Writing Matters, UNCG Composition Department
The Little, Brown Essential Handbook, Fifth Edition
The Mercury Reader, UNCG Composition Department
MACNOLIA, A. Van Jordan
• Three-ring binder and loose leaf paper
• Paper and pen in class everyday
• One blank CD-R or CD-RW
• Online access (available in the library or any computer lab on campus)
• Blackboard account (http://blackboard.uncg.edu). You will be expected to check Blackboard regularly. It provides a space for our class to update assignments, post materials, and communicate with one another.
At the completion of this course, the student will 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
Class Description: The aim of this class is to help you become better readers, writers, and thinkers. You will learn to perform these skills more critically and in-depth, which will help you in your other courses as well as in the “real” world. The goal of this course is also to broaden your world and we will be looking at multi-media texts, so approach the subject matter and the course format with an open mind. At the end of the course you will have improved your ability to write for a variety of purposes and you will have discovered how writing matters to your thinking.
Class Requirements: This class will require reading and writing everyday.
You will not succeed in this class if you fail to do either. Failure to complete
assignments, large or small, will result in a reduction in your grade.
• Formal Papers: You will write three essays this semester, approximately 3 to 4 pages each. You will receive assignment sheets as we begin each new essay with specific requirements for that assignment. Late papers will not be accepted. If you know you will be absent the day an assignment is due, you must make arrangements to get it to me by class time.
• Format: Although we will be doing a great deal of informal writing assignments, please note that ALL typed, formal assignments must be in MLA format. This means that your name, my name, the course prefix and number, and the date must go in the upper left hand corner of the first page, with your last name and page number in the upper right hand corner of each of the following pages. Also, your entire paper must be double-spaced and use Times New Roman, 12 point font. Any other format is unacceptable and should you turn in an essay without the correct format, I will hand it back to you ungraded.
• Writer’s Notebook: In your three-ring binder, you will use a section for in-class writing, exercises, and responses as well as any out-of-class writing you do. This class uses the portfolio method for grading, so everything you do is a potential piece that you can include in your final portfolio at the end of the semester. So don’t throw anything away—seriously. Save everything—all drafts of essays, etc—and put it in your binder. I will be collecting these assignments weekly to read and comment on.
• In-Class Writing Leadership: Each class member will take a turn as the writing leader. You will present your topic for the class on the day that you choose. Students will bring in a topic for the class to write about for the first 15 minutes of class. The leader’s responsibilities include: 1) bringing in a topic, 2) sharing it with the class, 3) keeping time, and 4) leading a brief discussion with your classmates about what they wrote. You may bring in whatever you want as topics (poems, news articles, songs, photographs, etc). Don’t come to class unprepared. Just find something that interests you or catches your attention and that your classmates might find interesting, too. You will be required to hand in a typed reflection the class period after your Writing Leader session. I will bring a sign-up sheet to class.
• Class Participation: Make your voice heard in class. When you speak up, I know that you have done the assignment and your opinion will contribute to the class discussion. Remember to be respectful of other people’s views. Throughout the semester, you will be doing work in groups and you are expected to participate equally. You will be reporting back to me so that I know you are contributing to the class and to your group. Before each formal essay is due, we will take time to read each other’s drafts and to give constructive feedback. Don’t miss these workshop days and do not show up without a draft or your grade will suffer.
• Draft Workshops: Each class member will participate in draft workshop days where volunteers will read their drafts aloud so that the entire class can provide positive feedback. You will get to choose which day you sign up, but you must come to class prepared with the draft of your essay (any essay you would like, not necessarily the one we are working on). You will be required to hand in a typed reflection on your peer review sessions after each workshop day.
• Attendance: Since this class only meets twice a week, it is essential that you attend regularly. You are allowed THREE absences. Upon the fourth absence your grade will be lowered one letter grade. Any absences beyond that will result in failure of the course. If you are more than ten minutes late to class twice, it will be recorded as an absence. Tardiness is disruptive, so be on time. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to ask a classmate for the assignments you missed. An absence is not an excuse for being unprepared for the next class.
Turn off all pagers, cell phones, palm pilots, etc. in this class. If your phone rings, I will answer it and embarrass you beyond belief!
• Grades: Since we use the portfolio system of grading in this class, you will not receive letter grades on your work. Instead, I will return your work with comments in order to help you in your revision process for the final portfolio. I will collect your portfolio at midterm to comment on your work at that point in the semester. You will receive credit for all of the work that you turn in, just not in the form of an A, B, or C. At midterm, we will conference about your progress in this course and you will receive a tentative grade. Your assignments break down like this:
Attendance: 10% (including days absent and your preparation for class)
Participation: 15% (including participation in group work and discussions, as well as visits to the Writing Center, etc.)
Written Work: 15% (all free writing, journals, and in-class writing)
Final Portfolio: 60% (including all revised essays and assignments you wish to submit [up to 20 pages], and a self-evaluation letter)
• Conferences: We will have at least two conferencing sessions this semester to discuss essays that you are working on as well as your progress throughout the semester. We will have one session at mid-term and one before the final portfolio is due. You are required to attend these conferences. Since I will be canceling our class time for these conferences, if you do not show up, you will receive one UNEXCUSED absence.
• Plagiarism: Using someone else’s ideas or words as your own on any assignment is plagiarism. It is a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (www.uncg.edu/saf/studiscp/Honor.html) and will be treated as such. Read the Plagiarism Statement in Writing Matters!
Other Resources: If you have a disability that could affect your performance
in this class or for which you need accommodation, please contact me and the
office of Disability Services at 334-5440.
The Writing Center is a valuable tool that will help you get feedback on drafts in progress. The Writing Center is not a proofreading service, but the consultants will give you the tools to improve your own paper. Each time you visit, I will receive a note which helps me identify the students who are really trying. The Writing Center (www.uncg.edu/writingcenter) is located in 101 McIver and is open M-Th 9am to 8pm, F 9am to 3pm, and Sun 5pm to 8 pm. Call 334-3125 for an appointment or just drop in.
The Student Success Center also has many important resources for you to take advantage of. They can provide tutoring in groups or one on one, study skills, workshops, and review sessions for almost all of the courses here at UNCG. Visit their website at http://success.uncg.edu/ for more information.
Day In-Class Homework
Tuesday, Aug. 16 Introduction to course and class Questionnaire, get books
Thursday, Aug. 18
Observation Artifact Exchange, Keeping a Notebook, MACNOLIA MR: “On Keeping a Notebook,” Didion
WM: “Journaling in 101”
Tuesday, Aug. 23 “My Name” by Cisneros,
Groups, finish artifact exchange Begin MACNOLIA, WM: Rhetoric & Visual Rhetoric Essays, bring in ad or photo
Thursday, Aug. 25 Discuss MACNOLIA, ads or photos (elements, appeals, messages), Rhetorical Triangle MR: “Reading the River,” Twain, “Writing is My Passion,” hooks, journal entry
Tuesday, Aug. 30 Discuss reading (lens, experiences), observing others, assign essay #1 WM: Read 2 student essays TBA, brainstorming or outline, MACNOLIA
Thursday, Sept. 1 Discuss MACNOLIA, groupwork with outlines, rhetorical triangle Essay #1
Tuesday, Sept. 6
Song Lyrics Essay #1 due, Toby Keith & Bob Dylan lyrics, groupwork MACNOLIA, MR: “Stereotyping of Arabs,” Said, bring in lyrics
Thursday, Sept. 8 Discuss MACNOLIA and reading, rhetoric in relation to songs MR: “On Being a Cripple,” Mairs, “”How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Hurston
Tuesday, Sept. 13 Continue discussion of lyrics in groups, discuss readings MR: “No Name Woman,” Kingston, MACNOLIA
Thursday, Sept. 15 Discuss MACNOLIA, reading, assign soundtrack, brainstorm topics MR: “Everyday Use,” Walker, bring in meaningful song lyrics
Tuesday, Sept. 20 Begin soundtrack in groups, purpose of music “Toughest Indian in the World,” Alexie, plan for CD, MACNOLIA
Thursday, Sept. 22 Discuss MACNOLIA, groupwork on soundtracks, assign group presentations Create CD, prepare presentation, MR: “Story of an Hour,” Chopin
Tuesday, Sept. 27 Group presentations, discuss reading, assign Essay #2 Typed reflection & evaluation of groups, “Girl,” Kincaid, MACNOLIA
Thursday, Sept. 29 Groupwork to brainstorm ideas for Essay #2 Rough Draft
Tuesday, Oct. 4 Peer Review, Read-around, discuss mid-term portfolio Essay #2, reflection letter, MACNOLIA, mini research
Thursday, Oct. 6 Essay #2 and midterm portfolio due, MACNOLIA
Tuesday, Oct. 11 Fall Break, No Class Fall Break, No Class
Thursday, Oct. 13 Conferences, No Class Mini research
Tuesday, Oct. 18 MACNOLIA presentation A. Van Jordan reading, journal on MACNOLIA
Thursday, Oct. 20 Discuss Van Jordan reading, assign Essay #3, passions MR: “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” Sedaris, brainstorm topics
Tuesday, Oct. 25 Discuss reading, begin Bowling for Columbine
Thursday, Oct. 27 Finish BfC, use of rhetoric in film, how to make research interesting Brainstorm topics for passions, begin web research
Tuesday, Nov. 1 Library Session Web research
Thursday, Nov. 3 Evaluation of web material MR: “Why We Crave Horror Movies,” King, Rough draft
Tuesday, Nov. 8 Discuss reading, peer review drafts Essay #3
Thursday, Nov. 10 Essay #3 due, 3-5 min presentations on topics
Tuesday, Nov. 15 Conferences, No Class
Thursday, Nov. 17 Workshop Revision
Tuesday, Nov. 22 Workshop Revision
Thursday, Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Break No Class
Tuesday, Nov. 29 Workshop Revision
Thursday, Dec. 1 Final Portfolio Due, reading of favorite piece
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 12-3pm Final Exam period, pick up portfolios