Monday, February 28, 2011


Character Profiles Cyber-Assignment

In class we started our character studies. Students were to choose 2-3 women from Half the Sky and make a list of their characteristics. I handed out brainstorming worksheets and another sheet to take the ideas and put them into essay form (don't worry about that sheet now).

Post your Character Profiles (min 2) here.

The question is what is an empowered woman look like? I am being both figurative and literal. Are empowered women born or do circumstances make this choice inevitable?

Answer these questions in a commentary about the women you choose to profile her.

In Half the Sky, some women profiled do not live up to their own and others in the community, such as family, Nick or other supporters, expectations.

What does that say to you about these women? Do you think they are weak? What do the authors say? Is the opposite of empowered, "weak" or is the contrast between the two more complex? Why or why not?

We spent the bulk of the class reviewing the section in Pidd on Pronoun AGR. The essay is due Wednesday. E-mail it to yourself. We will complete the peer review.

In Half the Sky we are up to chapter 11 this week, next week we complete the book and work on developing a topic to write about. Next week we will also complete Pronoun Case--the Midterm Essay and Grammar Exam 1. On Wednesday, we will take the Pronoun AGR and Ellipsis Quizzes.

We have a lot more books to read so we can't stay in Half the Sky indefinitely (smile). If you are behind, catch up. Bring both books and the Alice Walker, We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For handout to class as well.

Borders in Alameda is closing and all the books are on sale.

We had a library orientation last week with Professor David Sparks. He gave us five handouts. If you'd like the assignment ask him for it. After you complete the assignment, give it to him to grade. Put my name on it as well, so he can return it to me. It was due today, so get it to him by Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Cyber-Assignment Reflection on Information Literacy

1. Share three new investigative strategies you learned today to help you in your academic studies.

2. Why is information literacy so important today, not just for students, but for everyone?

3. What was invaluable about today's library orientation? Share something that changes the way you look at libraries, librarians, books, computers or databases, the World Wide Web.

4. Have you used any of the academic services yet in the LRC or Learning Resources Center? Did you know it was upstairs? What service do you plan investigating first?

The library assignment is due Monday.

Homework is to continue in Pidd--verb phrases and pronoun case. We will review exercises on Monday. In Half the Sky, we are up to Chapter 11 next week March 3. We will look at signal phrases, block quotes, develop character profiles.

Develop ideas for topics. Bring both books to class. I returned a lot of the Sentence Punctuation Essays. Most essays did not have a peer review. It's really important to have the peer review before turning the paper in. I will get to the essays emailed to me before this weekend with comments. So far, only one student passed his Essay 1 the first go round.

If you have questions call me and don't forget I am around everyday from 8 AM on M-Th. Did you know that the library offers a class on information literacy which is transferable to fulfill the California State University graduation requirement. Ask Professor Sparks or another librarian about it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Free Theatre Production at Laney College Feb. 19, 2011

On Saturday at Laney College there is a free theatre performance, I think at 2 PM. the play is currently on stage at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco and is for mature audience only. If you attend and write a short response or review, you can have extra credit. Visit to read about the play.

Saturday is also the 26th Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley in the MLK Jr. Student Center. Visit

Also this weekend, Saturday-Sunday, February 19-20, 2011, is a People's Tribunal on Racism and Police Violence at Edna Brewer Middle School. Visit



Today we completed the Sentence Punctuation Quiz. There was a possible 20/20. If you didn't do well, that is, miss less than 5 total, you need to review the exercises in the chapter.

A great website for grammar exercises is:

Essay 1
Essay 1 in Stewart Pidd, Sentence Punctuation. We took a 20 question Quiz. Most students had to revisit the exercises. There was a lot of confusion; however, I think students are clearer now on how to complete the templates.

Students paired up for the balance of the class and completed the templates for the errors and for the introduction and conclusion. Before submitting the essay on-line by 12 noon Tuesday, February 22, to

Please have a classmate or friend answer the questions on the Peer Review sheet. If it is a classmate, they are to then grade you and write a short justification for the grade. If the grade is not 100 percent, revise the essay before submitting it to me. You will give me the Proofreading Assignment on Wednesday.

When sending the essay, make sure you paste it and attach it. Indicate the assignment and the date in the subject line of the email.

We are meeting in the COA library next Wednesday at 1 PM for an assignment and orientation with Professor Davis Sparks. Homework for the long holiday weekend is to continue reading Half the Sky and writing your logs. Also start Pronoun Agreement exercises when you submit Essay 1. It is the next section. Don't forget to complete the exercises on titles and ellipses (Part 3).

We will check-in briefly next week, but most of the time will be taken up with the Library Orientation. Bring your books to class that day.

Essay 4 is an in-class essay, we'll probably get to two weeks from now. I am in A-232 from 11-12 and 1-2 Thursday, February 17, 2011. You can call me if you can't find it. I am in A-232 from 8-11 AM. I might not be able to help you much, but you are welcome to come sit in my English 1A classes tomorrow.

If there are any questions over the long weekend, call me. I am around Thursday from 11-12 and after 12 until 1 PM in A-232. You can drop by with questions or to work.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Reflections on the Literature Circle

If you were able to participate in the Lit Circle this afternoon, reflect on the process, what you liked and especially how it helped you go deeper into the material. Dis the discussion affect how you plan to approach the material next time? How does discussion help one better one's reading?

Don't forget to keep a reading log and to keep reading when there is extra time in your schedule. Do not get behind in the reading. The deadlines have to be firm, otherwise students will not have enough time to read the next selections.

We decided to push the Pidd essay: Sentence Punctuation to next Wednesday. Complete the templates. If you missed Monday and were behind today, I am around on Thursdays in A-232 between 10-11 and 12-1. I am here everyday except Friday. Call me and I can tell you where I am on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Also, I am around on Wednesday after class and can make myself available on Monday after class as well.


Cyber-Assignment: An Interview with Nicholas Kristof

This is a link to an interview with Nicholas Kristof. We watched some of this interview in class. Reflect on the interview in light of what you have read so far. What is the impact of hearing directly from an author? What did you learn about Kristof or Half the Sky that you didn't already know? What impressed you most about his comments. Try to cite it in a paraphrase.

Bring headphones to class on Wednesdays.


Cyber-Assignment, Reading Log for Half the Sky

Today we had a short discussion on Half the Sky. Some students hadn't read Chapter 1, so they were not able to participate. Homework is to read chapters 2-3 for Monday and to complete the templates for the essay Sentence Punctuation.

If students miss class, call me. If a student doesn't have the textbook, SPHE is on reserve in the library. Do your homework at the college or make photo copies. If a student is unclear on an assignment ask questions in class.

SPHE is not hard, but it is labor intensive. We started the film, Jazz Mama, on Monday, but hard some technical difficulties. I have an interview to show students with Nicholas Kristof, co-author of Half the Sky. It was taped at the International Women's History Museum in San Francisco last year.

On Monday we spent significant time working on exercises in SPHE.

Reading Log for Half the Sky

Reading Log & Essay due dates for Half the Sky

Week 2 Jan. 31-Feb 2 Introduction

Week 3 Feb. 7-9 Chapters 1

Week 4 Feb. 14 Chapters 2-4

Week 5 Feb. 23 Chapters 5-7

Week 6 Feb. 28-March 3 Chapters 8-11

Week 7 March 7-9 Chapters 12-14

The Essay Assignment due dates:

1. Essay Initial Planning Sheet due: March 9
2. Outline due: March 14 with outline
3. First draft due: March 16
4. Final draft due: March 18 via email

There will be a separate essay assignment sheet handed out later.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Introduction Summaries

Post your summaries of the introduction to Half the Sky here. 250 words is long enough. Try to stay within that limit. No more than 500 words.


Field Trip and Class Recap

Today we read the introduction to Half the Sky which left no time for practicing paraphrasing or discussion. Homework is to summarize the introduction in one page, about 250 words.

Post the summaries at the link. We will practice paraphrasing on Monday. Bring your books. The book store is taking prepaid orders for Half the Sky. We will talk about the first essay in SPHE, Sentence Punctuation, on Monday as well. We will probably write it the following Monday. Essays are turned in, not the exercises.

In SPHE we reviewed MLA for works cited pages and for the essays pp. 311-312 and 319-322. Homework was to complete the MLA for titles section and to read 311-312. We'll have another quiz next week. Details are very important in MLA. headings and Headers and spacing and margins, the mechanics of the writing process, need to be perfect.

We spoke about the closing reception at Laney College this Friday and the opening exhibit at Joyce Gordon Gallery. I have posted information about the exhibit below. if you go to any event and write about it, you can have extra credit. You can write about the art, its creators, your impressions-- Read a published review to get a feel for the type of writing critics do (smile). You can also attach the program if you like.

Keep track of these extra credit assignments. Films count as well as performances, like theatre, concerts, lectures and book events.

Art Exhibit Openings and Closings

This Friday, February 4, 2011, I am going to be boppimg between two maybe three art galleries/museums and wanted to see if you wanted to join me. I am starting at the June Steingart Gallery, Tower Bldg., Laney College at 4 PM for the Eco Art Matters closing reception and then popping by the Oakland Museum across the street, ending up at Joyce Gordon Gallery, 408 14th Street, 14th and Webster Street in Oakland, for the AeroSoul 2: Urban Hieroglyphics opening, 5-11 PM. The galleries are free. If you are with me, I might be able to get you into the Oakland Museum (smile).


AeroSoul, which is up Feb. 4-27, 2011, is historic in its breath and vision. If you are hip hop then you can't miss this opportunity to speak to the urban creative masters of this craft and culture, most of them probably your parent's peers.

I am just blown away by the cast of artists from Los Angeles, New York and here listed on the website. I took my English 1B class to see AeroSoul 1, and we were privileged to get a private tour of the show.

Oh, if you want to connect, that is, hang with the professor, call me and we can meet up (smile).

21st Annual African American Celebration through Poetry, February 5, 1-4 PM

I forgot to mention an event I host yearly at the West Oakland Branch Library, 1801 Adeline Street, Oakland, (510) 238-7352. It is free and open to the general public.


Half the Sky

Post your paraphrases and its originals here. Don't forget your names.



February 1, 1902- May 22, 1967, was poet Langston Hughes' birthday. Students are to respond to one of his poems. I suggested I Too Sing America.

Suggestions are to write a poem in the style of Hughes's poem or reflect on what it means and what it says to you, its audience. There is no wrong response.

Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902-1967) was the first black writer in America to earn his living from writing. Born in Joplin, Missouri, he had a migratory childhood following his parents' separation, spending time in the American Mid-West and Mexico. He attended Columbia University from 1921-1922 but left, disillusioned by the coolness of his white peers.

. . . This recording features two of Hughes's best known poems. One of Hughes's poetic innovations was to draw on the rhythms of black musical traditions such as jazz and blues, but in 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' it's the heritage of Negro spirituals which is recalled by the poem's majestic imagery and sonorous repetitions. Written when Hughes was only seventeen as he travelled by train across the Mississippi, 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' is a beautiful statement of strength in the history of black people, which Hughes imagines stretching as far back as ancient Egypt and further into Africa and the cradle of civilisation. The poem returns at the end to America in a moment of optimistic alchemy when he sees the "muddy bosom" of the Mississippi "turn all golden in the sunset".

'I, Too' written just before his return to the States from Europe and after he'd been denied passage on a ship because of his colour, has a contemporary feel in contrast to the mythical dimension of 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers'. It is no less powerful however, in its expression of social injustice. The calm clear statements of the 'I' have an unstoppable force like the progress the poem envisages. Hughes's dignified introductions to these poems and his beautiful speaking voice render them all the more moving.

This recording was made in 1955 by the jazz specialist label, Folkways.
Also see

I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

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