This class will serve as an introduction to college-level composition. During this course you will practice and perfect strategies for writing expository essays and for engaging with different kinds of texts. You will read actively and think critically about your reading and writing. You will write both in and out of class, with an emphasis on drafting and revision. Our time in class will be split between writing, work in groups, and discussion of the readings and your own work.
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
Read critically and write analytically
Develop and support theses and arguments
Summarize, paraphrase, and synthesize information from a variety of sources
Structure persuasive and cohesive essays
Incorporate and integrate evidence into their writing using MLA documentation
Edit and revise their writing using peer and instructor critiques
Use appropriate conventions of language, including correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation
Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
. Freshman Common Reading.
Course Packet. This is available at Far Better Copy, located at the corner of Hillel Place and Campus Drive. It will include most of the readings we will use for this class.
Diana Hacker, A Writer’s Reference
. Available at the Brooklyn College Bookstore & Shakespeare & Co.
A dedicated journal for in-class writing assignments. I will often collect our in-class writing
, so a binder or notebook with removable paper is ideal.
Attendance & Punctuality:
You should be present at every class. That said, I understand that extenuating circumstances arise and you may be absent up to 3 times without penalty; the next 2 absences will each lower your final grade by half a letter. If you are absent more than 5 times, I cannot pass you. Also, I expect you to come to class on time. Two late arrivals equal one absence, and a pattern of lateness will affect your grade negatively. Arriving more than 20 minutes late counts as an absence. I will take attendance once at the beginning of class. If you come to class late, it is your responsibility to inform me at the end of class; otherwise, you will be marked absent.
Participation counts for 10% of your grade. This includes: following and participating in discussions, group work, completing in-class writing assignments, and bringing your course reader to class every time we meet.
SPECIAL NOTE: Cellphones must be silenced and put away during class. Texting is the opposite of participation in class and if I notice you doing it I will count you absent for the day.
Here is a description of the kind of assignments you will be responsible for:
You must do the reading assigned for each class before the class. Readings are listed below on the date that they are due. Readings will mostly be found in the course packet that is available at Far Better Copy; you must bring the course packet to every class.
Essays: You will write four 750-1000 word essays in this class. These essays will draw from the assigned reading and will receive letter grades. Essays must be typewritten using a 12 point font and double-spaced. You may not email papers unless there is a very special circumstance and you have my express permission.
SPECIAL NOTE: I encourage you to revise your work, and I will consider changing your grade on a given paper if you do—revisions of papers will be accepted up to a week after they are returned to you.
You will also be required to complete in-class writing assignments and short take-home prompts. These assignments will not be graded
, but their timely, thoughtful completion will count towards your final grade. I will ask you to keep a journal of our in-class assignments. You will refer to this often, and you should take these assignments seriously, as we will use in-class writing to generate ideas for essays.
English 1010 students must take a final exam. The exam is based on responses to two pieces of writing: one 5-7 page essay, distributed two weeks before the end of the term, and a second 1-2 page piece, distributed along with the question on the day of the exam. The exam will count for 20% of your final grade for the class. We will discuss the test format and write a practice exam in class.
How your grade for the class is determined:
60% of your grade. Each essay is worth 12%.
You will write five essays this semester—three take-home and two in-class.
20% of your final grade.
10% of your grade. This includes written assignments and in-class reading comprehension quiz.
10% of your grade. This includes attendance, promptness, participation in class discussions and group work, in-class writing, etc.
Essays turned in late without a valid excuse will be penalized a half letter grade for each class meeting they are late. Late work (Essays and Assignments) will not be accepted after four classes have passed from the original due date. What is a valid excuse? A family emergency, a severe illness, or an extension you have negotiated with me before the paper is due. If you don’t show up for class on the day an essay is due, the essay will be counted as late.
C- is the lowest possible passing grade for the course. English Department policy dictates that a student with a final grade below a C- receive an N/C (no credit); the student may take the course up to three times. Students who do not complete the course assignments will receive an F.
Plagiarism is not tolerated at Brooklyn College and especially will not be tolerated in this class. Here is the University's statement on plagiarism:
"The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at this site: http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/policies. If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation."
The point of this class is to help you to hone a skill that you will need to be successful in college. I am interested in your development as a writer and your ability to analyze texts and express original thought. Much like texting during class discussions, plagiarism is destructive to your learning experience
, the learning experience of your peers, and
my learning experience as your instructor.
Students With Disabilities:
In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services, please provide me with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with me.
* Please note: the class schedule is subject to change.*
8/28 – Course Introduction
8/30 – In-Class Diagnostic Essay
Reading Due: Rebecca Skloot, “Prologue: The Woman in the Photograph” from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (pgs. 1-7)
9/4 - Reading due: Skloot, “A Few Words About This Book” (pgs. xiii – xiv),
“A Village of Henriettas” (pgs. 232 – 240) & “All That's My Mother” (pgs. 259 - 267)
9/6 - Reading due: Skloot, “Afterword” (pgs. 315 -328)
Assignment A Due: typed up free write
9/11 – Reading due: E.B. White, “Once More To The Lake” & Joan Didion, “Goodbye To All That”
9/13 – Reading due: Colson Whitehead, “City Limits”
First Draft of Essay 1 Due
9/18 – No class
9/20 – Reading due: James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son” & “Revision”
Assignment B Due: LOOP Tour form of completion (Library Online Orientation Program)
9/25 – No class
9/27 – Final Draft of Essay 1 Due
Trip Gabriel, “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age”& Christine Haughney, “CNN & Time Suspend Journalist After Admission of Plagiarism”& “Why Do I Need An Argument?”
10/2 – Reading due: “All About Thesis Statements” & Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
10/4 – Reading due: David Roberts, “When GPS Leads to SOS”& “Writing a Summary”
Assignment C due: brief summary
10/9 – Assignment D due: topic and claim for Essay 2
Reading due: Nydia Velasquez, “In Search of Justice”
10/11 – Reading due: Lars Eighner, “On Dumpster Diving”
10/16 – Assignment E due: Bring 3 copies of Essay 2 working thesis statement for peer review
10/18 – Reading due: Rachel Laudan, “A Plea For Culinary Modernism”
10/23 – Final Draft of Essay 2 Due
10/25 – Reading due: Michael Pollan, “Our Decrepit Food Factories”
10/30 – Reading due: Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue”
Assignment F Due: Dialogue
11/1 – Reading Due: Carl Elliott, “The Perfect Voice”
11/6 – Essay 3 – In class
11/8 – Reading due: Junot Diaz, “Fiesta 1980”
11/13 – Assignment G: In-class reading comprehension quiz
11/15 – M.F.K. Fisher, “The Measure of My Powers, 1919 -1927,” Jhumpa Lahiri, “Rice,” & Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Real Food”
11/20 – First Draft Essay 4 due—bring 3 copies for peer review
11/22 – College closed – No Class
11/27 – Final Draft Essay 4 due
11/29 – Naomi Wolf, “The Beauty Myth” & Caroline Knapp, “Add Cake, Subtract Self-Esteem”
12/4 – Reading due: Christine Rosen, “Our Cellphones, Ourselves”
12/6 – Essay 5 - In-Class Practice Final Exam
Second essay will be handed out in class on 12/4 in preparation for today's in-class essay.
12/11 - Final Class. Students discuss exam reading in small groups.
12/14 – Final Exam
– 10:30 – 12:30 Location TBA