Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lecture 26: Final Exam Review

Today we'll go over the structure of the exam and we'll spend the class reviewing the content of the first two parts of the exam.

Note: The image is from gates of academe.

Update: Answers for the practise exam. Note that your answers might vary and still be correct. I know a few of you rephrased sentence structure and word choice. That's fine too. If you'd like to e-mail me your correction to be double-checked, please do send it along.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lecture 25: Effective Writing

Today we'll review aspects of effective writing. We'll focus on sentence clarity, strong vocabulary and the active voice.

One of our in-class activities will require us to analyse Obama's inaugural speech. We'll look for specific linguistic devices such as:

Active voice
Passive voice

Note: Please remember to bring all texts to Thursday's class for exam review.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lecture 24: Research and Proofreading

Proofreading is checking copy for
• Accuracy: spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
• Impression: tense, tone, intent
• Professionalism: overall appearance, clarity, conciseness

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lecture 23: Research Assignment Workshop

We'll spend most of today's class working on our research assignments, focussing on strong academic analysis and evaluation for the annotated bibliographies.

Here is an overview of the active and passive voice:

Once you've read the above, complete the following quiz:

**A reminder to please fill in the following survey about our library session:**

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lecture 22: Research Assignment Workshop

Today, as noted in our last class, we'll have time to complete the assignment from Tuesday (the "potty-mouth" annotation) and post it to the blog or hand in a hard copy.

What to include:
Write 2-3 sentences about Smith’s essay.
Where is the author’s position/thesis statement? Write it in your own words.
Where are Smith’s reasons? Find them and number them.
What kind of evidence does Smith use as support for his position?
How does Smith arrange these reasons (what is the logic)? Write 1-2 sentences about the rationale you think Smith uses to choose and arrange the reasons.
Does Smith consider alternative views or opposing perspectives? Write a sentence about the effectiveness (or not!) of the placement.
How reliable is the author?
Who is he?
Would you trust his view?
Is Smith well informed? How do you know?
Does Smith tell how he is connected to the issue?

We'll then spend the remainder of the class working on our research assignments, focussing on strong academic analysis and evaluation for the annotated bibliographies.


For Tuesday (24th of November) please reach Chapter 22 in Handbook for Writers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lecture 21: Research and Annotation

Pre-Reading Activity
Short Video
Read “Potty-Mouthed and Proud of It” (413)
Group Work

Bring all texts, articles, laptops, dictionaries to next class (Thursday 19th November) to help you work on your Research Assignment

Post “Potty-Mouthed” Dictionary Entry to the class blog BEFORE Thursday 9:30am (one entry per group, note all group members).

Note: Image from Linux Journal.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Library Research Session: Feedback Required

Following your library session, please fill in the following survey:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lecture 20: Thesis Statements

Please add your thesis statement as a comment to this blog post. Remember, your thesis statement should pertain to your public discussion topic. If you'd like to choose a different topic, please let me know before you craft your thesis statement.

Since your thesis statements are drawn from your public discussion topics I'm asking you to imagine writing an "argumentative" essay. This type of essay usually:

"makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided."

*****Example Thesis Statement*****

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.

Read more about writing thesis statements at OWL and here and here.

Here is some interesting information on the "myths about thesis statements."

Note: Image from arghh_im_a_pirate on flickr.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lecture 19: Library Research Session

Today we're meeting in the library, room 327, for a session devoted to finding scholarly materials for your research projects.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Public Discussion Analysis

Assignment: Public Discussion Analysis
Due: 10th November, Start of Class
Details: In a one page analysis of your group’s topic and debate you will have four sections:
·         Debate Resolution
·         Background
·         Arguments (both pro and con)
·         Works Cited (follow MLA style and include all YouTube videos as well)
NOTE: Each member of the group must hand in their own analysis but the group may collaborate during the writing stage. 

SAMPLE Public Discussion Analysis
Resolution: Resolved, that handguns should not be protected under the provisions of the Second

Background: The United States has the most liberal gun ownership policy in the world and the highest crime rates in the world also. The National Rifle Association has for years had a vice grip on lawmakers when even the slightest hint of a handgun control bill is introduced into Congress. One of their typical arguments is that unlimited handgun possession is a guaranteed right protected by the Second Amendment. The time has come for the Supreme Court to decide the issue once and for all: is the wording of the amendment made under conditions existing in the late 1770s when militias were part of our national defense applicable to the late 1990s when people are afraid for their lives because every petty thief or robber could easily be carrying a handgun? When South Carolina passed a law that regulated the sale of handguns experimentally for a three year period, there was 28% reduction in the number of homicides committed with handguns. The time has come for the courts to recognize that there have been abuses promulgated by the Second Amendment and that it is time for us to care more about protecting our personal lives than protecting an outmoded wording within the Second Amendment. It's time to keep to the intent of the Founding Fathers and change the wording accordingly.

Arguments: The Second Amendment should not apply to handguns—especially firearms used for illegal purposes. Because handguns are so easily concealed, they do not have any reasonable relationship to the preservation of the efficiency of a "well-regulated militia." In the Supreme Court case United States V.
Cruisckshank, it was determined that the Second Amendment only applied to the "bearing of arms for a
lawful purpose."

Interpreting the Second Amendment to apply to personally-owned handguns tends to validate the use of handguns for a variety of inappropriate behaviors. "Deadly at No Cost," in Time reports that 40% of handgun deaths were suicides, 26% were accidental deaths and that 10% were felony related (24). Over three-quarters of the remaining handgun killings were related to guns that were originally bought to protect a family but became weapons of destruction. Additionally, 65% of all homicides in the U.S. are "crimes of passion" in which the victim knows his or her killer; this is hardly an argument for a "well-regulated militia" (25).

With total protection of gun ownership afforded by the Second Amendment, it is impossible to keep guns out of the hands of the undesirable. Most provisions of the Brady Law dealing with registration have been disallowed by the courts. People with criminal records or a history of mental instability can still purchase lethal weapons. "Ready, Aim, Fire at our Youth," describes how handguns make it onto high school, junior high school and even elementary school campuses as the black market for guns caters to youth (40).

Works Cited:
South Carolina Law Review, 1975: 45. Print.
"Deadly at No Cost," Time Magazine, February 3, 1992: 24-25. Print
Congressional Quarterly, January, 1992: 218-232. Print
"Ready, Aim, Fire at our Youth," Newsweek, February 17, 1992: 40-44. Print
"One Gun Too Many," Los Angeles Times, September 1, 1995: 1. Print

Lecture 18: Public Discussions Part II

Today the remaining groups shall present their topics and debate for the class.

Your public discussion analysis assignment is added to the blog for you to peruse. Please hand it in on Tuesday before we begin our library session. Remember to come straight to the library for our research session which will help with the research assignment due on the 1st of December. We will be meeting in the Instruction Lab (it is room 347).

Note: Your thesis statement is due on Thursday by 11:00am (as a comment on next Thursday's blog post). Remember, this is the thesis statement based on your public discussion topic. You will have the class period as a research session to work on your thesis statements. This work can be done in the library.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lecture 17: Public Discussions Part I

Today half of the class will present their topics and debate for the class.

The class and I shall assess each group based on five criteria as noted last class and here in this rubric.

Thank you to groups 2 and 5 who set great examples of how an argument is set up and developed. Good rebuttals too.

Groups 1, 3 and 4 be ready for Thursday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Research Assignment

Assignment: Annotated Bibliography

Topic: Public Discussion Topic or Own Choice (but please discuss with me)

Particulars: Choose 4-6 “academic” resources that are highly relevant to your topic. Give full reference information for each source and thoroughly explain why each resource is appropriate and relevant to your topic. Additionally, include how each resource was found (include keywords used in any Google searching). Each annotated entry should contain three critical writing tasks: summary (an overview of the main points), analysis (logic and effectiveness of the argument) and evaluation (ethos, reliability of the author and argument).

Purpose: Learn basic methodologies of research, learn how to locate and evaluate information, learn how to find appropriate resources

Length: Each annotation should consist of at least one fully-formed paragraph with complete reference information in MLA style. Total length should be 2.5-4.5 pages.

DUE: 1st December 2009


Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York:
Anchor Books, 1995.

Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic. In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun.
Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.

Notice the indentation of all the text except for the first line of the reference?

For more information and style guidelines, visit the Online Writing Centre:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lecture 16: Midterm - Focus on Summaries

MIDTERM today. As you know we`ll be focussing on summary writing for the midterm.

Also, in preparation of next week's public discussions, see below for the rubric which the class (and I) shall use to assess each group.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lecture 15: Summary Review and Practise

Reading Review
Summary Preparation
Practise Summary

In Class Practise:
  • Write a well-formed paragraph summary of “Borderland”
  • Include at least two quotations and one paraphrase (refer to 182-190 in Handbook for Writers)
  • Be sure that this summary is in your own words
  • Post your own summary to the blog as a comment to Lecture 15 (this post). 
  • Include a link to an image that helps summarise the main ideas.


Post your summary of “Borderland” to the blog.

Review Chapter 9 and all class work on summaries in preparation for the Midterm next class (29th October)

Monday, October 26, 2009


The final exam schedule has been finalised. Please note the different room:

ENGL-111-41 Communications Exam CAC 152 17-Dec-2009 9:00 - 12:00

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lecture 14: MLA Quiz and Introduction to Summaries

MLA Quiz
Pre-Reading Activity
Summary Activity
Summary Activity

Basic Steps to Follow:
Look for a title
So, if that’s the title, what might you read about in the selection?
Read the first sentence
Read the last sentence: highlight similar words, that’s (usually) the main idea of the paragraph
That’s also (usually) the topic of the paragraph/selection

Read 9J-K (190-194) in Handbook for Writers

For participation, add either of your summary paragraphs (“Japan” or “Little Bear”) to the Lecture 14 blog post (this one).

If you'd like to read more about the summary process, have a look at these handouts.

Here is an sample essay and how one might summarise it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lecture 13: Student Pronoun Presentations

Everyone who presented on Tuesday did an excellent job. Each group not only clearly explained information, but incorporated questions and quizzes to faciliate understanding. Kudos to Brandy, Andrea and Maikki who created a fun game. A special thank you to David for his musical interludes during "English Feud."

Thanks too to the class for participating in each presentation and noticing groups' typographical errors (those abhorrent apostrophes!).


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lecture 13: Student Presentations

Today each group will present their section of Chapter 23 (pronouns).

NOTE: The MLA quiz will be next class (Thursday). Come prepared for the short quiz (multiple choice). You will need to know how to reference texts (books, journals and web pages) and also be aware of how to properly quote to avoid plagiarism. Re-read the "Avoiding Plagiarism" article here.

Don't forget to hand in your essays. Essays should be stapled and follow appropriate MLA format.

Remember too, for your essays, I have requested that you each do a cover page rather than include your title etc... in the top left margin of your first page. Please do, however, include your surname and page number in the top right header of each page.

MLA Review (note, follow the link in the side-bar to more MLA formatting information)

In-Text Citations
Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263). Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263). Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:

Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. London: Oxford U.P., 1967. Print.

Short Quotations

To indicate short quotations (fewer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page citation (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the text, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text. For example:

  1. According to some, dreams express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184), though others disagree.
  2. According to Foulkes's study, dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (184).
  3. Is it possible that dreams may express "profound aspects of personality" (Foulkes 184)?
  4. Mark breaks in short quotations of verse with a slash, /, at the end of each line of verse: (a space should precede and follow the slash)

Cullen concludes, "Of all the things that happened there / That's all I remember" (11-12).

Long Quotations

For quotations that are four or more lines of verse or prose: place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin; maintain double-spacing. Only indent the first line of the quotation by a half inch if you are citing multiple paragraphs. Your parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark. When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

For example:

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:
They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

Look here for a sample works cited page:

Here is a sample student paper. Note the information in the top left header is what should appear on your cover page. Remember, interesting titles will grab your reader's attention.

Note: top image from Leeds Metropolitan University Library. Bart Simpson image from Welcome to the Underground blog.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lecture 12: Pronouns

Today's Lesson Outline:
Pre-Writing Activity
Group Work
Group Teachings

For the pre-writing activity we'll do a basic review of pronouns. Following the review, students will have the opportunity to write a short piece using pronouns and strong sentence structure (remember active verbs and adjectives). Please remember to hand this exercise in so that I may post it to the class blog.

Group Presentations on Chapter 23: Pronouns

Group 1: 23 a, b, c
Tyson, Jason, Kyla, Michelle

Group 2: 23 d, e, f
Elise, Crysta, Tyler, Jina, Melissa V.

Group 3: 23 g, h, i
Christopher, Brandy, Maikki, Andrea

Group 4: 23 j, k, l, m
Kaytlynn, Jaron, Linda, David Rees

Group 5: 23 n, o, p
Colin, Marie, Laura, David Renderos

Group 6: 23 q, r, s
Glenn, Amanda, Aleisha, Mellissa W.

Objective: Become Experts of your Information
Assignment: Teach the Class your Sections
Teaching Methods: Presentation, Question Answer, Practise, Assessment of Understanding (quiz, task, activity etc...)
Length: 10 minutes
Group: Everyone in the group must participate both in the background preparation and in the teaching

Due: Tuesday 20th October

Remember you can bring in handouts for the class. Also, you can bring in a memory stick if you're using PowerPoint and we can plug it into the main computer. Remember too, it is fine to use other resources such as a YouTube video, to help illustrate your subject.

Review MLA Style for Tuesday’s Quiz: and 195 in Handbook for Writers.

Read 556-559 (end of section 38b), 576-578 (end of section 39e), and 581-582 (end of section 40b) in Handbook for Writers.

Come to class on Thursday ready to teach your pronoun information!

Note: Images from Widgit Symbols Development.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lecture 11: Public Discussion Practise


Review Argument Basics
Choose Public Discussion Groups (4 per group)
Choose Public Discussion Topics
If Time Permits, Opportunity to Work on Public Discussions

Examples of Controversial Topics
What makes that topic controversial?
What do the terms pro and con mean?

Note, today we are debating issues as practise to our formal (graded) public discussions which will be presented on 3-5 November.

By the end of today's class:
Groups of 4 chosen and members noted
Each group to choose debate topic


Group 1 Members:
Brandy H.
Laura P.
Andrea M.
Michelle H.
Jaron N.

Group 1 Topic: Racism: Does it Still Exist?

Group 2 Members:
Crysta H.
Amanda V.
Melissa V.
Mellissa W.

Group 2 Topic: Capital Punishment

Group 3 Members:
Ty M.
Tyson B.
Dave R.
Glen T.

Group 3 Topic: Farmers' Hours? Why Do We Still Conform?

Group 4 Members:
Jina K.
Kaytlynn M.
Kyla H.
Christopher E.
Aleisha V.

Group 4 Topic: Genetic Engineering Animals

NOTE: Those of you who were not in today's class, please see below for your group. You can choose your topic and let me know in our next class (Thursday 15th of October).

Group 5 Members:
Elise H.
Maikki M.
David Renderos
Tracy T.
Linda W.

Group 5 Topic: Same Sex Adoption

Group 6 Members:
Colin P.
Marie Scarlett
Michelle T.
Jason C.

Group 6 Topic:

NB: The image of the two debaters is from Debate Video Blog here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lecture 10: Expository Essay Revision

Today, as promised, the class will receive their draft expository essays back. We shall spend the lesson time reviewing the function of an expository essay and revising your essays.

The homework for next Tuesday:

  • Think of issues worth debating (for our public discussions)
  • Review readings: page 125-127 , Reader’s Choice
  • Read 167-177, 249-360 and 334-345 in Reader’s Choice

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lecture 9: Argument and Opinion

Today's Outline:

Formulating an Opinion

Supporting Arguments

Read Persuasive Essay

(Choice between Two)

Reading Activity



Monday, October 5, 2009

Lecture 8: In Defense of Graffiti Activity

For the final segment of Thursday's class, students were asked to create a persuasive poster to support Alex Boyd's view in "In Defense of Graffiti."  The assignment requirements included:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lecture 8: Parallel Structure, Active Verbs, Repetition



Please Read Chapter 18 in Handbook for Writers and Do Not Forget to Bring Reader's Choice to Class.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Assignment 3: Blog Comment 2 - Rhetorical Devices

DUE: Before start of October 1st Class

Choose three of the following terms:

Exemplum    Metonymy       Rhetorical Question Epistrophe  Chiasmus  Anaphora Amplification     Ellipsis     Enthymeme    Litotes     Antithesis     Eponym Hypophora  Zeugma  Climax    Conduplicatio    Syllepsis    Conduplicatio Parallelism  Epithet       Epanalepsis      Isocolon      Assonance  Aporia Hyperbole   Polysyndeton  Catachresis     Appositive   Cacophony   Euphemism

  1. Define each of your three rhetorical devices
  2. Create two-three examples of each
  3. Find a “literary” work (poem, essay, novella, film, graphic novel) that employs your three rhetorical devices. You might want to find three separate works, each employing ONE of the devices. Include the example and reference your source(s) (follow MLA style)
  4. Analyse the effectiveness of the devices.

Add your comment to the end of this post.

NB: Image from Nannygoathill.

Lecture 7: Rhetoric, Devices and Speaking

Introduction to Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech

Rhetorical Analysis Activity

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


BEFORE Next Class:
Blog Comment 2: Rhetorical Devices

Choose three of the following terms:

Exemplum    Metonymy       Rhetorical Question Epistrophe  Chiasmus  Anaphora Amplification     Ellipsis     Enthymeme    Litotes     Antithesis     Eponym Hypophora  Zeugma  Climax    Conduplicatio    Syllepsis    Conduplicatio Parallelism  Epithet       Epanalepsis      Isocolon      Assonance  Aporia Hyperbole   Polysyndeton  Catachresis     Appositive   Cacophony   Euphemism

Define each of your three rhetorical devices

Create two-three examples of each

Find a “literary” work (poem, essay, novella, film, graphic novel) that employs your three rhetorical devices. You might want to find three separate works, each employing ONE of the devices. Include the example and reference your source(s) (follow MLA style)

Analyse the effectiveness of the devices.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lecture 6: Expository Essay Practise and Marking

Today we'll be working on our expository essay drafts which will be due at the start of next class (Tuesday). We'll also have a chance to read a draft essay and mark it in a way similar to how I'll mark your essays.

The outline for today is as follows:

  • Sample Expository Essay Marking

  • Work on Essay Draft

  • Homework

That means we'll:

Read the sample essay

Mark it according to:

the assignment guidelines

general expository essay technique (handout)

parts of speech and sentence structure (Chapter 21 in Handbook for Writers)


Read Chapter 3 in Reader’s Choice (this will help with your essay)

Read Chapter 10 in Handbook for Writers (especially important if you’re including any references in your essay)


Tuesday, September 22, 2009