Tie-dye project teaches Surry students writing skills

Surry Community College students in Dr. Kathleen Fowler’s English 111: Writing and Inquiry class recently took part in a T-shirt dyeing project as a lesson in writing directions. Those who participated in the unique project are (from front, left to right) McKenzie Reaves, Starline Burton, Martha Lopez, Rose McCraw, Madison Joyce, James Porcelly; (back row) Dr. Kathleen Fowler, Luke Mauldin, Kobe Rachels, Brayton Fields, Cody Willard, Nick Piela, and Cameron Gray. (Not pictured: Kaytlyn Stevens.)

To most people tie-dyeing a T-shirt seems like an art project, but for students in Dr. Kathleen Fowler’s eight-week, English 111: Writing and Inquiry class at Surry Community College, tie-dyeing became a lesson in writing directions.

“The purpose of the project was to teach the students how to break down a complicated process into steps and write about it clearly, so others can understand and follow that same process. We call this type of writing-process analysis,” Fowler explained.

The instructor and students first talked about the steps involved in making a tie-dye design on a T-shirt. The students then chose the designs they wanted to create, tied their shirts, and applied the colors. When the process was completed, each student wrote out the precise steps they followed to make their unique designs.

“The tie-dye project is an excellent way for the students to draw upon their individual learning styles. Many of them are very strong visual and kinesthetic learners, which means that they understand and retain information better if they can see it applied and do it for themselves,” Fowler said. “All of the students were wholeheartedly involved in the project and that is reflected in the quality of their papers.”

The 13 students who participated in the project are Starline Burton of Dobson, N.C., Brayton Fields of Mount Airy, N.C., Cameron Gray of Ararat, N.C., Madison Joyce, Martha Lopez and Luke Mauldin, all of Mount Airy, Rose McCraw of Lambsburg, Nick Piela of Pilot Mountain, N.C., James Porcelly of Fort Mill, S.C., Kobe Rachels of Mount Airy, McKenzie Reaves of Elkin, N.C., Kaytlyn Stevens of Pinnacle, N.C., and Cody Willard of Ararat.

Surry Community College offers many English courses each semester, and registration is currently open for summer and fall 2017 classes. Summer classes begin May 22 and June 27. Students must register for fall classes before August 1. Those classes start August 15. Contact Student Services at (336) 386-3264 for additional information.