While distributing The Cactus around campus in October, I over heard a teacher discussing how she was excited for the new edition to be out and how her students were awaiting the arrival as well. Donna Lachow teaches ENG100 as an adjunct in the evenings at CAC’s Maricopa campus. Her class consists of a very diverse group of people who, during the semester, have to write four narrative essays. To prepare her students for this, Lachow brings in copies of The CAC Cactus for her students to read and analyze. The students begin by reading whichever article catches their eye. Next they write five short sentences describing the article they have chosen to read and they answer questions — is the article informative, persuasive, argumentative or humorous? By doing this, Lachow says it helps the students better understand the audience, and the tone and purpose of their upcoming essays. Lachow continued by expressing how her students were amazed that the school published a paper and that the writers were from all of the campuses, not just the Signal Peak Campus.
By having the students read the different types of writing, by a very diverse group of journalists, they were able to understand that everyone had their own way of writing and that journalism is not just argumentative or narrative, but that it encompasses all of the styles they themselves are learning about.
When Lachow took the paper into her class and saw how much the students gained from the reading experience and how well they responded to it, she decided to add it into her curriculum.
One of the articles, which stood out and really helped the students to understand dialogue in a narrative essay was an article written by Monique Irish about our foreign exchange students at SPC. It showed the class how to communicate and have a good conversation with another student. As a result of the article the students also found out that CAC had foreign exchange students, something which they would have never known had they not read the paper for their class assignment.
Being a student writer for the Cactus, I am grateful I overheard Lachow that day. To be able to write about how my fellow student writers and I are doing more than just writing a paper, in the hopes that someone will read it, but that we are helping others through our writing is one of the best feelings this reporter can ask for.
Lachow enjoys seeing how The Cactus articles have helped her students to better understand and it reiterates what she teaches them. Her students were amazed and pleased at the fact that the school puts out a paper of such good quality and they wait patiently for the next edition to come out so they may examine the articles and learn something new from them.
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