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In 1854 George Payn Quackenbos published his Advanced Course of Composition and Rhetoric: A Series of Practical Lessons.

Offered as something of a more advanced follow-up to his First Lessons in Composition, a chief aim or goal of this text has to do with offering the “pupil” a “comprehensive and practical view of our language in all its relations” while providing students “with the most philosophical method of digesting and arranging [their] thoughts, as well as the most correct and effective mode of expressing them” (5).

At the end of the text Quakenbos offers students an extensive “List of Subjects”--566 in all.  Subjects are grouped into six categories: Parallels; Historical Narratives; Biographical Sketches; Fiction; Essays, and Argumentative Discourses. While Quackenbos’ subject list was clearly intended to be the basis of, or inspiration behind, written (alphabetic) compositions, the list points to another kind of potential or challenge—to take up and respond to one of his subjects using a much wider range of tools and technologies than Quackenbos, writing in 1854, likely had in mind.

In addition to using Quackenbos' subject list as an inspiration for one of my own projects, I've used the list as the basis of an in-class emoji-based activity (titled "Quackenbomoji") and a larger assignment (titled "Remediating Quackenbos").

 

Click here for more on the Quackenbomoji in-class activity

Click here to view the "Remediating Quackebos" assignment description

Click here to view (an admittedly poor quality) version of
Quackenbos' subject list


Click here
to view "Youth: A Journey through Communication"
(sample "Remediating Quackenbos" project)

Click here to read the student's statement of goals and choices
for "Youth: A Journey through Communication"