Monday, December 22, 2008



Monday, December 15, 2008



Today we met and reviewed essays.

Presentations: You are presenting your research essay. Bring in copies of your abstract, enough copies for everyone. An abstract is a brief summary.

Your portfolios are due the day of the final, unless you have gotten an extension. You can give me copies of your notes and freewrites that day also (those written in longhand).

I'll see everyone in L-226 for finals: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 12-2 and Friday, Dec. 19, 8-10 AM.

Thursday, December 11, 2008



Some students are confused. This is what happens when you skip class. Read the blog. the checklist I handed out today can be picked up from my office. The assignments are taken from the blog. If you don't remember the assignment, just read the blog. It is there.

Your final essay is due ASAP, no later than 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15. I might not be able to give you feedback. Some of the essays I am reading are pretty drafty. Students need to edit their essays before submission and if it is a research essay, include the works cited. You should have no more than one citation per page. Each essay should be 3-4 pages long, this includes the works cited page.

If you want to see the minimum required to pass the course, check below. Get help on your essays. The writing center is open and tutoring is available. My eyes should not be the first professional eyes that have seen your early draft. I don't have time to spend three hours with one student going back and forth on drafts. What you turn in should be as polished as possible.

The goal is a passing grade the first draft.

Some students are really behind...really behind, other students stopped coming and then showed up today LOST. You get out of the course what you put into it and many of you didn't take advantage of academic resources. If you pass the course, learn from this close call and use the Writing Center, Tutoring services and of course, your professor's office hours for one-on-one consultations.

I have been very available this semester and only a few students came to see me, none of them on a regular basis. This will show in your grade.

Come to the study hour Monday, Dec. 15, 9-1, L-226, with your papers digitized.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008



Today we watched the Write Course Argumentation video in the afternoon class and did a few exercises. We also referenced Hacker (48). Students identified deductive and inductive arguments in pairs (handout from Writing Logically, Thinking Critically). In the early class we reviewed various definitions and searched for arguments in both Dyson and Guy's books.

We looked at the essay by Nathan McCall and Michael Gartner. (Handout)The essay questions are at the end of the essay. There are 4 choices. If you need extra credit, this essay can help your grade. It should be 2-3 pages.

If you think you might need more time to get your portfolio essays completed Eng. 201, 1-3, talk to me before 12/17. It is too late for a W and I have to give you a letter grade.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Evolution of a Revolutionary

Keep reading, however, if you know you will not be able to get finished by 12/10 or 12/11 then I can give you an alternative assignment from Holler if You Hear Me. It will be from the latter part of the book. I'll have the question for you tomorrow. We are meeting in L-202E, 1-3 PM class.

The 8-9 AM class we meet in L-226 12/10 and L-202E on Thursday, Dec. 11. We'll practice writing our narratives tomorrow as freewrites. Think about any questions you might have about essay writing or the writing process. Post them here and I will respond, your peers can respond also.

The Evolution of a Revolutionary essay if not completed 12/10 or 12/11 is due Monday, Dec. 15. You can come in a write it while I am here in the Writing Center, L-226.

English 201, 8-9 AM class, post your Tupac profiles below along with those you developed for Afeni for homework. Make sure you use the corresponding page numbers. Note the post where there are questions for reflection. Respond to them and to each other. If you have questions you'd like me to consider, submit them via email.

Monday, December 08, 2008


The portfolio narratives for English 201

1. The narrative will look at the 18 weeks, the themes we looked at this semester, the poetics of hip hop and Tupac Shakur. Talk about what you've learned and discovered this semester about writing and yourself, college and life, which have transformed or changed you.

What have you learned about yourself this semester? What have you learned about the discipline you are studying here: reading and writing that you plan to carry forth into your lifelong pursuit of learning.

Please also comment on the texts and whether or not they were helpful in this process. You can also talk about the instruction, culture of the class and the teacher.

2.Essay 2 has students look at the writing process and discuss their own: the topics chosen, the information used, revision strategies, writing as a process. This should include a definition of the difference between editing and revising and a value statement on the place for both in composition.

What have you learned about yourself as a writer? Take two essays and talk about the planning, research and revision strategies you used. It helps to choose an early paper and compare to a later paper. Often you can more easily see the differences in your writing and a better example of mastery of certain concepts. Also discuss skills you need to improve and how you plan to address that.

I am really interested in discourse about audience and how that shapes or determines how the writer approaches her topic.

I am also interested in discussion of the revision process, and whether or not seeing writing as a work in progress or a draft, liberates or stagnates the creative process. (Students are to use examples from their writing to illustrate these points.)

I'd also like students to think about and give at three specific ways how they have grown as writers and thinkers this semester. Each essay should be minimally 1-2 pages (250-500 words).

The essays I’d like you to include are: “Change,” “Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” plus—the “Holler Essay Questions (10/22)” and the “Group Skit,” “Evolution of a Revolutionary,” and research essay.

We will work on the narratives together Wednesday, Dec. 10, and during the optional Study Hall, Monday, Dec. 17, in the smaller writing lab, L-226.

You have a copy of the assigned essays this semester. The check-list is the same with grades posted next to the assignment. We will look at this the last day of class. Our final is Wednesday, Dec. 17, from 12:00 noon to 2 p.m./Friday, Dec. 19, 8:00 a.m. to 10 a.m.) We will meet in the Writing Center, L-226. If you need technology, let me know next week.

Your portfolios are due Wednesday, Dec. 17, the day of the final.
They are to be digitized and saved on a CD or diskette or emailed (MS Word 2003). No exceptions. (Melissa might submit her's as a website. I am certainly open to creative responses to the final portfolio and since all of you have a blog, posting your final portfolio on such is an innovative idea I am open to.

The only paper copies are the freewrites and reading logs. Do not give me your originals. I can make copies, if you can’t. Oh, there are no regular class meetings next week. You come to class only on the date of the final.

Final Presentations:
You will present your research essay the day of the final. You will not read the essay. Make sure you at least have a photo of your social entrepreneur to share with the class. Prepare an abstract or a short summary for your classmates. If you need me to make copies, send the document to me in advance.


Evolution of a Revolutionary Questions to think about

The numbers in bold are the essay questions

Each essay needs to be minimally 4-5 pages long with a bibliography and a works cited. (I have included this in the 4-5 pages count.) There should be no more than one citation, in text or paraphrase, per page. If you use a block quote, then for a short essay (3-4 pages), just one block quote for the entire essay. If the essay is 5-6 pages long then I could see two, especially if you were citing poetry or lyrics from a song.

1. What does it mean to evolve? How does Afeni evolve from a skinny girl who doesn't value herself or her people to a woman who singlehandedly wins her acquittal in one of America's most highly publicized trials?

2. Talk about her early life and how who she became is connected to her family particularly her father and mother.

3. What is destiny or fate and do you think Afeni had a choice in the direction her life took? Why or why not?

4. Talk about the twin emotions love and hate and how they fueled Afeni Shakur's relationship with her father (and mother), and later the impact her emotional fragility and to some extent immaturity had on her son.

5. Evolution of a Revolutionary is the story of a friendship. Talk about how the exploration of her life enabled Jasmine Guy to understand her own life more clearly and fully.

6. Guy says in the preface that one of the reasons why she wanted to interview Afeni was her desire to celebrate powerful and strong black women, and an idea she had for a film where she'd create a composite of a woman with the characteristics of Shakur and Angela Davis. Who is Afeni Shakur and how did her experiences shape her into the powerful woman, vocal advocate, passionate being, she eventually became?

7. Talk about her regrets and what she is proud of. Talk about her relationships with her children, what worked and what she regrets. Talk about her relationships with men and the love of her life: Lumumba, and how this man helped her discover who she was and why her family suffered what it did. She tells Guy that Lumumba respected and protected her (73, 76, 80, 83). She also speaks of how her interaction with him gave her another view of manhood (85).

8.Define the roles of women and men in the NY Chapter of the Black Panther Party and how at 19-24 Afeni came into her own.

9. Do you think Tupac was predestined to be the kind of man he became? How are children a product of their environment and how much is determined by correct or incorrect choice?

10. Think about his conception in a prison, his estranged relationship with his biological father (189) and a mother who though brutally honest, left him equally emotionally estranged when the revolution ended and she was without an anchor or support system for herself or her family.

Did Afeni damn him?

What about the mother, who was equally scarred, did Afeni have a chance at happiness? Look at the early examples she had of a martial relationship: her parents. Chart her downward spiral and climb back up again.

12. Talk about Afeni's name and the importance of this name to her identity. Would you say at the point she became Afeni, is the point of her rebirth?

13. Who is Afeni the Black Panther? Who is Afeni the black mother? Were the two ever in conflict? Who is the Afeni at the historic NY vs. the Panther 21 trial?

14. What aspects of Afeni's life, as told to Jasmine Guy surprised you? Why?

15. Talk about Afeni's addiction, she says to drugs and people (122). Talk about her recovery and how sobriety affected her attitude about black people and their responsibility. Do you think she is too hard, as Guy says to her?

16. Talk about the voices of the women in the book and what the inclusion of Sekyiwa's voice adds to the narrative (145).

17. Guy seems to name each chapter thoughtfully. Talk about each chapter's title and inscription or opening quote, and how its content moves the narrative forward. How does the quote tell your something of what's to follow?

18. Share with your audience elements of the text which you noted. Tell us why. Was it for the imagery, the writing, the meaning, did you have a question or was it something else?

19. What does Afeni see as her redemption or work now that her son is gone (184, 185, 186)? Do you think she will ever find peace? Why or why not?



Finals are next week. Your final essay is based on a question from "Evolution of a Revolutionary." Finals are Friday, Dec. 19, 8:00 - 10:00 AM for the 8-9 AM class, and Wednesday, Dec. 17, 12:00 to 2:00 PM for the 1-3 PM class.

I am hosting an all classes study hour from 9-12 noon Monday, Dec. 15. We will be between my office L-234 and L-226 the smaller Writing Lab. Students will be able to complete their portfolio. We will review student portfolios in the 1-3 PM class today and Tuesday, Wednesday for the 8-9 AM class. For an example of a portfolio see the comment below.

The portfolio is a compilation of your work this semester--all of it. Minimally what students need to turn in to pass the course with a C grade is 4 essays with the portfolio essays. You can include one essay from a course outside this discipline. If you want to include such an essay for extra credit, you can do that also.

To get a C:
1. Change essay

2. Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes

3. The essay questions on Holler if You Hear Me

4. The Research Essay on a Social Entrepreneur, the planning sheet, and all the prewriting

5. The Evolution of a Revolutionary essay (which I am thinking about letting be a take home essay due with the portfolio because students haven't finished reading it).

6. We will write another essay in class probably based on a chapter in Dyson or a poem.

Your essay from another discipline can replace 2 or 3.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Evolution of a Revolutionary

Some students have not started reading this book. Start. You will be writing an essay on it next week. Keep a reading log for each chapter. We will talk about it all next week. Bring in your questions. The log is due with the essay.

If you have not posted your research essay and sent it to me, please do so by the extended deadline. This is a reminder, there is more information below about each one of these tasks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Sick Today

I wasn't able to make it to class today, I am sick. Please post your research essays and email them to me too. Put English 201, 8-9 or 1-3 and indicate whether or not this is a rough or final draft.

If you need a bit more time, email me what you have written thus far. Post the essay where the assignment was given last month. If you are posting a rough draft post it where the link says, early drafts, post the final draft when completed at the link with the date Dec. 3. You can have until Friday to get the final draft in, unless other arrangements are made. My email address is

Keep reading "Evolution of a Revolutionary." We will discuss it today in English 201, 103 and in English 201 8-9 tomorrow.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Wrapping it Up

Today we shared essays again. Bring in copies of your work so you can get feedback. In the afternoon class students are to read from Guy up to chapter 5, page 88. If you've finished your essay keep reading and keep a reading log for each chapter. You will turn it in with the essay which you will write in class.

We will start talking about portfolios and portfolio essays next week. If you haven't started your essay, it is due Wednesday, Dec. 3. Bring it to class. Afternoon class, email it to yourself. I hope I can get L-202 E. I will let you know via the website, so check the blog before class 11/3.

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