Michael Barsanti's Response Assignment
What's a Response?
by Michael Barsanti
There are many assignments due for this class that are called "Responses." Students are often confused by these assignments-in part because they are less formal than what they have been asked to write for classes in the past. I don't expect the Responses to have a coherent point, or to make especially brilliant readings of the stories assigned. They should represent a first attempt to make sense out of the assignment, a first attempt at getting the bits and pieces you have marked in the story to hang together in some way.
Here's how I imagine you doing these assignments:
- You read the assigned readings, and mark them up accordingly with passages that strike you (see the "How to Read" handout.
- Having finished the reading, you page back through what you have read, scanning over the things you've marked.
- You sit at a computer and type out whatever trash comes into your head. You can be tentative, speculative, or downright wrong about what you're saying. You simply need to write something.
- You type 500 or so words (one page single spaced). Maybe you fiddle with it a little, deleting a few sentences and adding others, but you don't do any real editing.
- You make sure your name is at the top of the page, along with the date and the assignment number ("Response #2"). You hand it in.
After you hand it in, I read over it quickly. I take it home and mark anything that seems especially interesting or promising, put a check/check plus/check minus on it and maybe a few comments, and hand it back to you in a class or two.
You should hold on to everything I give back to you in this class, but these responses are especially important, since your next assignment will be to revise them.