Syllabus Fall 2004
"An essayist is a lucky person who has found a way to discourse without being interrupted." -Charles Poore
"I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read." -Samuel Johnson
"The tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -William Faulkner
"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector." -Ernest Hemingway
"Good writing is a kind of skating which carries off the performer where he would not go." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Instructor: Nadine Cooper
English Department, McIver 137B
Office hours: Tues/Thur 3:15-4:30 or by appointment
phone: office: 334-5867
Home: (919) 498-6661
Course Description: English 101 is designed to help students develop writing skills through the process of reading, thinking, discussing, researching, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading. Effective reading and writing skills will not only help you excel at the university level and your careers but also help you grow as a more confident observer, reader, writer, and listener. Since you can enhance your reading and writing skills only by practice, this course requires your full participation and often resembles a workshop rather than a traditional lecture class. Your work in your discussion group is important to your success.
Course Objectives/ learning goals: Successful completion of this course should enable you to become a more critical reader, a more independent thinker, and a more skillful writer. By the end of this class, you should be able to 1) write and evaluate arguments 2) communicate clearly and effectively 3) evaluate and use relevant information 4) understand aims and methods of intellectual discourse and 5) evaluate different viewpoints.
The Middle of Everywhere, Mary Pipher
On Writing: A Process Reader, Wendy Bishop
A Writer’s Resource (handbook)
** You will also need a binder or folder for your masterpiece, the Portfolio
Attendance/class participation 20%
(The portfolio consists of most of your written work, including 3 essays, one “research” paper, revisions, final drafts, group commentary, in-class writings, and whatever else you want to put in there – see “portfolio” below)
The successful student will be the one who comes to class and keeps up with the reading assignments and writing assignments. Class participation is highly recommended, since much of the course is workshop-oriented.
-Obviously, you need to come to class and read the assignments to participate. Class discussion and workshopping are a vital part of our classroom setting. I reserve the right to lower your grade for the course if you miss more than 3 classes. Coming to class late doesn't count as being present, nor does leaving early. Please be responsible and respect the rights of your fellow classmates to be able to pay attention. Turn the cell phones Off!
-I want all of you to view this class as a safe environment where we all respect each other’s opinions. We can agree to disagree without slinging the mud.
-Please call me or see me during my office hours if you have questions or concerns. We will have at least one conference around mid-term during which time we can talk about your papers, grade, etc.
Beginning the second week of class (see schedule) you will read a chapter a week of The Middle of Everywhere and write a response of about a page (typed, double-spaced) to be turned in NLT 5 pm every Thursday, either in class to me or in my mailbox. I will give you several questions to get you started, so don’t worry about not having anything to say. This is supposed to be more informal than a regular essay. I really just want to know your viewpoints. Remember that you don’t have to agree with Pipher. Read closely. Are her opinions fair, biased, both on occasion?
You are welcome to include more writing in your weekly journal on other topics if you like – they don’t have to be related to the book. These journal entries should start you thinking about the contemporary issues of immigrants and refugees in America today in both times of war and peace – issues that will hopefully culminate in a well-thought out research topic for you.
-At the end of the semester you will be turning in your portfolio, which is a compilation of most of your work in this class – work that shows your growth and improvement as a writer. At a minimum it will have three or four essays (I will give you more specific instructions on these later) with revisions (yes! You get to improve your grade!!) and your research paper, your classmates’ comments, your in-class writings, and a couple of letters. BUT, you can certainly add to this. You can dress up your portfolio (so you can take it out) and be creative. This is really for you to keep – something to be proud of.
-Your essays and research paper must be typed, double-spaced at Times New Roman font size 12. They should be about 3-5 pages long (research paper about 5 pages), standard margins. Papers must be typed and in accordance with MLA format when applicable. You will turn in your rough draft with your classmates’ comments with final draft of paper. Failure to have a draft of your paper on peer evaluation day may result in a reduction of your grade for that essay. On the other hand, because this class is learning about the writing process, you will be able to gain extra points through revising papers. You create your own destiny in this class.
-I reserve the right to lower the grade on late papers.
Just a Reminder!!
Plagiarism is theft. Presenting someone else's words or ideas as if they were your own is a serious academic offense.
Plagiarism results in an F for the assignment or for the course, and may result in expulsion from the university. I consider plagiarism a serious breach of honesty.
T Aug 17 Course Introduction, or “Why do I have to take this class anyway?”
The Importance of Writing
R Aug 19 What’s in a name? Diagnostic essay and intro to groups. (Read
pp. 2-12, Writing Matters 15-16)
**Remember to start reading The Middle of Everywhere for your journal entry!!
T Aug 24 On Reading, Writing, but no Arithmetic….What to do about Grammar,
Grades, and other fears of Writing….(Bishop 580-604, 607 –which revision is best?, Bishop xix “Strong Statements about Reading,” “Theme
For English B” 65, “Amphibians” and “Marks” 377-379)
R Aug 26 Brainstorming and Freewriting. Our favorite food. (“Index Cards” Bishop
205, WM 60 “A Duet,” “The Red Lantern Island” 72, “Journaling 101” 32) First Journal entry due, Chapter 1!!
**This weekend, think of an object that reminds you of something from your past….
T Aug 31 Best journal entry prize goes to…
Writing narrative – Linking an object with a past event –The Ruby Necklace. (WM “A Doll’s Life” 75, Bishop 21-39)
R Sep 1 Writing Workshop (Bishop 488-492) Journal Entry Due, chp.2!
T Sep 7 Narrative essay Due!! The Writing Process (Bishop 293 “Not Your
Typical Martha Stewart . . .” and “Girlfriend’s Guide”)
R Sep 9 Describing a Person or Place (Prelude – Ellis Island – Pipher, “Wilco
Travel Plaza of Conover, North Carolina” WM 83) Essay Assignment
Journal Entry 3
T Sep 14 Describing a Person or Place. Brainstorming ideas. (Bishop 96, “Mother
Tongue” 510, “In Case You Ever Want to go Home Again”)
R Sep 16 Come to class with a few ideas about a person or place you want to
Write about. Make a list of about 10 phrases that describe the topic
You chose. Paper examples. Journal Entry 4
T Sep 21 Writing Workshop. Bring Rough draft of Description essay! (WM 42
“ Revision: Take Two, Take Three”, Bishop 349-360, skim over
R Sep 23 Comparison/ Contrast essay assignment. (Bishop “Tourist, Stay
259, “Formulating a Thesis 242) Journal Entry 5
** Look for some ads this weekend!!
T Sep 28 Final Draft of Describing Person or Place essay due!! Bring
Advertisements to class!! Paper examples…
R Sep 30 Writing Workshop. Rough Rough Draft of Ad Comparison Paper.
Remember to bring your ads with you! Journal Entry 6
T Oct 5 Conferences (read WM 13 before you come – bring your papers)
R Oct 7 Conferences Journal Entry 7 – you can email me them this time
T Oct 12 Fall Break!! No class!!
R Oct 14 Final Draft, Ad Comparison essay Due!!
Before Fall Break I will give you the rest of the schedule for the class. The second part
of the semester we will be working on writing about literature -- we will read some war literature and first-hand accounts of displaced people -- and developing a research paper. Start thinking about the journal readings you have been doing and consider what issues you may be interested in concerning immigrants and refugees in America. What are the effects of war on these people? How can we better integrate immigrants and refugees into America? Are you interested in a particular culture? What are some of the problems women especially face? Is Pipher unbiased in her opinions and suggestions?
Your research paper will be due on Nov 23 and your portfolio will be due on
the last day of class, Dec 2.