Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Revision Strategies

Post your freewrite here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Get feedback from a tutor/teacher in the Writing Center on the Tupac: Nature vs. Nurture essay before handing it in tomorrow. Prepare questions in advance. Use the revision guideline I gave you from Diana Hacker's Rules for Writers. I hope students have not erroneously concluded that the most important part of the essay is the grammar.

It is not.

The most important part of the essay is its content; you can see as much looking at Stewart Pidd, even after he corrects his essays they will not amount to much because they don't make much sense and they aren't deep. Grammatically correct does not mean you get an A.

The SPHE authors wanted students to focus on the grammar because it often gets in the way of the writing, but students need to know how to write first. I don't think SPHE is a great book for the beginning writer because writing about Stewart's mistakes is not that exciting, unless one is a budding grammarian.

I have tried to reconcile the grammar and the writing on their own, and I can't figure out how to get students to do the grammar quizzes and translate this into their own work. Students buy expensive grammar style books and do not read them. I miss being able to spend a time on argumentative writing, which I love, with students who I thought would breeze through SPHE, but they don't.

No one breezes through SPHE, and at the end of the book, those passing all the essays still have trouble making that leap, that is, translating the grammar lessons into their own writing, but hopefully you will and this semester you are that much closer.

I found that this second semester with Stewart Pidd I am much more confident and see an improvement in my writing. I have internalized the grammar and recognize errors more easily. There are rules I know and still others I struggle with, perhaps on the third semester I will be an even better writer, because it all counts and it all matters when we're looking for clarity and understanding.

Include a reflection (1 paragraph) on the feedback session(s): in class and at the Writing Center. You do not have to change your paper, just because someone makes a suggestion--that's all it is, a suggestion.

Today we took the Multiple Choice Exam 2 in the morning class. I hope the scores are better than MCE 1. Students also sent me a copy of the Censorship essay and gave me a copy. I will return it to you via email and in hand tomorrow.

If you are behind, drop the class. Drop the class if you have missed all deadlines (the last one 11/23). Take the class when you put forth your best effort.

The Tupac essays are due in the morning. Students will present their essays on Monday, Nov. 29. Students will share their arguments and debate one another informally. Bring an outline of your keypoints with supporting evidence to class.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Final Days

Today in the early class students did peer reviews of the nature/nurture essay. What I've read so far, looks good. The censorship essay was homework for the morning class.

For anyone this afternoon who didn't finish, email the essays to me by 12 noon Tuesday, Nov. 24.

In the afternoon class we started with the Multiple Choice Exam 2. Most students missed almost or over half the answers. This means you need to keep SPHE and review.

Secondly, this afternoon students wrote an essay response (500 words) to one of the prompts at the end of the essay: 1, 2, 4, and another one from the board: Respond to Nathan McCall's essay. What do you agree on and where do you disagree if at all?

The next class meeting for both classes we will watch Revision Strategies and review the final SPHE essay. I have graded some of them, if you want to pick it up early come by the classroom at 12 noon.

I have underlined the errors and named them at the top of the page. Students need to make templates for all the errors and write about five different ones, unless all you errors are the same. Mention the text SPHE and its authors and the character you have met this semester. You can use humor to talk about taking what you have learned from his writing errors to reflect on your own. Will you fail yourself or be more generous than you were with him.

Reflect on the usefulness of the text and how it was structured. Has it been easy or difficult to translate what you have learned to your own writing? How to you plan to make this happen?

The template:
Claim naming the type of error. "Insert the error." Explain why the error is an error. Explain how to fix the error. The corrected sentence will read, "Give examples of the corrected sentence."

Do this for each error identified in your essay.

Turn in both the essay evaluating the writing and a corrected second draft of the original essay. Don't forget the works cited page. Include the SPHE book, your essay and the essay from the Censorship package.

This essay and the revised essay are due Nov. 30. Note: there are two essays due. We will work on the portfolio essays next week, Monday, Nov. 30. The portfolio is due by Wednesday, Dec. 2.

If you are behind, drop the class by Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Sample Portfolio

Sample Portfolio from an English 1A Student. I can stay after 3 PM, Nov. 23 & Nov. 25 for students who might want to review their portfolios. I am not available in the morning between classes. I am available after 12 noon on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Portfolio Table of Contents
Student Name
Course and Term
Contact information: Mailing address, phone number, email address

• Portfolio Essay #1
• Portfolio Essay #2
• President Bush’s State of the Union Address
• Byron Hurt film: Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
• Initial Planning Sheet
• Midterm Paper
• Social Entrepreneur Essay
• Work Sited page for Social

Entrepreneur Essay

Student Name
Portfolio Essay #1
25 May, 2007

During this semester we the students of English 1a had to type a couple essays, and every time I started a new essay, I followed the writing process. Pre-writing is the first step out of four, in the writing process. When a person starts the pre-writing process they should start by thinking and talking to them self about the subject that is on hand. It always helps to think and talk out loud. After that one should do some research like go to the library and check out some books or if there is access to a computer one should go online and check some search engines. One should at least do something that helps get information on the subject. Now one should make a list of at least twenty-five ideas. From that one should take out the most important ideas and make a cluster. Now one should start to freewrite from beginning to end. One should now make an outline. An outline is kind of like a map, it helps one with the paper with out getting lost.

Drafting is the second step in the writing process. When a person enters the drafting phase of the process, that person should have an outline finished and sitting next to them on the computer. Now that a person is on the computer, they should start typing from the beginning to the end without stopping. No corrections or anything just start to finish by then it should be shitty and that is what one wants. After the shitty paper is done, one should save it and put it away for the day. This is the fastest step in the writing process and the one I like the most.

Like drafting this is also one of the fastest steps in the process. First one should start with the global/structural. Look over the paper and make sure that all the paragraphs are following the format guidelines. One should save it and put it away for twenty-four hours. This is when one should check the paragraphs to make sure that they are all indented and the right number of sentences. Now one should save it and put it away for twenty-four hours. Now it is time for sentences. All one has to do is check all the topic sentences and make sure they are short and simple. Also one should check the supporting sentences and make sure that they are on subject with the topic sentence. Once again one should save it and take a twenty-four hour brake.

Last but not least is edits the fourth part and last of the writing process. By now the paper is practically all done, except a couple of things. Now comes the time when punctuation can be added or taken away. A period here, a comma there or parenthesis there. This is where stuff like that gets changed or added. Now that the punctuation is done it is time for the grammar. One should now go through the paper again and make sure that the right words are being used and that there is no slang or stuff that a reader could not understand. Now that the punctuation and grammar is done one should spell check it. Also one should read through it with a dictionary and make sure everything is ok. Now there is one last step in edits and that is proof read the whole paper. By now the paper should be done and perfected. Practice these steps and they will make it easier.

Jeff Figueroa
Portfolio Essay #2
25 May, 2007

This semester’s writing experience was one not to forget, and for all my hard work and preservation, I think I deserve a B for the semester. This semester’s English experience was not like any other, the class at times seemed to be unorganized and students were all ways unprepared, thus making this class, a non-educational experience. Our class had so much potential of being a fun and interesting learning experience, not that it wasn’t. We were reading excellent material, books such as Alice Walkers We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, and Spark Notes No Fear Shakespeare Hamlet. In addition to that we also read some great articles like The Making of a Criminal and Stephen Jay Gould’s Women’s brains. Because so many students didn’t either have their book, read the story, or plain just didn’t show up to class, it made this class almost a failure.
When our class first met in the begging of the semester, there was almost fifteen students enrolled in the class, but day by day, and week by week less students began to show up to class. I can’t lie. I my self missed more than my fare share of classes, but I always knew when to show up, or when I could miss a day without jeopardizing my self.

As students it was our responsibility to stay on top of our class work, and in the begging of the semester Mrs. Sabir told us to always check her blog, because it would be our source of what’s going on, and what is to come in our class. But when it came time to come to class on a certain day with a certain book, come to class with extra credit, or even come to class prepared for a mock trail.
When we were done reading Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, we had a mock trail to determine if Dr. Victor Frankenstein was to be held accountable for his creations actions. There were two teams, one team was the prosecutors, the other team was the defense team, and I was on the prosecutors. My team decided to gather information and evidence on things we could use against Dr. Victor Frankenstein on our own time, and not as a group: I knew that wasn’t such a great idea, but I went with it anyway. When it came time to gather all our findings and information, I was the only one to come prepared with my share of the work. Something told me the night before to not count on my class mates and to go ahead, and type out an opening argument. Thank God I did that, because no one had sufficient evidence to prosecute Dr. Frankenstein. I don’t want to come off sounding like this class was a total failure, because it wasn’t by any means.

Because students came unprepared or just plain didn’t show up, this class did not live up to it’s full potential. When a student puts his/hers hard time into something and their class mates don’t do their share, it robs that person of their education. I was not the perfect student this semester, but at least I tired to do what was expected of me, and for that I think, deserve at least a B for the semester. All in all I did enjoy this class for what it had to offer. I just wish that everyone was on the same page, because if we were, this class would have been one to remember for some time to come.

Jeff Figueroa
State of the Union Response paper
24 January, 2007

With a grand introduction George W. Bush walked into the room of the white house for the seventh time to address the state and with just a few words he drew an easy pop from the crowd. Those words “thank you very much and tonight I have the high privilege and distinct honnor of my own as the first president to begin the state of the union message with these words, Madam Speaker.” When he said that, the air filled with thunderous applauses, a cheap pop is what I call it.

The purpose of his speech was to address some very important issues. Issues such as domestic issues, energy consumption, education reform, immigration concerns and health care deficiency. His speech was well organized, so well organized; one can not help but think that he did not write it. There have been times that George W get’s all choked up when talking but tonight was different, he was clam and quick. When it came down to evidence he didn’t have any but some of his claims, I found myself agreeing with. Like when he talked about health insurance. Not all of us can afford insurance and I would be one of those people, so by his purposesul of cheaper tax cut’s for those that pay for insurance , I like that idea. But just like Democrat Senator Reed said “this president is very good at pointing out problems but he is not good on the follow through and finding the solutions.”

Jeff Figueroa Jeff Figueroa
Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes response
01 March, 2007

"Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" directed by Byron Hurt, is a documentary on how commercial rap promotes misogynistic, violence and gives black males negative stereotypes. Bryon Hurt grew up a fan of hip hop and he still is. Hurt’s arguments are not hard to disagree with and just incase one is to argue that today’s rap/hip hop music is not blatantly promoting sex, violence and misogynistic towards women, just listen to any current popular rap c.d.

Rap/hip hop has not always been about “bust’n caps” and “break’n hoes”. Back in the golden era of hip hop (1987-1992), it was all about who had the dopest rhyme and sickest dance steps. I know because I grew up in this so called “golden era of hip hop”. The music that was coming out in that time was new and different. When a person heard a song that they liked it made them want to get up and dance. That’s not the case in today’s day of age as to when a person hears one of their favorite songs, they transform into this hardcore gangster that is not to be messed with. Hurt interviewed a couple of well known rap artist; one of them was Fat Joe. Fat Joe even said that because of the image that rap displays, it makes every young male thinks he has to be hard. When it comes down to Hurts arguments of how today’s rap music promotes blatantly disrespect for women and promotes violence against each other, I would have to agree with him.

Student Name
Initial Planning Sheet
12 March, 2007

Initial Planning Sheet for MIDTERM ESSAY

1. I am going to write about Walker and how she came to use meditation in her life. What is its role, and why is it included at the end of every chapter.

2. I wanted to write about this subject because the meditation practices she uses in this book are very interesting to me.

3. The target audience I will be writing for will be a uninformed audience.

4. I want my research paper to answer the following questions. The how’s, what’s, and why’s of meditation.

5. The main writing strategy I will be using is descriptive writing. I will be describing the meditation method that Walker uses during her life and the effects that it has on her.

Student Name
12 March, 2007

The first book we read in my English 1A class, was by Alice Walker and called We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For. In this book, Walker talks about her life and tribulations that she has encountered in her time. One thing Walker talks about is meditation and how it helps her in life. In this essay I will be responding to such question as how did Walker come to meditation and what role does it play in her life?

Meditation is a powerful, relaxing practice; one that Walker herself uses and encourages her readers, friends and family to practice.Walker first came to meditation by intensity of pain, loss, confusion, sadness, anxiety attacks, depression, suicidal inclinations and insomnia just like everybody else in this world. Meditation was first brought to her attention by a good friend of hers and Walker almost didn’t listen to her. But the pain that she was going through was too much to deal with, so she gave it a shot. Just like me, when Walker first tried meditation, she thought to herself that this was not going to work. “I remember sitting on my cushion thinking this will never work, and then gradually, later in the night, realizing that I wasn’t quite so jumpy, and that mornings no longer made me want to draw the covers over my head” (157).

Meditation has played a major role in Walker’s life. When she first started meditation it used to bring her to her favorite place in her childhood. “Gazing out into the landscapes, merging with it and disappearing” (157). But latter in life she used it for other reasons like writing her books, raising her child, and it has also made many of her losses, some personal and some material, bearable and easy to deal with. Walker confesses that she could not have written such books as Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar and The Color Purple. Walker say’s that “The Color Purple owes much of its humor and playfulness to the equanimity of my mind as I committed myself to a routine, daily practice” (158). When it came to raising a child, she said without meditation she would have not to been able to overcome the challenge of being a single parent.

In We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For, Walker includes a meditation practice in each chapter. I’m not to sure as to why she does this, but I think it’s to get us readers to try her methods and see if we like them or not. The first meditation practice that I remember her doing is one where we sit in our seat and imagine erasing ourselves. We tried it in class; it was working for minute until somebody came late to class and disrupted my meditation. Another one I remember but did not get to do until just last week was the meditation where we interviewed a child while observing them eating a fruit. I did this meditation with my little niece. I asked her questions like: Where do fruits come from and how does it taste? She replied by saying that mommy got them from the store, and it tasted good. I don’t know what type of answer Walker thought we were going to get in return, because the answers I got were short and simple, but the quality time I got to spend with my niece was something that I’ll never forget.

Alice Walker has lived a long and interesting life. I think through all of her hardships and wonderful moments in her life, she is trying to pass on some valuable information. Information like love the earth we live on, respect your elders, don’t let the way you were raised prevent you from making friends with the lesser/higher class, and love one another. Also she is telling us; her audience to be strong in the moments of despair and loneliness.

“When life descends into the pit
I must become my own candle
Willingly burning myself
To light up the darkness
around me” (39).

This message of no matter how bad things get in life, there is only one person to motivate one self, and that is one’s self. Alice Walker’s methods of meditation, after each chapter is purely relaxing, and is made for her readers to reflect on the issues she and the world present. I intend to use these methods of meditation, for it has helped me in my life.

Works Cited

Walker, A. (2006) We Are the One We Have Been Waiting For. The New Press


Student Name
Social Entrepreneur Essay
30 April, 2007

Although Bill Gates is labeled a philanthropist, he should also be recognized as a social entrepreneur, because a social entrepreneur works, manages, organizes and creates a solution for a social change within a social problem and Gates does all of the above. William Henry Gates III is the cofounder and chief executive officer of the computer software giant, Microsoft. Gates founded Microsoft with long time classmate Paul Allen in Richmond, Washington, in 1975. Gates created Microsoft with one thing in mind, he wanted to design and develop innovative software for the personal computer, making pc’s user friendly, and also universally popular. Microsoft is now a multi-billion dollar empire, and Bill Gates is one of the most famous men in recent history along with the wealthiest man in America.

William Henry Gates III was born in Seattle, Washington, on October 28, 1955. His parents were William H. Gates II, and his late mother, Mary Maxwell Gates (1929-1994). Mary Maxwell Gates was a school teacher for the University of Washington and chairwoman of United Way International, a global network of nonprofit organizations. William H. Gates II is a retired attorney, and currently he serves on the Board of Regents for the University of Washington and is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which his son Bill along with his wife Melinda founded. Gates II has adopted the suffix "Sr." to distinguish himself from his more famous son William H. Gates III. Bill was not the only child of William and Mary, for they had two other children: Kristi and Libby, but that made him the only son of Mary and William. Mary and William had big plans of making their son Bill a lawyer but come the seventh grade, he got introduced to computer science.

Gates attended public elementary school, and the private school of Lakeside. It was there at Lakeside School when he discovered his friend: and future business partner Paul Allen, and his interest in computer software. Bill began programming computers at the age of 13, and while he was in high school, Allen and Gates formed a small firm called Traf-o-Data. Traf-o-Data earned them twenty thousand dollars for analyzing local traffic patterns. After that he discovered that the machine he and Paul built was connected to a national network of computers called cybernet. Bill invaded the network and installed a program on the main computer that then sent it to the rest of the networks computers, and from there they all crashed. Bill Gates was responsible for the world’s first computer virus. In 1970 when he was caught, he was severely reprimanded, and he kept away form computers for his entire junior year at Lakeside. He then made plans for college and law school, but in 1971 he was back helping Allen write a class scheduling program for their school’s computer.

In 1973, Gates was accepted to Harvard University and pursued his studies for the next year and a half. During Gates freshman year at Harvard, he developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer: the MITS Altair. H. W. Brand author of The Change Makers says out that “He [Bill] impressed his instructors in a variety of ways. “He was a hell of a good programmer,” said the director of Harvard’s computer lab.” (317). Then in his junior year, Gates left Harvard University to devote all of his time to Microsoft, the same company he had begun in 1975 with Paul Allen. Gates and Allen both firmly believed that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop, and in every home, so they began developing software for personal computers fulltime.

In the year 2000, Bill along with his wife, co-chair holder Melinda Gates, formed The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF). Bill Gates first initially funded B&MGF with one hundred and six million US dollars, but in the foundation’s first two years, funding grew to two billion US dollars. Today The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the biggest charitable foundation in the world today. Part of the reason why it is so big is because in 2006 Warren Buffett (at the time was the second richest, after Gates) donated to the foundation ten million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares valued at 30.7 billion us dollars at the time. The goals of the B&MGF are, globally to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and to expand educational opportunities and access to information in the United States.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has put it’s footprint upon global health issues with their Global Health Program. The B&MGF gives approximately $800 million us dollars every year to help solve global health issues. That is almost as much money as the United Nation’s World Health Organization gives away annual, and the $800 million a year can also be compared to the United States Agency for International Development and the funds they give to fight against infectious disease. The foundation also provides seventeen percent of the world’s budget towards the eradication of poliomyelitis (polio). The Global Health Program also awarded grant’s to the following, The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, The Institute for One World Health, Children’s Vaccine Program, University of Washington Department of Global Health, and to HIV research. As if that was not enough, The B&MGF also has two other divisions’ the United States Program, and the Global Development Program.

The United States Program division focuses on problems that are currently with in the United States. The B&MGF provide their help to such problems as, help to the minority youth of America, full scholarships to both students and administrators. Not all people can afford to put them selves or their children through schooling, and Bill Gates is aware of this, so that is why he likes to help the needy. In a letter that Bill Gates wrote on his web site, he say’s “We [Bill and Melinda] benefited from great schools, great health care, and a vibrant economic system. That is why we feel a tremendous responsibility to give back to society.” (Gates). Bill Gates saw that there was a problem with underachieving students due to overcrowded classrooms, and he wanted to change that.

Bill Gates came up with a solution to help fix some of the problems within our schools here in America. One of them was The New Schools Venture fund, and according to “The foundation [The B&MGF] contributed US$30 million to help New Schools to manage more charter schools, which aim to prepare students in historically underserved areas for college and careers.” The B&MGF also donated one billion US dollars to the United Negro College, so that they can give scholarships to high achieving minority students. Wikipedia also states that “The Bill and Melinda Foundation announced on March 22, 2007 a million initiative to send hundreds of the Districts of Columbia’s poorest students to college.” Schooling and global health is not the only thing that Bill Gates is interested in, he also likes to help combat extreme poverty.

To help fight the war on poverty, Bill Gates incorporates science and technology to improve people’s lives. Bill Gates states in a letter that he and his wife wrote on their web site “Our goal is to help apply science and technology to the problems of the neediest people.” ( The B&MGF awarded a 1.5 million dollar grant to the Grameen Foundation, so that they can make more micro loans (a very small loan to people living in poverty) to help millions of families overcome poverty. Micro loans enables a person who is poor, unemployed, and is not considered bankable, to receive money (micro loans) from everyday people, and start up an entrepreneurship to help lift themselves out of poverty. The micro loan plan is very successful, and it has a one hundred percent return rate, so the money a person lends out will be returned in full to the lender. In most cases the money the lender gets back, goes right back into the micro loan circulation, so that another person will have the same opportunity to further them selves in life.

Bill Gats is a philanthropist, but he is also an entrepreneur, because of all the hands on work he has done with many different foundations. Bill saw problems in today’s world and he wanted to help solve them, so he helped the only way he knew, with money. He would put his money towards scholarships for the poor, vaccines for children, charter schools to help prepare students for college and new careers, and to HIV research. Most critics say that a majority of today’s philanthropist donate their money for selfish motivations (to evade paying taxes or making a name for oneself). That might be true, but in William Henry Gates III case he didn’t do it for fame or tax evasion. He did it because he knew there were problems in today’s world, and he wanted to eliminate them. Also in the letter on, he wrote “Our foundation and our partners are trying to solve these problems because we believe that all lives have equal value, no matter where they are being lived”.

Portfolio Checklist Fall 2009
English 201

On the cover page identify yourself by responding to the following:

Mailing Address
Phone Number
E-mail address
Course number and code

This page is followed by the narratives.
The portfolio is due between Dec. 2-3 via email:

The portfolio narratives (250 words minimum each)

1. The first narrative essay will look at the past semester of study, and the themes we looked at this semester the life of one of hip hop cultures well-known icons, Tupac Shakur and how his life is emblematic of a generation of youth in urban America.

2. The second narrative essay looks at the writing process and what you have been learning 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. As a source use a grammar style book like Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers. Read the section on revision; you can also cite examples from the video we will watch next week: Revision Strategies (The Write Course).

Besides the two essays, I also want you to include the Pidd essays, cyber-essays, and all the writing from Holler and Rose.

Additional narrative considerations for the portfolio essay: The second essay has students look at the writing process and discuss their own writing process: 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.

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).

Grade Justification
What grade do you think you earned in the course? If you have a strong argument with proof: graded work. I will consider it.

Your essay and the attached copy of a completed grading sheet are the evidence.

Do you have any questions about writing or anything else?


Teacher Research
Can I use you writing in teacher research projects? I will give you full credit and inform you of its use. Indicate Yes or No. Please circle one.

In a third response, evaluate the semester: teacher, textbooks, assignments, methodology, etc. Please be frank and feel free to offer suggestions.

Just put a grade next to the assignments you have completed. I will put a grade next to the sections and assignments you do not have grades on. To pass the class, students have to have passing grades on all the essays, plus complete the portfolio essays and turn the portfolio in. For all revisions include the narratives each graded draft and the final draft with a passing grade. Put the passing essay on top.

The narrative essays are the introduction to your portfolio which is a collection of all your writing this semester.

James Baldwin's Autobiographical Notes paraphrase________________; Student Autobiographical Notes ___________________

Hurricane Katrina Paraphrase Assignment_________
The Message (Felicia Pride) Assignments_______________

Michael Eric Dyson's Holler Assignments: Logs___________ (how many?); Freewrites___________; Essay Exam_____________; Skit_______________; Reflection___________; Feedback from audience______________.

Stewart Pidd Essays
Sentence Punctuation_______
Pronoun Agreement _______

Grammar Exam part 1 ______ (50 possible)
List errors___________________________________________

In-class Essay Exam 1:
Pronoun Case: Midterm Essay Synthetica _________

Point of View _______
Be-Verb _________(paraphrase worksheet completed)________

In-Class Essay Exam 2: Possessives _______

Subject Verb Agreement _________

Hootenanny Replacement Essay based on the From the Censorship Package: My Rap Against Rap by Nathan McCall essay. We'll write the first drafts Nov. 23-24__________ . Students will develop templates based on their errors and evaluate this essay like they have been evaluating Stewart Pidd’s essays this semester. This essay is due Nov. 30. It is your final.

Nature vs. Nurture essay first draft: ___________ (Nov. 23)
Final draft: ____________ (Nov. 25)

In-Class Essay Exam 3: Parallel Structure_________
Multiple Choice Exam #2________ (Nov. 23-24)

Library orientation worksheet ______ (if applicable)

Cyber-Assignments: How many and which ones? Separate essays from freewrites

Student presentations on Scenes from Holler. Please include the scene you wrote, your reflections on the process and audience responses.

Extra Credit ______________________________________________
Students can submit a graded essay from another class if the teacher is agreeable.

Anything else? _______________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today we watched the film, Argumentation. Some students worked on their SV Agr. essay. Homework is to read the Hacker package, start reading the other essays (McCall and Gartner).

We will complete the exercises tomorrow. Essay plans, outlines and first drafts are due Monday, Nov. 23 for the Tupac essay. We will write the essay response to the Censorship package on Monday. This essay will take the place of the Hootenanny essay.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homework is to complete the Subject Verb Agreement Essay and to read the handout on Censorship (first essay). If students have time, they can also start reading the Argumentation chapter (Diana Hacker Rules for Writers).

Monday, November 16, 2009 days

Today in class we reviewed the final essay in SPHE: Subject Verb Agreement. We will not be doing the Hootenanny essay, instead students will write an essay and then review it, that is, develop templates from their own errors and make recommendations for correcting it. This will be your final.

I passed out two essays, we read one. There was also a lecture on Argumentation. We will continue the discussion on Wednesday, Nov. 18,(1-3 PM class).

The Diana Hacker chapter we reviewed (Argumentation) will be given to you as well. We will review the exercises from Hacker on Monday, Nov. 23 and/or Wednesday, Nov. 18; we will also watch a video called Argumentation.

Bring in your completed Subject Verb Agreement essays. We reviewed all the SV Agr. exercises and identified the errors this afternoon. Include a discussion of all the errors in the body of the essay.

We will review the Tupac essay re: fate vs. destiny/nature vs. nurture on Monday, Nov. 23 (all classes). Bring your outlines and Initial Planning Sheets. The essay is due Wednesday, Nov. 25.

We will write or start our portfolio narratives in class next week. Students should have a portfolio checklist completed by now. If you haven't, review the assignments and note which ones you have completed. The final date to get late assignments in is Nov. 23--NO EXCEPTIONS AND NO MORE EXTENSIONS.

Some students are cheating. Cheating will not help you on the final essay where you have to evaluate your essay based on your individual mistakes. If you do not understand a concept, ask the question in class or outside class. Call me if you cannot make it to my office hours.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Tupac Shakur: Nature or Nurture?

Please post your freewrite response to the question here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Free Write & Homework

How does Tupac relate to Vincent van Gogh the artist in his poem Starry Night (25)? How is the starry reference a metaphor for the artist life? Here is a link to the painting:

Look at van Gogh’s work, what were his topics and how do they reflect Tupac’s interest as well?

Elaborate further on this theme: the artist and society. Write a three paragraph reflection on the way society impacts the artist and vice versa. Look at van Gogh's painting: the Potato Eaters ( Think about Tupac's poverty and his hunger, both literal and figurative.

van Gogh is also known for his "sunflowers." His range or interests reflect both the beauty and ugliness of society. Would you say that Tupac does this also?

Today we also reviewed some of Section 9: Subject Verb Agreement. Keep doing the exercises. We will write the essay next week, Monday, Nov. 16 in class and begin to work on the final essay and do Multiple Choice Exam 2.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Parallel Structure

Today we completed the in-class essay, Parallel Structure. We completed the quiz first. Students are in the next section, Subject Verb Agreement. If you are behind you have until Nov. 23 to catch up. I will not accept any essay after this date, no exceptions.

Final Essay
Our research questions is: How much of who Tupac becomes a result of his parents (nature/DNA) and how much is a result of his environment (nurture)? Was he destined to be the person he became or did he have a choice?

1. Did Tupac have a choice regarding his life or is the person he became predestined? Some philosophies speak of predestination, that your life is already written, so a person doesn't have a choice in the outcome.

2. Argue the point in either direction regarding Tupac Amaru Shakur: choice/destiny?
Use the book Evolution of a Revolutionary to decide and as evidence. How does knowing more about Afeni Shakur help us know Tupac?

3. The initial planning sheet (handout—if you need another, let me know) and essay plan will be due Nov. 18 (MW) or Nov. 20 (M-Th).

4. Bring in an outline for a 6-8 paragraph essay (500-750 words plus a works cited page). Use as a source: Dyson's Holler If You Hear Me and Jasmine Guy's Evolution of a Revolutionary, plus one scholarly source using an article on Nature vs. Nurture.

5. Conclusion (you can use another illustration to take the discourse to another place. Perhaps in your research you find that Tupac was a combination of both. Look at the films: Precious, Antoine Fisher, Forest Gump, Cider House Rules. In each film the protagonist or main character is born into circumstances which are daunting and life-threatening, yet for each, they make it out despite the odds. How is this? Is it a choice or was it in their genes all along? What would have happened if along the way each of these characters hadn’t like Tupac met someone who saw their potential and helped them? Are they the exception: Precious, Antoine Fisher, Forest Gump, Cider House Rules.)

6. The final draft is due: Nov. 23. Between Nov. 19-20 and Nov. 23, go to the Writing Center and have a teacher or writing tutor listen to your paper as you read it aloud and give you feedback on questions you have developed in advance about your paper. Students should be able to identify and correct grammar errors, so your questions should be more substantive, that is, look at the big questions like: thesis, non-debatable evidence, coherence in the essay, unity in the paragraphs, transitions, functions of the conclusion and introduction, diction, etc.


Introduction (5 sentences minimally). I'd suggest beginning the essay with a story about Tupac in the first paragraph and then analyzing the example in the second, concluding the analysis with a thesis statement.

1st major point

2nd major point

3rd major point

4th major point

5th major point

(5 sentences minimally. Do not use the summary conclusion format.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009


If I Fail (27)

Post your essays here.

We listed the following as themes: goals, work, tenacity, hardship, determination

Homework: Develop a three paragraph essay using the poem Nothing Can Come Between Us (37). Open the essay in Kurzweil and write a short narrative about how having Kurzweil read your essay helped you with composition, esp. the revision process.

Post the essay and the narrative here. We will write the Parallel Structure essay Monday, Nov. 9. Continue in Pidd with SV Agreement, Section 9.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Regret, Redemption, Responsibility


Today in the afternoon class we wrote a short essay using the song, "So Many Tears" and the poem, "No Win." Homework was to write a three paragraph essay using a theme from a poem in Rose. Each paragraph should be minimally five sentences long. Use the poem as evidence to prove your thesis. Try to incorporate a paraphrase, a block quote and a in-text citation in the short essay if you can. Don't force it, if it doesn't work.

Post here.

Homework is to continue in Pidd. We will write the Parallel Structure essay Monday. There is no class Wed., Nov. 11. Start the SV Agreement or Section 9 in SPHE. Buy your books tomorrow, they should be in at the COA bookstore.

Regret, Redemption, Responsibility

In the song, "So Many Tears," Tupac writes about the regrets a gang member feels about his participation in a violent lifestyle as he wonders if the consequences will follow him into a life after death. He asks God to take away his pain, guilt and unhappiness and to forgive him for all the lives he has taken. "Now I'm lost and I'm weary, so many tears," he says.

I'm suicidal, so don't stand near me
My every move is a calculated step, to bring me closer
to embrace an early death, now there's nothin left
There was no mercy on the streets, I couldn't rest
I'm barely standin, bout to go to pieces, screamin peace
And though my soul was deleted, I couldn't see it
I had my mind full of demons tryin to break free
They planted seeds and they hatched, sparkin the flame
inside my brain like a match, such a dirty game
No memories, just a misery
Paintin a picture of my enemies killin me, in my sleep
Will I survive til the mo'nin, to see the sun
Please Lord forgive me for my sins, cause here I come...(Tupac Shakur).

If the character has no intention of stepping down or quitting the game, why should God forgive him? Are his tears an omission of guilt and sorrow over the lives lost as well as his own?

In his book, The Rose, Tupac addresses the dilemma his protagonist faces: redemption juxtaposed with responsibility. He writes in "No Win": "If I must kill I will and if I must do it again/ I would [,]but the situation is a no win" (143).

The protagonist in Tears is having nightmares. He is at the end, he can't take it anymore, he's asking for help out of his fire situation. Similarly, in the film, Bastards of the Party, then Bloods gang member, Cle Sloan begins to question the violence claiming so many friend's lives in his neighborhood. He asks older gangsters where it all started and they don't know. This search for the answer to his question leads Sloan to a new truth, a new peace, which is the same place So Many Tears could possibly lead the gangster depicted in the song.

Works Cited see notes


So Many Tears Cyber-Assignment

We listened to Tupac's So Many Tears, Me Against the World. Post your response to this song or to a poem from The Rose That Grew from Concrete.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Stuttering VCR
We tried this morning to watch the end of Bastards of the Party. Tomorrow we will conclude the work by Cle "Bones" Sloan.

If you missed the film, it is probably in your local library or video store. The website is instructive and will help you answer the question posed below. The afternoon Eng. 201 class watched the end and responded to a post. I want this class, Eng. 201, 8-9 to post your responses there as well tomorrow or when we finish. Note my comments to the students yesterday and make sure you review your comment before posting to make sure it represents your best writing.

Think about the following while you watch:
What does Sloan want his audience to take from the film? Talk about his journey. Can you compare his journey to Tupac's lyrical and literal journey? What songs or poetry come to mind?

We worked on the templates for Parallel Structure. Several students were skipping steps. Even for the brilliant scholars among you, do not skip steps. Do all the exercises and complete all the steps in the templates and write them out each time. The act of writing helps you remember.

Don't forget to pick up your essays from last week outside L-235.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Today in the afternoon class we watched a video on Marc Bamuthi Joseph about an earlier dance piece called Scourge. We then completed Bastards of the Party. Students worked in small groups and alone to develop a summary of the film.

I suggested, based on a comment and observation Rhonda made about the director, to look at the film as a journey and discuss how the director's perspective might have shifted over the course of the film from one idea or position to another. What was his initial premise and how and why did it shift?

Please post here. Revise the post. See my revision for an example.

We then returned to Section 8, Parallel Structure and looked at poetry from The Rose that Grew from Concrete that illustrates this.

Homework is to continue developing thesis sentences (earlier class from themes fromBastard(4 sentences).

Afternoon class, prepare to write Essay Exam 3 in class on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

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