Experimenting with the Glossary of Terms

I am experimenting with different ways to do entries about terms. As I work on these terms, I ask myself: What are some effective ways to express what these terms mean? How can I (or my students) demonstrate an understanding and engagement with the term? What works best for me as reference points for future writings? How can I make these terms accessible to a wide and diverse audience without stripping them of their depth and complexity?

So far, I have used the following structures in my term entries:

Feistiness: informal structure; referenced and reflected on source where I encountered the term; posed questions and offered (somewhat) random thoughts on the term and what it meant for my larger project

Off-center: very formal structure with specific categories–definition, questions, applications, reflections, questions part 2, conclusions

Taking care = Staying in trouble: (inspired by AMP) provided dictionary definitions; very brief;  reflected on the significance of the definitions

I like all three (perhaps for different reasons). I will keep experimenting throughout the summer. Any thoughts on which one works better?

Word Count: 178 words


I happened to be looking up trouble on dictionary.com and found this connection between trouble and care:

To take care, pains, trouble (to do something) implies watchful, conscientious effort to do something exactly right. To take care implies the performance of one particular detail: She took care to close the cover before striking the match. To take pains suggests a sustained carefulness, an effort to see that nothing is overlooked but that every small detail receives attention: to take pains with fine embroidery. To take trouble implies an effort that requires a considerable amount of activity and exertion: to take the trouble to make suitable arrangements.

1. concern, upset, confuse. 4. pester, plague, fret, torment, hector, harass, badger. 12. concern, grief, agitation, care, suffering. 14. See CARE 15. trial, tribulation, affliction, misfortune.

So, taking care = being vigilant/watchful = persistent (critical) attention = making an extra effort = not being complacent = staying in trouble.

I like this connection because it enables us to think about troublemaking as something other than disruptive and destructive; it is a form of care. For me, this connection is key for thinking about the ethical implications and import of making/being in/staying in trouble.

Word Count: 193 words

Troublemaking in 200 words or less…

So, I use blogs a lot in the courses that I teach and I am always experimenting with how to use them better. I think getting students to participate through the blog is an excellent way to help them organize their thoughts and articulate them in succinct (and hopefully coherent) ways to their fellow students. This past semester I required that my students submit weekly 200 word entries. They grumbled a little about the word length as being too short. I told them that they should be able to express their main idea in a sentence or two. If you can’t express it simply and succinctly, I would always say, then you don’t really understand it.

But, how hard is it really to write short, succinct entries that get at the main point of an article or that do an effective job of conveying your thoughts? Am I able to do that?  I have decided to try an experiment with 200 word entries to see how effective I am at completing my own assignments. I hope to create a bunch of these and mix them in throughout the summer. This was my first attempt and it was hard. It is 200 words exactly.