"To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life."
-John Coltrane on Uplifting Others

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 3: The Lore Box

  In "The Geography of Knowledge," Louise Wetherbee Phelps expands on North's concept of the "lore box." Where North sees lore as "the accumulated body of traditions, practices, and beliefs in terms of which Practicioners understand how writing is done, learned, and taught" (qtd. on 868), Phelps defines it as "procedural knowlege," meaning there is a reflexive moment (869). The accumulated knowledge of North's model must go through periods of revision, addition, and editing. In other words, it goes through experience. Phelps writes, "Lore is experience that has been expressed, circulated, imitated, sustained, and confirmed by repetition, achieving canonical status as 'common sense' through its range of cultural distribution and its staying power" (869).
  As I am new to teaching, I am gathering procedural knowledge for my lore box. Here are some items I have placed in my box, either through my limited personal experience or through observing good teachers. I invite you to comment on my post, and share your knowledge, that I may build, reflect, and refine my lore box.
Lore Box:

  • Online discussion (through discussion boards or blogs) leading to classroom clarification
  • De-center the classroom through online learning and student-led discussion
  • View my role as facilitator/mediator instead of taskmaster/master of the "knowledge"
  • Weekly writing assignments that prepare students for lesson's objectives
  • Annotation sessions
  • Writing prompts based off current issues (allows for civic engagement on local, state, federal, and/or global levels)
  • Validation before Criticism in comments
  • Set daily writing goals and stick to them
  • Comprehensive, detailed, and timed lesson plans 
  • Integration of visual media to engage students and break up lecture/discusssing
  • Project-based learning (Social activism/Civic engagement)
  • Social contract theory (have students help construct classroom policies)
  • Think of revision/editing process as a "do over," instead of busy work
  • Group work built on Vygotsky's ladder
  • Develop voice through identifying audience
  • Overwriting for summaries and creative writing
  • Expansion/Contraction exercises

Work Cited
Phelps, Louise Wetherbee. "The Geography of Knowledge." College English 53:8 (Dec. 1991): 863-85.            .pdf file.


  1. I like your lore box. Good job on the journals so far. If I had one suggestion, it would be for you to go even further with your ideas.

  2. Thank you for sharing with us your lore box. The concept of lore in teaching practice and the idea of keeping and sharing lore boxes are fascinating to me. Among the many things that you listed, having "work group built on Vygotsky's ladder" is new and of particular interest to me.

    Along this line, I guess the use and sharing of lore boxes represent an informal form of knowledge sharing in (educational) organizations. Sooner or later, there will be a need in an organization for a more formal form of knowledge sharing, and then knowledge management. This need may become more imperative as the organization gets larger. This need is also important in College Composition, especially considering the facts that most instructors are relatively inexperienced TAs, the diverse backgrounds and skill levels of freshman students, etc.