#AcWriMo Day 9

What did I accomplish?
I completed my poster this weekend, which was a new addition after the abstract I submitted was accepted. I have been reading, but not NEARLY fast enough to get the prelim done. I’m going to have to binge on reading in the next few days so I can start writing by next week. Furthermore, I simply do not see it as being possible to get everything that I need to get done without adding one more writing project–another prelim that is inclusive of topics I’m currently researching. To manage this new goal, I’m dropping another one: no substantial blogging (read: non-AcWriMo blogs) until everything else is done. I am now officially in over my head. But I don’t care. This is what I live for. It WILL get done. I can lose some sleep for this.

What can I do better?
I’ve been productive in the evenings because I am a nightowl. But mornings suffer from lack of productivity. Using the JFDI approach, I’m going to have to grit my teeth and tell myself: “It’s just for this month. You get to sleep during December.” I have time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get an article read. So that’s the plan.

I know none of this is healthy. But if I want to finish this stuff, I have to sacrifice. It will pay off in dividends later.

Let’s do this.

#AcWriMo Day 3

1. What did I accomplish?

Yesterday I completed a submission to a journal of a book review I had completed awhile ago. I had initially selected a certain journal, and I formatted my text to meet their word length requirements. But then I found out that they did not have open submissions for book reviews, so it took some time to find another journal that did have open submissions for book reviews. After that, I set up my account with the journal, wrote a cover letter, wrote an author bio, and then hit submit. My first single author pub is in the review process.

I have accomplished one of my goals already–which means that I can now focus more on my prelim and book chapter. I also read some of my current article, but because of the focus on the book review, I did not meet my 2 article requirement. I’m now considering limiting my daily reading load to 1 article a day–this seems more manageable because the amount of time I have each day for reading varies widely–but one article is always possible.

2. What can I do better?

Tonight was my night out with friends. I don’t regret this choice, as I think it’s important to do, and it is often difficult to schedule around our various responsibilities. But the result is that I won’t get any writing done tonight. It is not a good start. I admit that. But given the unpredictability of scheduling these biweekly outings, I’m willing to chalk this up to an anomaly. I will have to make up for it tomorrow by doubling down and reading more (and faster). My goal then will be to have read three articles by the end of the day tomorrow. I’ll be reading some tonight to try to get a jump on tomorrow’s big reading day. I’ll also take a stab at the book chapter as well tomorrow evening.

Overall, I’m feeling like #AcWriMo is starting off well–with one goal down, I can narrow my focus and energy to really get something done this month.

#AcWriMo Day 1

Following posts in ProfHacker and PhD2Published, I will be participating in Academic Writing Month, or #AcWriMo. Following the prompts from both sources, I’m going to go through the process of deciding what I want to accomplish in this month.

    1. Decide on your goal. The goal, like NaNoWriMo (which I did as an undergrad and failed miserably at), must be ambitious. The goal in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write 50,000 words in a month. This goal is not particularly meaningful for academics–publications matter more than wordcounts. So here is what MUST be done by the end of the month whether I do AcWriMo or not:-A co-authored book chapter (approximately 3000 words)

      -An abstract for an international conference (approximately 500 words)

      -A presentation for a regional conference (approximately 500 words)

      I have preliminary examinations in January, and for the most part I have been taking my time reading while working on a research project, but this is a good motivator to kick it into high gear so I am done writing on time. Therefore, I will be adding to my current projects these goals:

    2. Declare it!
      • One prelim question complete (approximately 12000-15000 words)
      • One book review submitted to a journal (mostly edits and formatting)
      • One scholars fair proposal (approximately 250 words, but I did it last night, but it still counts)
      • Two substantial blog posts (approximately 1400 words)
    3.  

    4. Draft a strategy.While this list does seem a little light on the protein, it’s really all I can manage with the holidays and a regional conference travel scheduled near the end of the month. Managing it, of course, will take some consistency. I have blocked off Fridays for research and writing, as well as a few hours every evening and, of course the weekends. I don’t take that schedule too seriously, and I think that is a problem. But changing that will take some kind of enforcement mechanism. One thing that helped me with my Masters Thesis was blogging about my progress, so I think I will revive that strategy as a way to manage the schedule part. I may adjust the schedule because, looking at it, it makes me a little nauseous. We’ll see how it goes.


      Strategy: Blog every other day on my progress, answering these two questions.
    5.  

      1. What did I accomplish?
      2. What can I do better?

       

    6. Discuss your progress. I’ll be doing this through the blog as a way to keep on track. I’ll also be keeping a running update on Twitter at the #AcWriMo hashtag and the Accountability Spreadsheet
    7.  

    8. Don’t slack off. I know a few of you read my posts, and so I would appreciate it if you could drop me a line if you sense your BS meter going off or if you want to offer some positive encouragement
    9.  

    10. Declare your results. I’ll be posting my accomplishments regularly, but I will do a recap post at the very end of the month as well to review which of my goals I accomplished.

     

    Let’s do this.

Why It Is Illogical To Reject #CCSS Based On Bad Class Assignments

I have been following the #stopcommoncore hashtag on Twitter to keep abreast of the debate that is growing across the country about whether states should continue to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). One argument against the implementation of the CCSS that has been advanced on a number of occasions is the idea that a particular lesson aligned to the CCSS is evidence that the CCSS are bad. This argument is an example “affirming the consequent”, which is a logical fallacy. (more…)

What’s the Philosophy of America’s Favorite Astrophysicist, @neiltyson?

Neil deGrasse Tyson recently gave a lecture at my university, and my girlfriend and I, being fans of his and of astronomy, decided to attend. Tyson’s lecture, which was livetweeted at #NDTPurdue, was focused on recent discoveries and events in astrophysics. It was informative and entertaining, as you might imagine if you have ever heard Tyson speak.

In my most recent reading, writing, and listening, I have become interested in philosophy of science. With apologies to my philosophy friends for any inaccuracies I may make in representing various philosophical viewpoints, I would like to try to determine exactly where Tyson is on the spectrum of the philosophy of science. There were a few clues from the lecture that I have been analyzing to try to narrow down Tyson’s view of science. Here they are, relatively verbatim, and in no particular order. (more…)

#CWCon from Afar: Gee’s Affinity Spaces & Situated Learning Interrogated

I have been following Computers & Writing Conference this week on Twitter at the #cwcon hashtag. Among the most livetweeted talks was James Paul Gee’s keynote, “Writing in the Age of the Maker Movement.” Gee, famous for research on gaming and literacy, spoke broadly about teaching writing from a situated learning perspective. In his talk, he emphasized the need for “goal-based action” in learning to write, where students see writing as a way of “doing” something. He advocated learning situated in “affinity spaces,” where a group coalesces over a “common endeavor” (Gee, 2003, p. 192). I have Storified the livetweeting of the talk here.

Before I respond to the talk, I want state a caveat: I wasn’t there. I am relying on livetweeting, and therefore my comprehension and interpretation of Gee’s talk is limited by the points that were livetweeted. I could have missed points in his argument, which would then skew my interpretation in an erroneous direction. I apologize in advance if I misinterpreted Gee.

I want to respond to a few key claims livetweeted, so I’ve selected the first tweets I could find in the #cwcon stream that documented each of these claims. I have embedded them below. (more…)

The Prime Directive in Linguistics: Problems with Non-Interference

In the new Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness, *SPOILER ALERT* Kirk and Spock debate the Prime Directive, which is the principle of non-interference with people who have not become interstellar space-faring civilizations. In the process of saving a non-Industrialized culture from a volcano, Kirk reveals the Starship Enterprise to the people he is trying to save. As a result, they draw an icon in the dirt that represents the ship, implying that the Enterprise will now become a symbol in their culture–either for good or for ill. The point is: Kirk violated the Prime Directive. Because of this, he is stripped of his command and demoted by Starfleet brass. *END SPOILERS*

I see a principle like the Prime Directive operating in descriptive linguistics. (more…)

On Poetry, Family, and Letting Go

In the academic year 2008-2009, I discovered a small poetry reading in a coffeeshop. It was serendipity. I found out about it while attending a different poetry reading by Norbert Krapf, the Indiana Poet Laureate at the time. The Laureate’s reading was sponsored by Bookmammas, an independent bookstore (remember those?) just off the main drag of a community called Irvington, on the eastside of Indianapolis. A few inquiries about other local poetry readings, and I found myself sipping a soy vanilla latte one fall night in the packed backroom of a coffeeshop called Lazy Daze. I don’t remember much about that night except for one poet, Jason, and his pounding voice as he read his words from the page, hitting me in my gut and engaging my mind at the same time. I thought, “This is what poetry is all about.” (more…)

Conference Recap: Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Annual Symposium 2013

After a brief hiatus to recover from my last blogging venture on the Reading Wars and knowledge structures, I hope this post will be the beginning of a productive summer of weekly blogging.

On May 9, I presented at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Annual Symposium. This was my first foray into literary criticism since my undergraduate work, which was over five years ago. Having studied linguistics for two years and then education another two, I found SSML, a humanities conference, to be quite different from my experiences at social science conferences. I was prepared for some of the differences, but others were a surprise. This information may be helpful especially for young scholars and grad students. Here are a few of the key differences:

(more…)

Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies: The Reading Wars as Evidence of Horizontal Knowledge Structure

This post is a consolidated form of the 8-part series I posted from April 16-May 30, 2013 as part of a class seminar on literacy. I have done a rough edit to attempt to make the posts more cohesive; if some issues are unclear, please refer to the original posts. Thanks again to all who commented and encouraged me during this endeavor. A special thanks to Dr. Carol Hopkins, who supported me in this project.

The Reading Wars of the 1990s were documented by the exchanges between Edelsky and McKenna, Robinson, & Miller in Educational Researcher. This theoretical conflict between Whole Language and Traditional Literacy represents what I call a “traditional academic feud.” A traditional academic feud is a social phenomenon in an academic field of study where two or more groups theorize about or describe a single phenomenon in categorically different ways. That a traditional academic feud eventually achieved “war” status is a curious phenomenon–but perhaps no more curious than the fact that academic feuds occur in the first place. In this series, I plan to explain 1) why the academic feud of the Reading Wars occurred, 2) why the feud escalated to a war, and 3) why a similar feud developed recently in the reading comprehension field (this element of the thesis was abandoned due to time/space constraints), and (if I am brave enough) 4) how we might avoid wars and have more productive feuds in Literacy Studies. (more…)