Thursday, October 31, 2013


Essay 1 Due Dates

The completed essay based on a theme from Virgin Soul is due next Wednesday, November 6, 2013, via email. Make sure you include the completed essay, the Initial Planning Sheet and Outline in that order.

In one Word Document with separate pages include the following:

1. Essay with works cited page. Make sure the MLA is perfect: double spaced throughout, 12 point font, header and heading. See Pidd Axillary.

2. Initial Planning Sheet (separate page)

3. Outline (separate page)

There is only 1 attachment.


Peer Reviews; Cyber-Responses

Wednesday in class we reviewed what are some of the qualities of good writing. Please post your lists and narratives here. We then read two essays from the package Writing with a Thesis on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." We also talked about the importance of having an argument or thesis in all kinds of writing whether that is a thank you note, a personal ad or driving directions.

We didn't talk about the Letter of Complaint, but we did talk about the two essays that students write on the short story, The Lottery. Which one has a thesis and why.

For homework, complete all the exercises in the package. It will help you make sure your essays have strong thesis sentences.

Peer Reviews

Students all got copies of students essays and essays in progress. We reviewed one essay, Valarria's on Virgin Soul. I went over it with everyone. Homework is to write a response to Valarria. Talk about what is working well in her writing. Use the ideas and points we came up with in class. I will add a few more a bit later to this post.

If something is not clear, ask a question. The completed essay is due next Wednesday via email, pasted and attached in the email. Include the Initial Planning Sheet, Outline and don't forget the works cited page for the essay.

Essay 2 Comments from Me

Students also shared with me the book they would like to read for Essay 2. If you did not know what book you would like to read for the next essay. Make sure I approve it either Thursday, October 31 or Friday, Nov. 1. If I do not respond to your email, call me.

Next Week

Classes are canceled next week and your major assignment will be to complete the book. There will be a couple other assignments, such as finding a published review of your book and a biography of the author, but that is the major one. These will be cyber-assignments. Students will write summaries for the blog. I will post the assignments later.


There is not class November 11, Veteran's Day, so do not get behind. We are entering the home stretch and we have two more essays to complete that demonstrate your mastery of the Pidd concepts. Make sure before you submit your final drafts next week that they are edited.

Staying in touch

I will leave the essays students left with me outside my office (D-219) today. So if you miss me they will be there today one in an envelop outside the door. You can email me next week with questions. I will respond by the evening after 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


COINTELPRO--Spying by any other name . . .

We watched an interview with an FBI agent from Disc. 2, in the 4 disc. set in: What We Believe: The Black Panther Library presented by Roz Payne Archives & Newsreel Films (2006), who spoke candidly about his role in infiltrating the Black Panther Party. Watch a couple of these interviews to get more background from the other side re: COINTELPRO.

Here is a link to the DVD:

For extra credit, you can write a short essay reflecting on this survellance program and the attitude of the federal agent we watched today.

After the program we reflected on Geniece's experience with Panther members who were on the lam, escaping from federal prosecution. We developed a thesis sentence and an outline for a potential essay.

Homework is the write your essay based on a theme or topic from Virgin Soul. Make sure you use evidence from the novel, that is, quotes and free paraphrases.  Bring to class electronically Monday to share.

In the package, Writing with a Thesis. Read and do the exercises up to and including the two essays on "My Summer Vacation."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Today we developed questions for our essay on Virgin Soul. Students were also asked to send me a copy of their completed Initial Planning Sheet answers, the essay question and the thesis sentence by 12 noon tomorrow.

Do not write the essay before I respond. Send to

We completed half the exercises in Writing with a Thesis (9). Read the chapter so that we can complete the rest of the questions on page 9-10. Read the section assigned last week: "The Thesis at Work in the Paper" (11-14).

We are finished with Pidd. Students turned in the remainder of the essays today. If you are not finished, you can still turn the work in. We will be applying the information learned in Pidd to our own work. There is one more Grammar Exam. We will take it in a few weeks. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


More on the essay and recap for today

Today in class, students took the Multiple Choice Grammar Exam 1, graded it and handed it into me to record. We then shifted to summarizing scenes from Virgin Soul. Bring the summaries into class on Monday to share. We will read the scenes aloud and then hear the summaries.

Don't worry if you didn't do well on the Exam. It hopefully will let you know where you need to focus your review. Go back to the chapters and review the exercises. In the Writing Center (L-234) you can get additional exercises. You can also get more practice at this link:
The editors of Pidd use Hacker's Rules for Writers as their guide. Register and use this site to help you with your writing.

Monday, October 21, we will be really busy. I am going to allow students some time to figure out what they want their question to be for their essays. I have made some suggestions, however, I am flexible on the prompt. If you have an idea in mind, let me know.

I will bring more prompts in for Monday, October 21, as well. If you have already started writing about a topic you find interesting, feel free to develop it further in an expanded version for this assignment. Each essay is 3-4 pages long. This does not include the works cited page. Each essay will use 3-4 citations, varying in type: block quote, free paraphrase and shorter citation.

Handouts today

I also gave students a package from the book, Writing with a Thesis. Read and do the exercises up to the Letters of Complaint. 

Grading for Essay 1

For this first essay students will be graded on how well written their thesis sentence is and how successful they are in supporting and proving their argument. Students will also be assessed on their use of the text. 

Writing Workshop continues

Thursdays, 12:30-2 p.m. in A-205, I am here. Come by. I will be back for Nov. 7.


Essay 1: Virgin Soul Essay Assignment

Reading Assignments for Virgin Soul Recap

The book is to be completed by Monday, October 21, 2013.

1. Monday, October 21, 2013, we will develop an Initial Planning Sheet (IPS) and a working thesis. Students will then have time in class (1 hour) to write a fast draft.  No Pidd assignments today.

2. Wednesday, October 23, 1st polished draft due for a peer review. Again, no Pidd assignments.

3. Monday, October 28, 2013, students will bring in another draft with a Revision Goals Plan attached.

4. Final Draft due Wednesday, October 30, 2013. Students will bring in a final draft of the essay to submit in class via email. We will assemble the essay portfolio in class.  Bring everything electronically: all freewrites connected to Virgin Soul, the IPS, outline, Reading Logs for the book, and any other writing.

Reading Schedule:

For October 14 prepare chapters 19-28 (pages 116-170).

For Wednesday, October 16, prepare chapters 29-39 (pages 171-212).

For Monday, October 21, complete the book chapters 41-58, (pages 213-306).

Students are to keep reading and vocabulary logs for each chapter. Here is a link to how I'd like the logs written:

This a recap of what the authors state in Reading to Write, chapter 1 under Reading Logs. 

Also next week, Wednesday, October 30, 2013 bring in a copy(s) of a book you're considering for Essay 2. See below. I need to approve the book before you begin to read it Nov. 4-6.

Nov. 4-6, I will be away again, this time complete your independent reading. Catch up on Pidd

Essay 2: Selecting the book

On Wednesday, October 30, bring the book to class you'd like to read for your second essay. Choose a book about a person or character who is a change agent, a leader, not a follower. You decide if the person is a good influence or a bad influence on his or her constituency. If you'd like to stay in the world of the movements popular in the 1960s, you might want to read biographies or autobiographies of people like Huey P. Newton, Kathleen Cleaver, Angela Y. Davis who is the subject of a new film (2013) Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners, Mumia Abu Jamal, who is also the subject in a new film, Long Distance Revolutionary.

Book Report Essay due dates:

Planning due: Monday, November 11.

Fast Draft due: Monday, November 18.

Final Draft due: Wednesday, November 20.

Essay with Revision plan due by Friday, November 22.

Presentations week of November 23-25. All presentations include an abstract. Make copies for each of your classmates. If you want me to make copies, print one copy for me.I have a handout for students instructing you on how to develop an abstract.

The presentation is weighted heavily here, so prepare well, and please include an abstract which includes the title of the book, the key points you plan to make and any arguments you’d like us to consider. Bring in copies for each student. If a student does not have an abstract, he or she will not present. There are no make ups.

Respond to all my points listed above and you will be fine. If you want to more information see: 

Monday, October 14, 2013

I edited the third prompt, to make it--I hope, clearer. I also put a link there for the block or long citation. Here is a link to the reading and writing assignments for Virgin Soul:

Two Events this weekend:
This Sunday, October 20, 3 p.m., at the Church for the Fellowship of All People in San Francisco, Dr. Angela Y. Davis and Dr. Fania Davis, two revolutionary sisters (smile) will be honored. The event is free. I plan to attend. Let me know if you'd like to go over together. Here is a link:

I also plan to attend the event on the Black Panther Oakland Community School Reunion Alumni 2013 at Mills College, Mills College Hall, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, Saturday, October 21, 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. (The talk which is the part you'd be interested in, is in the Mills Concert Hall from 2-5). I passed out fliers for the Mills College event two weeks ago. I have more fliers. It is also free.

You don't have to write about the events, but you might want to use something from each of them to inform your essay.

Today in class I gave students an Initial Planning Sheet. I noticed that a few students just made lists rather than took a position, wrote a thesis or argument and then wrote the essay.Your essay has to have a position you are arguing. Often in the planning stage of the writing, if you pose a research question, the answer to the question could be the thesis.

You start broad when writing about a topic, then narrow so that it leads the writing to the thesis or argument. Wednesday, October 16, 2013, I will give students a package from a book called Writing with a Thesis. We will run through the exercises in class next week. It will help you differentiate between what is a good or effective thesis and what is not. We can juxtapose what we learn here with what is on the Leo handout on thesis sentences handed out two weeks ago.

This coming Wednesday we will also take the Multiple Choice Grammar Exam 1. Students who are not here will have to make arrangement with me later. We will correct it in class. It will be graded. The possible correct is 50. You will look at Pidd up to and including Pronoun Case, Essay Exam 1.

Review it before class.

Most students are almost finished with Pidd. Two students are done. Friday, October 18 or Monday, October 21, I would like the remainder of the essays completed.

Your essay on Virgin Soul is due Monday, October 28. I'd like students to expand one of the shorter essays developed in Cyber Assignments. There will be three more short essays between now and Wednesday, October 23.

The planning is due Monday, October 21. Students are supposed to have reading logs for Virgin Soul. If you recall, I gave you a handout on how to write a reading log. It is also in the Reading to Write handout chapter 1.

If you have not been keeping logs, go back and write them. When we do not meet in class, this does not mean you have a free day or a day off. I am really surprised that so many students have not gotten their work done. The evidence that you understand Pidd is reflected in how well you are able to incorporate the lessons into your own writing.

If you have finished the book and cannot recognize the errors you have corrected in Pidd in your own writing then, you will have many correction essays using your own writing as material for the templates to complete. We are not doing the Hootenanny essay. Subject-Verb Agreement is the last essay.

Lastly, we started to write a 3-paragraph essay in class about "Identity." We raised a question, answered it and then started to write the introduction. I used the Initial Planning Sheet to start the essay.

The IPS asks the questions:
What is your topic;
Who is your audience;
What is your purpose, that is, to explain or inform, to argue a point, to narrate or to describe;
What question do you want the essay to answer; what will be your primary writing strategy; argumentation, cause and effect, problem solution, classification. . . .

Thursday I am in A-205 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Come by.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I posted the assignments late :-(  Complete Cyber-Assignment 2 now.

Complete Assignment 3 before class Monday, October 14.

The Cyber-Assignment 1 one prompt is included in the first post.


Cyber-Assignment 2 for October 7, 2013

Talk about Geniece's civic involvement in social movements from Oakland City to San Francisco State. Initially Allwood is her god, that is, he helps her create a new world. When does she take control of this process herself?

Talk about her new friends, her job at SFSU, her growing involvement in community.

Is she still a virgin soul? Why or how does she hold onto this aspect of herself?

Remember, each essay is 250 words (1 page min.) If you write more, you might have to post it in two posts. Just put continued or part 1 and part 2.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


Cyber-Assignment 3 for Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Instructions: Choose one of the following prompts. Each essay should be minimally 250 words. In each paragraph, let's say three (3) include one citation: a free paraphase; a shorter citation and lastly a block quote ( citation which is 4+ lines of text). See the following link:

1. There are many themes or topics running through the text: youth, family dynamics, orphans, abandonment, Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Black Power Movement, police violence, public schools, poverty, child neglect, murder, sexism, racism, prejudice, higher education, self-esteem, racial pride. . . .

Explore one of these themes in a short 250 word min., essay.

2. Talk about place and how geography helps center and ground the narrative in fact. The places Geniece goes are places we can visit as well. These landmarks still exist, but are largely changed or are they?

Do you find yourself traveling with Geniece and or wanting to live for a minute in the world she occupies where some much is happening, change is active and participatory and now.

3. Talk about the danger and how Geniece exhibits a fearlessness and eventually a selflessness, yet she is not following or wandering anywhere blindly or is she?

I often appreciated the way she'd check-in with herself. She is introspective and when she makes a mistake she doesn't beat herself up; however, she doesn't repeat it either.

Today we continued working on our Pidd assignments. Most students have completed their Pronoun Case Essay Exam 1. There are two more: Possessives and Parallel Structure. If you did not complete it, give it to me tomorrow. I will be in A-205 from 12:30-2 p.m. 

I will put graded Pronoun Case essays in an envelop outside my office tomorrow.

The plan for next week is for students to complete three more essays. Wherever you are complete three more. That is, complete the exercises and the templates. We were supposed to have completed Pidd by October 3.

We completed the Ellipsis Marks Quiz. It is connected to the Pronoun Case section. The essay is Synthetica. 

I gave students a handout which we read on LEO: Thesis Sentences. We then developed a few using as our topic "virgin soul." What does the author mean by this? What is a virgin soul? How is Geniece a "virgin soul"?

Here are the sentences we developed:

Geniece maintains her innocence even though at times violence surrounds her.

Judy Juanita's character in Virgin Soul remains naive despite her deepening involvment in the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

Despite the events occurring in Oakland at a time when there were major protests nationally against the war in Vietnam and locally against police brutality, Geneice Hightower remains pure; her soul is virgin.


When one thinks about virgin territory, what comes to mind is Geniece Hightower; she is open and accepting yet not without analysis. 

I will post a few writing prompts for freewrites. Each writing assignment is 250 words minimal. It is a cyber-assignment. The first one is for today.

Writing Assignment 1 Due now.
Using evidence from the text, discuss Geniece's self-image. What does she think about herself? Is she pretty, is she smart, is she confident? How does this change over the course of her early relationship with Allwood?

Discuss a few crucial moments where she actually sees herself for the first time and likes what she sees. 

Give examples from the novel to support your claims. Remember to introduce the speaker and put a page number at the end of the direct quote of free paraphrase.

Don't forget to include a works cited page. 

Check back Monday and Wednesday for two more writing prompts.

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