Toward the end of this summer, while on a trip exploring eight state parks in central Virginia, I entered into a new research project for my poetry. Since the semester was gearing up, I decided I’d fit my research in by researching along with my students. I’ll be reading about the Civilian Conservation Corps, ecopoetics, and collage with a goal of starting a new book project. Because I don’t know where I’m heading, I thought this would work pretty well with the self-guided research project that I do in my first-year composition course. I’ll be trying to model the research process, starting in this exploratory stage.
Because I already planned to research along with my students in this way, I decided to commit to writing along with my students each day in class. I am currently adjuncting at two schools. I have three classes at one, and a class with a lab at the other. My official goal is to write along with one section per day, but to make that writing available to all of the classes (we write on a class wiki, so I populate my writing page on each site with my daily writing). This allowance to write just once makes it much more manageable. I’m trying to make sure that I’m writing with each class; I think I’ll start tracking that on my writing page. This is a principle I’ve always valued, and I’ve dabbled in it. This is the first time I’m doing it in such a structured way, and in a way so open to my students.
Finally, I’ve transformed my research project arc (brainstorming journal entries, proposal, annotated bibliography…) into an I-search project this semester. After meeting someone at a faculty development workshop who was willing to share her assignment prompt, I decided to go for it. I felt as if I’ve been doing I-search all along, but not calling it that. I’ll be asking my students to make some sort of blogging platform for their I-search log; this will be mine. I’ll present my findings on the CCC, but I’ll also be blogging on the process of writing along for the first time.