Instructor Virgil Renfroe
Office: 136E, McIver Bldg.
Office phone: (336) 334-5837
Office hours: 11-12:30, TR; and by appt.
This course helps you devise strategies you can use in all the writing you will do in college. You will learn skills in composing—how to come up with ideas, get them on paper, revise them and make them interesting and acceptable to readers. Writing well involves more than following a set of rules or formulas. It means understanding and using the relationship between who writers are and who their readers might be. This class aims to help you understand that relationship by practicing it.
During the semester, you’ll do a lot of writing both in and out of class. You’ll write for yourself and for others, analyze each others’ texts as well as your own, reflect and respond and argue and do research. We’ll talk about how you develop your own style, how you develop ideas and how you change them, and how you understand audience. Our discussions will often happen in small groups, and your work in your group is important to your success. Writing in this class will make you more confident of your ability to write for a variety of purposes and help you discover how writing matters to your thinking.
Learning goals for 101 include:
Writing and evaluating arguments
Communicating clearly and effectively
Evaluating and using relevant information
Understanding aims and methods of intellectual discourse
Evaluating different viewpoints
Texts and Requirements:
A Writer’s Resource, (WR) Maimon
Writing Matters (WM)
on writing: a process reader, (OW)Wendy Bishop
4-5 essays (about twenty pages of revised, edited writing)
writer’s notebook (journal reflections, responses, drafts, in-class writing)
group presentations and activities
2 conferences with me
Policies and Grades: Most of this class involves you directly in writing, responding and reporting in small and large groups. It’s not possible to make up that kind of work. Therefore, regular attendance and participation is crucial to your success in this class. More than two absences (a week’s worth of class) can compromise your grade. Talk with me in advance if you’re worried about meeting a deadline or missing a class.
Paper Guidelines: All papers must be typed and double-spaced, using 12 point
times new roman font. One inch margins, top, bottom, left, right. At the top
right of the first page, your papers should include your name, the name of
our class, and my name. A footer should contain page numbers. Contact me if
you need any help with this.
I will not give you a grade on individual papers or journals. I will give you a grade-so-far before the midterm, which will describe your progress in the class. My comments to you on journals and papers should give you a sense of my evaluation of your work. I encour-age you to talk with me at any time about your grade. Success in the class depends on:
1. Meeting all the requirements.
2. The quality of your written and oral work.
3. Your willingness to try new perspectives, to revise and rethink, to take chances.
Your final grade will be based on the quality of your work in your journal, your participation and involvement in class activities, and your final portfolio.
The Writing Center: I encourage you to use the Writing Center to get new and different perspectives on your writing. The Center is an extension of our classroom community and will give you useful feedback. It’s located in McIver 101 and is open every day and some nights.
Week One, Aug. 17-19: Intro. to English 101. Learning to read actively. In-class Writing.
Tuesday, 17th: In-class writing exercise, part I. Getting to know each other. Designating groups. Class discussion. Our syllabus. Guidelines and Policies. For Thursday, 19th: Read WM, 6-17 & 32-33; OM, “Why I Write,” 31-32; “Mother Tongue,” 96-101; “Mute Dancers: How to Watch a Hummingbird,” 268-270.
Thursday, 19th: In-class writing exercise, part II. Report to other groups what your group found out about assumptions. Go over reading. Discuss past problems with writing a paper. For Tuesday: Imitation of 1st paragraph of Mute Dancers, on the subject of your choice.
Week Two, Aug. 24-26: Getting the writing process started. Brainstorming.
Tuesday, 24th: Journal writing, five minutes. Imitation of Ackerman’s
opening paragraph due, on subject of your choice. Group work, discussing your
imitations. For Thursday Read WM, 18-20 & 38-44.
Thursday, 26th: Journal writing, five minutes. Group work. Brainstorm and come up with a public venue for each of your members to observe. Short lecture on main ideas and tips for observing a venue. For Tuesday: two full pages of descriptive notes on public venue, along with at least one insight into the small culture you’ve studied. (Don’t worry, if you’re observing then you’ll come up with insights. Think about the roots of the word: in-sight.)
Week Three, Aug. 31, Sep. 2: Organizing our notes and developing a main idea.
ready for the rough draft.
Tuesday, 31st: Journal writing, five minutes. Descriptive notes due and workshopped in groups. Sign up for conferences. Rough drafts due for Thursday conferences: four full pages.
Thursday, Sep. 2nd: Conferences. Come equipped with questions and problems. For Tuesday: Revised rough drafts for final peer/instructor review: five full pages.
Week Four, Sep. 7-9: Getting your paper to its final draft. Expanding/Developing
Tuesday, Sep. 7th: Journal writing, five minutes. Peer/instructor review of revised rough drafts. Fleshing out your papers. Questions on paper requirements. Final draft of first paper due Thursday.
Thursday, Sep. 9th: Final draft of first paper due. Journal writing, five
minutes. In-class exercise. Lecture.