This made me laugh so hard…


Where Wolf?


by: Shannon Hames

We like to laugh and joke around about our mistakes here at Southern Poly.  Our English and Technical Communications department has some goofball students who love to laugh.  Yesterday, I saw this cute little cartoon on Facebook by a fellow English student and it certainly did make me laugh.  But it also went hand-in-hand with my previous post about how there is a trend among students that do not know how to spell or use correct punctuation and grammar. 

When I saw this cartoon, it reminded me of how many times I read the work of my classmates only to see how they have misused words that sound the same but are spelled differently.  (They’re, their, there).  They genuinely do not know (or care to look it up if they are uncertain) which form of a word to use so they treat it like a crap shoot.  The only thing they don’t realize is that they are gambling with their grades, their reputation and quite possibly their future jobs.

As cute as the cartoon is (and I absolutely hate werewolves so the fact that I find this cute is amazing), using the wrong form of a word is not cute.  As I said at the end of my last post about poor writing, I feel it bears repeating for this problem as well: practice!  If you are not sure what form of a word to use, look it up!  Then, write it in several sentences to see yourself using it in a correct format.  In no time, you will have it down perfectly and you will impress your friends, teachers and employers with your amazing grasp of the English language!

Better Writing: A Must


by: Shannon Hames

In most of my classes, there has usually been some type of online interaction component.  The idea is to get students to discuss the material with each other to simulate the type of discussion one might have in a classroom setting.  Many teachers want to their students to read the material and share ideas and opinions about what they read by writing their reaction to the reading and then responding to their fellow students responses.  Many of them are thought-provoking posts.  I enjoy reading what my fellow students get out of the material and how differing their viewpoints are from mine.

Throughout the past few years of my collegiate career, I have noticed 2 disturbing patterns while reading the responses.  The first is that the inability of many students to follow the instructions of the teacher.  They might be asked to leave a 150 word or more reply that does not merely consist of the statement “I agree with you” but should include a substantive post that has examples from the readings.  Even with clear, simple directions, there will always be a few students that will reply with something like, “I agree with you.  It was a good chapter and the author made a lot of things clear to me.”

That was not 150 words, had no examples from the readings and had the statement “I agree with you.”  Yet they do it over and over again.

The second pattern that I noticed was that many of my fellow students have horrific writing skills.  Not only do they have poor grammar, but they also have the inability to organize their thoughts into a cohesive paragraph.

Just last week, I was working on a group project report that each member of my team contributed to. As I put them all together into one final report to do a final edit, I had an exceptional time trying to make sense of one portion written by a certain member.  I literally could not understand what it was that he was trying to communicate.  I had to call him to ask him questions so that I could re-write what his ideas were in a way that made any sense.

Each time I have to read his responses online, I think about how his poor writing skills will hinder him in his future as a business major and I hope that his professors are working with him to point out how he can improve something as simple as organizing his thoughts before he begins to write.  Students will not be able to thrive in a competitive, global marketplace if they cannot organize their thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely without the distraction of grammatical errors.  To my fellow students, I say “Practice!”  Your future depends on it.

Visual Learners: Don’t Run On!

A few weeks back, I wrote about the run on sentence.  It was a horrifyingly long sentence in an e-mail that I received.  Just reading it made me feel uncomfortable and I thought about it all day.  When it came time to do a blog post about my reflections on editing, it was easily the first thing that came to my mind.  When I saw this cute little animation about run-on sentences, I thought it would be fun to re-visit the subject because it presents a different view of the run-on sentence in a way that visual learners can easily appreciate:


Now wasn’t that just adorable?  We used to have something like it when I was a kid.  It was called “Schoolhouse Rock” and I learned a lot of my information from those wonderful animations. The next time you want to explain a run-on sentence to someone, point them in this direction and let them have some fun with it!

Incidentally, these little animated videos are useful for all types of school projects.  You can choose your characters, type the text that a computer will read in a variety of monotonous voices, and tell them what to do.  I’ve seen them in several presentations by other students as a new way to present information instead of doing a PowerPoint or a Prezi.