Thursday, August 30, 2012



Post the "Jada" poem response here. Don't forget to include a works cited at the end and an intext parenthetical in the narrative itself where applicable.


Reading Logs

Here are guidelines you can use for your notes.

A Reading Journal
from Reading to Write: Composition in Context by Peter Elias Sotiriou (9)

Critical Reading Framework

1. What is the selection saying, or what is it trying to prove?

2. What details are used to support what the selection is saying?

3. Are these details convincing?

4. If these details are not convincing, what is missing?

Critical reading is not passive reading. You should be reading with a pencil or highlighter in hand; underlining important words, phrases, sentences and making comments in the margins.

In your reading journal include some of the following:

1. List questions you may have about the reading

2. Discuss what you liked about the about the selection

3. State what you disliked about the selection

4. Comment on how this reading compares with other readings on this topic that you have read

5. List words or other terms that need defining, also terms that you can define but still don't understand the context used in the passage. Some words carry connotations connected to the culture of the characters and /or author which one might not appreciate or understand unless one is also an "insider."

6. Briefly summarize key concepts in the selection. One can also list themes.

7. List characters or key persons introduced in the section. A profile of the character is also helpful, one you can add to as the story develops.

In Diana Hacker's Rules for Writers see 5 (70-83) in 7th Ed. or 50c pages 401-402 (6th Ed.) The newer text is a better resource.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Week 2, Day 1

Today in class we previewed Stewart Pidd Hates English and then did two quizzes: Confused Word Review and Sentence Punctuation. These are from the first two chapters in the book. If students have the book, start doing the exercises. The college book store said the books will be in for next week. They ordered them today.

We concluded the class with Guy's book, Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary. Homework was to get the books for Thursday. I keep hearing some students cry about money for textbooks, but said students are not checking to see which public library caries the books needed now, Guy and Shakur. SPHE is in the library on reserve.

There are about 5 copies. Do the exercises and jot down the answers. Take notes on the concepts. We will complete essay one for next week. We will go over the exercises Thursday.

Many students posted their Adler essays on the blog. Many did not. If you want feedback on the cyber-assignments, print me a copy and turn it in.

Students got a copy of the syllabus. Read the one on-line. I also emailed it to everyone. There are two assignments due this week. This is your homework too.

There were many new students and quite a few absent students. Do not miss class. One absence can really impact your learning, especially during the early months in class where we are laying the foundation. When you miss class, do not ask me what you missed (smile). Read the blog and then ask a classmate. If there is uncertainty after that, ask me.

We will develop our literature circles next week. Don't forget, each assigned book: Guy and Dyson, include a reading and vocabulary log. You will turn this in with the essay.

Oh, on the Farai essays, I didn't receive them all last Thursday. If you didn't turn it in, give it to me this Thursday.

Monday, August 27, 2012


English 201 Syllabus, Fall 2012

College of Alameda
Professor Wanda Sabir

English 201A Preparation for Composition and Reading (concurrent enrollment for both sections)
Class code: 40018 Lec 01:30-3:20 AM TTh Sabir meets in A 200 at COA

English 201B Preparation for Composition and Reading (meets concurrently with English 201A)
Class code: 40022 Lec 01:30-3:20 AM TTh Sabir meets in A 200 at COA
Class Meetings: August 21-Dec. 6; Holidays: 9/3; 11/12; 11/22-25
Final Exam Week: Dec. 10-14 (Portfolios due via e-mail by Dec. 14)

Last Day to file for PASS/NO PASS Grading Option for Regular Session Classes: Sept. 10
Drop dates: Sept. 1 (w/refund); Nov. 17 (w/W).

Syllabus for English 201A/B: Preparation for Composition and Reading

The English 201 series (4 units) is a preparatory course designed to emphasize the thinking, reading, organizing and writing skills required for successful execution of college-level papers in all subject areas. This course is designed to for those students requiring minimal preparation for entering English 1A.

Absences must be kept to a minimum. If you miss 6 consecutive hours or 8 cumulative hours you will risk being dropped from the course, doing poorly or both. English 201 consists of weekly essays and daily assignments. This is a portfolio driven class. Keep all of your written work, graded and otherwise to turn in the last day of class. There will be an assessment, a midterm, a research project, a final and a presentation of the research essay.

Tupac Amaru Shakur

I thought it might be interesting to look at the life of one of rap’s more well-known artists, Tupac Amaru Shakur (25), who died before we had a chance to know the fullness of his genius. We’ll be reading a memoir about his mother in Jasmine Guy’s Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary; a scholar’s research in Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D.’s Holler if You Hear Me, and from the protagonist himself in his The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur.

The questions and analysis will come out of the discussions and listening parties as we look for themes in the work and try to reconstruct the artist’s life through his songs which were quite autobiographical. Tupac loved his mother, but he was angry with her too. We will describe this relationship and how mother and son were able to mend it. Forgiveness is preached, however, it takes a certain kind of personality to actually let bygones be bygones. Tupac personified “thug life.” He had old ladies tattooing his TL on their arms. What is a thug and why did Tupac celebrate it?

Keep a reading log. Discussion groups will meet each week. Students will also keep a reading log/journal/notes with key ideas outlined for each discussion section, along with vocabulary and key arguments listed, with primary writing strategies employed: description, process analysis, narration, argument, cause and effect, compare and contrast, definition, problem solving.

Stewart Pidd Hates English

Stewart Pidd Hates English is a workbook which looks deceptively easy; however, students need to pay attention to the details. The fictional character, Stewart Pidd, hates English, so he doesn’t spend the necessary time to complete his writing tasks. He’d rather do anything instead of writing, and his grades, you will notice, reflect this. The essays you analyze are not deep so don’t worry about content, the authors want you to practice the grammar lessons Stewart Pidd has not mastered. These grammar assignments might be ones you don’t remember or remember only vaguely. The goal of the book is to help you identify these errors in your own writing in your revision process, so you don’t make the same mistakes Pidd makes.

In the past we have used Michael Eric Dyson’s Holler to locate the grammatical forms for analysis SPHE takes us through. This semester we will read Guy’s book and if there is any overlap then so be it. It is not intentional. I am using this book with my English 1A class also. Those students shouldn’t have as much trouble with SPHE or at least this is the hope; however, after SPHE students should feel a lot more competent about their writing, because you will have the language necessary to talk about what it is you are doing right and what you need to improve on.

Grammar is not the most important aspect of writing. Having something substantive to say is, however, if you make too many grammatical errors, your audience will often not know what it is you want to communicate.

Research Project

Your research project will entail finding an artist or organization that uses hip hop culture as a tool to develop consciousness and mental, economic, social and spiritual liberation among the members of its discourse community. Cov Records out of Covenant House, is an example of such an organization. The Ella Baker Center which has two initiatives: “Stop the Violence” and Heal the Streets is another such organization. Most of students are probably aware of Youth Uprising. East Side Arts Alliance and DESTINY Arts are also such organization. All are in Oakland. We are profiling people, not organizations, so students have to find a person or leader in such an organization. The social entrepreneur has to have been active in his or her community for at least 10-20 years (exceptions have been made, so talk to me); however, if the social entrepreneur is too new, the researcher will have trouble finding documented resources to draw from, such as, books, essays, articles, films.

The paper will be about 2-4 pages. This does not include the works cited page and bibliography. Students will make 5-10 minute presentations of these papers the day of the final. The paper will be due about two-three weeks prior to the presentation. We’ll discuss this task further later on.

New Heroes

Visit to read about social entrepreneurs. has another program call: Frontline World which also explores social entrepreneurship. Visit: We will explore this assignment more, later in the course.

Why socially responsible economics?

Too often people feel helpless or hopeless when there is a lot you can do as an individual as soon as you realize the answer lies inside of you. If possible choose an entrepreneur who lives in Northern California, someone you’d like to interview and perhaps meet. Students can work on the project together, share resources. Each person has to write his or her own paper, but you can make a group presentation if you like. (If you have taken a class from me in the past, chose another subject.)

Course Objectives

English 201 will look primarily at writing which persuades: argumentative writing, as well as expository writing, narrative and descriptive writing. At the end of the course students will have read work of accomplished writers, as well as practiced writing in a variety of styles to suit the writer’s purpose.

This course is intended to be both a group learning experience as well as an individually rewarding one. Mid-semester students can schedule conferences with the instructor to evaluate his or her progress in the course. Classroom instruction will consist of lectures, small group work, and students working in pairs. This is an effective way for students to exchange ideas with classmates, compare reactions to readings and practice giving and receiving constructive feedback on class work.

Preparation for class, regular attendance and active participation is imperative for those students who wish to succeed in this course.

It is a student’s responsibility to contact the instructor if he or she plans to miss class. The student is responsible for all materials and information given during the class time, so please get telephone numbers for three (3) classmates in case you are late or absent. You will not be able to make up in-class assignments when you miss class.

Requirements for homework assignments:

No late papers are accepted unless arranged in advance. Any papers below a C grade are an automatic revision or rewrite. Essays under 500 words (750 words for English 201B students) will not be accepted. (Put a word count on the upper right corner of page 1.) Choose topics which give you enough to write about. We will use documentation to substantiate all of our claims. With this in mind, I expect all papers to utilize at least two (2) different outside print sources, in addition to the occasional interview, or broadcast journalism, that is, radio or television, internet also. You will learn to document sources; we will practice citing sources in text, using footnotes and endnotes, and writing bibliographies and notes pages. Remember save all your work! This is a portfolio course.

All essay assignments you receive comments on have to be revised prior to resubmission; included with the revision is a student narrative or correction essay to me regarding your understanding of what needed to be done; a student can prepare this as a part of the Writing Center visit (see below), especially if said student is unclear over what steps to take. SPHE will assist students with this response.


These often daily assignments are posted on the class blog: To post comments select “ANONYMOUS,” and then type your name in the post. Students do not need to get Gmail accounts. I read the cyber-assignments. If a student wants specific feedback from me ask. For many of the assignments, students are to engage each other (min. 2) in conversation.

Library Orientations:

We will write short essays that reflect themes and ideas discussed that week. Some of these essays will be written in class and posted on the class blog:

The research essay will be an argument. There will be a midterm (SPHE) and a final (portfolio essay and presentation) along with a Book Report Essay which is a biography or autobiography.

Jot down briefly what your goals are this semester. List them in order of importance.






Homework Assignment 1:
Email the following data to me by August 30, 2012:

Your name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail answer, along with answers to the following questions.

What strengths do you bring to the class? What skills or knowledge would you like to leave with once the class ends? What can I do to help you achieve this? Is there anything I need to know, such as a hidden disability, childcare issues, etc., which might jeopardize this goal?

Homework Assignment 2:
Respond on the blog to the syllabus, so I have a record of your reading it. Make sure you include examples from the syllabus to support your points. The response is due by August 31, 2012, 12 noon.

Write a comment to me regarding the syllabus: your impressions, whether you think it is reasonable, questions, suggestions. This is our contract, I need to know you read it and understand the agreement.


Weekly essays: 20 percent
Cyber Assignments: 10 percent
Midterm: 10 percent
Final: 15 percent
Research Essay/Presentation: 5-10 percent
Portfolio: 15 percent

Office Hour Visits or instructor contacts (5 for the semester): 5-10 percent
This includes a reflection on the visit sent as a follow-up.

Each book will have collected writings or essays. This in itself is its own “portfolio.” The essays which take their themes from the books are practice essays, and are about a fourth of your grade, your midterm and final are another fourth and your portfolio is the final fourth. (Save all of your work.) You can average the grades to see how to weigh the various components.

The Writing Center is a great place to get one-on-on assistance on your essays, from brainstorming and planning the essays, to critique in areas like clarity, organization, clearly stated thesis, evidence or support, logical conclusions, and grammatical problems. In the Writing Center there are ancillary materials for student use. These writing programs build strong writing muscles. The Bedford Handbook on-line, Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers on-line, Townsend Press, and other such computer and cyber-based resources are a few of the many databases available. There is also an Open Lab for checking e-mail, a Math Lab. All academic labs are located in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) or library. The Cyber Café is located in the F-bldg.

Again, students need a student ID to use the labs and to check out books. The IDs are free. Ask in Student Services (A-bldg.) where photos are taken.

Have a tutor of teacher sign off on your essays before you turn them in; if you have a “R,” which means revision necessary for a grade or “NC” which means “no credit,” you have to go to the lab and revise the essay with a tutor or teacher before you return both the graded original and the revision (with signature) to me. Revise does not mean “rewrite,” it means to “see again.”

When getting assistance on an essay, the teacher or tutor is not an editor, so have questions prepared for them to make best use of the 15-20 minute session in the Lab. I will give you a handout which looks at 5 areas of the essay you can use as a guide when shaping your questions for your peer review sessions. Please use these guidelines when planning your discussions with me also.

For more specific assistance, sign up for one-on-one tutoring, another free service. For those of you on other campuses, you can get assistance at the Merritt College’s Writing Center, as well as Laney College’s Writing Labs.

Correction Essays & Essay Narratives

All essay assignments you receive comments on have to be revised prior to resubmission; included with the revision is a student narrative to me regarding your understanding of what needed to be done, that is, a detailed list of the error(s) and its correction; a student can prepare this as a part of the Lab visit, especially if said student is unclear over what steps to take. Cite from a scholarly source the rule and recommendations for its correction.

Students can also visit me in office hours for assistance; again, prepare your questions in advance to best make use of the time. Do not leave class without understanding the comments on a paper. I don’t mind reviewing them with you.

Student Learning Outcomes:


Analyze and evaluate a variety of written material for relevance and validity in

academic, professional and social situations.


Compose and critique written responses to reading materials and scenarios in

academic, professional and social situations.

Critical Thinking:

Synthesize information from a variety of sources and formulate original ideas

based on evidence in academic, professional and social situations.

Diverse Perspectives:

Recognize the vastness of perspectives in today’s society and integrate those

perspectives into a personal world view.

More on grades, and portfolio

We will be honest with one another. Grades are not necessarily the best response to work; grades do not take into consideration the effort or time spent, only whether or not students can demonstrate mastery of a skill – in this case: essay writing. Grades are an approximation, arbitrary at best, no matter how many safeguards one tries to put in place to avoid such ambiguity. Suffice it to say, your portfolio will illustrate your competence. It will represent your progress, your success or failure this session in meeting your goal.

In past semesters, students have skipped the portfolio and/or the final. Neither is optional.

Office Hours

I’d like to wish everyone much success. I am available for consultation on Wednesdays, 9:30-10:30 AM and on MW by appointment. I am also available after 3:30 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. My office, D-219, is located in the D-216 suite. My campus number is (510) 748-2286. Leave messages on my cell phone.

My email again is: Let me know the day before, if possible, when you’d like to meet with me. I am more of a phone person. Texts are fine. Ask me for my cell phone number. I do not mind sharing it with you.

Take time to exchange email and phone numbers with classmates (2), so if you have a concern, it can be addressed more expeditiously. Again study groups are recommended, especially for those students finding the readings difficult; don’t forget, you can also discuss the readings as a group in the Lab with a teacher or tutor acting as facilitator.

More on Logs

Keep a vocabulary log for the semester and an error chart (taken from comments on essay assignments). List the words you need to look up in the dictionary, also list where you first encountered them: page, book and definition, also use the word in a sentence. You will turn this in with your portfolio.

Students are expected to complete their work on time. If you need more time on an assignment, discuss this with me in advance, to keep full credit. You lose credit each day an assignment is late and certain assignments, such as in-class essays cannot be made up. All assignments prepared outside of class are to be typed, 12-pt. font, double-spaced lines, indentations on paragraphs, 1-inch margins around the written work. See SPHE.


Plagiarism is ethically abhorrent, and if any student tries to take credit for work authored by another person the result will be a failed grade on the assignment and possibly a failed grade in the course if this is attempted again. This is a graded course. There might be an option to take this course C/NC. See Admissions and Records.

Textbooks Recap:

Dyson, Michael Eric. Holler If You Hear Me. Basic Civitas Books, 2001. Print. ISBN: 0-465-01756-8 (or latest edition)

Guy, Jasmine. Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary. Atria Books, 2004. Print. ISBN: 0-7434-7054-0

Pollitt, Gary, and Craig Baker. Stewart Pidd Hates English: Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing Exercises. Fullerton: Attack the Text Publishing, 2011. Print.

Shakur, Tupac Amaru. The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Pocket Books,1999.Print. ISBN: 0-671-02844-2
Students also need a dictionary. I recommend: The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition.

Hacker, Diane. Rules for Writers. 6-7th Editions. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martins. Print.

The Prepared Student also needs...

Along with a dictionary, the prepared student needs pens with blue or black ink, along with a pencil for annotating texts, paper, a stapler or paper clips, a jump drive to save work from college computers, a notebook, three hole punch, a folder for work-in-progress, and a divided binder to keep materials together.

Also stay abreast of the news. Buy a daily paper. Listen to alternative radio: KPFA 94.1 FM (Hard Knock), KQED 88.5, KALW 91.7. Visit news websites:, Al Jazeera,,,,, CBS 60Minutes.

The syllabus and course schedule is subject to change, at the instructor's discretion, so stay loose and flexible.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Cyber-Assignment How to Mark a Book

Post your essays here. Comment on at least one classmate's essay. Agree or disagree with an idea as you expand it.


Recap for Day 2, Week 1

Tuesday, August 21

We read the letter in class Tuesday. For a freewrite, students wrote a letter to me and handed the letters in. I will return them next Tuesday.

Students then got into groups to discuss the topic "Respect." Homework was to write a summary of the article. I also told students that they could cite, that is, paraphrase or use direct quotes to talk about the work.

Thursday, August 23

Today we looked at summarizing and paraphrasing. We practiced summarizing a sentence from the article: "Humility is a virtue black women--and African Americans generally--are expected to have in excess" (Chideya 28).

Literal paraphrase: Meekness is a quality African American females--and black people overall--are assumed to have in abundance (Chideya 28).

We talked about how literal paraphrases are not appropriate for one's essays, unless one changes the sentence structure too, but that literal paraphrases can help one understand more fully what the passage is about if one can use one's own words.

We had about eight new students today, all enrolled just missed the first meeting. They sat together and read the Chideya article.

After we shared the summaries, students in each of the three groups shared one of the summaries with the class. We appreciated the brave students who allowed the teacher to critique their work (smile).

We jotted down a few points for comment on the student summaries:

1. Does the author include the major ideas or key points in the summary? If not, which ones did he/she leave out? (Don't do the work for the author, but perhaps just ask a question).

2. Supportive details--could include citations (paraphrase and direct quotes)

3. Includes the reference--article and author

The last assignment completed was a discussion of annotation. The essay, How to Mark a Book, discusses this. We previewed the essay by reading the introduction and then topic sentences and the conclusion to get a sense of what the essay is about.

Homework is to read the essay and respond to either 1 or 3 in Topics for Writing or write a summary. The length is 250 words or 1 page. This is a cyber assignment, which means students are to post the essays on the blog.

Don't forget to include a heading. Use the anonymous prompt.

Student Name
Professor Sabir
English 201 A (or B)
Date: Day Month Year (no punctuation). See SPHE page 311.

Note: When you post assignments on the blog they lose their formatting. Make sure you look at the post before publishing. Also, do not type in the comment box, type in MS Word and then copy and paste.

Bring SPHE, Evolution of a Revolutionary, and The Rose that Grew from Concrete, and your dictionary to class next week.

Some students did not give me their summaries and the student comments before they left. If you took yours home by accident, turn in the comments Tuesday. You can email me the summary before then:

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Letter of Introduction

Letter of Introduction
17 August 2012

Dear Students:

Today is the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s birthday. Born in St. Anne’s Parish in Jamaica, he is perhaps the most influential black leader of the 20th century. I hosted a radio show this morning from home (programmed two hours earlier to accommodate Staff Dev.), before waking my nephew at 7 AM, pouring his cereal into a bowl, slicing a banana and taking the almond milk out of 'fridge and placing all of this, plus a spoon and a napkin on a silver tray, all the while continuing my conversation with my radio guest (smile).

Michael Ross, curator of the exhibit: "Race: Art Before Answers," ( never knew (smile). After my concluding remarks, I played on a song: Umoja’s “Yesterday’s Lettuce”—quite an image right? Put the phone which had been on mute on speaker as well, told Chris to take his cereal to the car, set the alarm, raced out the door and headed for the campus.

We were 5 minutes late.

I usually write a letter to students each semester, kind of an ice breaker—humanizing perhaps for students or faculty who really believe they walk on water (smile). This teacher doesn’t even swim, but she does love a good aerobic workout in the pool—Zumba, anyone? Ramadan ends this weekend as well—I didn’t fast, so I fed quite a few hungry people in Timbuktu, Republic of Mali and near Jack London Square I gave a woman, clearly high who asked for money for a burger. When my friend and I said we’d walk with her up to Nation’s, she said she wanted to get on a bus and sleep—that she was pregnant and tired. She was so full of game, she was lost on the board (smile). I couldn’t find any money so went to the ATM nearby and gave her a $20.00 bill and my good wishes. My friend said, she might not have noticed that it was a $20, she was so high. I hope she counts her change, but I’d already released that energy.

I hope your summer was fun and exciting and that you are prepared for classes. I’m sure, especially if you attended summer school, that this semester came sooner than anticipated. I taught English 1A this summer, so I feel rested and almost ready for the new academic year (smile).

My plan was to get this letter or at least the syllabus with the books we'd be using listed, so those of you who wanted to buy books on or Amazon -- a cheaper option than the college book store would be able too--that idea is gone, unless you use expedited shipping.

This semester we are back to looking at Tupac Shakur's life and the circumstances, some beyond his control that shaped the man and artist he became. A wordsmith, he certainly let the life he witnessed (often first hand) inform the palate he painted from. Not perfect, he like other young men felled before they reached maturity never had the opportunity to truly reflect on his life and make the transformation those who knew him well, knew he was capable of. Yet, for the flawed spirit journeying he was, certainly his life was absolutely remarkable and instructive, which is why he lives today and is the subject of scholarly discourse in books we will read such as
Michael Eric Dyson’s Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, Jasmine Guy's Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary, and Tupac Shakur's The Rose that Grew from Concrete. We will also use Diana Hacker's Rules for Writers and Gerald Graff & Cathy Birkenstein's They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing.

I saw most of these books in the campus book store this week. I didn't see They Say or Stewart Pidd Hates English.

Many young people and elders too, find Tupac's work inspiring. Many also confuse the artist's vast work with his life. They see his work as solely autobiographical, rather then that of a gifted man who was creative. We will read scholarly work by Michael Eric Dyson.

We give human attributes to time, like “time runs, flies, and is fleeting,” time actually moves the same or not at all—maybe we’re the ones who are moving, our cosmic body of water this thing called time—invisible with visible consequences—lines, aches, sadness.

However we define this illusive phenomena—time, we need to make the most of our brief flash in the universe or on this planet earth. Given the finite nature of life, if we don’t take advantage of the time—I am intentionally redundant, to refine the talents we have been given or developed to get from here to yonder we might look up years later, older but no wiser.

Obviously, your presence in this classroom means you respect the passage of time and have decided to actively engage this process by not passively letting it pass you by. Your presence, says to me that you want to be an active not passive observer in this phenomena—aging, developing, growing, deteriorating. Each moment, we die a little, so this writing, this active engaging of oneself in one’s life is like planting a stake on the moon, a stake that says, I am here, I was here, and I will be here, even after I am no longer visible.

Life is a gift; we don’t want to waste it. That said, you might be here under duress. Sometimes life circumstances dictate that we try new activities, change old ways and develop more positive habits. Reflection, in the form of reading and writing is one of the most productive ways to spend one’s time, especially when one is trying to figure out what one plans to do with this finite time each of us has been given.

Well, before my 10 minutes on the computer are up let me tell you a bit about this semester and what you can expect:

The theme is hip hop culture in its purest form, by this I mean hip hop from its inception or the roots of the genre or musical form. In a few classes—I teach four classes, three preps: English 201, English 1A and English 1B, we explore the life of Tupac Shakur, a controversial, charismatic and creative architect in this movement. We will read books about him, reflect on him in our research and look for other artists who are also using their craft to better society—

Hip hop culture has influenced youth globally, and in my English 1B we will reflect on this global movement via the various aesthetic forms of expression: poetry, music, dance, theatre, spirituality, politics, visual arts, and media such as photography and journalism.

Though you might find the class fun, or entertaining, we are scholars, so the music and the videos, even the fieldtrips to concerts, all have a written component—the discourse is documented in what is called essays—short 250 word reflections and longer pieces depending on the assignment. We will have some assignments due on-line on the class blog called cyber-assignments and others will be due in class.

My office is D-219. I will give you my cell phone number. Office hours will probably be Monday-Wednesdays between 9-11 AM and perhaps Tuesdays-Thursdays after after 3:20 PM by appointment. I am not on campus on Fridays.

We will meet in a classroom in the A-bldg. with technology on Thursdays for the M-Th, T/Th classes. More on this later.

English 1A Composition and Reading (2 classes)

Class code: 400002 Lec 08:00-8:50 AM MTWTh Sabir meets in A 202 at COA
Class code: 400008 Lec 11:00-11:50 AM MTWTh Sabir meets in C113 at COA

English 1B Composition and Reading
Class code: 400009 Lec 09:00-10:50 AM TTh Sabir meets in A 200 at COA

English 201A Preparation for Composition and Reading
Class code: 40018 Lec 01:30-3:20 AM TTh Sabir meets in A 200 at COA

English 201B Preparation for Composition and Reading (meets concurrently with English 201A)
Class code: 40022 Lec 01:30-3:20 AM TTh Sabir meets in A 200 at COA

I highly recommend SPHE. It is required for English 201 and English 1A. Deceptively simple, the book is useful for all college writing levels as a refresher and also as an introduction to essay writing for college. SPHE gives students the language to talk about their writing and the skills to intentionally produce competent essays.

Students analyze the character Stewart Pidd’s essays and grade his essays by critiquing this work in essays they compose. The authors tell students how to write these essays and the assignments are prescriptive. Many essays are written in class and the exercises are also run in class. The book grows more complex as skills increase.

I received good feedback on the text from some of my more accomplished writers in English 1A over the years. Many still hate it though, and other students say they learned a lot about writing that they hadn’t know before. We are literally going to whiz through Pidd in English 1A. We will decide during the first two weeks if we need to complete Pidd or if student writing is up to standard already.

I have no tolerance for sloppy writing. Sloppy writing, my definition, is not writing that is illegible. Everything submitted formally is typed. No, sloppy writing is writing that is so drafty one needs a winter coat. There are grammatical errors left unchecked such as comma splices, run-on sentences, misspelled words, vague pronouns, subject-verb disagreement (smile), parallel structure errors, confused words, contractions, too many be-verbs and be-verb constructions like present participles, expletives, passive voice, subject complements, problems with comparisons. . . . All of this is covered in SPHE.

If English 1A fails the pre-tests, then we will run SPHE first. In English 201, we will definitely run SPHE first. We will use film, Rose and perhaps Evolution to liven up the often dull Pidd. Grammar is not exciting, but it is necessary.

We will start with the Jasmine Guy book and Tupac's collection of poetry, just because these books are easier to read. We will conclude with Dr. Dyson. I usually start with Dyson, students will have to let me know how this new system works.

The fourth book will be student choice. The book can be an autobiography or fiction related in some way thematically to our discussions this semester: personal transformation, choice vs. destiny, hip hop culture, the hero's journey, education for liberation, social movements like the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Art for Social Change.

We will complete the first two books in the first month, then complete the last two books over a month as well, leaving the final month for research. The final paper is to identify and profile a social entrepreneur.

Keep all of your work, this is a portfolio based class. More on this later.

Academic Blogs
Here is a link to older posts in this topic (English 1A)

English 201

English 1B (academic blog)

I have not forgotten you (smile). In English 1B, we are not using Hip Hop culture as a theme. I have in the past, but not this semester. Students in this class will look at women's writing. The books have been used in past semesters, so you can check the academic blog for content.

We are practicing skills which you developed in English 1A. The difference is we are looking at literature and analyzing other genres, in our case: poetry, fiction and dramatic literature. I will be looking at the writing, but more than this I will be paying attention to the scholarship, which is why each essay has to include a citation from a scholarly article—4-10+ pages.

Your essays can use multiple styles . . . be creative. However, I need to know that you know how to write an essay, so save the creative work for last (smile). And if you plan to deviate from the norm, don’t surprise me, share the idea with me first.

We are going to read a book or play every few weeks. We start with short fiction and then move into a novel, dramatic literature, another novel, a poetry unit, which involves group research and a presentation. The final essay and presentation are due the final two weeks of class.

The selection can be two short poems or a longer one, a novel, another play or a short story.

Short Story
1. The Dance Boots by Linda Legarde Grover is the text for the short story unit. Each unit includes the definitive essay, plus in-class writing, group writing and blog assignments.

The Novel
2. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok and The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is the text for the fiction unit (2 essays), plus a film.

Dramatic Literature:
3. Ruined or some other selection (handout).

Poetry Unit
5. Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian Poetry edited by Neelanjana Bannerjee, Summi Kaipa, and Pireeni Sundaralingam

6. Final essay –student choice re: literature (book)

Textbooks Recap for English 1B:

Gardner, Janet E. Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide. Second Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.

Grover, Linda Legarde. The Dance Boots. Athens, Georgia and London: The University of Georgia Press, 2010. Print.

Kwok, Jean. Girl in Translation. New York: Riverhead Books, 2010. Print.

Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. Pantheon Books, 2007. Print. ISBN 0375714839

Bannerjee, Neelanjana and Summi Kaipa, Pireeni Sundaralingam. Ed. Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian Poetry. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2010. Print.

Students need a grammar/style text book. I recommend.
Hacker, Diane. Rules for Writers. 6-7th Editions. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martins. Print.

A college dictionary. I recommend American Heritage.

Textbook Recap for English 1A

Dyson, Michael Eric. Holler If You Hear Me. Basic Civitas Books, 2001. Print. ISBN: 0-465-01756-8 (or latest edition)

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Second Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010. Print.

Guy, Jasmine. Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary. Atria Books, 2004. Print. ISBN: 0-7434-7054-0

Hacker, Diane. Rules for Writers. 6-7th Editions. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martins. Print.

Pollitt, Gary, and Craig Baker. Stewart Pidd Hates English: Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing Exercises. Fullerton: Attack the Text Publishing, 2011. Print.

Shakur, Tupac Amaru. The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Pocket Books,1999. Print. ISBN: 0-671-02844-2

Students also need a dictionary. I recommend: The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition.

Textbook Recap for English 201

Shakur, Tupac Amaru. The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Pocket Books, 1999. ISBN: 0-671-02844-2

Guy, Jasmine. Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary. Atria Books, 2004. ISBN: 0-7434-7054-0

Dyson, Michael Eric. Holler If You Hear Me. Basic Civitas Books, 2001. ISBN: 0-465-01756-8 (or latest edition)

Pollitt, Gary, and Craig Baker. Stewart Pidd Hates English: Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing Exercises. Fullerton: Attack the Text Publishing, 2011. Print.

Students also need a dictionary. I recommend: The American Heritage Dictionary. Print. Fourth Edition.

It might seem as if I am the absent-minded professor, but I am no Fred MacMurray (actor). I expect students to come to class prepared, to be respectful of differing opinions, to not waste our time pontificating. Contributions to the discourse are welcome especially those comments that expand and further the discussion. It is fine sometimes to listen and ask questions.

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