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.