While we were away . . .

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Bison at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  Photograph by Megan Buaas

Our fall semester is now three weeks old, which means that my students have begun to get their feet wet with PrairyErth.  Our discussions and their in-class writing show to me that maybe, just maybe, their curiosity is piqued about the book and its setting.  On the first night of class, I asked for a show of hands of students who had been anywhere in Chase County besides driving through it on the turnpike, and no one had.  Though that is a discouraging thought, it also means that they can’t claim knowing all (that they think) there is to know about this place.  They are a collective blank slate regarding the Flint Hills but, at least so far, they seem receptive to knowing more and thinking more about it.  I will be meeting with students next Tuesday to talk about their drafts of their first papers, which are due on Thursday, so then I’ll have a (much) better sense of how (read: if) the writing prompts will result in thoughtful, substantive papers.

And speaking of writing prompts . . .

We still don’t have much content here; that will begin to appear in November as students select their papers for publication on this blog.  However, in addition to various links that I hope will be useful to my students and anyone who finds his/her way here, I have posted a .pdf file of the first-generation writing prompts on its own page (look for the button under the banner on this page).  I’ll spare readers of this post a rehash of the apologia for the prompts that you’ll find there, but I do want to invite anyone interested to use the prompts as they see fit.  I also hope that you will offer comments on how they might be improved and, even better, contribute prompts of your own that I can foist upon future semesters of unsuspecting students.

That’s all for right now; if you’ve read this far, I thank you and hope you’ll find your way back here.

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