“One writes to make a home for oneself, on paper, in time, in others’ minds.” –Alfred Kazin
“Sometimes you learn words
By living them and sometimes
Words learn you
By defining who you are–”
– A. Van Jordan, Macnolia
The goal of this course is to provide you with reading, writing, and thinking strategies for your college work and beyond. We will concentrate on reading, writing, and analytical skills. Of course, we will do a lot of reading and writing, both in and out of class. You’ll write for a range of audiences. You’ll read each other’s works in progress along with the works of published writers. You’ll learn how to make more effective arguments and how to locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information. You’ll learn how to read like a writer so that your work will be more alive with voice and purpose and meaning. We will also devote our attention to all sorts of text and genres, including everything from poetry to advertisements, working to interpret and evaluate discourse all around us. Ultimately, we will become better seers, thinkers, listeners, writers, better prepared to meet the challenges of both university life and the world beyond UNCG.
The Mercury Reader, custom made for our course.
Writing Matters, 2005/6 edition, Jones-Hyde, Summers, and Vogel.
1. Reading and short writing assignments: This class will be reading intensive as much as writing intensive. You cannot expect to do well in class if you do not read. You can expect regular (and very simple) reading quizzes. There also will be many short writing pieces assigned throughout the semester. Failure to complete these will result in a reduction of your grade. Since everything you write in this class is a potential piece for your portfolio, keep all the informal and short writing you do both in and out of class.
2. Formal Papers/Drafts: You will write 4 formal papers, each about 4-5 typed pages. You will receive assignment sheets on each of these essays, with specific instructions. Also, you’ll do several drafts of each essay. Please do not throw them away, as you will need them to show process and progress in your portfolio. Late papers will not be accepted. If you fail to turn in a paper, you fail the course.
3. In Class Writing Leadership: Each class member will take a turn being the in class writing leader. This person will bring in a topic for the class to write about for the first 15 minutes of class. The leader’s responsibilities for the day include: 1) bringing in a topic 2) sharing it with the class 3) keeping time, and finally, 4) leading a brief discussion of what the class wrote. Bring in whatever you want for topics: poems, news items, photographs, songs, brief video clips…whatever! (If you will need special audio-visual equipment, let me know ahead of time so we can be ready). Just find something that catches your attention and you think others might be interested in, too.
4. Class Participation/Group Work/Workshop Participation: Make your voice heard in class. Speak up and tell us what you are thinking. This is one way for me to know you reading and doing the work. Just remember to be respectful of your classmates’ opinions. Throughout the semester, you will work in groups since this is one of the best ways to learn from each other. Before each formal paper is due we will devote class time to reading each other’s drafts and providing helpful advice. Do not miss these workshop days and do not show up without a draft. If you fail to produce a draft on the due date, you will fail the class.
5. Portfolios: At the end of the semester you will submit a writing portfolio for evaluation. Your portfolio will include some final versions of your essays, drafts of these essays in progress, and excerpts from informal writings, as well as a reflective introductory letter. More specific information on the portfolio will be given later in the semester.
6. Conferences: You will meet with me for a one on one conference at least three times in the semester. Please feel free, however, to see me anytime during the semester if you feel you need some advice or assistance with course work. A missed conference equals an absence.
Other Items of Note:
Attendance: In this class, attendance is crucial and missed class time cannot be made up. Therefore, you are allowed THREE absences. Any more will reduce your grade by one third a letter grade. More than six absences and you will fail the class. Additionally, being late to class is rude and disruptive. Don’t do it. If you are more than 10 minutes late to class twice, that will count as one absence. Finally, if you miss class it is your responsibility to contact me or a classmate to find out what you have missed before the next class meeting. An absence is not an excuse for being unprepared for the next class.
Email/Internet Access: Please activate your UNCG email account as soon as possible and make sure you can get onto the internet and Blackboard. Email is the best way to get into contact with me. Plus, internet access is absolutely necessary for downloading the e-reserve materials and other course materials.
Academic Honor: Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Please see the section on academic honor in the UNCG Student Handbook if you have any questions. If you are unsure about citing something, see me.
The Writing Center: This free resource is available to all UNCG students. You may make an appointment or just drop in to have a one-on-one conference with writing consultants. They can assist you on any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming topics to revising a final paper. The center is located in 101 McIver and is open Sun. 5-8, Mon-Thur. 9-8, and Fri. 9-3.
Final Portfolio: 50%
Shorter Writing Assignments, Quizzes, Etc: 30%
In Class Writing Leadership: 10%
Participation (including workshop and discussion participation): 10%
(Subject to revision)
MR=Mercury Reader, WM=Writing Matters
Tues. 8/16: Introduction to the course
Thurs. 8/18: hooks, “Writing is My Passion,” MR 52; Roskelly, “English 101: A Primer,” WM 3: Spellman, “Rhetoric! Huh. What is it Good For?” WM 7.
Tues. 8/23: Introduction to Paper #1. Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook,” MR
Thurs. 8/25: Adler, “How to Mark a Book,” MR 1; Manguel, “Reading Ourselves and the World,” MR 102; Littlejohn, “Why Are the Readings Such a Pain?” WM 27.
Tues. 8/30: NCTE Tips for Writers, (available on Blackboard under Course Documents);
Gallant, “What is Style?” MR 48; Roberts, “How to Say Nothing
in 500 Words,” MR 110.
Thurs. 9/1: Sedaris, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” MR 132; Brandon, “So Happy Together,” WM 29.
Tues. 9/6: Workshop Paper #1: Bring two Copies of Paper to Class; Rogers, “Workin’ It:
Workshops in the Classroom,” WM 32.
Thurs. 9/8: Paper #1 Due in Class. Cooper, “Visual Rhetoric in the Composition Classroom” WM 11.
Tues. 9/13: Introduction to Paper #2. Murray, “The Maker’s Eye,” MR
105; Vogel, “Revision: Take Two, Take Three,” WM 15; Chiatt, “Illusions
are Forever,” e-reserve.
Thurs. 9/15: DeLillo, “Videotape,” MR 11.
Tues. 9/20: Bring an advertisement to class for discussion.
Thurs. 9/22: Waters, “Life According to TV,” MR 146.
Tues. 9/27: Workshop Paper #2: Bring two Copies of Paper to Class.
Thurs. 9/29: Paper #2 Due in Class. Auden, “Museé des Beaux Arts,” MR 6; Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” MR 155; Atchison, “The Portfolio,” WM 35.
Tues. 10/4: Introduction to Paper #3; Bring your favorite poem to class.
Thurs. 10/6: Jordan, Macnolia, pages TBA.
Tues. 10/11: No Class – Fall Break.
Thurs. 10/13: Jordan, Macnolia, pages TBA.
Tues. 10/18: Faulker, “A Rose for Emily,” MR 38.
*Wed. 10/19: All Freshman Read Event – Time and Place TBA*
Thurs. 10/20: Jen, “What Means Switch?” MR 65.
Tues. 10/25: Workshop Paper #3: Bring two Copies of Paper to Class.
Thurs. 10/27:Paper #3 Due in Class. Introduction to Paper #4. White, “Interpreting Our World,” WM 60; Jones, “The Club Hoppers,” WM 62.
Tues. 11/1: Jackson, “The Lottery,” MR 56.
Thurs. 11/3: Artifact Exchange in class. Sanders, “The Inheritance of Tools,” MR 124.
Tues. 11/8: Walker, “Everyday Use,” MR 137.
Thurs. 11/10: No Class – Paper #4 and Portfolio Conferences in my office.
Tues. 11/15: Workshop Paper #4: Bring two Copies of Paper to Class.
Thurs. 11/17: Paper #4 Due in Class; Portfolio Workshop: Bring at least 2 portfolio pieces to class.
Tues. 11/22 and Thurs. 11/24: No Class – Thanksgiving Break.
Tues. 11/29: Portfolio Workshop: Bring at least 2 portfolio pieces to class.
Thurs. 12/1: Portfolios Due.
Thurs. 12/8: Portfolio Pick-up in my office; 9:00-11:00.