I miss the classroom. I miss my students. Working with students is less intimidating than working with adults.

However, the power of social media has allowed me to stay in contact with x-students and continue to be a support for them as they enter college. I didn’t allow them to connect with me through social media when I was their high school teacher (back then, I only used Facebook).

Below is a college assignment sent to me by a former student I had for Creative Writing. I’ve Skitch’d over it and reorganized the details for clarity.

So, the annotations might provide you with some insight into my cognitive processes for taking in information and organizing it.

I’ve used a yellow highlighter to focus on the writing mode and its components. I’ve used the Blue Question stamp to concentrate on a text I might need to reexamine. I marked the topic choices with a Green Check to denote that there is a decision to be made. And finally, I’ve used red to focus on the logistical requirements.

Of course, I’m even more OCD than that. I have to rewrite this in a more actionable sequence. So it may look something like:

Product: Casual Analysis (Argumentative Mode)

  • Make a case (or take a stance)
  • Use supporting evidence (x3) – facts, figures, quotes

Model: What’t Really behind the Plunge in Teen Pregnancy? – (I think this is the right article, but I’m double checking)

Topics: choose one

  1. Why is the auto accident fatality rate so high for teenagers?
  2. Why do so many young people drop out of high school or fail to graduate from college?
  3. Why is the suicide rate so high for teenagers?
  4. What is behind the self-destructive use of illegal drugs and practices amount young people?
  5. Why is voter apathy so high or church attendance so low?


  • MLA Format
  • Separate Works Cited Page…
  • …with minimum three entries…
  • …parenthetical reference
  • 1 periodical source
  • 5 pages in length
  • New Times Roman, 12 points

So what’s the point? Organization.

Students, like myself, can get lost in an assignment’s organization. Students like me need to decipher the wordiness and, sometimes, completely rewrite the format. Then, it’s easier to digest and understand. So, this presents an opportunity to reflect on how we write and organize our classroom assignments.


  1. We differentiate our classroom instruction, but do we also differentiate our assignments on paper to limit confusion?
  2. Or, is the ability to decipher a wordy assignment a valuable skill that deserves classroom time?