Make your own free website on

Freshman English Schedule


In Class Topics/Activities

Outside Class Activities




Introductions: Wait a few minutes the first day.  My background.  My name is ___; one thing I've always wanted to learn how to do is build with wood.  Attendance. 

Course Overview/Syllabus/Questions?

Index Cards 

Grading Criteria

Diagnostic Explanation

Think: Ideas and structure for your diagnostic essay



Diagnostic Invention

Collect Diagnostics

Writing Benchmarks: Diagnostic essay due at the end of class. 

Think: What is an object that is important to you that starts with the same first letter as that of your name? Example: Jeans/Jeanette



Pavlov's Dog

Write about a significant object and your name.  Describe the object without naming it.  Try not to be too obvious, but be very descriptive. Share your description in groups and see if they can guess what the object is.

Web Page

Free-write: "School"

Think: How did you reward yourself?

Writing Benchmarks: Do the Free-write: "School"





Introductions: Attendance/My name is __; I rewarded myself with ___.  

Return Diagnostics

Explain Style Sheets

Listing Exercise with Teams

Grammar Review

Comma Rules

Group Work: Help each other understand checkmarks.  

Writing Benchmarks: Correct Diagnostics and begin writing your style sheet. 




Watcher of the Gate: Kafka wrote in his diary: "Complete standstill . . . incapable in every respect . . . have achieved nothing," from The Writing Life.  "Who is this critic within us who keeps assuring us we have glimpsed neither swallow nor angel, and even if we have, it's not worth recording because it would be only ours?" (8).  "You reject too soon and discriminate too severely" (9). 

Free-write: An injustice

Worst Essay Competition: Be satisfied with less than perfect writing, and do not be overly critical.  Remember that you are working on a draft that you will revise. 

Format for Essay p. 782 St. Martins

Writing Benchmarks Finish your personalized style sheet. 



Exchange Style Sheets with Students and make corrections and ask questions about rules. 

Read: St. Martin's Guide p. 35 "On Being a Real Westerner" by Tobias Wolff 

General vs. Concrete Description: What image comes to mind when I say "work," "happy," "lonely," "bored"?

Free-write: Write about an experience with an animal.  Make this experience come alive with detailed description.

Read: "Sticks and Stones" p. 6 and "Free Falling" p. 9


No Class




Narrative essay guidelines, rubric, and examples ("Salt in the Soup," "Sticks and Stones" p. 6, "Free Falling" p. 9)

Narrative Invention 


Think: What is a reward you could give yourself for writing your first rough draft of your first essay? 

Writing Benchmarks: Start writing your Narrative Essay 



Why Write? "So why do I write, torturing myself to put it down? Because in spite of myself I've learned some things. Without the possibility of action, all knowledge comes to one labeled 'file and forget,' and I can neither file nor forget. Nor will certain ideas forget me; they keep filing away at my lethargy, my complacency. Why should I be the one to dream this nightmare? Why should I be dedicated and set aside--yes, if not to tell at least a few people about it? There seems to be no escape." --Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

The Art and Craft of Writing: The Pressure and the Glory

Sentence Structure and Tobias Wolff: Imitate sentence from "On Being a Real Westerner"

Describe the Scene: Show the movie clip and students describe the scene.  Paint the picture just like we see it in the clip.

Writing Benchmarks: Keep working on Narrative essay.




Free-write: "I write to understand as much as to be understood." --Elie Wiesel


Writing Benchmarks: Keep working on Narrative essay, and bring updated copies of essay to class next time.

Think: What is your favorite writing trick? 


Go Around: My favorite writing trick is writing in single space, then when I'm feeling frustrated, I change it to double space

Peer Review #1 Expectations: 1st RD is due; PR Groups meet; Explain HOC, LOC, Use Rubric, Make Marginal Comments and Write 2 paragraphs on each essay (what works, what doesn't work). 

Presentations Sign-up: Narrative OR Process Analysis (5 points)


Underlining Description: Or note where you could further describe so that the reader can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the event that you describe.  Guard against the cliche and the common description.

Common Problems with the Narrative: Might take notes

Peer Review: Experienced writers reread what they have written over and over again out loud!

Writing Benchmarks: Prepare for peer review.




Peer Review

Staying There 

Think: Finding meaning in small details 



The Big Things: Work on Significance

And the Small Things: Dialogue Check p.     Hacker

Exchange Style Sheets and Papers with PR groups note any LOC

Sign-up for either Narrative or Process Paper Presentations

Writing Benchmarks: Narrative essay due next class (include subtitles).  Submit essay in this order: rubric (top), essay, style sheet, peer review paragraphs (bottom). 

Prepare for presentations.



(Leave 10 minutes at the end of class to do the following:)

Fill out the grading rubric

Collect Narratives in this order: rubric (top), essay (with subtitles), style sheet, peer review paragraphs (bottom)

Think: What is your favorite book?  Bring an excerpt from the book or a sample of good writing that comes from someone other than you. 


Introductions: Attendance/My name is __; my favorite book is Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.  The excerpt I'm sharing is ___.

Finish Presentations

Free-write: "Probably there are none in the world who at first do evil without reluctance; but when they have repeated it once or twice the mind becomes daring; hand and feet become habitual, and the conscience by degrees annihilated." --The Sacred Edict, Exploration of the Laws

Answer the following Process Paper Question: According to the quote, How does one do Evil?  What are the steps?  Can you add any steps?

Read: "Eating Alone in Restaurants" by Bruce Jay Friedman

Think: Topic ideas for the process paper  



Introduce Process Paper Assignment

"Eating Alone in Restaurants" by Bruce Jay Friedman: What are some of the NEW suggestions Friedman makes?  How is this essay constructed in an effective way? (free-write quiz or go around)

Return Narrative Papers.  Work on Checkmark Corrections.

Writing Benchmarks: Make checkmark corrections



Collect Checkmark Corrections

Plagiarism 101 

"How to be Funny"; "How to Have Fun in an Elevator"; "How to Annoy People"

Brainstorm Process Paper Ideas: How would you finish this line (go around)?  "How to get away with -----." + other ideas

Writing Benchmarks: Choose a Process Paper topic.


Go Around: New idea for the process paper

Aaron's Process Paper Scored Against the Rubric 

"Getting Good Grades, Guaranteed" by Carl Samuelson

English Patient Example

Writing Benchmarks: Rough draft due next class.  Bring 4 copies. 



Objective vs. Subjective Writing

Exercise Exchange

How to Lengthen Papers




Essay work time 



Collect essay check mark corrections 

Go over the rubric

Answer questions about what is a Thesis Statement

Make the Writer Respond

Peer Review: Exchange/Read/Write Questions


"How to Stop the Cycle" against the rubric (if time)

Respond to Questions

Revise Style Sheet

Writing Benchmarks: Revise Style Sheets. 

Finish answering questions from peer review. 

Prepare for presentation. 

Process papers due next class.   



Essay Exam




Essay Exam



Go around: What is your first reaction to the word "greed"?




?How many of you have seen Roger and Me by Michael Moore?


Argumentative Essay Preparation: Assignment specifications; "The Simpsons: A Mirror of Society"; Exercise 3; Claim: all writing is argumentative; Lies My Teacher Told Me

Overcoming Writer's Block

Brainstorming: Exercise 4 and 5, Get up, walk around, take a break, talk to people, look thru books

Free-write: "When a country is well-governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of.  When a country is ill-governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of." --Confuscius

Note: There is a lot of good information in your textbooks (p. 261-326) to help you generate ideas for your papers.



Topic ideas for the argumentative paper 

Bring a favorite quote to class.




Essay Exam




Essay Exam



No Class






Essay Exam




Essay Exam






Essay Exam




Essay Exam




Essay Exam



Go around: My name is ---.  My favorite quote is "Anger is short madness." --Horace  Write it down on a piece of paper you don't need.

Evaluating Arguments p. 46-54 Hacker

Practice in Argument

Free-write: Agree or disagree with a quote that you or one of your classmates shared with the class. 

E.D. Hirsch 

 Writing Benchmarks: Start writing your argumentative essay. 

Read: "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words" by Paul Roberts

Think: What do you learn about writing from reading the above essay?  



No Class




Go Around: What did you learn about writing from reading "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words"?

Read and Discuss "In Praise of the 'F' Word" by Mary Sherry

Read: "Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving" by Thomas Beckfield in Sticks and Stones p. 91 (Notice the counterargument that is presented.)


Go Around: Share an example of good writing

Counterargument Activity

Discuss "Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving" by Thomas Beckfield in Sticks and Stones p. 91

Read: "The Liberal Arts: A Practical View" by Mark Jackson in Sticks and Stones p. 95 (Notice the use of "I")



Go Around: What is your argumentative topic?

Sample Essay: "Getting Rid of the Jitters" by Juliana Peterson (just the first two paragraphs for the introduction)

Using the "I": Discuss "The Liberal Arts: A Practical View"




Go Around: My name is ---.  If I could have done anything today, I would have gardened, baked, read a good book with a cup of coffee

Argument Terms

Fact vs. Opinion

Writing Benchmarks: Work on rough draft. 



Go Around: My name is ---.  My least favorite day of the week is Sunday

More Advanced Logic

Toulmin Logic from The Call to Write p. 90

Organization and Logic

Organization Patterns p. 26 Hacker

Transitions p. 35 Hacker

Writing Benchmarks: Work on logic and rough draft.



No Class




Work on Outlines and Organization

Outline Guidelines p. 12 Hacker

Topic Sentences/Paragraph p. 23 Hacker

Writing Benchmarks: Work on rough draft and write outline.



Commas and other Punctuation

Writing Benchmarks: Revise Style Sheets and locate local errors in argumentative papers. 



Free-write: "To associate with evil men is like sleeping in the midst of knives and swords; although you have not been wounded, you are constantly afraid." --Anonymous

Common Problems with the Argumentative Paper

Prepare for Peer Review

 Writing Benchmarks: Finish a rough draft and have it on disk or be able to pull it up in the computer lab.



Peer Review

Writing Benchmarks: Argumentative Essay due next class.




Argumentative Essay Due.  Submit essay in this order: rubric (top), essay, style sheet (bottom)

Thinking: What are some possible essay exam questions for this class?



Essay Exam Preparation

Thinking: Prepare for essay exam.



Individual Conferences

Grades and Individual Help (Sentences, Paragraphs, General Questions)

Thinking: Prepare for essay exam.



Final Exam for 8 a.m. class is Friday, December 16, 2005 at 8:30 a.m.

Final Exam for 9 a.m. class is Monday, December 19, 2005 at 8:30 a.m.

Writing Benchmarks: Essay exam due at the end of class.

Other Freewrite Ideas

"No man will confide in one who shows himself as aggressive.  And he whom no man confides in will remain solitary and without support." --Leih Tzu

Write about a happy memory.

Write about a great disappointment.

Write about the most uneventful day of your life.