Assignments (MW class)

Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Rough draft of Essay 4 due Thursday, Dec. 7.

Portfolios will be due Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8 pm. for info about end of semester work, see this post.

Final exam will be Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 9 am. You may pass in a fourth essay that needs grading (and wasn’t in portfolio) at the final.


Friday, November 25.

Read over Essay 4, and check out some of the videos listed in post on Brainstorming for Essay 4. Here are the details for proposal for Essay 4, due Wednesday, November 30.

Post a paragraph that addresses these issues (a proposal for your proposal, in effect):

  • Identify the problem in your community that you would like to address. Why and how has this problem caught your attention? Or are you interested in writing about a way your community can be improved, without necessarily identifying a problem?
  • Do you have an idea of how you might address this problem (if so, what is it), or will you need to do some research to find possible models in strategies other communities have successfully used?
  • Find and post at least three possible sources you might use in your essay. (See assignment for ways research may be used in this assignment).


Wednesday, Nov. 16.

REVISED DUE DATE: Essay 3 (annotated bib plus summary-report or powerpoint, etc.) will be due Monday, Nov. 21. Please post both on your blog in a single post, with first summary, etc. and then annotated bib). If you can’t upload a powerpoint or other genre, feel free to email me.


Wednesday, Nov. 2.

If you missed in-class exercise involving rewriting a bottled water paragraph for coherence, the exercise is on the Coherence page here.

For Monday, Nov. 7, get started on Essay 3. rough draft of annotation part of assignment will be due Friday, Nov. 11 (to be posted on your blog).

We’ll talk about genre presentations in class on Monday.


Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Last chance to work on google docs research exercise, to be graded Monday, Oct. 31.

Final draft of Essay 2 due Wednesday, Nov. 2, to be turned in on paper during class or emailed by midnight. As always, I encourage you to also post final draft on your blog, as a separate post.


Monday, Oct. 24.

For next class do peer review on Essay 2.

Peer review partners:

  • Adam and Karl
  • Alexis and Shelby
  • Ahmad and Max
  • Audra and Jon
  • Autumn and Sheila
  • Jade and Tayla
  • Liesl and Nick

I’ll make additional pair assignments once the rest of you get a rough draft posted (please let me know via email when you post your draft).


  • Identify the thesis statement of the draft. Is it clear, well-crafted, and appropriately placed? (If not, indicate how statement could be improved.) Does the material in the body of the essay support the thesis statement?
  • Comment on the level of specific detail in the essay. Which details best show the writer’s careful observation and give the reader the clearest image of the store? Especially if the essay is short, suggest types of detail that could be added in revision.
  • Is each paragraph focused on one clear main idea? (If not, indicate which paragraphs seem unfocused.) Is the order of paragraphs logical; if not, explain where you see material out of order.
  • Does the essay follow the assignment guidelines about connecting observations to Gladwell’s article? Is the material from Gladwell’s article properly cited (if not, explain what problems you see)?

Completed version of google doc on finding and evaluating sources also due Wednesday.


Wednesday, Oct. 19.

For next Monday, please read the pages Finding and evaluating sources and Citing sources: how and why.

Also, finish your group’s google doc exercise on finding and citing sources.


Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Due to my lateness at getting comments on rough drafts, revised deadlines are now as follows:

Essay 1, final draft is due on Monday, Oct. 17, to be turned in on paper during class or emailed as attached file by midnight

Essay 2, rough draft, is due by midnight Wednesday, Oct. 19, to be posted on your blog.


Wednesday, Sept. 28.

For Monday, Oct. 3 read the article “The Science of Shopping.” Bring to class a half-page (or so) list of the main principles of shopping that Gladwell discusses.

For Wednesday, Oct. 5 do peer review of Essay 1. Find your partner from the list below, read the memoir on his/her blog, and respond to the questions below as a comment on the writer’s blog:

  • Consider the writer’s use of specific detail. Identify any particularly sharp, effective use of detail (by para. number or context, as in “I really get a clear picture of Uncle Eddie”). Indicate places where you think the writer might add more detail (either because something is unclear or could be made more vivid or engaging or understandable). If possible, include questions for the writer: “Could you give an example of a time when your gramma was cruel?”, “This seems to be the crucial scene of the essay. Maybe add some dialogue here?”)
  • What seems to be the main “message” of the essay? What does the author seem to be saying about this experience/person/etc. that you can connect to on a more universal level? What does he/she seem to be saying about “home”? Point out any resonant lines that seem to have particular significance or emotional power (which may or may not be developed in the rest of the essay). Does the author include any commentary on the experience and what its significance was to him/her?
  • How does the structure of the piece work? What is its time frame? Is the order of events clear? How well does the lead work to engage your attention? any suggestions for possible changes in order?
  • What is/are the most successful aspects of the draft? What/s working well? You might indicate a particular part of the essay (lead, fight scene, reflection at the end) or point to the author’s voice or tone, choice of subject matter, vivid descriptions, wonderful style, etc.

Peer review partners: 

  • Adam and SheilaF
  • Ahmad and Nick
  • Alexis and Autumn
  • Audra and Jade
  • Cara and Tayla
  • Jonny and Liesl
  • Karl and Kori
  • Max and Shelby
  • Trina, please do Shanae’s (from my online class)

NOTE: If you haven’t yet posted your Essay 1, I haven’t assigned you to a partner. If you want to give/get feedback, please email me once you get your essay posted and I will try to find you a partner.


Wednesday,Sept. 21.

Final draft of “The Place Where I Live” due Monday, Sept. 26. to be passed in on paper during class or emailed as an attached file by midnight on Monday.


Monday, Sept. 19.

Rough draft of Essay 1 is due Wednesday, Sept. 28, to be posted on your blog.


Wednesday, Sept. 14. Read The Place Where You Live post for the person *below* you on the list of student blogs (bottom person, go up to the top). By next class (Monday, Sept. 19) in a comment to their post, answer the following questions:

  • Does the piece fulfill the guidelines of assignment? If not, why not.
  • What is the general impression the writer gives of his/her place? Identify any general statements that seem to capture the essential character of the place or the writer’s attitude towards it.
  • What are the sharpest specific details in the piece, the sensory details that give you the clearest picture of what the place looks or sounds or smells like? Identify any places where you think the writer could be more specific in order to sharpen the image. When possible, ask specific questions  to give the writer suggestions about details he/she might add.
  • Comment on the organization of the piece. How are the details ordered? Is that a logical order? (Explain why or why not.) Are the paragraphs broken logically?

Also for Sept. 19, read the post Reading some memoirs. Do the Reading response 1 to be handed in on paper during class (you can hand-write or type on computer and print out).

Monday, Sept. 12

Read the following short pages on writing, from three different perspectives:

Read the post The Place Where You Live. Your main writing assignment for next class is the 350-word place description described in that post. Please post your entry on your blog by Wednesday, Sept. 14.


Wednesday, Sept. 7. For Monday, Sept. 12, read the short pages under the intro tab: Syllabus, Tips for college (and college writing), Paper vs screen, and Setting up your blog.

Set up your own blog as described,, including the step about Joining a class; then send me an email with your full name, the name you’d like to be used for your blog link, the URL of your blog, and TR (to indicate which class you’re in).

As a first post, write a chunky paragraph sharing something about how you see yourself as a writer (suggested questions in the post Work for week 1). If you have any problems, feel free to send me an email, or bring in an electronic version of your writer’s autobiography to class on Monday, either as an email or on a flash drive, and we’ll get it posted in class.

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