Monday, January 23, 2012


Day 1

Today in class we reviewed the syllabus, most of it. Students have an assignment connected to the syllabus. Post at the link there. Don't forget to include a heading with each post, so I know who you are and what class you are in, English 201A or English 201B.

We spent a bit of time talking about the article, "State of Mind," by Douglas Kruger in the January 2012 Skyways magazine. We looked to see if there was a stated thesis and found one at the end of the article. We also looked at vocabulary and references used to support Kruger's claim that successful people did not think like hamsters, that is, get caught in tread-wheels to nowhere based on fear or false assumptions or self-sabotage.

We paraphrased the thesis, that is, restated it in our own language. If anyone jotted it down, post it in the comment section for your classmates.

On Wednesday we will think a bit more about the kind of thinkers we are and respond in a freewrite to the question Kruger poses: "Are you a hamster thinker or do you think side the [cage]" --my insert (smile) (62).

We will also talk a bit more about thesis sentences which students defined as the "main point or central idea of the discourse or writing" (Hacker too 476).

An argument we stated is a claim one has to prove with evidence. What is Kruger's claim? What is his proof?

What do you think about his argument? Why do you think he decided to use the hamster analogy? Why does it work? Don't forget to look up any words you couldn't pronounce or can't define before class on Wednesday.

Bring House on Mango Street to class on Wednesday, along with Stewart Pidd Hates English. If you bought They Say, I Say, bring that as well. Oh, don't forget the dictionary.

For extra credit, watch the President's State of the Union Address Tuesday evening. Think about what he is saying. What is his argument? What are his key points? How does the audience feel about his address? What about their body language clues you in as to their feelings? What themes or topics addressed here reflect similar ideas expressed over the president's four year tenure? What is different or unique about this address? What is the tone of the evening? Was there anything unexpected about the speech? If so, what? Were there any topics unaddressed? If so, what and why do you think these topics were avoided?

Watch the commentary after the speech for analysis. I like the noncommercial stations like Channel 9 and radio stations, KPFA (94.1). Tomorrow there is a meeting in Oakland to discuss the recall of Mayor Jean Quan in Nil Hall in Preservation Park. I am going to go to the meeting. I don't know if it conflicts with the State of the Union, good think it is taped (smile).

I will make paper copies of the syllabus for students who want copies. It was great meeting all of you. I am looking forward to a great class this semester.

I emailed the syllabus to students who asked. I also gave out three permission numbers to three English 201A students.

Viola Merino
Wanda Sabir
English 201A
23 January 2012

Here is Kruger's paraphrased thesis we created in class: "Douglas Kruger, award winning public speaker, compares rodent behavior to human beings who get stuck in unwritten imaginary rules that create barriers to their progress."
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