ENG 101-29 SYLLABUS
T, TH: 11-12:15
Room: NMOR 226
Instructor: Laura Savu
Office: McIver 137D
Office Hours: W: 1-3 pm; Th. 8-9 am
Office Phone: 334-5867
Eschholz, Paul, and Alfred Rosa. Subjects & Strategies: A Writer's Reader. Boston/New York:
Bedford/St. Martin's. 1999.
Gaines, Ernest J. A Lesson before Dying. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.
Writing Matters: A Guide to Freshman English. 2001-2002. Greensboro: UNCG, 2001.
Reynolds, Nedra. Portfolio Keeping. A Guide for Students. Boston/New York: Bedford/St.
Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers. Third Edition. New York:
2 binders of your choice for your portfolios
3 two-pocket folders for your essays
1 loose-leaf notebook for your in-class writing assignments
General Course Objectives:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust).
“This is the way in which I feel writing matters. It clarifies and intensifies, it deepens and connects me to others” (Julia Alvarez).
English 101 is as much about learning to write as it is about writing to learn. Its primary objective is to foster both self-awareness and critical consciousness. My hope is that by the end of this semester you will have gained a better understanding not only of why writing matters, but also of what you need to consider to fully develop your potential as writers who can take on a variety of rhetorical tasks. We write to communicate to others—whether they are colleagues, professionals in their fields, or friends. We write to discover new things about our world as well as about ourselves. We write to enter an intellectual conversation and to convince others that our position has validity. Thus, writing represents a medium for self-reflection, self-expression, and communication, a means of coming to know for both writers and readers.
Since one may look at all writing as argument, the relationship between writer and reader and the uses of the rhetorical appeals are of particular interest in this course. We are going to look at writing as an act of negotiating between writers and readers with specific purposes and expectations in specific situations. You’ll read each other’s work in progress, the writing of other students as well as published authors to discover different rhetorical strategies and how you can incorporate these strategies in your own writing to make it more effective. Much of the readings may challenge more commonly accepted assumptions, so please try to keep an open perspective.
In the second half of the semester, we will devote considerable attention to Ernest J. Gaines’s novel A Lesson Before Dying, which is the central piece of the All Freshman Read program, whose purpose is to build community through discussions of reading and writing. You will have a chance to hear Ernest J. Gaines talk about his work when he comes to Greensboro, at two different locations: Gillford College (November 14) and the Public Library (November 15). Attendance to either of these events is optional, but I will require that you attend the mini-production by the Triad Stage Company, at a time and place to be announced.
Although the strategies we cover should apply to any writing task you face, our emphasis will be on the processes and forms of academic writing. At the completion of this course, you should be able to do the following:
· interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse, including writing and speech
· construct cogent argument
· communicate those arguments clearly, coherently, and effectively
· locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information
· demonstrate an understanding of the aims and methods of intellectual discourse
· weigh evidence and evaluate the arguments of differing viewpoints
3 essays that make up the core of your final portfolio
Journal entries, reader responses, and in-class writings
Class participation (including group work and conferences)
You must meet all of the above requirements in order to do well in this class. For evaluation criteria, please read the section on “Degrees of Good Writing” from Writing Matters, pp. 99-101.
Our focus is on writing as an ongoing creative process rather than a final product that is beyond revision. Therefore, throughout the term I will provide extensive feedback on your writing, calling your attention to both its strengths and weaknesses, but I will not assign grades to individual papers. Instead, I will give you a midterm “so far” grade, which, in combination with the comments I make on your papers and our discussion in conferences, should give you a sense of how you are doing in the course.
Portfolios: As records of your accomplishments in reading, writing, and critical thinking, the portfolios provide you with the opportunity to have your best work evaluated. Thus, they will include not only the polished versions of the three essays you are required to write in the course of the semester but also samples of revised journal entries, reader-responses, and in-class writings. For each essay, you will produce a rough draft for a peer review, and then a revision of that draft for me to read. I will ask you to turn in your final draft in a two-pocket folder with the current draft for me on one side, and your prewriting, peer review comments, outlines, notes, etc. on the other. When a draft is due for a workshop in class bring at least two copies. When I return your papers, I strongly advise that you read my comments and suggestions carefully and ask for clarifications where needed.
The mid-term portfolio will include about 8-10 pages of polished writing, while the final portfolio will have 20 or more pages of polished writing. Both portfolios will include a reflection paper on your progress as critical thinkers, readers, and writers this semester. For more about keeping a portfolio, read carefully Nedra Reynolds’ guide.
All papers written outside of class must follow the MLA format (typed, double-spaced with 1 inch margins, in Times New Roman or an equivalent). All papers are due at the beginning of class in which they are assigned. NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Failure to turn in any one of these essays is grounds for failing the course.
This is a loose-leaf notebook for your journal entries (JE) and reading responses (RR). The first will allow you to engage the course material on a deeper, more personal level, so feel free to record those daily experiences/observations from which you have learned something new about yourselves and/or others. Most times topics will be assigned, following the prompts provided before and after each professional selection, but if one is not, you can create your own topic, or continue with the topic assigned in class by the writing leader. I expect you to be as creative and provocative as possible and to experiment with various types of writing. While you might use an entry to describe something that happened to you, part of the entry should contain some analysis of the event. How did it make you feel? Why did you react the way you did?
Reading responses work in the same manner as regular journal entries except that you will be responding to/critically engage one of the texts you will have read for this class. I will expect you to formulate interpretive questions and tentative insights about the reading selections as you ponder them. These notes will be subsequently used as the basis of our class discussion.
Hold on to these entries, for you can always revise them for your portfolios and expand on them while in the process of writing formal papers. Sometimes I will ask you to add in-class writings to your journal. And since teaching this class is going to be a learning experience for me, too, I would encourage you to give me some feedback about what is going on in class and what you think I could do differently. You may choose to do this as often as you think fit.
Each week, unless notified otherwise, you will write at least 1 journal entry and 1 reading response, each of at least 300 words (typed and double-spaced). They will be given a check plus, a check, or a check minus. The overall grade will be based on the number of entries you do out of the number possible. No entries will be accepted late. For more on journaling and for samples of journal entries written by other UNCG students, read WM, 20-22 and 79-86.
Group work: During group activities you will share ideas and writings with your peers, working together through the revision process. It is important that throughout these sessions you work together supportively and cooperatively. One of the activities I have in mind will require each group to lead the discussion on various aspects of the novel we’ll be reading in this class. You will receive a more detailed handout concerning this activity in due course.
Since group work counts for your final grade, I will ask each of you to reflect not only on the group work as a whole but also on your individual contribution to it. These reflections will make up a separate entry in your final portfolio.
Conferences: You will sign up for two individual and informal meetings with me in the course of the semester. The purpose of these meetings is for me to gain a better understanding of your writing-related interests and concerns and for you to receive feedback on your work. Missing a conference will count as a class absence. You are welcome, however, to stop by office any time during my office hours.
It is important that I see the writing you do in class as well as the papers you produce outside of class. For every formal paper that you write, you will move through drafts and revisions, working with your peers to rethink, revise, edit your work, and help them with theirs. Consequently, it is important that you attend class regularly and participate in class activities that demonstrate your writing process in addition to the “final” products that you turn in. Your grade will be seriously compromised by more than three absences. You will fail if you miss more than 9 classes. If a paper is due on the day you are absent, make arrangements to get the paper in on that day. You are responsible for finding out what goes on in the classes you miss, including any changes in the schedule or homework assignments. If you do miss class because of a serious illness, inform me as soon as possible.
Classroom behavior: Any behavior that disrupts, distracts, or is disrespectful will not be tolerated. Tardiness is rude and so is coming to class unprepared. Sleeping in class, putting your head down, and working off topic will be grounds for removal and thus counted as absences. Cell phones and pagers should be turned off during class time. You may be reached during classes or conferences at the department phone number (334-5311) in the case of an emergency.
Students with learning differences: If you have a disability that could affect your performance in this course or for which you need accommodation, please contact me and/or the office of Disability Services at 334-5440.
Aug. 20 Introduction to course. Getting to know each other
Aug. 22 Read: WM (11-22)
JE: Letter to me about your Writing Instruction
In-class writing (diagnostic essay)
Assign Essay # 1: The Story behind the Photograph
Aug. 27 Read: “Reading for Understanding and Meaning” (SS, chapter 1)
“How to Mark a Book” (SS 277-282)
“Life in the Margins” (handout)
RR: Annotate a favorite reading
In-class writing on what constitutes “good” writing
Aug. 28 Last day to drop course for tuition and fees refund
Aug. 29 Read: “Writing Essays” (SS, chapter 2)
“Polaroids” (SS 356-58)
JE: see prompt on p. 356 (SS)
Group activity: invention exercise
Read: Description (154-64)
“How to Say Nothing in 500 Words” (284-95)
RR: Reading log for Essay 1 (bring picture/photograph to class)
In-class writing: make inferences about the picture
Sept. 5 Read: Narration (SS 207-221)
“Ave Maria” (WM 41-43)
Opening paragraph of essay # 1 due
In-class writing (“sideshowing”)
Sept. 10 Read: Combining Strategies (SS 37-45)
“Six by Four” and “Family Lamb” (WM Supplement 8-13;
Sept. 12 Rough Draft of Essay # 1 due for peer critique workshop
Sept. 17 Essay # 1 Due
Assign Essay # 2: Entering the Conversation: Analyzing and Evaluating Arguments
Read: “Rhetoric and the Writing Class” (WM 23-26)
In-class rhetorical analysis of an advertisement
Sept. 19 Read: Argumentation (SS 565-78)
RR: rhetorical analysis of “Ain’t I a Woman?” (SS 485)
Sept. 24 Read: “Propaganda: How Not to Be Bamboozled” (SS 424-35)
JE: see prompt on p. 424
In-class writing: the believing-doubting game
Instructions for Midterm Portfolio
Sept. 25 & 26 Conferences (class cancelled on Thursday)
Read: Portfolio Keeping (1-26)
“The Writing Conference” (WM 26-28)
Oct. 1 Read: Cause and Effect Analysis (SS 506-20)
“The Face of Beauty” (SS 540-44)
JE: see prompt on page 540
Oct. 3 Rough Draft of Essay # 2 due for revision workshop
Oct. 8 Read WM (73-85)
Oct. 10 MIDTERM PORTFOLIO DUE
Intro to Gaines
Questions for Writing about Fiction (handout)
Groups sign up for leading discussions
Oct. 11 Last day to drop courses without academic penalty
Instruction ends for Fall Break 6:00 p.m.
Oct. 15 NO CLASS
Oct. 17 Essay # 2 Due
Assign Essay # 3: Making Connections
In-class informal response to “The God Who Loves You” (handout)
Oct. 22 Read: A Lesson Before Dying, chapters 1-6
RR: Analyze Gaines’ strategies for opening the novel
Oct 24 Read: LBD, chapters 7-11
Group # 1 leads discussion
Oct 29 Read: LBD, chapters 12-16
Group # 2 leads discussion
Oct. 31 Read: LBD, chapters 17-21
Group # 3 leads discussion
Nov. 5 Read LBD, chapters 22-26
Group # 4 leads discussion
Nov. 7 Read: LBD, chapters 27-32
Group # 5 leads discussion
Nov. 12 In-class: Video: A Lesson Before Dying
Nov. 13 & Nov. 14 Conferences (class cancelled on Thursday)
Nov. 19 Rough Draft of Essay # 3 due for revision workshop
Nov. 21 Essay # 3 Due
Nov. 26 Revision Workshop
Nov. 28 Thanksgiving Holiday (No Class)
Dec. 3 Editing Workshop
Dec. 5 FINAL PORTFOLIO DUE