" The purpose of the writer is that he (she) is here to observe things
that others are too busy to observe."
Often, our worlds are too small. We’ve limited ourselves knowingly and, sometimes, unknowingly to the opinions, works and beliefs of others. Because of someone’s race, class or gender, we often discount their experiences. Perhaps we feel that we can’t relate, or, worse yet, we don’t try. Through the process of extensive writing (essays and in-class assignments), reading diverse authors, and contact with “everyday people,” this class is designed to help you become a better writer. In the process, you will learn to appreciate the value in what others have to say, while understanding that your words and experiences are just as important; no one is invisible. The most important element in achieving success in this class is not an already established ability to write, but the more useful abilities of keeping an open mind and a willingness to work diligently.
Student Learning Goals include:
• Communicate effectively and clearly through speaking and writing
• Interpret and evaluate arguments
• Construct cogent, logical and critical arguments
• Communicate those arguments clearly, coherently and effectively
• Locate, synthesize and evaluate relevant information
• Understand the aims and methods of intellectual discourse
• Gain an appreciation for different point of views, cultures and life experiences
• Review grammar and punctuation to clarify meaning
Required Text and Supplies
• Two or Three Things I know for Sure, Dorothy Allison
• The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
• A Lesson before Dying, Ernest Gaines
• M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, A. Van Jordan
• Elements of Style, Struck and White (recommended)
• Three-ring binder, dividers, lots of loose-leaf paper, index cards
The grading here might be a bit different from other classes. I will not give you a grade on individual papers, but I will give you comments and feedback throughout the semester. You’ll receive a midterm grade to let you know where you stand (which, hopefully, you will already have an idea from my feedback). Your final grade will be based on the thoroughness of your Writer’s Notebook, your participation, 2 essays, reading responses, involvement in class activities, and your final portfolio.
Writer’s Notebook %25
For this class, you need a 3-ring binder with, at least, 6 dividers. You need the following sections: Free-Write, Reading Responses, Observations, MACNOLIA, Everyday People (EP) and Passion.
1. Free-write: you will write “freely” every class period. This
section will only be graded based on whether or not you did the work. This
section is for you to write without fear, to capture your immediate thoughts,
and to use written language to express yourself.
2. Reading Responses: You be required to respond to various portions of your text throughout the semester. At my discretion, without or without notice, these responses may be collected (more details in Reading Reponse portion of syllabus).
3. Observation: In this section you will keep all of your writing process materials that help you write the 2, 3-4 page essays that are due. This section should contain my comments, drafts, outlines, notes, Writing Center comments, group member comments, etc. This should be a thick section.
4. MACNOLIA: Ongoing comments on the book, as well as class assignments and group exercises.
5. Everyday People: Throughout the course, we will come in contact with “Everyday People” through class speakers, “people watching” and group assignments. Your thoughts should be captured in this section.
6. Passion: This is simple. We are all passionate about something and here’s your chance to write about it in preparation for an essay.
KEEP ALL WRITING YOU DO FOR THIS CLASS. THAT MEANS EVERYTHING! More details on your essays will follow. I reserve the right to do random notebook checks. Without notice, I will ask your group to turn in their notebooks that day. The group will NOT be judged as a whole, but individually. If you aren’t present or you “forgot” your notebook that day, it CANNOT be turned in later.
Essays and Reading Responses %25
• Two essays will be due, 3-4 pages each: “Everyday People” and “Passion.” More details will follow.
• Three in-class reading responses will be collected for credit. Others may be needed throughout the semester if it becomes apparent that readings are being neglected. If you have an unexcused absence on the day that a reading response is given, please don’t bother trying to convince me to give you a make-up. Your time will be better spent focusing on upcoming assignments.
• There will be one formal reading response to “A Lesson Before Dying.” This is the only response that is to be typed and you will have advance notice.
To participate in my class means: 1) to answer and ask questions; 2) to volunteer to read; 3) to bring in supporting material that relates to the lesson; 4) to be an active member of your group; 5) to share your ideas with the class; and 6) present a paper for the “read- around.” More details on the read-around. You will present twice during the semester, once with your group, and the other on your Passion Project. If you don’t present a paper for the read-around, you will lose considerable points. If all you do is come to class and occasionally speak, you will NOT earn points for participation
Your final exam in this class in a final portfolio(a professional-looking collection of work). All of the writing you do in this class will go into selecting 20 pages of revised and polished writing to submit in your portfolio. You will not receive individual grades on your assignments, but you will receive comments to help strengthen your work. Near the end of the semester, you will select from ALL of the work you’ve compiled, 20 pages that demonstrate your growth as a writer. Your essays should give you half, or close to it, the other half is up to you. You will be required to revise your essays based on feedback.
As this class relies heavily on discussion, group work, and in-class writing, your attendance is essential to your success in this class. Three absences (a week’s worth of class) will compromise your grade. After six absences, you will fail the course unless you withdraw before the deadline. Although I’m aware that “stuff” happens, please make an effort to arrive to class on time. If you know you will be absence when an assignment is due, make arrangements to give it to me early, otherwise, it will not be accepted.
Using someone else’s words or ideas as your own on any assignment is plagiarism. Plagiarism is grounds for failing an assignment, or possibly failing the course. Academic Integrity policy: http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy
Avoid distracting or disrespectful behavior (talking while others are talking, insulting others, etc.) Everyone has a right to his or her opinion, and a right not to feel threatened because that opinion differs with the opinions of others. Note that argumentative discourse is the most effective way of changing opinions, not threatening, coercing, or ostracizing. Also, refrain from eating “noisy” foods, or foods with a heavy aroma. If this is violated, I will NOT allow snacks in the classroom. Turn off cell phones and pagers. (See Student Code of Conduct)
Our class meetings are not always the best place to receive individual attention on your concerns about your writing. While you are always welcome to visit me during office hours, you will also be required to chat with me at least twice during the semester. Failing to show up, prepared, for an assigned conference date will negatively affect your grade. Also, I will not lug your Writer’s Notebooks home, but I check them in class and at our conferences. Conferences will also be a time to talk about/review portfolios.
Formatting Your Writing
All writing that is turned in to me (unless it is turned in during the class in which it was written) must be typed with the following guidelines: Double-spaced, 1” margins on top, bottom, and sides and 12-point font (Times New Roman)
I am planning on using Blackboard as an aid to all of us in this course. I may occasionally post messages to the class as well (for things such as changes in assignments or readings, reminders about due dates, changes in class meeting place, class cancellations, etc.). Therefore, you should check your Blackboard account daily. Not having checked Blackboard will not be an excuse for missed work
The Writing Center is a valuable resource for all writers on the UNCG campus. It is located in 101 McIver. It is open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 8pm, Friday from 9am to 3pm, and Sun. 6pm-9pm. You can just drop in, or you can schedule an appointment by calling 334-3125.
*Readings should be completed and ready for written responses, discussion, etc, on the date assigned. This is a rough guide for us and will be altered as needed.
English 101-28 Tentative Calendar
M 8/15 English 101: What is it? Introductions, Talk about text, concerns
W 8/17 Observing an object/Visual
F 8/19 Read 1-11 “Mango,” Come prepared to discuss your name, in-class writing
M 8/22 Pg.12-27 “Mango,” discuss; intro to group work, groups
assigned; Cisneros, Latino Culture
W 8/24 Pg. 28-42 “Mango,” discuss, in-class writing,
F 8/26 Pg. 42-58 Cont. “Mango,” reading response, assemble for group work, divide the reminder of text
M 8/29 Group Presentations, 10mins each, write reflections
W 8/31 Group Presentations Continued
F 9/2 Cultural Influences, Response
M 9/5 Labor Day Holiday
W 9/7 Pg. 1-32 “A Lesson Before Dying;” Come prepared to share and write about your “life lessons.”
F 9/9 Diversity in Pop Culture, group work, in-class writing
M 9/12 “Lessons,” Grammar Review Groups
W 9/14 “Lessons,” Grammar Review Groups
F 9/16 “Lessons,” Grammar Review Groups
M 9/19 Movie
W 9/21 Movie
F 9/23 Movie A Lesson Before Dying” 2-page response due; Essay e-reserve
M 9/26 Passion Research, Library Project (Pop Culture, Books, Movies, Music..)
W 9/28 Passion Research, Library Project
F 9/30 Writing Day
M 10/3 Passion Research
W 10/5 Passion Research
F 10/7 Passion Paper Due# (Last day to withdraw without academic penalty; essay due, Fall
Break begins (Talk about “Everyday People” paper.
W 10/12 MACNOLIA (In-class Poetry Slam, Saul Williams CD, Short Fiction Readings)
F 10/14 MACNOLIA(In-class Poetry Slam, Short Fiction Readings)
M 10/17 MACNOLIA(“Spelling Bee,” etc)
W 10/19 No class- MANDATORY meeting with A. Van Jordan, author of MACNOLIA; 3:30 Cone Ballroom
F 10/21 MACNOLIA follow-up discussions, etc, writing day
M 10/24 Everyday People, essays, responses (guest possible)
W 10/26 Everyday People, essays, responses (guest possible)
F 10/28 Everyday People, essays, response (guest possible)
M 10/31 Everyday People Individual Presentations (5-10mins), Responses
W 11/2 Everyday People Individual Presentations (5-10mins), Reponsses
M 11/7 “Two or Three Things”
W 11/9 “Two or Three Things”
F 11/11 “Everyday People” Paper Due, Writing Day
M 11/14 Portfolio Workshop; Read-Around
W 11/16 Portfolio Workshop; Read-Around
F 11/18 Portfolio Workshop; Read-Around
M 11/28 The Reflection Letter
W 11/30 Conferences- no class
F 12/2 Conferences- no class
M 12/5 Portfolio due!!!!!! Final Class evaluation
W 12/14 Final Exam – Pick up portfolio & Final grade. I will be in my office(see header). Portfolios MUST be picked up