Friday, February 27, 2009


Reflections and Review: Obama's "Dreams from My Father," Chapters 1-5

If you were absent, choose a chapter, 1-5, and reflect on where Obama is in his story. What do we know about him at this point? Who are some of the key characters? Where have his travels taken him up to this point? What role does travel and place have on his life and shaping the character of the man who is now the president of the United States?

You can also include in your reflection echoes of the man we know now. Look at Obama's "State of the Union Address," how is this speech he gave not surprising, so in character? What is Obama concerned about now, that he was concerned about then? How is he the same man now as he was then, just older? Are there echoes of the man he is as Chief Executive Officer on these first chapters, in the introduction and preface? What are the foreshadowings? Are these echoes explicit or implicit?

Please include references to favorite sections. Use one free paraphrase and one direct citation. Note the page numbers for both in your 10-sentence response to one of the chapters (1-5).

It is due by Monday before class. Bring in a copy to share.


Essay 1 and weekend homework

Most students completed Essay 1: Sentence Punctuation and after a peer review turned the essays into me. I have read them all. Most essays are fine, there are a few which need to be revised. Follow the template exactly. Many students told me of tutors and teachers who wanted them to change their sentences around to add variety. Follow the template verbatim. Don't change the sentence structure. The point is to use the template as a model. A lot of the problems had to do with proof reading; students did not read their essays in advance, nor did they do the checklist themselves.

Complete the checklist before giving it to someone else to review, revise your essay and then give it to me. What you turn in is your best effort. This essay is as perfect as you can get it. Do not give me rough drafts.

We are continuing in Pidd up to Essay 2: Pronoun Agreement page 86. You can continue on to page 89 if the text makes sense to you, otherwise stop at 86 and read the outline.

We will write Essay 2 in class on Monday as a group. The final draft will be do Wednesday, March 4 for peer review. Remember, you have to peer review the essay yourself first before class.

On Monday students will do improvisational theatre using Dreams chapters 1-5. Read up to chapter 7. I will put a link for your summary analysis of the text per the chapters assigned in class (1-3 p.m. class). If you were absent, choose a chapter, 1-5, and reflect on where Obama is in his story. What we know about him at this point, who some of the key characters are, where his travels have taken him up to this point, what role does travel and place have on his life and shaping the character of the man who is now the president of the United States. You can also include in your reflection echoes of the man we know now.

What is he concerned about now, that he was concerned about then? How is he the same now as he was then? Are there echoes of the man he is as Chief Executive Officer? What are the foreshadowings? Are these echoes explicit or implicit?

Please include references to favorite sections. Use one free paraphrase and one direct citation. Note the page numbers for both in your 250 word response to one of the chapters (1-5).

I don't remember if I put this on the board for the 10 AM to 12 PM class, but I think I did. In the earlier class we ran exercises pp. 58-67. Many students used the time to catch up. Class time is best spent reviewing homework already completed. Get the assignments done in advance. More students are coming to the Writing Center on Thursday and have benefited from a brief consultation, so if you are still lost....

Field trip
No one said they wanted to attend the field trip to see For Colored Girls at the Black Repertory Group on Adeline Street in Berkeley, across the street from the Ashby BART Station, this weekend. Tickets are $15. I am going to the matinee on Saturday, February 28, 2:30 PM. I'll be at the theatre at 2 PM. If you are coming and want to sit together, please call me and let me know you are coming.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Field Trip

My English 1A students are attending this play this weekend and I am extending the invitation to you also.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, at Black Rep, 3201 Adeline Street, in Berkeley, closes this weekend. Saturday, Feb. 28, is an option. The shows are 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. If we get 20 students, tickets are $15 each. I'd like to attend the matinee on Saturday, but if more of you can attend the Sunday then I will attend that show also. Tickets are $15 to $44.

Sunday, March 1, there is a 4 p.m. show. Group rates tickets are $15 without a meal. I need to check the price for tickets that include the Champagne Dinner. The playwright will be here this weekend, so you can meet her and she will sign your books. She will be speaking on Sunday, March 1.

Let me know Wednesday if you can make the Saturday or Sunday and how many tickets you need.

Monday, February 23, 2009



Keep reading Dreams and noting your reflections in a reading per chapter. We'll spend significant time discussing the book on Wednesday so come prepared to share. I hope you got peer reviews of your Essay 1: Sentence Punctuation. It is due Wednesday, Feb. 25. You should also have completed the next chapter on verbal and prepositional phrases.

Some of the 10 AM class were able to go to the Library Orientation. Those who missed it, will have to make it up with me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


English 201 10-12 Library Orientation Monday, Feb. 23

Reminder to meet in the library at the reference desk with Professor Steve Gerstle, librarian, for a tour. We will have a 50-60 minute orientation. It is not optional.


Catching up

Remember, today is my long day. I will be around until 3 p.m. (12 noon to 3 p.m.) in the Writing Center (L-234). Come by, no appointment is necessary. The phone number there is (510) 748-2132.

Yesterday in class students continued their work on Essay 1. Many had not completed the exercises in the book or understood that the essay is a recap of the errors, plus the intro, which is the answers to the questions, the conclusion and the creative title.

Students spent class time, in the afternoon class, writing the essay. In the morning class, we read the essay aloud and then reviewed exercises in Coach T, (next chapter). Homework is to complete the next chapter, type the essay and bring to class for a peer review Monday, Feb. 23.

We practiced writing a Reading Log for Chapter 1 in Dreams from My Father. Students should be up to Chapter 6. Keep reading.

I put one copy of Pidd on reserve in the library and another copy on reserve on the bookshelf in the Writing Center (L-234) ask for it and do your assignments at the college if you do not have materials.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Reading Homework for Dreams from My Father

Read Obama's Dreams up to Chicago (132) by 2/18. Keep a reading log for each chapter: note the vocabulary, themes, characters, and any literary devices you'd care to note, like the author's use of analogies or comparisons.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Love Your Enemies Cyber-Post

I changed my mind, post your response to the MLK essay: Love Your Enemies Here. I posted the essay in the comment section of this post. The questions follow, you can say more, if you like. Also,please use one in text citation (quote). Use a signal phrase, that is, introduce the speaker. For instance, Martin Luther King says..."QUOTE" (page number)PUNCTUATION.

For the Martin King essay, "Love Your Enemies," reflect on his notion of love. Why does King say we must love our enemy as ourselves? Was he always successful at this? How does he propose we do so?

Do you think Obama in the text is doing the same? What about in his position as President of the United States?

Use evidence from Dreams and from King's sermon to support your claims.

This is due by Tuesday, Feb. 17.


I Need Love; Love Themes from "Dreams"

Today in the early class we read I Need Love (146-148) and then discussed it. The early class was more talkative than the other afternoon class. In the morning class, students also presented their objects which represented love. Most students described their objects in terms of philia--the majority photos or mementos or keepsakes from family or close friends.

I read the LL Cool J lyrics to the early class and played the song for the later class. If you are interested in reading the lyrics, I have posted them in the comment section of this post.

Post your narratives for the object where the Love-Cyber Post Feb. 9-16 is. Your object narratives are not anonymous. You can post your I Need Love freewrites here.

Homework is to complete the Stewart Pidd essay 1 (32-51). I forgot to give you the MLA handout, but you can find it on pp. 302-305 (do the exercises). We reviewed one of the paragraphs. The paragraphs identifying the six errors are the paragraphs that form the body of the essay. The introduction is written from the answers to the questions on page 46; don't forget to answer the last question--it is your thesis sentence. The only creative part of the exercise is the title. The conclusion is also a paint by numbers exercise.

You can earn an A if you follow directions and pay attention. We will have a peer review on Wednesday, and a quiz on certain concepts.

Reading Homework
Read Obama's Dreams up to Chicago (132). Keep a reading log for each chapter: note the vocabulary, themes, characters, and any literary devices you'd care to note, like the author's use of analogies or comparisons.

In the afternoon class, we looked at the theme love and how it was reflected in the book. I asked students to identify the passages where the theme occurred and what kind of love it was: eros, philia, or agape. The assignment for Feb. 18 is changed to Wednesday, Feb. 25. The afternoon class can make their presentations next week, 2/18 and we can have make up in the morning class also, for Love as object assignment.

Love Theme
Post your list of citations with themes of love, taken from Dreams, and indicate what kind of love it is.

I am around tomorrow from 12 noon to 3 p.m. in the Writing Center, L-234. Come see me.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Library Love Assignment--Cyber post

Assignment: Find an article in the Library database on love analyzing one of the Greek terms: agape, eros and philia. Which type of love do you value most?

Using the MLA citation guidelines, see Pidd (306-7). Cite the electronic source (the librarian showed you how during the orientation). We will do this assignment in class. This is not homework, unless you were absent.

Homework is to bring in an object that represents love. As you read Dreams of My Father, think about how love is expressed in Obama's life. Love is a theme.

Fill out the Library Worksheet and give to me. I forgot to collect them, so give them to me on Wednesday, Feb. 11. Now that students in the afternoon class know where I am, you have no reason not to visit me during Writing Center hours or make appointments to see me at other times M-Th.


Love Cyber Post Feb. 9-16

This week we will look at the concept love. Valentine's Day is a time when people reflect on those feeling they might have for a special loved one. We are going to look more broadly at this concept, expressed in three Greek terms for love: agape, philia and eros. Martin King wrote a speech about love, and said in this reflection on the term, that agape was the love closest to the kind of love God has for creation.

Here is the link for Martin King's essay. Read it and be prepared to talk about it in class on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2009.

The freewrite today was on love, which you can post here anonymously. I don't want you to use your real name, post anonymously and comment on another writer's post and then check back after Valentine's Day and post a follow-up reflection.

What are your thoughts on V-Day? For some V-Day is a day to reflect on violence against women. For others, V-Day is a day for romance: candlelight, flowers, chocolate. It is a day Hallmark makes a killing, along with Sees candy stores. Tuesday, Feb. 10, 12:00 or so, until early afternoon, there will be a dating game, STD testing, and other fun/educational activities in the F-Bldg. or Student Lounge.

Wednesday's homework re: love is to bring in an object that symbolizes love to you. Be prepared to make a brief presentation on love and why your chose the object. Post the explanation here by 2/12.

Other homework has to do with Stewart Pidd. The morning class was engaged as students worked in small groups on Errors 2, 3, and 5. We shared paragraphs. Students who hadn't completed their homework, used the time to complete the sentence error exercises. We are up to page 41. Make sure you have completed the paragraphs for Errors 2-4. For homework, students will complete the chapter and bring in their paragraphs and introductions and conclusions.

We will assemble the essay together Wednesday, Feb. 18 and talk about Part 3 (pp. Identifying Prepositional Phrases and Verb Phrases). There are no classes Feb. 13-Feb. 16.

We were speaking about "agape," in class today. One reference was to Jesus or God. This type of love is god-like, selfless and spiritual (American Heritage Dictionary).

Agave, not agape is the plant that the alcoholic beverage Tequila is made from, so the reflection I made regarding the secular nature of agape, or perhaps the fact that this kind of love could also intoxicate, was wrong...linguistically anyway.

I thought being drunk with love for humanity is an interesting analogy, still is, especially if one references the poet/mystic Rumi who speaks of drunkenness with the wine of God. Hum, I wonder how many words for love exist in the Persian language and in Arabic? Rumi was Persian.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Prepping for the 1st Essay

Today we reviewed the answers for the exercises on paraphrasing. We did a few together and then completed the rest in groups. We didn't get to discuss Literature Circles in the early class, but for the afternoon class, we did. Students decided who would take on what roles and then read aloud to each other from Dreams from My Father's House.

No one wanted to share their freewrite in either class, so post them here. If you'd like feedback on an assignment, print a copy and give it to me in class and I will read it and give it back. You can do this pre-post or after-post. Remember, the afternoon class meets in the Library, Feb. 9, 1 p.m. with Professor Jane McKenna.

Keep doing the exercises in Pidd. We are in Part 2. Continue to page 32. We will write a sample essay in class on Wednesday, Feb. 11, in groups, then you will write the first draft at home, bring to class for a peer review.

Monday we will continue the Lit Circles and practice the literal and free paraphrase, along with how to cite using MLA.

I have office hours tomorrow afternoon L-235. I am available after 10 a.m. if you want to talk. Call me and I'll tell you where I am on campus. Study groups are a good idea, I can host one on Thursdays, 12-1 p.m., for interested students.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Literal/Free Paraphrasing

Today in class we continued our conversation on paraphrasing and practiced the literal and the free paraphrase in Stewart Pidd Hates English pp. 330 to 347. I made copies for students without books. The class is shrinking. If you are still enrolled, don't stop coming to class and arrive on time.

We also completed the index cards. The questions are in the syllabus under INDEX CARDS.

Homework is to keep doing the exercises in Pidd on paraphrasing and to post a summary for the Introduction where you posted the summary for the Preface last week. Keep reading Dreams from My Father. Start Chapter 1.

We'll practice literal and a free paraphrasing on Wednesday, Feb. 4.

I hope you are finding the exercises useful. If you can state something in your own words, this means you know it. The practice of literal paraphrasing, while not academically ethical, is a useful tool when struggling to comprehend an author's words. I ask students to use paraphrase, direct citations and block quotes in their essays. One of each in a 750 word essay is generally a sufficient use of the text.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?