Most materials in the Writing Exercises collection have won the Knight Award for Writing Exercises, an award recognizing excellence in short exercises and/or handouts designed to improve student writing and for use in First-Year Writing Seminars. Award winners address topics from a wide range of writing issues such as development of theses, use of primary sources, organization of evidence, awareness of audience, and attention to sentence patterns. Exercises and handouts may be for in and/or out of class use. Materials include a rationale for future instructors.

Recent Submissions

  • How to Craft an Academic Title? 

    Huang, Junting (2018)
    In this exercise, students learn to analyze academic titles of a research essay. It consists of three separate steps. They are designed to help them 1) identify the “academic style,” 2) understand the basic elements (the ...
  • Writing an Effective Introduction 

    Wu, Danielle (2015)
    This handout has two stages: a workshop version for class discussion and a polished version for reference. First, the students put into their own words the common opening gambit for academic writing. We then workshopped ...
  • Analyze 

    Byland, Hannah (2015)
  • Peer Review / Conclusion Writing Exercise 

    Hesselbein, Chris (2014)
  • Thinking through an Essay 

    Tamayo, Daniel (2014)
    In this activity, students practice isolating relevant information, and organizing this information into sound arguments that are clearly presented. It is designed to help students who uncritically try to incorporate too ...
  • The Argument Pyramid 

    Price, Adam (2013)
    This handout is an attempt to explain to students my strategy for thesis creation. Although I have found the "three story thesis" approach—observation, analysis, interpretation—to be a useful model, some of the students ...
  • Same Body, New Clothes 

    Soulstein, Seth (2013)
    "Same Content, New Clothes" is a writing assignment that asks students to focus entirely on style, rather than content, in their writing. By adapting their own assignments to forms of writing the conventions of which ...
  • Formal Analysis 

    Leraul, Daniel Bret (2015)
    This handout is an advanced lesson that integrates close reading, the use of textual evidence, literary analysis, and revision skills as part of an assignment sequence for writing an argumentative essay. It consists of ...
  • Using Quotations 

    Yao, Christine (2013)
  • Stretching the Evidence 

    Rosenberg, Aaron (2012)

View more


RSS Feeds