Reading Room #8- Using collaborative annotation to develop creative writing prompts

Journal: Hastac

All of this talk of online annotation has gotten me to reflect upon our previous discussions in class on different formats.  I continue to look back at the methods set forth between Genius and Slate; these different methods to authentically use online annotation had set me up for my annotation comrades assignment.  However, this article, from the journal Hastac titled “Using collaborative annotation to develop creative writing prompts” by Rachel Shields, was something I found by accident.  I was talking one on one with my Creative Writing professor, that I am a graduate instructional assistant for, and she really made me really find ways to give direction to the students.  In other words, it was a challenge for her to wrap her head around teaching online annotation to 100 students (who have different majors other than creative writing and english literature) in a lecture hall.  In this article, Sheilds reiterates that many of her students in her short story class found it so hard to come up with creative writing projects.  This is where Shields came to the conclusion that working together as a class with online annotation suited better for the students.

Within the time frame of the course, each group would have 20 students and strongly read (and reread) unique texts for the group they are in.  Some of the stories included: Virginia Woolf’s “Blue & Green”, Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill”, and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (selections).  With these texts in mind, the students would post the versions of the story on google docs, look for the correct group they are in, and come up with 3-4 annotations (similar to the ones from the big class group,  and look at a craft strategy that suits you well as a writer.  On their own, they would read the annotations they have seen their peers reply to within the exact story.  However, going back into groups, the students would relatively look at a craft strategy they need fine tuning with as a writer.

Using “Backwards Design” as a model, Shields states, ” Include at least one suggestion for content generation (ex: “go to a café and observe how people drink coffee, then put a description of coffee drinking somewhere in your piece” or “read the comments section of a NY Times article and incorporate two sentences from commenters into the dialog you are writing”)” (Shields).  Rachel Shields has goals with this assignment and that is useful for the students.

I found this article by accident and relatable to my lecture in my creative writing course because of how much of this I want to use for the course.  What better way to come up with new ideas on annotation?

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