This course helps you devise strategies you can apply to all the writing you will do in college. You will learn skills of composing—how to generate ideas, get them onto paper, revise them, and ultimately make them interesting and acceptable to readers. Writing well involves more than following a set of rules or formulas. It means understanding and manipulating the relationship between who writers are and who their readers might be. This class aims to help you learn that relationship by practicing it.
During the semester, you will do a lot of writing, both in and out of class. You’ll write for yourself and for others, analyze your classmates’ texts as well as your own, reflect and respond, 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.
Student Learning Goals:
• 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
The Grading Policy:
This course is not “an easy A.” However, it will be easy to earn an A in my course. You might be surprised to find that your papers and assignments will not be marked with a specific letter grade. This is because the skills you are learning are a matter of use, growth, and improvement, not simply some product. Be assured that if you are putting the required effort into this course, it will reflect in your work, and a strong grade will not be difficult to obtain. I will try to keep you posted on whether or not you are putting forth the required effort. The following percentages are to give you a sense of how the material is being weighed for the course. In many ways, your grade will reflect your attitude. Throughout the semester, use my comments to give yourself a sense of my evaluation of your work. Talk with me at anytime during the semester about your grade.
3-4 essays: being on time, the proper page requirement, margins, etc. 15%
Class participation, including:
Discussion, in-class writing, group work, and miscellaneous activities 20%
2 Conferences with me 10%
Grammar Presentation 10%
A Journal of reflections, responses 10%
Final Portfolio Containing 20 pages of revised writing 35%
All typed assignments should be double-spaced, with a size 12 “times” font, 1-inch top and bottom margins, 1.25-inch left and right margins. The papers are to be stapled (no folded corners stuff) and turned in at the beginning of the class period in which they are due.
Late papers not only will cost points from your “essays” section of your grade, but as much of our class work will be dealing with what you write, it will also inevitably reduce your “class participation” section as well. Plus it will just get on my nerves. I will not go chasing after you for late assignments; you must take responsibility for yourself in this class.
There will be no lateness tolerated for the final portfolio.
I will not accept assignments over the internet, through email, as attachments, etc.
This portion of your grade should be fairly self-evident. It includes, but is not limited to, class discussion, participation in your groups, having full knowledge of the readings assigned, and laughing at my bad jokes. This also allows me to call upon any member of the class to assist in readings or to promote discussion...be ready, pay attention.
Throughout this course, you’ll be required to have two individual conferences with me. We’ll have one before the Mid-Term so you can look at your “grade-so-far”; the other conference will fall later in the semester. You are also welcome to meet with me on any other occasions throughout the semester by dropping in at my office hours or scheduling an appointment with me. These are opportunities for you to get some individual assistance, discuss your thoughts about the class, assignments, readings, and your work. Failure to show up prepared for a scheduled conference will negatively affect your grade.
Every Thursday our class will review some basic/commonly mistaken element of grammar, and each group will be required to lead the class at least once during the semester. You are free to make these as creative, fun and exciting as grammar can be. Feel welcome to construct handouts, draw things on the board, etc. After each presentation, the group presenting will administer a quiz to the class (from English Brushup or by design). All members of the group will be expected to participate in the presentation. Obviously if you are absent or not prepared, it will affect your grade. Other arrangements may be made if you have a legitimate absence; however, this will generally result in more work for the individual—a solo presentation, perhaps. We will discuss this further in class.
For this course you will be required to keep an active and up-to-date journal, which will be collected once every other week. This is not a formal assignment, so handwritten entries on college-rule, loose-leaf paper are completely acceptable (trim jagged edges from spiral notebooks).
You will be required to write two entries per week. These may be on whatever subject you choose: how your week is going, conflicts with your parents or roommates, insights upon your first year at college. However, please note that I will read the entries to be sure you are doing the work, so restrict the subject matter accordingly.
I reserve the right to and may occasionally ask that you write on a particular topic or reading.
Although not formal, this is an assignment and required for the course. The journal entries must be at least one page in length (but may be as long as you wish). Since this is to measure the quantity of writing, I may request that some with larger handwriting to exceed this one-page mark. I will keep an ongoing list of prompts in case you feel like you don’t have anything to write about (believe me, you do!).
Don’t worry about this yet. They will ultimately be the culmination of your entire work of the semester, a collection of your progress, and a testament to your accomplishments. We will talk about these more as mid-term approaches. But for now, keep everything from this course.
You will, without a doubt, encounter a wide range of personalities, viewpoints, theologies, morals, and opinions in this class. You may be exposed to cultures that you are not accustomed to, ideas and ideals you have never encountered, and arguments you simply cannot agree with. Each member of our class will be allowed to express his/her views without having to endure personal attacks in or out of class. We are all allowed a voice, and we will treat each other with respect. This includes my relationship to you. Feel free to talk to me at any time if you feel someone is not receiving the respect that they deserve, especially if I am the one disrespecting.
Attendance is required for this course. Most of this class involves you directly in writing, responding and reporting in small and large groups. Like skipping out on practice for team sports, it is simply not possible to make up that kind of work. Therefore, regular attendance and participation is crucial to your success in this class.
You are allowed two absences during the semester, no exceptions.
If you miss three days, you will lose 3 points from your final total;
if you miss four days, you will lose 6 points;
if you miss five days, you will lose 10 points;
if you miss six days, you will lose 13 points;
if you miss seven days, you will lose 16 points;
if you miss eight days, 20 points.
If you miss nine or more days (over four weeks), you will automatically fail the course.
If you are late or leave class early, it counts as 1/2 an absence.
If you have no absences at the end of the semester, you will receive three extra points toward your final grade.
The only exceptions to this attendance policy fall under severe circumstances (family emergency, prolonged illnesses, etc.) and are subject to my discretion. For an excused absence, the student could not have possibly come to class and must previously exhibit a good work policy. Appointments scheduled over the class period (doctor’s or otherwise) generally do not count as an excused absence. Any exception must be accompanied with proper documentation. Any work that was missed due to the absence must be made up.
Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan. The Writer’s Presence: a Pool of Readings. 4th Ed.
A. Van Jordan, MACNOLIA
Janet Goldstein and John Langan, English Brushup
Furthermore, there will be a number of texts handed out in class, but a larger number of texts posted onto the Library e-reserves or Blackboard (http://blackboard.uncg.edu). Personally, I would prefer to Xerox all of our class handouts, but the English Department is undergoing a crisis of copiers. Therefore, it is crucial that you have an active Novell account and print out (and be familiar with) the handouts before class period in which they are to be discussed. I will let you know when there are materials posted onto our Blackboard site, but make it a habit of checking the course’s Blackboard site frequently. We will discuss this matter further in class.
Strunk & White. The Elements of Style.
A college level dictionary of some sort
• College-rule, loose-leaf notebook paper for in-class writing assignments (no spiral notebooks please!)
• A couple of sturdy folders to hold all of your writing for this class (for journals and other papers)
• A 1.5" three-ring binder with dividers to act as your portfolio at the midterm and the end of the semester (no huge 3" binders, please!)
• Disks for saving your typed writing
UNCG Honor Policy:
Students are expected to abide by the terms of the student code of academic conduct, available in your undergraduate bulletin or online at http://studentconduct.uncg.edu. I urge you all to examine this material, and consult me with any questions you may have about plagiarism and academic integrity before it becomes an issue.
Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarism. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade. I’m honestly interested in what you have to say, not what you can find/buy on the internet.
Students at UNCG are required to write and sign the Academic Integrity Pledge on all major work submitted for this course. The pledge reads, "I HAVE ABIDED BY THE UNCG ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY ON THIS ASSIGNMENT.”
The Writing Center, McIver 101, is for any writer at any level who wants some qualified, outside input on any essay for any class. Call for an appointment, 334-3125, or just drop in. However, please note they are trained to aid you with composition, grammar, etc., but do not expect them to simply proofread your paper for you. Budget time to allow for them to actually help you. Dropping in an hour before the paper is due is a not only a sure way to frustrate yourself and the staff, but also ensures very little improvement of your composition.
An Abbreviated Schedule of the Semester (I can assure you that this will change over the semester...I will frequently give you updates):
Section 1: Personal Narrative
Tues. Aug. 16: First Day of Class.
Thurs. Aug. 18: Paper #1 Assigned.
Fri. Aug. 19: Last Day to Add/Drop.
Tues. Aug. 30: Paper #1 Due to Groups.
Thurs. Sept. 1: Workshop Paper #1.
Thurs. Sept. 8: Paper #1 Due to Me.
Tues./Thurs. Sept. 13-15: Conferences.
Section 2: Seeing and Argument
Tues. Sept. 20: Paper #2 Assigned.
Tues. Oct. 4: Paper #2 Due to Groups.
Thurs. Oct. 6: Workshop Paper #2.
Fri. Oct. 7: Last Day to Drop w/o Academic Penalty.
Tues. Oct. 11: Fall Break. No Class.
Thurs. Oct. 13: Paper #2 Due to Me.
Tues./Thurs. Oct. 18-20: Conferences.
Section 3: Critical Analysis
Tues. Oct. 25: Paper #3 Assigned.
Thurs. Oct 10: Paper #3 Due to Groups.
Tues. Oct. 15: Workshop Paper #3.
Thurs. Oct. 17: Paper #3 Due to Me.
Thurs. Nov. 24: Thanksgiving Break. No Class.
Thurs. Nov. 1: Last Day of Class. Portfolios Due.
Detailed Class Schedule for 8/16-9/15
Tues. August 16 Intro to the Class
Thurs. August 18 Sedaris, “You Can’t Kill the Rooster” (Blackboard)
Paper #1 Assigned
Last Day to Add/Drop (Fri. August 19)
Tues. August 23 Forche, “The Colonel” (Blackboard)
Cisneros, “My Name” (Blackboard)
Hughes, “Salvation” Atwan 146
Thurs. August 25 Cofer, “Silent Dancing” Atwan 93
101-39: Journals Due
Tues. August 30 Ephron, “A Few Words About Breasts” Atwan 117
Paper #1 Due to Groups
Thurs. September 1 Group Workshop of Paper #1
101-41: Journals Due
Tues. September 6 Alvarez, “My English” Atwan 65
Sedaris, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” Atwan 249
Tan, “Mother Tongue” Atwan 260
Thurs. September 8 Gates, “In the Kitchen” Atwan 125
Paper #1 Due to me
101-39: Journals Due
Tues. September 13 Conferences. No Class.
Thurs. September 15 Conferences. No Class.
101-41: Journals due