Thursday, March 20, 2008


Spring is Here!

Happy Spring! Today is the first day of the Spring Season! The vernal equinox was last night. Happy Easter or Resurrection Day to all who celebrate such also. I wanted to let you know about two performances I am attending this weekend, one Saturday, March 23, the other Sunday, March 24. The play at Lorraine Hansberry is $18for all seats and lunch is provided free afterwards. The event at Laney is less. Look at the links for the details. If you plan to attend either, let me know. I am going to get tickets for a Thursday field trip to see Fences. I am also going to see about the singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock at Zellerbach at UC Berkeley in April. We need to look at tickets fast. I'll get that information and post it next week. I'll let you know if I need to hear from you before we return. and

Monday, March 17, 2008


Midterm Post

I will give you the entire class period to write. You can meet me here in the Writing Center L-234.

Read the essay on Penny Liuzzo Herrington, daughter of Viola Luizzo, an essay plan, an outline and you can even bring in an introductory paragraph. If you have the book, read pages 193-194. If you don't have the book, look up the word: "martyr."

Choose one of the following questions and respond to "Penny Liuzzo Herrington" (195) in a minimally 250-500 word essay. Use on direct quote, one paraphrase and one block quote.

1. Who is Penny Luizzo Herrington and what was the impact of her mother, Viola Liuzzo's death on her life?

2. Describe Viola Liuzzo and the type of person she was. In reading the story, do you think her participation in the Civil Rights Movement was unexpected?

3. Talk about the involvement of the FBI in the Viola Liuzzo case. How did the injustice affect the members of Viola Liuzzo's family? How did Penny find peace?


Mary Brown, daughter of James Zwerg Cyber-Essay

Today in both classes we discussed the essay on Mary Brown and her dad, James Zwerg. The second class had a more lively discussion. In both classes we practiced writing an essay plan, and developing an outline. The question was: "Is Mary Brown a casualty of war?"

The answers varied. The exercise is the same as the one previous and the one to follow Wednesday, incorporating text into one's essay. I will be looking at signal phrases and how well students use paraphrase, direct quotes and block quotes.

If you are an English 201 student and are confused, don't worry about the citations, write a three paragraph summary of the essay and post it here. If you posted the Mary Brown essay elsewhere, post it here also.

Homework is to read three other letters from the section in Letters from Mississippi entitled, At Home in a Black World. Analyze one argument and summarize the letter and post it in the section entitled: At Home in a Black World.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


In class Cyber-Assignment March 12

Today in class students were instructed to write a three paragraph essay taking a topic from Maisha Moses' interview in Children of the Movement (37). She is the daughter of Bob Moses, the Civil Rights Movement organizer, whom we've read so much about in Letters from Mississippi). I offer you a question below to write on, but you can choose to write on another related topic about Maisha Moses. Just make sure you support your claims with evidence from the text, one citation per paragraph.

A question you can address is: Is Maisha Moses a casualty of war? Why or why, not? We read a lot about Bob Moses, you can compare your impressions of him to that of his daughter. Were there aspects of his personality you find out about when you read her interview that confirmed or expanded what you already knew about him? I want you to also include a planning sheet.

In their essay students are to include: 1 paraphrase, 1 direct quote and 1 block quote. Each paragraph should be minimally 5 sentences, the 5th sentence can be the citation or quoted material. A signal phrase just tells your audience who's talking. See Hacker pp. 398-400; 401-401, and 404-413. Do the exercises where they appear.

For homework, read the Mary Brown essay (25). We will do the same thing in class Monday, March 17. Wednesday, March 19, we will respond to Penny L. Herrington essay (195) the same way. This essay will be the midterm essay. I might have you post it to the blog.

Continue reading At Home in a Black World. Post your analysis of three arguments from 3 separate letters, with summaries at the post below.

Monday, March 10, 2008


At Home in a Black World Cyber Assignment

The assignment is to look at three letters, identify one argument and its supporting evidence, then summarize the entire letter. This assignment is for the week. You can post it whenever you have completed the reading. continue posting responses each week until we complete this section.

Respond to another student's response also. There was an assignment given March 17. It's due March 19 before class. I gave another assignment Monday, March 31 and the final assignment is Wednesday, April 2. Each student is responsible for 4 posts from this section.


The Road to Mississippi ends

Today in the first class we reviewed components of the first section of the book and then shared our free write responses to the question: What is Letters to Mississippi about? Look at pages i-39. Respond in an essay (several paragraphs), use examples from the text to support your claims, then swap with a neighbor and respond to their essay in minimally five sentences. Take their comments to another level by introducing something they did not.

Post your freewrite responses here. Then respond to a classmate's essay in a five sentence response on the blog that takes the discussion in a related, but different, direction

Students shared their response in both classes. TJ responded to Erick's and vice versa. Seonhea responded to Chad and vice versa. Kay shared her own, which was an interesting take on the letters themselves. Carmen and Chung shared. Matthew was quite thorough in his comments which we applauded. Raymond Wong and Stephanie's comments were also on-point. Eva responded to Alex and vice versa. Both were good. Eva's comments led the discussion into the question of whether the goals and the objectives of the CRM were still felt today.

In the afternoon class, Sophia and Chesi kicked off the discussion, with remarks that captured the mood and tone and intent of the letters. Alberto's response was also on point, as was Johnea's. Yun Yi's was great as well. Lewis had a great start too. I'm looking forward to reading the posts to see what the work looks like now, and to hear from students who left early or didn't complete the assignment.
In the later class we got a bit more done. After sharing responses we reviewed letters where I pointed out sections I'd annotated. Then we read aloud the first few pages of the next section: At Home in a Black World. If was a fruitful discussion, one where students were able to see how prepared the volunteers for the fight ahead and the CBS crew wasn't. We talked about the structure of the section and why the opening letter was chosen by the editor to lead off this second part of the book. The introduction answered Raymond Cade's question about where the volunteers we were reading about worked. Students were asked to read up to page 49 (I think). You can certainly read ahead.

We spoke in the afternoon class about using these freewrites in response to the end of each section as the basis for an essay on the book once we have completed it in a few more weeks.

We'll have an in-class essay next Wednesday. The topic will be taken from Letters from Mississippi or Children of the Movement. I haven't decided.

Some students expressed difficulty pulling out the arguments and the supporting evidence when they are away from class. You can always come by my office and we can work on the assignments together. I also encourage you to look at students posts. Many of you are doing a great job. Post all the responses in the same place.Continue to pull out the arguments. We will post three arguments from three letters and a summary each week until we have completed the book. Next week we will be in the That Long Walk to the Courthouse and School for Freedom.
We'll work in the Writing Center Wednesday. We'll meet in class first.

If you are a slow reader, read ahead. If you have any questions about the reading you can post them where the posts are. You can also post questions here.

Homework continued
Another homework assignment is to read the Maisha Moses (37) essay in Children of the Movement. You will respond to the essay in a freewrite Wednesday. Annotate it as you read. Students who have the book, read the introduction to the section on page 1-2. Other essays we're going to read this week are: Mary Brown (25) and Penny L. Herrington (195). Read the introductions to these sections also, then read the essay.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Letters from Mississippi

Choose three letters in the first section of the book, Letters from Mississippi (up to page 39). Identify one argument in each letter. Post it and its evidence or support, then summarize each letter. Give the page numbers the letters are on. This is due by Monday, March 10. Bring the handout beginning with page 41 to class Monday also. We will be reading essays from Children of the Movement next week. Continue to keep your writing and vocabulary logs.

Today in class I demonstrated how to annotate the text. We read letters students suggested then analyzed them. The lesson today was annotation. We didn't have time to complete the student conferences. We will continue next week Monday and Wednesday. If you have any worries, you can go early. I also told students that I was available after 3 on MW or after 12 noon TTh if you let me know. One-on-one is the best way to succeed in college. One visit with me can really effect your performance.

In the later class, I asked students to read the next section of the book, pages 41-73. Everyone can start reading the next section and annotating the text, looking at arguments. Since I didn't assign this to the earlier class, you will not be held responsible for this material. I put copies of the next section in the bin outside of my class.


Cyber-Assignment: How to Mark a Book

Post your response to the questions of form, questions of content, and respond to one question in a paragraph.

Monday, March 03, 2008


"Banished" Cyber-Essay

Today in both classes we watched the film: Banished. The film is about towns in America where black people were banished or run off, kicked out, told to leave if they wanted to live. The new documentary looks at two towns and one county, Forsyth, Pierce City, and Harrison where descents of these places return to address the wrongs that robbed their families of their peace of mind, and their children of their inheritance. Visit for more information about the film. I recommend it. It's a great website.

I think, the film's key argument is the question: Are there black skeletons in the closets of most if not all white towns in America, especially the American south? The answer is probably so. What questions come to mind as you read Letters from Mississippi and what these young volunteers, black and white are doing to rid the country of prejudice and racism?

Choose one city or county and reflect on the consequences of the mob violence on black residents in Forsyth, Harrison and Pierce. How did the residents respond to the challenge of addressing the wrong done to these families? How should these wrongs be addressed? Explain how, in some ways, the people in these towns reflect the same attitudes of 100 years prior. How does this make you feel about America?

Visit the website for more information about the film and the people, the director and the towns profiled. Respond in 250 words (minimally 3 paragraphs) to the questions. If you have a better question, or have another angle you'd like to explore, feel free to do so.

Please include the name of the film, all the places profiled and a brief summary of the thesis of the film in your introduction, before getting to your point or thesis.
The essay is due by 10 AM Wednesdsy, March 5.

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