Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

The assignment for the Byron Hurt film: Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes should be posted here. Hit comment and paste your 250 word essay.

Assignment: Identify Hurt's argument(s). In 250 words minimum, discuss the evidence Hurt presents in the film and whether or not you agree with his premise that commercial rap is misogynistic, violent, and promotes a negative stereotype of black manhood.

I want you to visit http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/hiphop/ for background information on the film and director. In your essay cite a song which supports Hurt's claim(s) or refutes it. You can include the URL in your essay as the reference.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Reflections on a short week

The weather is really brisk and many students have been ill. I hope despite the inclimate weather and the proliferation of germs students continue to do their reading and stay in touch via the blog and phone.

Today in class we reviewed the Narrative Essay and read Foul Shots. We also wrote an in-class essay using one of the 25 writing themes on pages 39-40 (WWT). Students will post their 3-paragraph essays here before Friday.

I'd also like students to post their Jurassic Park essays here using three kinds of sources. We wrote these essays last week in the 10-12 noon class as a freewrite. The assignment is posted in another window.

Homework is to read up to page 216 (Chapter: Control). In WWT read up to page 52 and answer all the questions.

Reminder: Don't forget to post your love essay comments at the February 7 assignment. When I last looked there were about three serious comments. I deleted the silly ones. Be certain to indicate your name within your comment.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Homework from Feb. 14

In class last week we discussed the Love essays and students shared their symbols of love which ranged from the pregnancy test results, and actual people like one students girl friend, complete with bow-- to the tamer boxes of chocolate, stuffed toys and engagement rings.

We looked at three questions. Students were to choose one and respond using: 1 paraphrase, 1 direct quote, and 1 block quote. The essay was to be three paragraphs long.

Look for examples from the text that prove your answer to the question. For questions regarding signal phrases, paraphrases, and block quotes and the use of evidence in research writing see, Hacker pp. 402-408.

Read up to the 4th Iteration. Also the cyber-exercise is due by midnight Thursday.

1. Is the resurrection of dinosaurs ethical? Why or why not?

2. What are some of the reasons why Jurassic Park is built? Why does it fail?

3. What does the "impending failure" of Jurassic park say about scientific research and corporate funding?

For class watch Raptor on February 25, 11 a.m. KQED Channel 9. If someone can tape this for me, I can reimburse you a tape. Let me know.

Also tonight, Tuesday, February 20, on KQED Channel 9, 11-12 midnight, you might want to watch Beyond Beats and Rhymes.

This evening at Marcus Books, 3900 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland, 7 p.m. there is a free poetry reading featuring Quincy Troope, Reginald Lockett, Aya de Leon and others.

Wednesday, February 21, at the Grand Lake Theatre former Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney will be speaking. The occasion is the showing of the film: American Blackout.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Essay Assignments for the semester

English 201 Essays Spring 2007

Grazed by a Bullet
State of the Union
Response to Cyber Questions on Writing
Love Essay
Iraqi War Essay
Midterm: Jurassic Park Essay
Social Entrepreneur Essay
Frankenstein Essay

Visual Arguments

WWT In-class essays on each chapter
Final essay
Portfolio essays

Extra Credit:
Super Bowl

African American Writing
We Are the One We've Been Waiting For (poem), (song)

--Field trip to see Sweet Honey in the Rock at UC Berkeley in April


Notes on February 7

There are many students who still don't have their textbooks. Please get your books and catch up on the reading over the weekend. Homework for the weekend was to read up to the chapter Jurassic in JP, and read up to page 45 in WWT. This assignment was not given to the students in the 1-3 p.m. class, so it is not due. All students: keep reading in JP. (English 201 1-3: We will discuss the Michael Crichton bio and interview in class Monday afternoon.)

For each chapter write a brief summary, list the characters, words you might not know, concepts that need clarifying, any other questions, etc. These notes will be turned in with the essay.


We had a great time at the library orientation this afternoon with the 1-3 p.m. class. After we did research on the Love Essay, we then went to the Writing Center for another orientation with one of the teachers there, Stacy McKenna.

The morning class will have an orientation on Monday, February 12, 10-12. You can meet me at the reference desk.

I think this is all. If you have any questions, reply to this note.


Love Essay Assignment Due February 14

"Love" Essay Assignment due 2/14
English Assignment for Week of February 12-16 "Love"

"Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty; Greek three; and English simply one." -probably from Robert Johnson. This sounds cool, but it is not really true.

In English we have many words for kinds of love: lust, desire, affection, adore, longing, family, respect, admiration. We will say, "I adore him," or "I am hot for her," or "I totally respect you," or "I am fond of you," or "You are like family to me." Yeow! No wonder we are confused about love.

Think about all the kinds of love you have known. This quote is all over the web, and I haven't sourced it yet. It's not quite true, though.

From Swamp Donkey, a blog: All you need is love? Friday October 07th 2005, 11:18 pm Filed under: thoughtful inklings, Philosophy

The writing assignment is to research the term “love”. Respond in an essay of 500 words or 2 typed pages.

Look at the three types of love: agape, eros and philia. Which do you think is the most valuable?

Do you think love is the most effective weapon against hate?

Is there a role for romantic love in the world, or is this a western concept which is highly overrated?

Are greeting card businesses and the candy stores a means to exploit the insecurities of the public?

Am I being too cynical?What’s wrong with flowers and candy on Valentine’s Day? What would the world be like without Cupid, Hallmark, KKSF, candlelight and special delivery?

After reading about the different expressions of love, and the three linguistic interpretations of the word “love,” choose one aspect of the word to support or deny its virtues.

Remember, after you determine your angle on the topic, complete the essay planning sheet, and perhaps develop an outline (Hacker, Ch. 1). Be certain to use a variety of support for your claim or thesis: examples, analogies, definitions, expert opinion, statistics, anecdotes, etc. Be prepared to present your argument to class on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Extra: Bring in something concrete that illustrates your concept of love, if such "thing" exists.

Monday, February 05, 2007


February 5, 2007 Assignments and Announcements

You can post to the website now. So for new students, please respond to at least 3 of the questions about writing in the on-line assignment below.

We will be visiting the library (L-bldg. first floor) this week and next: The 1-3 meeting time will meet at the reference desk Wednesday, Feb. 7; The 10-12 meeting time will meet at the reference desk Monday, Feb. 12.

Today in class we reviewed chapter 1 in WWT. We looked at the Initial Planning Sheet questions and answered them for the authors: What is the topic, Who is the audience, What is the purpose, What question do we we want the essay (in this case chapter) to answer, What are the main writing strategies employed?

In the 10-12 class we discussed the various commercials during the Super Bowl and what the arguments were. It was a great discussion.

We finished reviewing the Grammar Quiz and assigned page numbers from Hacker in the 10-12 class. If you missed the class today see a peer or come see me. The objective of the exercise is to identify what you know and don't remember so that your 10 hours in the Writing Center are spent effectively.

Diana Hacker's Rules for Writers
If you need help developing a plan come see me. In general, I suggest students start with Planning, Document Design, then skip to The Basics and Grammar, followed by Clarity, Punctuation, Mechanics. We will review Research and Argument together.

Jurassic Park
We read the introduction to Jurassic Park and corrected the exercises in WWT up to page 23 in the 10-12 class. Students hadn't read the assignment so we postponed it until 2/7.

We discussed WWT pp. 34-35 and reviewed the assignment on pp. 32-33 in the 1-3 p.m. class.

New Homework:
Read Prologue to Target of Opportunity (stop here)
Keep a reading log where you discuss the themes for the chapter, significant points and any questions that come up for you.

Write a 100-250 summary of the Introduction.

Bring in a bio of Michael Crichton; also find a published interview with him re: his writing of Jurassic Park. Just print it out and read it. You don't have to do any writing.

Extra Credit Event
Tomorrow, Feb. 6, 12:30 p.m., Booker T. Washington's great great-granddaughter will be
speaking in the F-Bldg. If you attend and write about it, you can have extra credit. I will be attending this event and host my office hours afterwards (2-3).

On Channel 9 tonight, I think at 10 p.m. (check the listing at www.pbs.org) there is a great documentary called The Disciples of Nelson Mandela. It's a grea piece on a group of young men who joined the African National Congress and what happened to their lives, as told by one of the men's adopted sons here in the United States.

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