driven person. Always knowing her potential on what she can and will achieve. Being a woman she realizes that because she wants to be in a powerful position going into the working world she has learned that she will have to work harder to break through that glass ceiling to achieve all she wants out of life.  Growing up right outside Colorado Springs and being a Colorado native she learned to love the outdoors, picking up skiing, hiking, biking, and most of all running. Following in a family tradition from her Dad, for whom she was named after, running has become a favored activity that Michaela has certainly excelled in.  Michaela has always pushed herself from taking advanced English classes, such as AP Literature, and honors classes throughout high school, even working on a capstone project comparing Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Jane Eyre, and Hunchback of Notre Dame on their theme of romance. Where she found her true passion was through business class, in a program called DECA which is an association of marketing and business students run nationally throughout high schools. This is where Michaela fully realized that one day she wants to be the CEO of a company. Being so driven allows her to manage time well, so while in the process of achieving all of these goals she has set out for herself she multitasks and realizes her want to give back. Being a Christian most of her values are driven by her faith, and coming from an upper middle class background she realized her ability to give to those who are less fortunate. She loves the fact that our class has a service learning component, having worked with homeless through her youth group she has developed a want to give back to these people in need. She has also come to know some very interesting people in the process, and is looking forward to expanding her knowledge on gender and homelessness!

The Wild & Wonderful Sarah Ford

If you haven’t already seen her dashing around campus or tabling in Driscoll, then take the opportunity to meet Sarah Ford. Sarah is a resident Coloradan hailing from Durango, Colorado and Durango High School. Here at DU she says that she, “breaks the mold of a typical college student,” because of her involvement with many different organizations on campus including the Obama Re-election campaign. But college isn’t the first time that she has chosen to break the mold; in high school she described herself as the, “nerd” doing “all of the nerdy activities.”

Nerdy to some, but awesome to others, Sarah was a member of the Durango High School Forensics Team(Debate & Speech), as a member of the team she competed in National Extemporaneous Speaking. When she wasn’t debating national issues she was presenting them as the editor of the school paper. For a little more activity she also participated as a member of the school Softball Team.

Although she loved her life of reporting, speaking, and softball, she felt that she wanted a bigger city with closer connections during her college career, that’s why she came to DU. In what should come as no surprise, Sarah intends to major in Journalism and International Studies in the hopes of one day becoming a print journalist. She’s already well on her way to realizing this goal as she is already employed as a staff writer for the Clarion, having already covered controversial issues such as the Occupy Movement here at DU and in Colorado, the push by the RAs for Transgender bathrooms in the dorms, and the presidential election.

Despite her experiences in writing on campus, her performance in AP English means that this is her first writing class at DU. As someone who volunteers at a soup kitchen and loves journalism, she knew that this was class was right for her, even if she didn’t know which class she was picking when she originally signed up.

Sarah is a valuable contribution to the class and will surely aid others with her steadfast knowledge of all things journalism and her unique experiences.

Riley Davis, Everybody!

I would like to introduce you all to Riley Davis, University of Denver freshman, New Mexico native, and dog lover. Growing up in New Mexico, she developed a love for Mexican food, especially her mom’s tasty Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas. Along with her love for Mexican food, she learned to love various outdoor activities like snowboarding. While she hoped to be a professional soccer player after watching the woman’s World Cup when she was five, she had never actually played soccer before. When she did try soccer, she found out that she didn’t like to very much.
            In high school, Riley developed her writing skills by taking several challenging writing classes including AP Literature and Composition and AP Language and Literature. During her senior year, she had an especially great English teacher and wrote most of her favorite papers, including one in which she was asked to compare the book Frankenstein to a piece of art.
            At DU, Riley participates in both the Social Justice Living and Learning Community and the Pioneer Leadership Program. In the Social Justice LLC, she worked with Urban Peak, a center for homeless youth.  She continues to volunteer at Urban Peak for the Pioneer Leadership Program. Her work with Urban Peak was extremely influential in her decision to take the Gender in Homelessness class and continue her education on poverty. 

The Past, Present, and Future of Annie Wente

Annie Wente is a girl on a mission. Since she was young she has dreamt big. At age five, she wanted to be a pediatrician because her grandfather always said that she was the only person in the family smart enough to be a doctor. However, as she progressed in school, she found that she hates science and decided to change directions. She is currently an International Studies major and a member of the Pioneer Leadership Program. She is considering adding a major or minor in Gender and Women’s Studies to prepare her for law school and work as an advocate for abused women.

Though she has high aspirations for her future, Annie thoroughly enjoys the present. She wants to “have fun being young” because she knows she will fondly reminisce on her college experiences for the rest of her life. Some of her favorite activities include skiing, reading, running, and baking.

Annie’s identity as a Catholic is equally important to her as her age. Her most memorable writing assignment was an open-ended paper in her religions class during her senior year of high school. The prompt was to reflect on everything she had learned in the class, and her fourteen-page product was a very insightful and personal reflection on the core values which direct her life.

This writing class has personal meaning for her, too. She connected with the issue of homelessness during a missions trip to a shelter in Chicago. As she talked with the women there, she was shocked by their life stories and the unforeseeable circumstances that left them without a home. She is excited for this class because it offers a chance to discuss homelessness and to create a meaningful impact in the community. Working at the Gathering Place will be an additional opportunity for Annie to serve others around her; she routinely volunteers at South High School by mentoring students as they pursue higher education and careers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Get to Know Skyler Meyer!

When a typical five-year-old is asked what they want to be when they grow up, they usually answer a “baseball player” or an “astronaut”. When Skyler was five years old, he said he wanted to be a lawyer. Now, 12 years later, he’s well on his way to achieving just that. Once described by his parents as being “12 going-on 40”, Skyler has always been ahead of his age group in maturity. His high school record shows it.
                Skyler was a member of the 11 member IB course at his old high school in Bountiful, Utah. But that’s not the limit of his achievement. He was also the state champion in Lincoln-Douglass debates as a member of his school’s speech and debate team.
                Now at DU, he is getting an opportunity to target his interest areas while expanding his experiences and understanding of himself. Not only is he double-majoring in Economics and Socio-Legal Studies, but has also been a member of the school’s Mock Trial Team to help him prepare for graduate studies in law.
                He is also getting a chance to learn about himself. Skyler says he has really appreciated the chance to express himself at college, especially his orientation identity. Coming from a very conservative town, he has had to hide a part of his identity much of his life. At college, he is glad that he does not feel the need to hide the fact that he is gay.
Skyler signed up for this class after taking Professor Bateman’s writing class last quarter. He really appreciated that course, as well as the controversial and in-depth material offered by this quarter’s class.

All About Emma!

I interviewed Emma, using fun questions as well as ones regarding her past as a writer and a civically engaged individual. Emma became an International Studies major after realizing her passion for the subject through a class last quarter. Her name was selected randomly from a baby name book by her parents. Also, when she was five, her most prominent career aspiration involved becoming a famous opera singer. At this age, she chose this career path because of her desire to sing in a “high voice” and wear elaborate costumes. Although Emma has no favorite animal to speak of, if she absolutely had to select one, it would be the sloth. If she could eat any dinner at home, her choice would be vodka pasta, made from a recipe that a friend passed on to her family.

Emma’s most salient identity is gender, simply because she recognizes its utter significance. “In our society, being a girl is pretty significant,” she says. An identity that she is interested in further exploring for the duration of this class is religion; despite her current identification as a tentative atheist, she wishes to examine her own religious identification as well as religious issues in a closer light throughout this quarter.

Her past as a writer includes writing for her high school newspaper, which she greatly enjoyed. Presently, Emma writes for the DU Clarion; she is a staff writer and generally writes two articles per week. Despite her love of writing, an area of writing that she does not relish in the least is poetry. However, she does enjoy creative writing in its other forms that do not involve poetry. Currently, she is a member of the Social Justice LLC. Through this organization, she volunteers with the Human Trafficking Task Force on campus. A notable and well-received event put on by this organization was a “teach-in” regarding chocolate and slavery. For her Social Justice class, she worked in a group to create a video on homelessness, based on interviews conducted with homeless people, meaning that she possesses prior experience with the topics of this course.