I went down to Atlantis after the Rider game, which I didn't much watch, to drink tea and come up with ideas for my three classes that start Wednesday.
The minute class starts, get my 100 students to write two sentences on how you're feeling right now or one question you brought into this classroom today. [Now as I write it, this idea (no doubt like the ones following) seems juvenile, as if I'm teaching grade 7 Language Arts, as I once did, 1975-77.]
In any of my classes, ask Does game day matter? or Does bad service make you mad? Do this in two steps, the first one "general", as it will likely be, then "specific", which might help us no matter what the context for that pair.
Try this orally: Is this your idea of a good time, why or why not: You're riding in the back seat of a stretch limo, right-hand side. You're wearing the jersey; the team just won. You roll down the window and salute with your glass of champagne half-consumed, the other half spilled. There's really no name for what you're doing, the way your eyes vibrate and your mouth attacks.
For Devin Krukhoff's Flyways, the fiction we'll read in the Sask Lit class, get each person to pick a story and write a one-pager, being as convincing as possible, on why the rest of us should read it.
In any class, especially Expository Writing (251), make a list of ordinary language--the plainest, not necessarily cliche, most often used, most obvious phrases. Look these over. Re-label the category. Talk over what our policy might be toward this category.
To accompany first readings of poetry in the 100 class, discuss: "The thing about poetry is that it's renewable", as Sven Birkerts writes in "The Walk".
For 251, begin with that essay, a narrative of waking up, especially into writing. We can talk about whether we believe it. And voice, and elements of the essay poetic I, for one, will be applying in this class. And all sorts of decisions.
Imitate Birkerts' sentences, or Krukhoff's.
And so on. Later or tomorrow I'll pull specifically from The Things They Carried, the fiction in 100.