Common Reading Teaching Guide Debuts Online – WSU Insider
For the first time in its 16-year history, Washington State University Common reading program produced a detailed report guide to help faculty and staff better use this year’s common book strategically and effectively in lessons, assignments, activities, and programming.
“The 58-page booklet is online and packed with information, ideas, examples and references to bring the 2022-23 book to lifeSweetgrass Braidingfor freshmen and other students in creative and even fun ways,” said Samantha Solomon, Principal Investigator of the grant that funded the creation of the guide.
“The project for me personally was very rewarding, as I had the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues who made me think about content in a new way,” she said. “I also think this guide will be useful to many people in the WSU community who want to use the common book but are unsure what role it could play in their learning environment.”
Solomon is a member of the freshman programs of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Success (DAESA), the home of Common Reading. His funded teammates are: Julian Ankney, Dept. of English; Corey Johnson, WSU Libraries; Karen Weathermon, First Year Programs; and Kara Whitman, School of the Environment.
“The educational guide is accessible to everyone, and this is also the first year that the the common book itself is available for free download for students and anyone else who wants to use it, thanks to WSU Libraries,” said Weathermon, program director. “While the guide provides a great deal of information, we welcome user tips and suggestions for additional teaching ideas and resources that can be added to the guide throughout the year.”
An inaugural TCI IDEA grant
The guide was supported by a competitive grant from the Transformational Change Initiative (TCI) Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) announced in late spring. The grants joined several recent key WSU priorities and commitments in the Provost’s Office that promote IDEA.
“It’s gratifying to see the project making an impact so soon after receiving grant funds,” said Erika Offerdahl, director of TCI.
“The Common Reading Curriculum Guide is the first product to emerge from the inaugural set of four grants funded by TCI IDEA. We look forward to receiving summary information about the curriculum guide effort next spring, just as the second round of grants becomes available.
About the Guide
The guide is divided into sections that include building community and a sense of belonging; use of common reading for WSU learning objectives; campus, community, collections and exhibit resources; and one Sweet grass braiding list of topics. The first half of the guide gives tips and examples that teachers could use to help students personalize the lessons in the book, and details discussion-promoting techniques and activities such as puzzle groups, using Canvas for student posts about quotes and news, a believe-and-doubt of gaming and app usage. The guide also outlines ways to engage students in WSU’s learning goals of critical and creative thinking, quantitative reasoning, science literacy, information literacy, communication, diversity, and depth, breadth and integration of learning.
“All of the team that created the guide are educators or provide teaching assistance, so it was natural and easy for us to draw on our personal experiences across many disciplines for these,” Solomon said.
The second half of the guide mainly discusses various types of resources that teachers using the common book could leverage to bring the lessons to life for students. Examples include WSU and Indigenous Resources, Palouse Indigenous Ecological Resources, and those available through the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art; Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) in libraries; and the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.
The final resource section of the guide deals directly with this year’s common book. By Robin Wall Kimmererregistered member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Sweet grass braiding is composed of essays that address topics such as ecology, climate change, sustainability, cultural heritage and knowledge.
“Robin Wall Kimmerer will be presenting to WSU students and community members in late January, so having the guide available this fall gives faculty and staff several months to use it in advance to acquaint our students in a meaningful way. meaningful with the big ideas presented in the book,” Weathermon said.
The guide to the program
The guide team intends that the booklet be updated each year, using specific examples from the chosen book for that academic year.
WSU Common Readings are used to create opportunities for WSU to share common intellectual ground with students. Topics from each book are used in courses, residence halls, councils, and campus programs to create opportunities for the exchange of ideas and knowledge across a wide range of academic disciplines. Presentations throughout the year by visiting experts from WSU and beyond invite cross-departmental collaborations that enrich the information and learning available to all students.