Small Writing Groups
Our small writing groups are three students and a tutor working on writing around a table in the Writing Center. The groups meet twice a week for 50 minute sessions. You choose one of our times that fits in your schedule, then you come that same time, meeting with that same group, all semester.
You won’t get any homework from us. We only work on assignments and papers you’re already assigned in your other classes or on sample papers.
These groups are worth 1 unit of credit. To get credit you need to come, not missing more than 4 times, and bring writing. You’ll need to bring in 1 class reading, 2 writing prompts, and 3 pieces of writing over the whole semester, but these can be from any class and you can even bring in the same paper multiple times if you make changes to it each time.
The groups are pretty friendly and comfortable, we take writing seriously but we also laugh a lot. If it sounds interesting, come on in to the Writing Center at the beginning of the semester and we’ll help you choose a time and enroll in the 1 unit class.
Our small Zoom writing groups are even more important these digital semesters. They are helpful not just with your writing, but also getting to know other students in a small comfortable setting and in becoming familiar with more features of Zoom and online learning in general.
What Students Say
At the end of every semester we give students the opportunity to give us feedback
on the experience they had in our small writing groups. Here are some of their answers:
Which moments come to mind when you think back over the semester? Good moments? Bad moments? Why do these moments stand out?
“Moments when we would all be able to relate to each other through conversation after reading a draft.”
“I remember good moments where we had a discussion regarding our freewrites and responses to drafts. I liked when we had a 5-10 minute discussion and then wrote again about something that came up while discussing. These stood out to my because I feel this is where some of my growth came from. That discussion point allowed me to get deeper into the topic. The writing after helped secure that new dive into the material.”
“When we would discuss the issues in a paper and really get into the conversation, that we needed to get back on track with our lenses. All the moments shared here were all good moments. We helped each other understand what a reader wants and what the reader should try. These moments stand out because we engaged in conversation, we all thought the same or nearly close. As a group we improved and learned new lenses, that I have been able to use out of the WC center.”
How do you write your papers differently after being in the WC Small Group Tutorial?
“I am able to write with more confidence in the sense that I don’t see the paper as writing, but as a conversation. With that, I am able to make my papers direct and hopefully not boring.”
“Now I write my papers with keeping the audience in mind. For example, what would the readers like to hear? I also keep in mind the tone that I want the essay to be in. For example, do I want to sound angry or concerned? I also keep in mind to write the naysayer in my papers while writing on a controversial issue.”
“After taking this course my writing has improved dramatically. The course has allowed me to write comfortably on the first draft without hesitating on what to say. This gives me the chance to pour out the thoughts I want to write in the papers.”
“When I now write papers I think of what others might be expecting from my essay, or what they might want to know. I also do more prewriting than before, and It is a helpful method in coming up with plenty of ideas.”
“I don’t expect myself to have a great first draft anymore and I focus on my audience a lot more. Knowing that my paper won’t be perfect when I am writing my 1st draft has taken a lot of pressure off.”
“Now when I write my essays I have more confidence to begin with and once I finish my first draft I tend to do a few lenses on it that I can remember well like More About and Sayback.”
“I think I am more aware now of what the audience is getting from it. Also if there needs to be more information in my paper to help the readers understand it more. I also think I am a better reader in general. I can learn from other people’s papers and apply that to mine.”
“I think that when I write now, I think in terms of the other people who are reading it. Instead of just writing about what I know, I may also explain things that the readers may be unclear of.”
“I freewrite a lot before I even take out my laptop. I used to sit in front of my laptop and just sit there for a good 20 minutes thinking about what I wanted to write. Freewriting has helped me generate ideas and determine where I want to go with my writing.”
“Now that I am in the Writing Center every time I write an essay I try to do a lens on it. Also I give it to a friend to read because maybe what I’m trying to say doesn’t make sense to someone else. I try to finish my essays before they are due.”
How did your tutor help you?
“He helped me feel comfortable enough to be able to ask questions and share my paper. I was able to take the embarrassment out of the equation when reading my paper out loud in front of people.”
“She helped me a lot in writing. In learning new lenses before coming to the writing center and meeting [my tutor] I thought I was a horrible writer but after all she told us that horrible drafts become good drafts. I feel more confident with my writing.”
How did responding to your group member’s papers help you as a writer?
“It made me realize that I am on the same writing level as my peers and to not worry about ‘bedazzeling’ my papers as much to impress my papers (which was the reason why I always had writer’s block”
“I can now look for my paper without feeling sorry or guilty for what I wrote. By being able to see other people’s mistakes made me feel like it is normal to have a draft that is full of errors.”