M &W (Sec. 26: 2:00 – 3:15 & Sec. 31: 3:30-4:45)
Instructor: S. Todd Atchison
Office: 01F Petty
Office Hours: M & W 1-2 p.m. & Tuesday 2-3 p.m. (or by appointment)
Office Phone: 334-3294
Mailbox: 133 McIver
Alright here’s the catch – English Composition 101 meets the Reasoning and Discourse requirement. Therefore this course is a blend of writing, media studies, and philosophy designed to help you become insightful writers, readers, and thinkers. You will learn the skills necessary to read and write critically, which will help you in other courses, as well as in “real” life. You may encounter some graphic material throughout this semester. The goal is to challenge your viewpoints and to broaden your world through various perspectives; so approach both the subject matter and the course format with an open mind and a willingness to work diligently.
Yes, you will write a lot in this class – this is Composition 101. The format of this course will center on frequent, small writings in response to selected readings, life observations, and other topics. Writing will occur both in and outside of class. Your writing will address various audiences. You will analyze each others’ texts. You will reflect, respond, argue, and perform research. Along the way we will talk about how you develop your own writing style, your own voice, how you develop ideas and change them in regards to how you understand your audience.
Group work, presentations, individual conferences, and other instructional techniques will also be used.
It is very important for this class that you are able to use the Internet. You need to get your UNCG login and email (or other email) set up and the address to me by the 2nd class meeting. I would like for us to use the course web site (http://blackboard.uncg.edu) and email as much as possible.
Course Materials and Requirements:
Rules for Writers
Rich in Love – Josephine Humphries
The Middle of Everywhere – Mary Pipher
There will be short fiction and nonfiction pieces made available to you via e-reserves and/or through the class website (Blackboard) that I will indicate at the appropriate times. I will try to keep a page count on these to a minimum so as to limit the extra costs associated with printing them out.
A sturdy folder to hold all (and I do mean ALL) of your writing for this class
Paper/Notebook for in-class writing
A one-inch (or smaller) 3-ring folder (the floppy, flimsy kind) to act as your portfolio at the end of the semester
Disks for saving your typed writing
Access to a typewriter, word processor, or computer
Blackboard account - http://blackboard.uncg.edu
4 essays (that will total between 15-20 pages of revised, edited writing)
Daily reading responses: journal entries that demonstrate a focused reflection on the day’s readings that are due each class. These should be typed double spaced with a 12pt Time New Roman font.
Freewrites – in-class writings
Attendance and In-class participation – discussions that evolve from reading responses and in-class workshops
Group presentations and activities
2 conferences with me
Midterm and end of term portfolios
Interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse, including writing and speech
Construct coherent arguments and communicate these clearly and effectively
Reading critically - Evaluating and using relevant information and understanding different viewpoints
Understanding the aims and methods of intellectual discourse
Because this class is heavily based on in-class discussion, group work, and writing, your attendance is required at every class session. Missing more than two classes (a week’s worth of class) will lower your grade by a ¼ of a letter grade per absence. If you miss more than four classes, you will not pass this course. Absences are excused solely at my discretion. Do not assume that because you have a doctor’s/lawyer’s/parent’s/ employer’s note that I will count the absence as excused. In other words, plan your doctor appointments, work schedule, etc. around your classes, and not the other way around. Also, please try to be on time for class. Two tardies (of 5 minutes or more) will count as one absence. If you are late, please enter quietly. Talk with me in advance if you are worried about missing a class or meeting a deadline.
Also, if I am 20 minutes late for a class you are free to leave (please keep in mind that this is solely up to your instructor and not in the academic handbook).
Grading Policy and Late Work:
The grading in this course might be a little different from what you are accustomed to. The final product of this class is a portfolio of polished writing. Therefore grades will be based on your performance and progress in the class. Throughout this semester you will only receive two grades: a tentative grade at midterm and a final grade at the end of the semester. I will not give you a grade on individual papers or journals; instead you will receive comments and a rubric that will guide you in the revising process. These should give you a sense of my evaluation of your work.
Success in this class depends on:
1. Class participation – through in-class discussion and workshops.
2. Meeting all the requirements (see above). Please note that falling behind on reading responses will negatively affect your grade.
3. The quality of your written and oral work.
4. Your willingness to try new perspectives, to revise and rethink, and to take chances.
Your final grade will be based on your involvement and participation in group and class activities, the quality of your work in your essays, journals, and in-class writings, and your final portfolio.
Late work will not be accepted without prior notification (and I do not mean the afternoon before the assignment is due). Also, keep in mind that Rough Draft due dates are indeed due dates. This is crucial for in-class workshops.
I expect you to become a writing packrat: KEEP EVERYTHING that you do for this class – in-class writing, pre-writing activities, progress reports, group work, rough drafts, reading responses, etc. Aside from the in-class writings, all writings that are turned in are to be typed (double spaced with 12pt Times New Roman font and one inch margins). The material that you keep will be useful to you when you decide what to revise and what to place in your portfolio. Please put a date on everything you put in this folder (and making a note of what exactly the writing is may help you as well). Also, please keep in mind that I have an “open draft” policy – a draft is never finished – you may reedit/rewrite/restart to your heart’s content before submitting the final portfolio.
Class meetings are not always the best place to receive individual attention on your writing concerns. While you are always welcome to come and visit me during my office hours, you will also be required to come by and meet with me at least twice during the semester. Failing to show up or arriving unprepared for an assigned conference will negatively affect your grade.
The Writing Center:
Visits to the UNCG Writing Center are strongly encouraged. The Writing Center is located in 101 McIver and is open Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and Sunday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. You can call 334-3125 for an appointment, or just drop in.
Using someone else’s words or ideas as your own on any assignment is plagiarism. It is a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy as defined in the Student Handbook on-line. Plagiarism is grounds for failing an assignment or possibly failing the course.
(Check the Academic Integrity policy on-line:
Have courtesy and respect for yourself, your fellow classmates, and your instructor. I shall endeavor to earn your respect and hope you will do me the same courtesy by complying with some simple rules: NO SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND NO PERSECUTION OF ANYONE BASED ON PHYSICAL HANDICAP, RELIGIOUS BELIEF, PERSONAL BELIEF, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR RACIAL BACKGROUND. I would also appreciate it if you try not to speak out of turn. Allow the person speaking to complete their thought before you begin to talk (this not only shows respect, it shows you are listening). Likewise, do not talk-out while I am trying to lecture – this is not the 13th-grade of high school so conduct yourselves properly. There will be plenty of time for in-class discussion thereafter.
The Americans with Disabilities Act provides for special considerations for individuals with certain disabilities, including learning disabilities. Students with documentation of special needs should arrange to see me about accommodations as soon as possible. You must first register with the Disabilities office on campus before such accommodations can be made. Please contact me and/or the office of Disability Services at 334-5440.
Last day to drop course with refund: Friday, Aug. 20
Labor Day Holiday: Monday, Sept. 6 – NO class
Midterm Portfolio Due: Wed. Oct. 4
Last day to drop without academic penalty: Friday, Oct. 8
Fall Break: Oct. 11 – NO class
Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday, Nov. 24 – NO class
Last day of class: Monday, Dec. 6
Final Portfolio Due: Monday, Dec. 6
Essay Due Dates (Yes, rough draft due dates are indeed due dates!)
Turn in first drafts with copies of the second and final drafts.
First Draft Second Draft Final Draft
Essay #1: Aug. 30 Sept. 13 Oct. 4
Essay #2: Sept. 27 Oct. 4 Oct. 4
Essay #3: Oct. 18 Oct. 27 Dec. 6
Essay #4: Nov. 8 Nov. 22 Dec. 6
Week 1 Aug. 16, 18: “Pleased to meet you. Can you guess my name?”
8/16: Introduction to the course – covering this syllabus, introductions,
It’s all about perspective (pt. 1)
8/18: What to expect in English 101
For class read Writing Matters (WM) p. 6-8 & 21-26
in 50 Essays (50E) p. 1-8, and David Sedaris’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day” 50E p. 340-345
Week 2 Aug. 23, 25: “Yeah, but how do I make sense of all of this?”
8/23: Reading for Meaning and Reading like a Writer: Annotations and analysis
For class read Rules for Writers (RW) p. 2-18,
Writing Matters (WM) p. 10-12 & 32-35
and Mike Rose’s “I Just Wanna Be Average” 50E p. 316-330
First writing assignment distributed to class.
8/25: It’s all about perspective (pt. 2): The run down on rhetoric
For class read WM p. 28-31, Stephanie Ericsson’s “The Way We Lie” 50E p. 120-129 and Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” p. 402
Week 3 Aug. 30, Sept. 1: Writing as a process
8/30: Writing workshop
For class read WM p. 18-20 & 38-39, Stephen King’s “Write or Die” and Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” both are online reserves
Also read Rules for Writers p. 19-39
Rough draft of Essay #1 due
Group One – Read Around
9/1: “…when I could read, I knew their myths.”
For class read Linda Hogan’s “Dwellings” 50E p. 149-154, Eudora Welty’s “Listening” 50E p. 436-443, and Rules for Writers p. 39-50 and 146-154 Reminder: Start reading Rich in Love
Week 4 Setp. 6, 8: Identities, Reflection and memoir
9/6: NO CLASS – Labor Day Holiday
9/8: The Making of Memoir, memory and personal narrative
For class read Scott Sanders’s “The Inheritance of Tools” 50E p. 331-339 and Richard Rodriguez’s “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” p. 292-315, in Mary Pipher’s The Middle of Everywhere (TMOE) read the Foreword and Prelude and in Rules for Writers p. 51-57.
Week 5 Sept. 13, 15: It’s all about perspective (pt. 3): Reflections
9/13: Big Fish – we’ll watch the movie in class
Read Humphries Rich in Love chapters 1-4
WM p. 36-37 & 42-43
Second Draft of Essay #1 Due
2nd paper assignment distributed to class
9/15: Big Fish cont’d
Continue reading Rich in Love chapters 5-7
Week 6 Sept. 20, 22: It’s all about perspective (pt. 4): “What
good is a premonition?”
9/20: In class we’ll discuss Rich in Love
Continue reading Rich in Love
9/22: Rich in Love
Week 7 Sept. 27, 29: “And luck is nothing; luck is the absence of power.”
9/27: Wrap up of Rich in Love if necessary
First Draft of Essay #2 Due – Group Two Read Around
9/29: “…let dreams grow and fade…”
For class read Maxine Hong Kingston’s “No Name Woman” 50E 190-202 and Pipher (TMOE) Chapter 1 p. 3-23
Rules for Writers p. 84-87
Week 8 Oct. 4, 6: Living and observing
10/4: “…I am not tragically colored.”
For class read Maya Angelou’s “Graduation” 50E p. 9-21 and Zora Neale Hurston’s “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” 50E p. 158-162
Also Pipher (TMOE) p. 24-55
Second Draft of Essay #2 with the Midterm Portfolio due
10/6: “When I left, even the sycamore was in shadow.”
For class read Pipher (TMOE) Chapter 5 p. 113-160 (a big chunk of reading but this will help give you a feel for ethnography)
Rules for Writers p. 88-92 and 130-135
Writing Matters p. 40-41 & 45-47
3rd paper assignment distributed to class
Week 9 Oct. 11, 13: It’s all about perspective (pt. 5): Bewilderments of perception
10/11: FALL BREAK!!!!
10/13: “…the guardian of all that is visible…”
For class read Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” 50E p. 284-291, Frederick Douglass’s “Learning to Read and Write” p. 100-105 and Malcolm X’s “Learning to Read” p. 245-254
Rules for Writers p. 92-101
Week 10 Oct. 18, 20: “I have had more life than I wanted.”
10/18: “I need something to believe in.”
For class read Pipher (TMOE) Chapter 6 p. 161-195
First Draft of Essay #3 due
10/20: “I need to rearrange the landscape of my mind…”
For class read Pipher (TMOE) Chapter 7 p. 196-215
Rules for Writers p. 101-109
Week 11 Oct. 25, 27: Life’s little absurdities
10/25: “Anyone who whines will be lightly tazed.”
For class read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal…” 50E p. 393-401
Andrew Sullivan’s “What are Homosexuals For?” p. 380-392
Pipher (TMOE) p. 223-243 and Rules for Writers p. 110-115
We’ll watch the Simpsons in class
4th paper assignment distributed
10/27: “Give-it-away, give-it-away, give-it-away, now…”
For class read Peter Singer’s “The Singer Solution to World Poverty,” and Pat Jobe’s “Elvis and Hungry Children” online
also Lars Eighner’s “On Dumpster Diving” 50E p. 107-119
Second Draft of Essay #3 due Group Three Read Around
Week 12 Nov. 1, 3: “You say you want a revolution… well you know
want to change the world”
11/1: “I am not afraid of the word ‘tension’.”
For class read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” 50E p. 172-189 and William F. Buckley Jr.’s “Why Don’t We Complain?” p. 64-70
11/2: GO VOTE!!!!!!
11/3: Is the world for sale?
For class read Pipher (TMOE) Chapters 11 & 12 p. 305-349
Week 13 Nov. 8, 10: “The clash between competing moral intuitions”
11/8: It’s all about perspective (pt. 6): Self Image
For class read Brent Staple’s “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space” 50E p. 362-365 and Rules for Writers p. 113-127
We’ll watch the Todd Haynes film Superstar: the Life of Karen Carpenter in class
First Draft of Essay #4 due
11/10: “…lonely and resistant rearrangers of things…”
For class read Joan Didion’s “On Keeping a Notebook” 50E p. 79-86
and John Holman’s “Wave” online
Final Portfolio assignment distributed to class
Week 14 Nov. 15, 17: Ask first, shoot later.
11/15: Bowling for Columbine
Work on Essay 4 and the final port.
11/17: Bowling for Columbine cont.
Work on Essay 4 and final port.
Week 15 Nov. 22, 24: Stuffed
11/22: “…the Detroit Lions are more interesting.”
For class read Dave Barry’s “Lost in the Kitchen” 50E p. 61-63
Final Portfolio Workshop
Second Draft of Essay #4 due – Group Four Read Around
4/24: NO CLASS, T-GIVING BREAK
Week 16 Nov. 29, Dec. 1: The home stretch
11/29: Blame it on the media?
For class read Marie Winn’s “Television: The Plug-In Drug” 50E p. 465-474 and Don DeLillo’s “Videotape” online
12/1: “Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”
For class read Anne Lamott’s “Polariods” online
Week 17 Dec. 6: Last Day of Class! “This is soup. And this is art.”
For class read Jane Wagner’s “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life…”
and Meg Barnhouse’s “The World in Peril” online
Final Portfolios due
Dec. 13: The wrap up - Pick up final portfolios
Section 26 meets at noon
Section 31 meets at 3:30
This weekly schedule is tentative and is subject to change. I will provide you with the necessary handouts if that should happen.