Monday, October 31, 2011


Extra Credit Essay Assignment

Book Report Assignment
This semester we are looking at Tupac Shakur, Art for Social Change and Hip Hop

Each student was asked to choose a book. The author needed to be alive and living in the Northern California and if the book is a biography, the person profiled needs to be alive and also living here, the San Francisco Bay Area. I suggested students chose a subject or author who might also work as a topic for the Social Entrepreneur profile. For example, Alice Waters is a social entrepreneur and there is a book written about her life. She lives in Berkeley. She is not 30 or younger, but that is okay. That requirement is flexible.

For each essay, students need to find three articles: a published book review or analysis, and for the author, see if there is something on the author in Literary Criticism, (on-line in the Library Database and in COA library (public libraries as well). Third, find an article that addresses one of the themes in the book. Include all of these sources in your works cited page.

The essay will be 2-3 pages and in it you will summarize your book’s major themes and analyze them. If the book is a biography, feel free to tell us something about the author and how he or she comes to know the person he or she writes about. If the book is an autobiography or a memoir tell us how the author came to write it and if this is his or her first book.

This is an extra credit essay, but if students plan to write this essay, it is due no later than Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. I need to approve the book before you read it.

Today in class students chose a poem we haven't read in class and 1. IDENTIFIED the THEME and 2. DEVELOPED a thesis sentence using TOPICAL INVENTION: definition, analogy, consequence, testimony (chose 1), 3. WROTE a 5 sentence introduction.

Students then evaluated another student's introductory paragraph noting the topic sentence, supporting sentences, which included evidence about the topic, ending the paragraph with an argument or thesis sentence.

Post the introductory paragraph, note the poem in your introduction and give us a synopsis of your peer review before posting your writing. Include a works cited with the introductory paragraph.

Homework is to read the poem again, which we read in class: "Love within a Storm" (85). The thesis is: LOVE HAS THE POWER TO CREATE A STORM. Make sure you cite the poem and the book at the end of the introductory paragraph.

Post the class assignment here. Bring the homework into class as a paper copy.

2. Revisions (handout).

Students have a week to revise and get an essay back in. The grade on the revision is the final grade, so get clarification before revising the essay.

3. Class format: Workshops

We will be reviewing writing concepts students might still be struggling with like Thesis Sentences, Introductions, Conclusions, Topic Sentences, Signal Phrases, Block Quotes, Evaluating Evidence, Citations, Paraphrasing.

This week we are working on Revision Strategies and Essay Structure: Introductions, Body, Conclusion.

We will spend next week writing the Pidd Essay covering the entire book. We will also complete Grammar Exam 2 and correct Grammar Exam 1.

I will give you a schedule on what we will cover over the next few weeks. Bring questions and if I am not covering something you'd like more clarification on let me know this week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Nature vs. Nurture Essay Assignment

Homework is to write the essay arguing whether or not Afeni's life was a matter of freewill or choice or environment (nurture) or heredity (nature).

Bring in a completed essay on Thursday, October 27, 2011. Bring in an electronic copy for a peer review. I will be paying attention to the introduction, topic sentences and conclusion: organization. The essay is due Monday, October 31, 2011, electronically and as a paper copy. Email it and the associated assignments to:

Secondly, I will be looking at how well students integrate their citations into the argument. English 201 A should write an essay minimally 500 words long and English 201 B should write an essay minimally 750 words pr three pages long. This does not include the works cited page and the bibliography.

Each essay includes an IPS, an outline and any cyber-assignments connected to Evolution of a Revolution. Include the scholarly article as a part of the bibliography.

Today in class we reviewed the first four templates for the Parallel Structure Essay. Students got all of them wrong. We will continue Thursday. Review them beforehand.

In the earlier class, students had not completed the templates. Well one student had.
Their homework was to complete the templates.

They are also supposed to bring in a completed "Initial Planning Sheet" (IPS) for tomorrow. The essay is due for both classes Thursday. There are students who have not turned in their "Hip Hop" Essay.

We only have two more essay for the semester: Afeni Shakur: Nature vs. Nurture and the Social Entrepreneur essay. I handed out the SE essay outline and supporting documents for finding a SE. Students who had headphones watched one of the Frontline World Videos. Other students were given the Muhammad Yunus essay to read and summarize.

Everyone will be given the essay eventually. There is a link for the assignment post.


Muhammad Yunus: Grameen Bank

If you have the article on Muhammad Yunus, summarize it in 250 or more words and answer the questions about Social Entrepreneurship in your summary.

This should be a summary essay.


Frontline World: Engaged Citizenry Cyber-Assignment

Frontline World Cyber-Assignment Post(s)

Respond to 3 stories by 11/10 (start 10/26). Bring in headphones for the computer.
Post your Frontline World Responses (3) here.

Answer the following questions in your response to the program.


1.Who is the social entrepreneur profiled?
2.What problem did the person profiled identify?
3.What is the name of the organization they started?
4.Describe their relationship to the community that they serve?

• Why they decided to address this issue?

5.What is the local component?
6.How does the community own the process?


Assignment: Social Entrepreneurs: Engaged Citizenry

Open with the problem statement. Be descriptive.

The thesis sentence names your social entrepreneur as a person who is addressing the problem identified in the introduction.

Body paragraphs
Background on the social entrepreneur and what brings them to the work. You can cite statistics here to illustrate the problem

Introduce the organization or business venture. Does the work grow out of the community? How do the SE and the community interact?

Are there any partnerships with other organizations and/or government?

Are there any peer reviews or industry reports?

What are the measurable results for the community? Share a story here.

What are the measurable results for the SE. You could quote the SE here.

Your essay needs to answer all of these questions; you can structure it like a typical problem/solution essay or cause and effect.

The person has to be alive. Try to find someone local, who is living in the San Francisco Bay Area or in California. The person has to have been doing this work for 10-20 years (the length of time is negotiable; see me).

You need to locate 5 sources on your subject to form a bibliography; you don't have to cite them all. The sources can be published or broadcast interviews, books, articles, and films or you can interview them yourself. The person cannot be a relative. You can work in groups and share data. In fact, I encourage it.

You will have three citations: 1 in-text citation, one paraphrase, and one block quote in the essay. The rest of the writing has to be your own. The essay should be 4 pages (English 1A); 2-3 pages English 201. This does not include the works cited page or bibliography.

English 201 Social Entrepreneur Due Dates:

Planning Due by Tuesday/Wednesday, Nov. 9/10 (share)_____________
Essay: Planning Sheet, Outline, Thesis due Monday/Tuesday, Nov. 14-15 __________
First Draft Wednesday-Thursday, Nov. 16-17

Final Draft Monday/Tuesday, Nov. 21-22 (during class time: appointments with professor to check off essay______________

SE Presentations: Nov.21-22/23___________
The presentation is a quarter of the grade.

Supplementary Assignments

On-line Frontline World (on-line responses 3) Start Wednesday, Oct. 26-Nov.10_______
Library Research sheet: Wednesday/Thursday, Nov. 9-10 _______________
Website Evaluation completed (worksheet) by Nov. 7-8(in-class)_____________
List of sources (5) minimum in MLA format due Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 9-10 (share in class)___________

Thursday, October 20, 2011



1. Use the COA Database to find a scholarly article on the topic: Nature vs. Nurture. Read and summarize the article. Post the summary. Read the abstract and compare with your summary. Write the summary as an essay, that is, have a thesis or an argument.

2. SPHE--corrected essays

3. Possessives

4. Homework: Finish Evolution, revise Hurt/Dyson essay

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Today in class we corrected Possessives Templates, Be-Verbs essay, Point of View and Essay Exam 1, Pronoun Case. Print out your scores for me for these essays and bring to class. Analysis your errors for each essay where applicable.

Tomorrow we will review the first two essays, Pronoun Agreement and Sentence Punctuation.

We will also take the Possessions Quiz and Parallel Structure Quiz. We will start that essay.

Students will also use the COA library database to find an article on Nature vs. Nurture. Homework will be to read and summarize the article for Tuesday. Students asked for an extension to Tuesday for the Nature vs. Nurture Essay.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011, bring in an Initial Planning Sheet and outline for the essay on Nature vs. Nurture re: Afeni Shakur and by extension as a subtopic her children.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Under the Influence Cyber-Assignment

Post the collaborative essay here.

After completing the three paragraph essay, we then ran the Possessives exercises and identified the errors. We will review the templates on Thursday. Students who got their essays back (I know, finally), have 7 days to get it back to me. Revise it while my comments are fresh in your mind.

Homework is also to keep reading Evolution of a Revolutionary. If you have completed the Possessives templates go on to Parallel Structure and then Subject Verb Agreement.

I returned the Pidd essays from Pronoun Case to Point of View. We will correct them together Thursday along, as I said, the Possessive templates. We will not write the essay, just go over the templates for the chapter. Keep all of your work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today in class students were to develop four thesis sentences from the poem: The Shining Star Within! Dedicated 2 Marilyn Monroe (Shukur 23). Choose a topic and develop 4 sentences: 1 definition, 1 analogy, 1 consequence, 1 testimony.

We also read the poem Starry Night (25). Look up Vincent van Gogh and bring in a topic to reflect on tomorrow for the freewrite. Post the four sentences from today's freewrite in the post "Topical Invention."

2. We reviewed "possessives" up to page 229. Finish 230 and read the essay. If students have completed the essay and the templates, type them and email them to yourself.

3. Homework is to keep reading Afeni and Guy. We will have a writing assignment from Guy tomorrow. We are going to write a three paragraph summary for each chapter up to chapter six. Each student will have a different chapter. Bring your books to class and tonight think about central themes in each chapter. We will discuss this in more detail tomorrow morning.

If you are not there, Thursday, we will be up to chapter 8, so read chapter 7.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Homework for the weekend: Keep reading Guy. Look at the reading schedule posted earlier. Also note the next essays due in Pidd.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Topical Invention

Post your sentences here: analogies, definition, consequence, testimony. Don't forget to start with the name of the poem and the theme you are referencing. If you want to open with a short summary of the central themes you can.

The questions are:

Definition: What is it/What was it?
Consequence: What caused it/Did it cause?
Analogy: What is it like or unlike?
Testimony: What does an authority say about it?

Note: October 13, 2011
When writing sentences using Topical Invention, include the word in the sentence.

Also, we are not looking at general definitions, rather connect everything to the world of "Evolution of a Revolutionary." The sentences evolve or revolve around the life of Afeni Shakur the protagonist of the story.

Some of the sentences are too general or off topic. They should tie in specifically to the text.

Remember, these sentences could be used as thesis sentences in an essay on the topic.


From Evolution of a Revolutionary


Why did Jasmine Guy want to write this book? Describe the relationship between Guy and Afeni. How does Guy's relationship with Afeni differ from Michael Eric Dyson's relationship with Tupac Shakur? What does Afeni want Guy to show with her story? Describe their first interview session.


Cyber-Assignment & Homework

Today we reviewed the chapter on Be-Verbs. The freewrite is a response to the following questions:

From Evolution of a Revolutionary

Why did Jasmine Guy want to write this book? Describe the relationship between Guy and Afeni. How does Guy's relationship with Afeni differ from Michael Eric Dyson's relationship with Tupac Shakur? What does Afeni want Guy to show with her story? Describe their first interview session.

2. Quiz (Be-Verbs)

3. Correct GE1 (didn't get to)

4. Homework: Keep reading Guy (chapters 3-4) 49-68; (chapters 5-6) 69-88. For Monday, October 17 (Chapters 5-7, 89-144). October 20 161 (chapter 8). October 24 189(chapter 9).

5. Some students turned their assignments in today. There were two essays due. If you didn't turn them in today, turn them in tomorrow. The Be-Verb essay is due oct. 13.

For Monday, October 24, bring in your initial planning sheet to share. Essay due Tuesday/Wednesday, October 25/26.

Final draft due between: Thursday, October 26 and Tuesday, Nov. 1. Print a copy of the essay and attach it to the peer review. Make sure the peer review is electronic and is signed by the student who writes it. You will also email the essay to me pasted and attached. We'll practice this in class a few times to make sure you are comfortable with it. The next two essays will be submitted entirely on-line.

Students should bring in the book they plan to read for the third essay Tuesday-Wednesday, November 1/2 to share.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Cyber-Field Trip Sign-up for next Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let me know if you are interested and bring your $5 to class Monday-Tuesday, October 10-11, 2011. I want to buy the tickets in advance. The venue will not hold tickets for us, but I doubt that they sell out. However, one never knows, Marc is famous here and well-loved.

We can meet at West Oakland BART at 6:30 PM and travel together. YBCA is on Third and Mission Street, 701 Mission Street in San Francisco.

YBCA is pleased to present the world premiere of Joseph’s newest project, Red, Black & GREEN: Marc Bamuthi Joseph/ The Living Word Project October 13 - 22 7:30 p.m. Admission $5 You can buy as many tickets as you like. Invite friends and family.


It is a hard and obvious truth that people of color are under-represented in the environmental movement. It is also a hard and obvious truth that violent crime and poor education pose more of an imminent danger to most poor neighborhoods than environmental crisis. I personally am of the belief that the movement for social change and environmental accountability are one and the same, that focusing on steps to sustain the planet ultimately forces us to envision a pathway to sustaining humanity. — Marc Bamuthi Joseph

YBCA has had a long and fertile association with Bay Area artist and director Marc Bamuthi Joseph whose artistic work reflects an evolving aesthetic that integrates spoken word with contemporary movement to produce performance works that are populist, experimental and that challenge formal models from both a cultural and environmental.

In class today, (8-8:50 AM) we reviewed essay structure, especially thesis sentences and conclusions --types: summary, findings (as in scientific or proof of an hypothesis posited in the introduction), synthesis, call to action, connections to larger issues.

I gave students a handout on thesis sentences. It is a handout I got from the COA library.

We spoke about how a thesis sentence is a declarative sentence or a statement of fact, not a question. We also talked about how the topic sentence functions in the paragraph the way the thesis functions in the essay. The topic sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is about. When one changes the subject, start a new paragraph.

There is unity of ideas in a paragraph and this makes the essay make sense or have coherence.


1. The essay taking its topic from Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes: misogyny, hypermasculinity, homophobia, or media, is due tomorrow. See below for specifics. Use Dyson in the essay and certainly mention Tupac and his work and where it falls in the spectrum Hurt explores.

2. We will identify the errors in the POV essay.

3. English 201 1:30-3:20 PM, we meet in the library for an orientation first.

4. We will start reading Evolution of a Revolutionary by Jasmine Guy. For Monday-Tuesday, October 10-11, read up to page 48. For each chapter keep a log.

5. Bring in your reading logs for Dyson. In class we will pull together all the cyber-assignments and students will email them to me.


Extra Credit Activity for Social Entrepreneur Research Essay

Register for

College of Alameda
Student Center (Building F)
555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Pkwy
Alameda, CA 94501

If you go to the event, and post something here, a 250 word reflection on the program and its usefulness, you can have extra credit. You might meet an entrepreneur to profile for our final essay.

Friday, October 7, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM (PT)

It has never been easier or more important for students to start a business and think entrepreneurially! In a world of rapidly evolving technology and globalization, being able to leverage the entrepreneurial mindset regardless of career path is critical to success. The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour ( puts on events that can be customized to your campus’s wants and needs in order to introduce all students to this new life framework and inspire them to plan, prioritize, and pursue their own vision.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Today in the afternoon class several students were disruptive to the point that I had to ask them out. We were taking an exam and the three women were noisy. After I spoke to them privately in another classroom, the blame was thrown around and landed in front of everyone except the ones' responsible.

I couldn't help but reflect on how last week our freewrite looked at blame and responsibility. Who is to blame Sebastian asks in "My Testimony"? Who takes the blame Smokey Robinson counters, yet no matter who owns the blame, it is not the one who is taking the blame who suffers. It is the one who loses her form.

This is called giving away one's power.

I told one student she could have moved when the student, let's call her "the instigator," kept talking. The girl in question comes in late every class and is disruptive because students let her. When she asks me questions, I keep going and make her wait.

If her classmates allow her to interrupt them then they are giving her power over them. What if everyone ignored her? What if, when she spoke, no one paid attention? What if when she sat down everyone nearby got up and moved?

One always has a choice. It might not be the choice that makes one feel most comfortable. It might not be the easiest option, but you have power over your life and if someone disturbs your peace then you gave it to them on a platter, so don't complain about being hungry.

If you are so behind you come in and are lost, perhaps you need to rethink your priorities and decide whether or not this class fits your life at this time. College life requires certain commitments and if you are behind and can't catch up, it isn't my fault or anyone in the class's fault if you are lost. It is not my job to catch you up and I am not going to.

The hole is getting deeper and pretty soon you won't be able to make it out. I am not going to sprinkle dirt on the grave you have dug, but I am also not going to donate money for a headstone.

Right now the hole many of you are standing in is pretty deep and while you are smart men and women, some of you are dealing with situations that demand all your attention: safety issues, life and death issues with sick family members.

School is serious and so are these other situations. There is only so much of oneself one can spread around and still have a bit left. Sanity is also important and school should be fun. If your choice means you cannot continue, this is not failure, it is being real. It is taking stock and being rational. I was surprised when I spoke to the three women that two of them didn't know that this class was not transferable and then wanted to argue with me when I told one student that honors English was a way to opt out of English 1A or Freshman English. I used to teach at a college prep school, Maybeck High School and saw it happen with most if not all of our students at universities not community colleges.

It didn't happen with me. UC Berkeley had me taking Subject A, which is like English 201, but this is not something that has to happen if one is prepared at the high school level for college composition. You are here, as I was there, and I made it through Subject A and Comparative Literature and then took English 1A again at Merritt College for extra practice and still couldn't write. I only learned to write essays when i took a graduate course on Teaching Writing at the University of San Francisco. I got an undergraduate degree and didn't know what a thesis sentence was. I had never heard of MLA or citations. Crazy!

My patience is endless for the serious student, but for the children who wanted argue and posture and swagger -- you will fail and I will not allow you to drown others as you go down for the count.

On another note
This Friday there will be an all day event on campus looking at ways to become business men and women, entrepreneurs--ways to make money and help make the community better too. If you attend, you might meet an entrepreneur you might want to profile for your final essay.

There are appropriate ways to behave for any given circumstance. If one is not familiar with how one should behave, she can watch others and learn or one can ask questions. For student behavior we have a college catalog where it is spelled out clearly. It is common sense but then common sense doesn't necessarily translate cross culturally or cross generations.

Rude behavior will not be tolerated. If a student cannot come to class on time, skip the class. Late is 5-15 minutes after class starts. When we move into 30-40 minutes students really can just stay home. We only meet twice a week. The most disruptive students are the ones who are most lost.

If this ever happens again I am going to call the sheriff.


Note to those who are behind

Many students who have missed a lot of class and are behind in Pidd ask me if they can do a special project to make up for missing work or substitute other assignments for one's assigned.

Students can always write more, but this is not a restaurant where one has carte blanche. A missing assignment grade is still zero. Students who have skipped Pidd are not going to be able to write a passing essay, and when given the opportunity to revise an essay, they will not know where to start. Students can only revise 2 essays of the four and only if they are not passing essays.

Students have to pass all their essays with a C or better to pass the class: Nature Nurture Essay or Destiny vs. Choice; The Dyson Essay Topic; Book Report Essay and Social Entrepreneur Essay.

Pidd is a rehearsal.

Two essays will be written this month and two in November. Presentations and portfolio are the first week in December 1, 5 & 6. Portfolio workshops Dec. 7-8. Final portfolios are emailed to me. We do not have a sitting final. All portfolios are due the last day of finals no later than 12 noon, no exceptions.


Destiny vs. Free Will

Post your freewrite here.


8-8:50 AM Class; 1:30-3:20 PM Class where applicable

In the early class on Monday we completed Grammar Exam 1. We still have to do Essay Exam 1. Today in class we finally got to the "Initial Planning Sheet." Using the theme "Destiny vs. Choice," we completed an Initial Planning Sheet and developed a thesis sentence. Students got copies of the 3-Part Thesis form.

In pairs students then wrote introductory paragraphs. Homework is to bring in a completed essay looking at hypermasculinity, misogyny, sexism, homophobia, or media.

Pidd New Dates
Do not wait for the class. Complete the book.

All the exercises for the POV essay are to be completed no later than Thursday, October 6. The essay is due Monday-Tuesday, October 10-11, typed and printed.

The Be-Verb exercises are to be completed by Tuesday-Wednesday, October 11-12. The essay is due printed Thursday, October 13.

The Possessives exercises are to be completed by Monday, October 17. Essay Exam 2 will be given to students Tuesday/Wednesday, October 18-20.

The Parallel Structure exercises are to be completed by October 20. Essay Exam 3 will be given Monday-Tuesday, October 24-25.

Subject-Verb AGR exercises are to be completed by October 27. We will write the essay in class Thursday, October 27. If students miss an exam, it might not be able to be made up.

Major Multi-tasking
Keep a clear head. The plan was to be completed with Pidd this week. You will notice that we are a month behind. None of the work is disappearing. We will be working on three tasks at the same time, so stay organized:

1. Reading Jasmine Guy's book. The essay planning will be due October 20. The essay due October 24-25, 2011. The final draft is due October 26-27.

2. Working on the Social Entrepreneur essay.

3. We will spend November on the SE essay and the Book Report Essay. Choose a biography to read preferably connected to the Social Entrepreneur profiled. The person needs to be alive and preferably living here in the SF Bay Area.

If you cannot correct Pidd's essays, you should be worried.

Staying on Task

In the afternoon class, only three students had their essays completed. These students were able to do peer reviews on each other's essays. The final drafts are due on Thursday. Remember the essays should have three citations: one block quote, one free paraphrase, one shorter in-text citation.

Dyson, Hurt, Shakur Essay
The essay should be minimally 500 words or 2 pages. The third page is the works cited page, the fourth is the bibliography. Even if you do not cite in-text, students should include Dyson's book, the Hurt film, lyrics to a song, perhaps Hurt's interview of Dyson, in a bibliography if not the works cited. The works cited page represents what is included in your writing. The bibliography represents what you read or used to gather your information.

In the afternoon class we graded Grammar Exam 1. Students will get them back Thursday. Some students are just getting SPHE. Do the exercises. You cannot complete the exams or essays without doing so. The Grammar Exam results were not good. Most students missed half the answers.

If you cannot correct Pidd's essays, you should be worried.

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