The Voice of Students Past


Last year, I asked students to provide advice for future students about the reading and writing assignments in these classes — and WOW, they had lots of good ideas to share! I've copied-and-pasted their comments below, and here are some older comments from students in years past. Since there is a LOT of advice here, I've made a randomizer to pop up advice at random; reload the page or click here to see more random advice.



You can also scroll down for advice about: Time - Writing - Commenting - Reading. I hope this advice from past students can help to make the class a good experience for you too!





STAY AHEAD! WORK AHEAD! FINISH EARLY! Be at least a week ahead at all times. Sometimes things come up and it can really mess up your online schedule if you aren't ahead.


I would advise students to try to work ahead if possible. Also, don't worry if you have a busy week where you miss some assignments. There will be ample opportunity for you to make up points through extra credit and so on. Don't be afraid to ask questions and be sure to take this class seriously even though there are no assigned meeting times!


My advice would definitely be to not wait until the last minute to do assignments because it's so much more overwhelming to do it that way and it's significantly more stressful.


Do a little bit for this class every day. At that pace, it is possible to finish the class ahead of schedule and be done by the time finals come around.


Looking back, I would recommend that students take advantage of the early option and work ahead on assignments.


Start early. Work ahead. You'll be grateful you did.


Get ahead and do as much extra credit as possible.


I would recommend to do the extra credit because I know that I, personally, completely my Tech Tips weeks in advance.


My biggest advice to students would be: work ahead. A lot ahead. And even if you are super ahead (i.e., like a couple of weeks ahead) don't let the weeks catch up to you. Instead, keep working so that you stay ahead. My second piece of advice would be to do the extra credit. Even on the first week and even if you don't think you need it. Because if there is a time when you do need it, you're going to be sorry for the missed opportunity.


The last words assignment was kind of a relaxing thing for me to do every few weeks because I felt like it allowed me to reflect on what was going on in my life and what I needed to prepare for: so, do the famous last words! Extra credit!


You should try to do as many extra credit assignments as possible at the beginning of the semester.


This class takes some time, but if you plan things out and work ahead, it will make your semester much easier!


My biggest piece of advice for incoming students of this course would be to work ahead and finish assignments early. I got a good head start at the beginning of the course and it was nice to work on assignments week by week at a relaxed pace.


Getting ahead would be my best advice!


I worked ahead all semester and it was great to have a little leeway in the weekly assignments. Even if you can get one week ahead you’ll be in such a better position than just meeting deadlines each night.


Do not just work on your assignments the day they are due. Get a week or so ahead so you never have to scramble to get things done.


Stay ahead in this class. Sometimes life has different plans than you make and it can really be a bummer to get behind.


GET STARTED EARLY!!!!!!!! Get as much done as you can so that you have a head start on your work because it takes a while to get into a good rhythm for completing assignments and you don't want to get really behind in the beginning while you're trying to figure out when/how you're going to do your assignments each week.


I would highly suggest working ahead and taking advantage of all of the extra credit options! It will allow you to finish up so much earlier!


Main thing is start early and get at least a week ahead. You never know what will happen and that extra week of work that you did early will really help you later.


I would like to address future students of this class with one piece of advice: do your best to get ahead! Because if you just do the work as it is due, you will be feeling so much pressure and like the entire class is one big, extra pile of crap you have to do instead of something really fun and enjoyable like it is intended to be. Get ahead. Then relax as it gets closer to the end of the semester.


The only advice I have is get ahead. I didn't and I wish I had!


Do not leave anything to last minute. It is very easy to fall behind in this class if you’re not careful.


Always work ahead. And do as much extra credit as you can. It helps you finish the class earlier.


My advice for students taking this class next semester is to WORK AHEAD and do the bonus. It will help you our greatly in the end.


My advice would be to get ahead in your work, do your readings early, keep up with what you’ve turned in, be creative, and have fun!





Be CREATIVE! That's what this class was all about for me! Enjoy the storytelling and coming up with new stories. It's a great opportunity to explore your creative side.


Be as creative as you want!


Just enjoy the writing assignments and be creative - you’ll surprise yourself sometimes!


My advice for writing in this class is to be creative! It can be turn out however you want it to, even if that means changing the ending. Make the story your own! Take time on your stories, especially for your storybook! The more you look over it, the more you can improve it.


Be as creative as you can be! There are seriously no limits with creativity and you learn so much about yourself! Don't hold anything back!


Try to make your stories something that would be fun for the other students to read. When you have to make comments on someone's stories that are just flat out boring, it's the worst. It is not hard to just pick a book or TV show or movie or song and incorporate it into the story. I used Spongebob, James Bond, Disney, and Doctor Who. Don't be the person who everyone hates to read.


Explore the different writing styles. Don’t just always retell the story in the present day or switch the narrator. I struggle with poetry, but I wanted to try it out on a storytelling post one week and actually enjoyed it! I would suggest taking this class as an opportunity to expand out of your comfort zone with your writing.


Advice? Don't put restrictions on yourself. I found myself doing that, and once I stopped it made the writing a lot easier and enjoyable. I figured out you can write in many different ways, so don't try restricting yourself to one way.


You have more imagination and creativity than you might think you do! Write something that you would like to read!


Don't worry if you are not confident in your creative writing abilities. That part of the class was hard at first but as the semester moved on I found the process to be much easier.


My best advice for future students would be to have fun with your writing and make it your own.


Take advantage of the commenting - look at other people's work as well as learning from their comments on your own.


I suggest that students who struggle with writing do a little reading for fun in their spare time. I would take note of sentences that I thought were well-formed or unique in some way and try to use that to inspire myself to do something interesting with my writing.


Each week I would read someone's post and it made me want to improve and create something the next week that would make someone want to step it up in the same way the following week.


Choose a good title for your stories and for your Storybook! I was always much more likely to choose a storybook as my free choice each week because I knew what I was getting myself into.


I would advise future students to do the storytelling assignment right after the reading diaries are done so they don't forget like I did at times.


Don't rush it; give yourself time for the writing! Sometimes I would have other work and then I would start doing stuff for this class and churn out something that I didn't like.


Although I did enjoy the reading aspect of the class more, the writing became easier throughout each week. It is worth it! Looking back now I am proud to see what I have accomplished!





When commenting, you should give compliments but also give things the writer can improve in their story.


The comments that were the most helpful were the ones who were specific and not afraid to offer constructive criticism. Encouragement was awesome and built confidence in my writing as well, but when people offered specific examples of how to improve it helped my writing the most.


Comments are important! I actually used all the comments that were left on my Comment Wall to improve the stories.


For commenting on storytelling and storybooks, just be sure to read the whole story then comment on your thoughts. Sometimes it can be hard to think of what to say, but I feel like if you read the whole thing then reflect on the moral, point of the story, what's being taught by the characters or what can be learned from the characters, and those sorts of questions can really help come up with what to say.


I got a lot of comments regarding the general layout and look of my webpage and I found these very helpful. I also found it helpful when people would provide suggestions about what stories they think might be coming next, because I usually wasn’t sure yet!


My only suggestion concerning blog commenting, would be to not be afraid of being honest. No one can get better at writing, or really anything at all, if they are not receiving constructive criticism and being challenged to better themselves. I am happy to have had some great classmates who were able to provide me with adequate feedback that I feel brought my storybook project to a whole new level.


Comments about ways to make my storybook more interesting helped me, such as what details people were wanting more of (a certain relationship between characters, more environmental details, etc) helped me created better stories.


The encouraging comments helped me feel confident in my writing and the critiques really helped get most of the bugs out of my story.


The comments I found most useful were the constructive ones. I know that we all want to compliment each other on the creative work we did, but I found it useful when students told me something was confusing, or something could be expanded upon more to make it more dramatic. Those comments were the most helpful because it really helped me to see how a reader interprets my story and how the writing can be enhanced.


For commenting, I would suggest mentioning specifically what you liked about the stories that you read. I also think constructive criticism is useful, especially in the storybook comments. For me, I really tried to take into account the constructive criticism I received, and I think it really helped me to make my storybook something that I was proud of!


You should try to address one particular weakness they saw within the Storybook/Portfolio. I know it's not particularly nice or heartening, but I think that it would be extremely helpful, since then the writer of the Storybook/Portfolio knows exactly what they should work on. I found the comments with constructive criticism to be the most helpful. Yes, I would have liked to have seen that my storybook was perfect, but these comments allowed me to change things and work on weaknesses. And what was nice was that I could see how my Storybook looked through a fresh and unbiased pair of eyes.


At first I thought the word count on the commenting was hard to reach but that got much easier as the semester went on and I learned what would be good feedback for others.


When commenting, I would suggest to just be in depth and say everything you feel! People value honesty and want feedback so don't hold anything back! I really loved when people gave me constructive criticism so I would definitely want to do the same to others! Those are the comments that really made my stories better instead of just saying generic things.


I found comments concerning the overall tone of the story to be useful. I was aiming for a certain tone, and I liked it when my classmates pointed out when something was written that didn't seem to 'fit'.


The most useful comments were the ones that gave constructive criticism or suggestions. Students would help me better my writing and storytelling skills by nicely leaving me a comment and suggesting what I should look at. Other comments that help are the ones when people really enjoy your story, and they praise it. It gives me a huge confidence boost when I take the time to write a story, and I learn that people enjoy them in return.


When commenting, include a suggestion for how the student could better their Storybook. A lot of people comment with great encouragement, but I noticed only a few students gave suggestions on how to make the story better. Some students may be uncomfortable with telling someone that they should fix something, but I think constructive criticism is a good thing.


I really loved the positive comments on my blog posts from people. It definitely made me more confident about my writing and opened the door for me to be more creative and try new ideas. However, I do wish that people corrected me from time to time. During my revisions I would see some of the stupid mistakes I made and got a little embarrassed. I just wished that someone had said, “Hey, this part is kind of confusing;” it definitely would have been more helpful when editing my storytellings.


Get the responding comments done as soon as possible and do not wait until the last minute after other people have give their input. It's harder to be creative in the comments if eight other people have said the same thing.






Don't get too preoccupied with taking notes while reading. Enjoy the stories and use your reading diary to summarize and comment on your favorite parts of the story / favorite stories.


It became easier as time went on to make diary posts because I realized I should focus on what stood out to me. Focus on what you could potentially use for your storytelling or Storybook.


I would also suggest thinking of ideas for your storytelling as you do your reading diary and writing them down!


Use the Reading Diary for the Storytelling! The Diary helped me substantially on the Storytelling for each week. I can't think of one time when I did not refer to my Reading Diary when writing my Storytelling.


The first half of the semester I found myself spending too much time on the diary, so the second half I still summarized the story for my later reference but I included much less detail.


With the Diary, towards the end I would pick what really stood out to me, then wrote my reactions over what was occurring in the text. Being able to go back and see how the readings affected my emotions gave me an idea on how I want my own stories to affect readers.


(The following comments are about the Myth-Folklore UnTextbook,
but they also apply to Indian Epics, since you might be
using the UnTextbook for part of the semester too!)


The best way to choose a reading is to make sure it holds your interest. If you are entertained while you read the unit, then the assignments will also be entertaining. This learning experience will be more like a break from your other classes rather than work. The only units I regret reading were ones that I just picked at random instead of browsing their stories a bit. I cannot handle the ones with poetry!


I really enjoyed most of the readings for the class. I figured out what I liked and what I didn't too. For example, I'd rather have longer stories that cover two or more pages. I find them much more interesting and enjoyable to read. Find out what you like!


I preferred reading half a unit then focusing on the writing portion of the class. You need to figure out what is best for you!


I tried to take the time to read the whole unit in a day instead of reading splitting the halves in two days. This helped me organize my thoughts and compare/contrast the stories or story throughout a unit better.


My advice to future students would be to do the readings any time you come across some free time. I would personally take my iPad to work, wait for some down time, and would knock out some of the reading. I would then save the writing for later while going back over the stories I had read.


Halfway through the semester I decided to try to pick units that had the audio available with the unit. I liked choosing this option because it helped me to better comprehend the stories I was reading.


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... And here is some advice from me: write something, ANYTHING, each and every day. Write a blog post, take notes in your reading diary, write a new story, revise an old story, leave comments on someone else's blog... just WRITE something somewhere! Writing helps you to focus your thoughts, and it leaves a trail that you can pick up and follow later on. When you write, you make your learning visible: don't let your thoughts disappear without a trace! :-)


Nulla dies sine linea.

No day without (writing) a line.

(Proverb Laboratory)