Grades Posted

25 May

I have posted final grades. I enjoyed reading your portfolios and seeing the progress that you have made throughout the semester. Have a good summer, whether you are taking classes, working, or sitting around by the pool!

Final Portfolio Checklist

11 May

As we approach the deadline for final portfolios (to be turned in at my office between 1:30 and 4 pm tomorrow MAY 12), I am attaching a checklist for last-minute revisions. Rememeber:

  • Your name and my name should not be on any of your papers. Use your nine-digit (not eleven-digit) student ID in place of your name.
  • Include two interpretive essays and one reflective essay in a manila folder. NO two-pocket folders or binders of any kind. Write your student ID and our course number on the outside of the folder.
  • All papers must be stapled individually.
  • Each paper needs its own works cited page to document any sources referenced.

Open Doors

2 May

A relevant and possibly motivating end-of-semester quote from a miscellaneous LA Times news article I found: “The ability to write well opens doors, Taylor said. ‘And writing is not only an academic and professional skill, it’s also a window into the way we understand ourselves as individuals and express who we are to the world.'”

Unit 3 Portfolio

22 Apr

Due Tues. 4/26

The Unit 3 Portfolio includes assignments 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, and 3-8 (the reflective essay draft). So, to review, you should include hard copies of your Junod first draft (3-4), my comments on your Junod essay, a peer review if you were absent on peer review day (3-5), your reverse outlines (3-6), your informal reflective notes (3-7), and a reflective essay draft (3-8). The unit portfolios are not graded, but I will assign an evaluation of “excellent,” “satisfactory,” or “needs major improvement” to your unit portfolio as a whole. I take these evaluations into consideration when calculating your final course grade. You need to submit all the Unit 3 assignments listed above in order to get credit for the portfolio as a whole.

3-8: Drafting Your Reflective Essay

20 Apr

For April 26, write a draft of your reflective essay. Print a hard copy of your essay, staple it, and include it in your Unit 3 Portfolio. In addition, post your reflective essay to the correct dropbox on D2L. The file must be .doc or .rtf, and the filename must include your last name.

Here are the assignment guidelines, which I already handed out in class on 4/19:

Along with your two revised interpretive essays, your portfolio includes a reflective essay examining your work. It should highlight problems you faced, how you feel you improved, and factors that went into the choices you made in both of your interpretive essays. In considering these three items, it is critical that you cite examples from your essays. Use the standard MLA citation format and include a works cited page at the end of your reflective essay. Instead of a name, use your nine-digit student ID. For example:

In my essay on “Separate Kingdoms,” I chose to interpret Colt’s column first, then Jack’s, and lastly I concluded my essay with a discussion of interplay between the columns. To support my conclusion, I write that “readers become aware of the two social and mental worlds in the story, and Laken asks readers to stand between these worlds to see both perspectives” (993478901 3). This statement serves as my controlling purpose.
(The “3” is the page number)

Keep in mind that this essay might help readers evaluate your portfolio. If you referenced personal experience, now is your chance to reflect on your decision and explain it to outside readers. It is also a chance to direct readers’ attention to what you have done best, as well as explain weaknesses in your pieces and constraints that you faced in writing, demonstrating an awareness of how you might improve. This is not an argument for portfolio readers to positively evaluate you. Rather, it is an opportunity to reflect on the individual assignments as well as your work as a whole.

You can and should discuss things like:

  • specific places where you are meeting the goals
  • important revisions you made in the process of writing a critical interpretation
  • decisions you made in building your interpretation, and rationale for these decisions
  • challenges with specific parts of the assignment
  • what you learned from the authors you read
  • how you look at writing differently than when the semester began
  • how your writing has changed
  • how your writing process has changed.

You should avoid comments like:

  • “I learned a lot this semester.”
  • “My teacher was so great” or “My teacher was horrible because…”
  • “Thank heavens this class is over.”
  • “Please pass my portfolio so I don’t have to take this class again.”
  • “I hope you were impressed with my essays. I worked so hard on them.”
  • “As you can see, my portfolio has improved a lot.”
  • “Clearly, I am ready for English 102.”
  • Final note: This is an essay about you and your writing. Do not interpret or EXTENSIVELY summarize other authors in your reflective essay. Some summary is OK, but just for the purpose of getting to your reflective point.

Given the number of possible items you could address, it’s important to have a clear controlling purpose in your reflective essay so that your writing does not sound like a long list of points in paragraph form. I will distribute possible outlines in class.

Below are the goals for the reflective essay assignment.

With their REFLECTIVE ESSAYS, a writer will (in addition to the goals for the interpretive essays):
Account for and evaluate the choices made in the interpretive essays by…
– considering the writer’s own composing and design strategies given the purpose, context, medium, and audience.
– explaining how the writing in his or her essay positions the writer in relation to other people, their ideas, and their writing.

3-7: Preparing for the Final Portfolio

12 Apr

Due Tues. 4/19

You have received feedback on all three of your essays, and you have devoted thought to the revision process for two of these essays. For this assignment, review your drafts, comments, revision plans, and the Assignment 3-6 worksheets you completed. Decide if the two essays you selected for Assignment 3-6 are still the essays you want to include in your final portfolio. Then, on paper, write or type a few paragraphs describing the process of writing these two essays—list the struggles you encountered, the successes you had, and the various factors that contributed to these high/low points. Be specific! Make a list of things under “easy” and “difficult” if it helps you be specific! This is an informal assignment that is required as part of your Unit 3 portfolio, but it will not evaluated with the other assignments. In other words, be honest.

3-6: Assessing Your Writing

7 Apr

Due during your conference

One goal of this course is to help you become a better and more attentive reader of your own writing. This skill will serve you in your future college coursework and help you revise essays independently from now on. With this in mind, use this worksheet [PDF file] to create two reverse outlines for two of the essays you have written this semester. (A reverse outline means to plot the structure and identify different moves in your essay after you have the essay written.) So, the assignment is to choose two essays you think you may want to include in your portfolio. Then, for each essay, complete a copy of the worksheet uploaded at the link above. Bring these two worksheets and your essay drafts to your conference.

3-4: Writing an Interpretive Essay on “The Falling Man”

3 Apr

Due Thurs. 4/7

You have spent time understanding, analyzing, and critiquing Junod’s text. Now, write a formal essay that presents a convincing interpretation of “The Falling Man.” Your audience is a diverse group of people who probably have not read Junod’s essay, so the summary skills you have practiced all semester will be essential. In addition to a summary, be sure to include the major elements of a critical interpretation, which we have been discussing throughout the course.

For this essay, aim for three or more pages. Don’t worry about a grade, but instead spend your energy on composing a clear interpretation in 3+ pages that meets the portfolio goals. Also, in this third and final essay, strive for:

  • polished citations (in-text and work cited page)
  • a concise/clear controlling purpose in your first or second paragraph
  • explicit articulation of Junod’s strategies / questions raised / patterns / terms
  • ample evidence (direct quotes and paraphrases) to support your claims

Bring a hard copy of your essay, stapled, to the next class. In addition, post your completed essay draft to the correct Unit 3 dropbox on D2L. The file must be .doc or .rtf, and the filename must include your last name. If you come to the next class without an essay draft completed, you will be counted absent for that class period.

3-3: Finding Other Angles on “The Falling Man”

31 Mar

Due Tuesday April 5

You have read Junod’s essay twice and considered it at length. Now find a piece of writing that presents a counterpoint or alternative angle on what you see as Junod’s main claim or thesis. It could be a blog post about the grieving process. It could be an article about war photography and its role in creating propaganda or generating support for the Iraq invasion. It could be an essay about history and who has the authority to write it. It could be a psychological piece about selective memory and cognition. Or what about an author who defends our “right to look away” from horrific images?

Post a few paragraphs here in which you link to the article you found and summarize it (incorporating the key elements of a summary and citing references) in one paragraph and then analyze the authors’ conflict (or the issue that complicates Junod’s thesis or perhaps offers a different perspective on his subject) in the second paragraph. Which author presents a more convincing case, and why? Or do both authors make valid claims? Does the counterargument or alternative angle change how you feel about Junod’s essay? Write in the Plain Style and be sure to incorporate well-cited passages to support your case.

3-2: Analyzing “The Falling Man”

30 Mar

Due Thurs. 3/31

Re-read “The Falling Man.” Then, post a few paragraphs to the blog on D2L in which you attempt to describe your sense of Junod’s audience, purpose, and context (building on the work we did in class on March 29). Think about how these three elements combine to form Junod’s rhetorical situation and how his situation guides the composing choices he makes. Come to the next class prepared to discuss your post.