“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” ~Norbet Platt
What you should expect
English 101 is a writing intensive course that will enhance your skills in the craft of writing. All crafts require certain tools, thus in this class we will be doing more than just writing. In order to give you the tools you need to write we will also be reading a lot and talking a lot. In this class we will work to stretch each others’ minds, broaden perspectives, and reveal new insights about ourselves and how we live and participate in the world around us. Your high school gym class was meant to get your body active and now your college English class is meant to get your mind active. You will reflect, analyze, read, write, play at writing, respond, argue, read, write, synthesize, communicate, evaluate, read, and write (notice the emphasis on reading and writing).
“I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.” ~ William Faulkner
If you take advantage of the tools made available to you through this class,
at the end of the semester you will have discovered your own writing style
and writing voice and you will have better tools to express your thoughts and
ideas to others. You will also be able to:
• Interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse, including writing and speech
• Construct cogent arguments
• 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
What you Need to Succeed!
Writing Matters, Jones-Hyde Rita, Karen C. Summers, and Liz Vogel Eds.
The Mercury Reader, Pearson Custom Publishing 2005
MACNOLIA, Jordan, A. Van
The Little Brown Handbook, Aaron, Jane E.
Additional readings on e-reserve
Blue or black ink (no other colors accepted)
White, looseleaf paper
Binder (for final portfolio)
Your preferred tools of organization (spiral notebook, folder, three ring binder, day planner ect. If you have no organization style, find one!)
3 essays 3-5 pages each
Discussion participation and discussion leader
Conferences with me
This word stands in for anything resembling policies, rules, or behavior. Our “classroom culture” will be positive and rewarding as long as you respect yourself, your peers, and your instructor.
Below is this concept of “respect” applied to important policies:
Respecting another’s time is an attribute you should acquire, not just for this class, but also for your other classes and future jobs. I will be on time for class and I expect you to be on time as well. I will show up for class and I expect you to show up as well. You are allowed 3 absences for the semester. Each absence after this affects your participation grade and any in-class assignments you miss. If you have more than 6 absences, you will fail the course. If you are more than 5 minutes late to class that will be counted as a tardy and 3 tardies will be counted as an absence. At several points in the semester we will set up conferences in place of having class, and the attendance policy works the same for these conferences. If you do not show up for the time you signed up to meet with me, it will be counted as an absence. It is ALWAYS better to give me prior notice of any absences you will have. This allows me to work with you on assignments so your grade will not be affected. Our course involves a lot of in-class participation, both writing and discussing, thus your grade depends on your presence in class.
Late Assignments are not accepted. You will know well in advance when any work is due and you should plan accordingly. Each student is allowed one extension during the semester. You must arrange this extension two class periods before the due date (ie. If a paper is due on Friday you must tell me on Monday you need an extension). This is a tool for you to utilize if life has just piled up on you as it tends to do, and you need a few extra days of breathing room. Remember, life is only allowed to pile up once in the semester and you must notify me ahead of time. All other late work will not be accepted and you will receive a zero for that assignment.
In order to make the most of our readings, we will engage in group discussions often. This is a chance for you to learn from others’ ideas and to work out your own ideas by articulating them to your peers. Part of your participation grade during these discussions will depend on your demonstration of the big rule of thumb for this course: respect. Please allow someone to complete their thought before you begin to talk. If you are too concerned about breaking into the discussion, you will most likely miss what the other person was saying and will not be able to respond appropriately. Do not dominate discussions, allow others to talk. On the other hand, make sure you do participate in the discussions; classrooms are full of inanimate objects, do not become another one! Most importantly, there will be many diverse opinions and ideas brought into our discussions, you are to treat each one with respect. (This is a good place to think of the golden rule you learned when you were five. You wouldn’t want your own thoughts degraded, so don’t do it to someone else)
Stealing someone’s ideas is one of the most disrespectful things you can do. This is called plagiarism and will not be tolerated in our classroom. Please visit http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/academicintegrity/ for more information on the University’s Academic Integrity policy.
The Way to an A
I’m sure this is the part you have all been waiting for, how you will be graded. For those of you interested in crunching numbers, the percentages break down as follows:
Participation 15% (group work, in-class writing, writing workshops, readings, black-board responses, discussion, discussion leader exercise etc.)
Response Journal 10%
Three Essays 25%
Final portfolio 50%
I will give letter grades on all essays and the portfolio. Your response journals will be graded on a check system (check, you did it)
This class is not an easy A, but it is easy to get an A if you recognize what is expected of you in this class is to participate by reading the assigned selections, discuss your responses to these readings in your journal and in class discussions, turn in assignments complete and on time, and make a continual, concerted effort to finish the class with a better understanding of the craft of writing.
Breaking It Down
Although we will discuss in more detail closer to each due date, here is a brief synopsis of what the above assignments involve:
Participation: If you noticed, participation counts for a good part of your grade in this class. This is due to the amount of work we will do during the actual class period. By weighting this portion of your grade at 15% I am acknowledging that you should be rewarded for the work and effort you put into each class during the time we meet. There are many different exercises that fall under “participation” and you will become familiar with each one during the first week of classes. You should be aware that the major components will consist of reading, discussing, and free-writing. Once in the semester you will also be “discussion leader.” This means that you will come to class with a question you have from the reading due that day. You will ask your peers this prepared question and this will be used to start our discussion for the day. This question may be one you genuinely have no answer for, or you may have already formed an opinion and are curious about others’ opinions. These questions should be thought-provoking and analytical. They should not be yes/no questions or fact finding questions (ie. I didn’t understand the sentence with the word indolent in it). Coming to class having read and ready to discuss is also part of your participation grade. I expect you to read the assigned readings, which will always be a manageable amount for a college-level English course. If I can hear the bugs chirping outside over the silence of our “discussion” we will start having reading quizzes until everyone begins reading again. The rest of your participation grade will be based on any in-class writing we may do or group work.
“ Read, read, read.
Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad,
and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works
as an apprentice and studies the master.
Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.” ~ William Faulkner
We will have an open book policy in this class – you should open your books often! Since our class meets three times a week, you will most likely have readings assigned for at least two of those days. You are expected to respond to one of those readings a week and you can choose whichever reading you want. Your response journal is just that, your response to the readings. This is the place for you to play with your writing. In this space you can forget about the rules of writing and just focus on your writing voice and writing style. Choose some part of the reading that particularly interested you and respond to it. Because I am mostly interested in these journals as a tool for you to begin finding your voice as a writer, they will not be graded on a letter grade scale. Instead you will receive credit for completing the journals and will choose several of them to include in your portfolio in a more polished form. There are only a few regulations placed on these responses: we will occasionally share our responses, so write about things you are comfortable having your peers read and they should be 1 ½ to 2 pages typed in 12 pt. Font and double spaced. The rest is up to you, so go forth and play!
Essays: Our in-class free-writes and your response journal are places for
you to do more informal writing, but you will also write three more formal
in this class of about 3 to 5 pages each. You will be including two of these
essays in a revised, polished form in your portfolio. We will be discussing
in more detail each particular essay as it is assigned, but for now remember
that any writing you do can be used as a starting part for these essays and
any readings we do may be helpful for topic ideas so take advantage of these
Revising is a vital part of writing, and being able to reflect on your own writing and make improvements is a tool you need for the craft of writing. For this reason we will have several draft workshops. These workshops are mandatory and if you do not come to class with your prepared draft your final paper will automatically lose one letter grade. The Portfolio, which is a large part of your grade, relies heavily on your ability to revise the writing you have done, so take advantage of these workshops.
The Writing Center is also a great tool beyond our classroom for help on revising your work. It is located in 101 McIver Building. Check out their website at www.uncg.edu/eng/writingcenter.
Final Portfolio: Revising your writing is one of the most important tools
you will take from this class. The Portfolio is designed to demonstrate
to me that
you have acquired the tool of revising, and also to demonstrate to yourself
how this tool can empower your writing. On your last day of class, you
will submit this Writing Portfolio to me. This portfolio should include
pages of your writing and will include:
1. Revised and polished copies of two formal essays.
2. A few journal entries you choose as samples that chart your development as a writer over the course of the semester.
3. A few pieces of free-writing or creative writing that you are proud of 4. A Revision Letter for EACH revised piece of writing, which tells me what you revised and how you feel about the final product.
5. A letter to me (1-2 pages typed) describing your thoughts and feelings about the evolution of your portfolio and how your writing has changed over the course of the semester.
More detailed instructions about the presentation of the portfolio will be given later in the semester.
Since you will use your journals and revise your essays
throughout the course of the semester, it is imperative that you
KEEP EVERYTHING YOU WRITE FOR THIS CLASS UNTIL THE SEMESTER IS OVER.
(important enough to actually write on your calendar)
August 29th: Mystery Paper Workshop
September 7nd: Essay One due
September 28th: Peer Workshop
September 30th: Essay Two due
November 9th: Peer Workshop
November 11th: Essay Three due
December 2nd: Final Portfolio due