Resources: Lists of Ten
The Lists of Ten provide a wide variety of teaching ideas that can help you use
the Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment in innovative ways. Feel free to adapt these
activities to your own classes, but please do not reproduce them for any other purpose without
prior written permission from The Daedalus Group.
Ten Persuasive Writing Prompts
Includes basic prescriptive-descriptive writing prompts focusing on local school problems. The
prompts are based on the assignments typically included in standardized writing tests (like the
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, or TAAS test). Prompts focus on discussing school uniforms,
litter problems on the school campus, and the problems of a new highway exit near the school
Ten Narrative Writing Prompts
Explores narrative writing prompts, similar to those included in standardized writing tests.
These prompts are longer than those typically used in these tests, but they can be easily revised
to bring them more in line with test language. Prompts include writing about a childhood event,
narrating a "lightbulb moment," and telling about the way a place changes over time.
Ten Prewriting Exercises for
These exercises can be useful after the students have begun drafting, since they focus on the
details of the event that the writer can add to a working draft. For instance, after scripting
a section of the narrative, writers could work on adding dialogue to their drafts. Or after
thinking about the decision points in the series of events, they can add some details to their
drafts on the reasons the series of events occurred in the way they did.
Ten Prewriting Exercises for
These prewriting exercises can help students writing descriptive papers or descriptive passages
in any paper. The exercises ask students to examine an object, person, or place from an unusual
point of view. Most of the exercises can be broken up into a series of questions and presented as
a worksheet for students to complete.
Ten Audience Analysis Exercises
These audience analysis techniques ask students to think about their readers from a slightly
different point of view (as an opponent in a soccer game, for instance), or to think about the
similarities and differences between themselves and their readers. The exercises lean more toward
persuasive and informative writing assignments, though they could be rephrased or adapted for
Ten Ways to Write About Style
These exercises help students to analyze writing styles for a number of different kinds of texts.
The students also put their analyses to practical use by writing passages in different styles.
Ten Ways to Work on Grammar Collaboratively
These exercises can be adapted for whatever particular topic you're working on. They use
specific examples, but you could change the subject easily (for example, changing "comma splice" to
"subject-verb agreement"). Some of the ideas are straightforward exercises while
others are discussion starters.
Ten Ways to Respond to Student Drafts
This list includes techniques to make responses more meaningful and supportive for writers. If you
use one of these techniques, it's useful to talk with students about the responses you'll share
so they'll be prepared for the feedback and to discuss ways to use your responses as they continue
work on their papers. Since a number of the ways of responding differ from the standard end comments
that students are used to, group discussion of how to use the feedback is especially important.
Ten Ways to Explore a Writer's Background
It can be helpful to start a new school term by asking students questions about themselves as writers.
This list offers writing assignments that will help students explore their background as writers; the
results can be useful to both the students and the instructor.
Ten Ways to Use an Old Stack of Newspapers
These activities will engage the students in looking at many different parts of a newspaper
(articles, advertising, letters to the editor) from many different perspectives (design, ideology,
Ten Ways to Use an Old Stack of Magazines
These writing assignments ask students to examine a particular magazine, generally to hone their
analytical skills by writing an analytical, expository or persuasive piece.
Ten Television Analysis Writing Projects
Tackles writing projects focusing on television shows. Some of the assignments will work for a
single show, while others are for students comparing two or more shows. Includes assignments asking
students to consider gender roles, the importance of costumes, and the connections between the
commercials and the programs.
Ten Writing Projects on the Rhetoric of War
These exercises were originally written during the conflict in Kosovo, but they provide concrete
ways to talk about any war as it is portrayed by the participants, media, government, and others.
Ten Oscar Competition Activities (Plus Five)
Outlines an Oscar-type competition for the readings that a class has completed over the course of
a school term. Activities include asking students to reflect on the term's readings and name the
best character, the best setting, and the best descriptive passage.
Ten Unusual Sources for Research Papers
To overcome students' over-reliance on just a few types of sources, this list directs students
to find less common sources and integrate them into their research.
Ten Ways to Play with Literature
Suggests playful paper and discussion topics that don't lend themselves easily to the
five-paragraph theme. Each activity should include a second part that asks writers to reflect
on their decisions and explain the textual analysis that supports their ideas. The activities
include producing a movie version of a reading, writing a letter to a character or the author,
and rewriting a passage in another style or from a different cultural perspective.
Ten Novel Essay Prompts
Lists essay exam or writing prompts for students working with novels. Activities include
considering the role that gender plays, exploring how readers can tell the "good" characters
from the "bad," and considering the novelist's "passion to write."
Ten Character Diary Entries
This assignment directs the students to choose a character from a novel and write a diary
entry addressing the chapter(s) covered each day from the point of view of that character.
The questions in this activity are intended to stimulate deeper thought about the novel so the
students don't simply recapitulate the events in the story.
Ten Ways to Ask Students to Re-think the Classroom
Asks students to think critically about the computer-based classroom, considering their work
space from a different perspective by analyzing the community and the learning that takes place there.
Ideas include examining the classroom from the perspective of an archaeological team that uncovers
the classroom in 3098, and having a forum where students discuss the advantages of computer-based
classrooms while assuming the roles of administrators, politicians, and family members.
Ten Critical Literacy & Technology Activities (Part 1)
This list provides the first installment focusing on questions that we can ask students
to consider as critical thinkers interacting with computer technology. Most of the assignments
ask students to look at the ways that computer technology is presented in the world around them,
so access to computers in the classroom is not necessary for students to work on these assignments.
Ten Critical Literacy & Technology Activities (Part 2)
This list provides another ten ideas for discussing critical literacy and technology. Some of the
ideas look at the same issue as a previous assignment, but in a slightly different way or giving
writers a different way to frame their discussion.
Ten Ways to Think about Year 2000 Issues
These activities, written before the arrival of the year 2000, encouraged students to examine
the Y2K issue from both analytical and imaginative perspectives. Although Y2K is now in the past,
the questions still can be adapted to help students think about how the promises and perils of
technology are represented.
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