English 111K: College Writing Fall 2010 Instructor

Reminder: Your revised descriptive piece will be due Monday. Week 3

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Reminder: Your revised descriptive piece will be due Monday.

Week 3

09/13 Session 6

Due: Descriptive writing.

Read Before Class: Chapter 9: “Exposition,” pp. 248-261 only (Development by


New Assignment: Introduce the Definition Essay (sometimes called a Concept Essay).

09/15 Session 7

Read Before Class: Chapter 26 (three definition essays), p. 635.

Discussion: Poverty.

Activities: Brainstorming, freewriting, and outlining.

09/17 Session 8

Read Before Class: Chapter 1: “Prewriting,” p. 3.

Discuss: Writing rituals, brainstorming, freewriting and prewriting activities, outlining,

etc. - Prepare for Peer Review.

Reminder: Next time bring multiple copies of the Definition Essay for Peer Review.
Week 4

09/20 Session 9

Due: Initial draft of Definition Essay for Peer Review. Bring multiple copies.

Journal: Thoughts or concerns about Peer Review.

In-Class Assignment/Homework: Re-work the essay.

09/22 Session 10

Read Before Class: Chapter 2: “The Thesis Statement,” p. 31.

Student Presentation: Effective thesis statements.

09/24 Session 11

Read Before Class: Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” p. 697.

In-Class Activity: Analyze/discuss “A Modest Proposal.”

In-Class Reading: Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” p. 458.
Week 5

09/27 Session 12

Read Before Class: Chapter 3: “The Body Paragraphs,” p. 47.

Student Presentation: The classical five-paragraph essay.

Discuss: Variations on a theme—a timely departure from the five-paragraph paradigm.

09/29 Session 13

Read Before Class: Brent Staples’ “Black Men and Public Space,” p. 611.

In-Class Activity: Define and discuss racism.

Journal: Experiences involving race, prejudice, or discrimination.

10/01 Session 14

Read Before Class: Bonny Gainley’s “Judging by the Cover,” p. 666.

Discuss: Prejudice, appearances, and conformity.

Journal: Positive or negative memories about conforming (or failing to conform).
Week 6

10/04 Session 15

Due: Revised Definition Essay.

New Assignment: Introduce the Analysis Essay.

Discuss: Quotations and the Works Cited page. Bring your Hacker text.

In-text citations: Direct, Paraphrased, Summarized. Short, long, and blocked.

Signal phrases and parenthetic documentation.

10/06 Session 16

Library orientation.

10/08 Session 17

Read Before Class: Chapter 6: “Effective Sentences.”

Student Presentation: Sentence structure and sentence faults.

In-Class Activity: Analysis: Brainstorming, freewriting, and outlining.
Week 7

10/11 Session 18

Research Before Class: Paragraph strategies.

Student Presentation: Effective paragraphs.

Discuss: To paragraph or not to paragraph. Paragraph length. The single-sentence


10/13 Session 19

Read Before Class: Chapter 4: “Beginnings and Endings,” p. 81.

Student Presentation: Effective opening and closing paragraphs.

In-Class Reading/Analysis: Linh Kieu Ngo’s “Cannibalism: It Still Exists” (class Web


Assignment: Bring initial draft of Analysis Essay for Peer Review next class session.

Reminder: Sign up for conferences.

10/15 Student conferences.

Week 8

10/18 No class—FALL BREAK.

10/20 Session 20

End of the first half of the semester.

Due: Initial draft of Analysis Essay is due for Peer Review. Bring multiple copies.

Journal: How I can improve my Analysis Essay.

In-Class Activity/Homework: Re-work the essay.

10/22 Session 21

Beginning of the second half of the semester.

Read Before Class: Chapter 7: “Word Logic,” p. 153

Discuss: Letting every word count—Eliminating superfluity.

In-Class Activity: Editing and annotating a sample essay.

Assignment: Bring and be prepared to share a piece of writing which you particularly like.
Week 9

10/25 Session 22

Read Before Class: Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue,” p. 647.

Discuss: Language, the theory of language, and the power of language.

In-Class Activity: Share/discuss a sample of some particularly moving or powerful text that you have encountered.

10/27 Session 23

Read Before Class: Chapter 9, pp. 227-239 only (Development by Comparison and Contrast).

Student Presentation: Comparing and contrasting.

In-Class Reading/Analysis: Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est,” and Brooke’s “The Soldier” (handout).

Reminder: The revised draft of the Analysis Paper will be due for grading next time.

10/29 Session 24

Due: Revised Analysis Paper.

Read Before Class:Chapter 9, professional essays only, p. 239.

New Assignment: The Comparison/Contrast Essay.

In-Class Activity: Comparison/Contrast: Brainstorming, freewriting, and outlining.

Homework: Choose your comparison-contrast topic. Gather materials and sources and

bring them with you next time.

Week 10

11/01 Session 25

Bring With You: Sources and materials for whatever you have decided to compare/contrast (books, poems, works of art, political manifestos, newspaper articles, religious texts, etc.).

In-Class Activity: Begin writing the Comparison/Contrast Essay.

11/03 Session 26

Read Before Class: Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers,” p. 708.

Read Before Class: Lon L. Fuller’s “The Speluncean Explorers.”

Discuss: Justice—the letter vs. the spirit of the Law.

Discussion/Debate: The Speluncean Explorers.

In-Class Reading: Robert Newton Peck’s “Cheating Mr. Diskin” (handout).

Reminder: The initial draft of the Comparison/Contrast Essay is due next time. Bring multiple copies.

11/05 Session 27

Due: Initial draft of Comparison/Contrast Essay is due for Peer Review. Bring multiple


Journal: How to improve the Comparison/Contrast Essay.

In-Class Activity/Homework: Re-work the Comparison/Contrast Essay.
Week 11

11/08 Session 28

Read Before Class: Alice Walker’s “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is the Self,” p. 692. Discussion.

In-Class Activity: Film..

11/10 Session 29

In-Class Activity: Film.

11/12 Session 30

In-Class Activity: Film.


Journal: Reaction to the Film.
Week 12

11/15 Session 31

New Assignment: Introduce the Trend Essay.

In-Class Reading: Eric Liu’s “Remember When Public Spaces Didn’t Carry Brand Names?” (class Web site).

11/17 Session 32

Read Before Class: Carin C. Quinn’s “The Jeaning of America,” p. 617.

In-Class Activity: Trend Research Topic: Brainstorming, freewriting, and outlining.

Reminder: The Comparison/Contrast essay will be due next time when we meet in the Helmke Library.

11/19 Session 33

Due: The revised Compare/Contrast Essay.

Change of Venue: Meet in Library foyer. We will be conducting research today.
Week 12(b)

11/22 Session 34

Discussion: Incorporating sources. Please bring your Hacker text.

Signal phrases and parenthetic documentation.

11/24 No class—THANKSGIVING.

11/26 No class—THANKSGIVING.

Week 14

11/29 Session 35

In-Class Activity: Compiling a bibliography. Please bring your sources and your Hacker

text. Review of in-text citation conventions. The basic format for bibliographic entries.

Reminder: Sign up for conferences. Initial draft of Trend Research Paper will be due the next time we meet as a class.

12/01 Session 36

Conferences on Trend Research Paper.

12/03 Session 37

Conferences on Trend Research Paper.
Week 15

12/06 Session 38

Due: Initial draft of Trend Research Paper for Peer Review. Bring multiple copies.

Reminder: Final version of Trend Research Paper is due next time. No exceptions.

12/08 Session 39

Due: Trend Research Paper is due for grading.

Read Before Class: Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, p. 689.

In-Class Reading: Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” (handout).

Discussion: Civil Rights.

12/10 Session 40

Revision/Preparation for Final Exam.
Finals Week
12/13-12/16 FINAL EXAM—At a time and place to be announced.

Date ____________ Time ____________ Place ____________________________________________

What I Look For When I Grade

Professor Spalding

Having some acquaintance with the theories of Peter Elbow, a noted rhetorician and teacher of writing, my grading system is grounded—at least to some extent—in his.
I will identify errors by placing a check mark in the right-hand margin. I will not generally correct the error or even explain it. I will merely acknowledge it. If I feel compelled to comment, I will make brief observations in the left-hand margin, or in the double space immediately above the error. I will sometimes play the devil’s advocate, posing questions that I think you should have considered, or which I think any reasonably attentive reader would ask.
I do not, on the whole, dock points for errors. I simply read your paper and, in light of an overall impression, determine a grade.
If you are dissatisfied with your grade, then you are welcome to visit me during my office hours to discuss the possibility of a rewrite. Under these circumstances, if you earned a “B-” and you chose to make merely superficial corrections, you would earn a “B.” If you chose to make global revisions and to significantly rewrite your paper, then the grade might change considerably.
I am far more interested in the organization and fluency of your ideas than I am in minor technical errors (which can always be edited out later). By the time your paper has worked its way through the writing process, however, it ought to be almost error free.
In the final analysis, a strong thesis (or argument) which is clearly supported from the text and which exhibits an unusual originality or freshness (that indefinable je ne sais quoi) will separate the merely average from the superior.
If you are confused by my grading system, or if you do not understand why I have reached a particular conclusion or assigned a particular grade, then it is up to you to make the time to meet with me or to pay a visit to the Writing Center. All conferences will be conducted civilly within the confines of my office rather than in the classroom.
It is important to remember that grading, in the end, is a fairly subjective process. However, there are some things that I do look for. First and foremost, I use the Departmental Guidelines which are posted on the wall of the classroom and which are included in your syllabus. Beyond these I will look for the following:

  • Correct use of MLA style.

  • Evidence of pre-writing activity.

  • Clarity and conciseness of expression.

  • A strong, focused introduction.

  • A clear summative conclusion.

  • A central controlling thesis that is clear, arguable, and qualified.

  • Effective transitions.

  • An organic development of ideas (rather than something that sounds like a patchwork of quotations).

  • Varied sentence patterns.

  • Effective paragraphing.

  • Fluent syntax.

  • Reader- rather than writer-based prose.

  • Minimal repetition of words, phrases, or quotations.

  • Organized and logical development of thought.

  • Ample support for your claims, along with examples from the text in question.

  • Integrated quotations.

  • Quotations that are properly introduced and explained (i.e. no isolated quotations).

  • Globally effective prose.

  • Prose that requires but a single reading.

  • An authentic voice (in other words, you will sound like you).

  • Originality of thought.

  • Correct grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.

  • Minimal errors.

  • Evidence of thorough revision.

After reading your essay, I will, if needs be, write a terminal comment. Again, if you wish to discuss the terminal comment, or the marginal notes and annotations, please feel free to visit with me during my office hours, or to pay a visit to the Writing Center.

In the final analysis, I am looking for a thoughtful reader who fully engages the text, allowing it to act as a catalyst for learning. I do not want to read papers that are simply a formulaic response to some preconceived notion of what I want. I am looking for papers that are clear, reasoned, original, and logical, expressed in your own style, and demonstrating a clear command of language, punctuation, spelling, syntax, and grammar.

Source: Mark A. Spalding, 2004.

A 95 - 100 4.0 Excellent

A- 90 - 94 3.7
B+ 87 - 89 3.3
B 83 - 86 3.0 Good
B- 80 - 82 2.7
C+ 77 - 79 2.3
C 73 - 76 2.0 Fair
C- 70 - 72 1.7
D+ 67 - 69 1.3
D 63 - 66 1.0 Poor
D- 60 - 62 0.7
F Below 60% 0.0 Failing

(no credit)

English 111: In-Class Presentations
Over the course of the semester, each student will be required to be part of a group making an in-class presentation on the principles of writing and research. The presentations will be graded in terms of content and thoughtfulness. You may choose any format for your presentation, although I strongly encourage the use of technology and visual aids.
Generally, I will expect the following:

  1. An attention getter—Introduce your subject (a specific principle of writing) in a novel or engaging way.

  1. A brief explanation of the principle—Describe the issue at hand, addressing both common problems, or misconceptions, as well as effective implementation of the principle. Preferably focus on issues that have troubled you, or which you have noticed as troublesome for others.

  1. Effective examples of the topic under discussion—Give several examples of the principle you are describing.

  1. A brief discussion of the principle—Having described the issue, and having outlined several real examples of it, lead a discussion on the “rules” which will help others to write more effectively.

  1. A summing up—Briefly review your presentation and your conclusions. Say why the matter under discussion is even relevant.

Students who fail to show up on the scheduled day of their presentation will receive an “F” for the Homework/In-Class Assignments/Quizzes category of their grade, as well as an “F” for the assignment itself.

My presentation is scheduled as follows:

  1. Date ______________________ Subject ____________________________________________________

The other members of my group are:


Source: Mark A. Spalding, 2008

E A clear thesis, fully developed, Essay follows a logical progression Sentences are varied and thoughtful; In accord with Standard Written English;

X with concrete and vivid detail. that reveals a sense of symmetry and diction is fresh and precise; the tone quotes properly integrated into the

C emphasis; topic sentences make claims; complements the subject, distinguishes writer’s sentences.

E paragraphs are unified and ideas are the writer’s voice, and defines the

L well developed through quotes and audience.

L textual examples; clear transitions

E reveal the process of the argument.



G A clear thesis, developed Essay follows a logical progression; Sentences are varied and appropriate; Generally in accord with Standard Written

O with consistently pertinent paragraphs are unified and coherent; diction is clear; the tone suits the English; exhibits no serious deviations.

O detail. transitions are natural. subject matter.





P A thesis that is apparent Order of essay is apparent; paragraphs Sentences are appropriate but ordinary; There are only a few deviations from

E and which is supported with are unified and generally coherent; diction is generally clear; the tone is Standard Written English, which may

T relevant detail. transitions are functional. acceptable for the subject. include minor difficulties with punctuation

E and spelling.



W A thesis which is too general, The order and emphasis of the essay Sentences are immature, tediously Difficulty with fragments, run-on sentences,

E vague, or confused, and which is inappropriate; paragraphs are jumbled patterned, or lack necessary comma splices, subject-verb agreement;

A is insufficiently supported with or underdeveloped; summarizes rather subordination; diction is vague; tone problems in usage, punctuation, grammar,

K specific details. than analyzes the plot; transitions are is inconsistent. and spelling.

unclear, mechanical, or tedious.


A No discernible thesis to Order and emphasis of the essay are Sentences are largely inchoherent; Serious difficulties with run-on sentences,

I control random details. indiscernible; paragraphing is lacking diction is inappropriate; tone is fragments, subject-verb agreement and

L or wholly arbitrary; there are no indiscernible. referents; major problems in usage,

I transitions. punctuation, grammar, and spelling.



Manchester College English Department—Essay Guidelines Source: Dr. Katharine Ings
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