Course Activity: “Identity Wheel Worksheet”

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Assignment Title: “Identity Wheel Worksheet”

Authors: Anne Silva, Salisbury University (anniesilvam1@gmail.com)

Date published: August, 2022

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Class Info/Tags: Face-to-Face, Hybrid, Synchronous, Composition Studies

Course Motivation: Develop clear and engaging prose about complex ideas, read and write with consideration for the purpose and audience of a text, respond carefully and constructively to other writers, cultivate ethical research and citation practices.

Context of Use: Assigned during the beginning of the semester, before our first major assignment. This worksheet is assigned after students read a text about writer’s block and what causes it. Upon completing this worksheet, students should be able to think critically about their intersecting identities and how they interact and influence their daily lives, including when they write. Specifically, students are expected to make a connection to their identities and experiences with writer’s block.

Instructor Reflection: I like that this activity connects discussions we’ve had in the classroom to students’ personal lives, as this encourages them to transfer skills we’ve learned in the class to other contexts. I initially did not have an opportunity for reflection on this worksheet, so I found it difficult to assess students’ engagement in the activity. However, since I’ve added this reflective response question that I collect, I’ve been able to see how students are using and understanding intersectionality as it relates to writing and writer’s block. Instructor labor is minimal – I provided my students with a verbal example of how I might answer the questions on the worksheet, but I think this is optional. To prepare for this activity, students need to read Mike Rose’s “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language.” We also had a brief class discussion about this reading to scaffold the information. I gauged student engagement through observing their attention to the activity (since I do not collect the actual worksheet) and through reading their reflections on the activity. When adapting this activity for your own classroom, I suggest what you’d like to collect. I chose not to collect the worksheet because my students seemed to give very personal answers. Instead, I collect the reflection they write, so they can still fully engage in the activity, but only reflect on what they’re comfortable sharing with me. I would also suggest carefully scheduling when in the semester you’d like to use this activity. If you chose to assign it early in the semester, students may not feel comfortable enough in your space to fully engage.

About Author

Jennifer Burke Reifman

Jennifer Burke Reifman is a 5th year Education Ph.D. Candidate at U.C. Davis with an emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. Her research focuses on technology in the writing classroom, writing program administration, and student identity and agency. When she isn't being a graduate student and writing teacher, she spends most of her time playing with her 3-year old son, tending her backyard garden, or diving into a video game.

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English & Education at the University of Michigan, where she also teaches in the English Department Writing Program. Her research interests include digital rhetoric, gender and discourse, and gaming studies. Her dissertation project explores how women use multimodal discourse—grammatically, narratively, and visually—to navigate online gaming ecologies.