English 101

Fall 2004

Tamara Rabe   Baldy 667  645-3381X265 Hours: TR 8-9:15 and by appointment

Home: 837-4705 (leave message before 9 PM)



Required Equipment:

The Eloquent Essay, John Loughery, ed.

The Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, Muriel Harris


Two two-pocket folders


In this course, we will consider the definition of limits, and how we envision, embrace, and qualify various boundaries. In discussion and writing, we will attempt to discover and to articulate who we are as individuals, what our value systems lead us to believe, and how we act in or react to the external world based on our internal makeup. Through examining the connections between external and internal limits, we will refine our abilities to create and sustain cogent, sophisticated arguments in essay form.


To begin, we will examine different modes of discourse as well as read and write a variety of different modes. The writing process requires thought, action, and revision. Practice will be the key to this semester and to making appropriate decisions about how to communicate ideas most effectively.


Usage, grammar, and punctuation sessions will be based on the needs of the group; exercises may also be assigned on an individual basis. Keep asking questions to make sure you have mastered the basics of University-level written English.


Requirements: We will be writing both in and out of the classroom. Formal essays (five throughout the semester) will result in typed final drafts and will be submitted on designated due dates. If you miss the designated due date for a final draft, the grade for that paper will be reduced by a plus or minus for each class session it is late. You may not email papers unless such an arrangement is agreed upon beforehand.


All final drafts MUST be accompanied by all notes and previous drafts. Neatness does not count on early notes and drafts. Failure to submit notes and drafts will result in a ZERO grade for the final draft.


Any plagiarized material will be grounds for failure in this course and possible disciplinary action from the University.


In addition to formal writing, keep a notebook section for summaries, commentaries, and vocabulary words. This will help you expand your knowledge and more carefully choose topics about which to write. We will have periodic vocabulary quizzes so you can learn to use the new words you encounter. If you miss a quiz, you may not make it up; however, the two lowest grades will be dropped.

By the end of the semester, your finished papers should equal no less than 25 pages of prose combined. At the end of the semester, you will submit a final portfolio of work including three of the five papers from the semester and a letter assessing your writing skills. The portfolios will be read by other members of the English faculty as well as by your instructor.


Attendance: Three absences will be tolerated. After three absences, your final grade will drop by a plus or minus for each session missed. If you must be late or absent, you are still responsible for the work in class that day and any assignments for the next session.


Grading: Seventy percent of your grade will be based on the written work submitted. Each final draft grade will represent 14% of the final grade. Vocabulary quizzes and homework will accrue to 10% of the grade; participation and preparedness will count for the remaining 10% of the final grade; the final portfolio will also count for 10%. The portfolio will include an autobiography of yourself as a writer and final revisions of three of the major assignments.


All paper must go through at least two revisions. I will color code marking pens for each submission. Every draft will receive comments for improvement.


An incomplete grade may only be given to students who have (1) fulfilled the attendance requirement for the course and (2) completed all but one written assignment.


Warning about papers in 101:


There will be no specific questions assigned for papers. Part of honing your analytical skills is learning to formulate questions for yourself that you believe will interest and inform your readers. You will be asked to write analyses, not simple reviews, of the works you choose.


There are no secrets about expectations of final draft quality work. You will need to show

  1. Ability to observe closely, to cite details, to infer, and to generalize,
  2. Ability to stick to and develop a central idea,
  3. Control of paragraph structure and overall essay organization,
  4. Effective use of language,
  5. Demonstration of the writing and revision process.


Plagiarism, by the way, is using another person’s words and ideas as though they were your own. It is easy to avoid plagiarism: simply put the material you have taken from someone else’s writing in quotation marks and cite the person’s name and publication in your paper. Plagiarism is a serious offense that can result in expulsion from the University. A paper that contains any plagiarized material at all will receive an F; two such papers will result in an F for the course and possible disciplinary action.




Proposed Schedule:


Week 1 (8/31, 9/2): Introductions; basic essay models – deductive and inductive. Personal introduction to the class due 9/2.


Week 2 (9/7, 9/9): Story vs. essay; the thesis statement (Harris); Orwell’s “A Hanging.” A summary of Orwell’s essay is due 9/9, and we will begin to generate paper topics and working thesis statements in class.


Week 3 (9/14): Rough draft of Paper #1 (Orwell) is due. We will have an in-class workshop involving peer review. Bring your handbooks!


Week 4 (9/21, 9/23): Distinctions between summary and analysis; Workshop time on revision of Paper #1; “power words”; revision of Paper #1 due 9/23; read Tan’s “Mother Tongue” for 9/23.


Week 5 (9/28, 9/30): Focus on paragraph organization and the importance of the introduction; Generation of paper topics based on Tan’s essay; Workshop time to refine topics and working thesis statements for Paper #2 (Tan).


Week 6 (10/5, 10/7): MLA citation and format: bring your handbooks; we will be working on revisions of Paper #1 and final drafts of Paper #2 are due 10/7.


Week 7 (10/12, 10/14): Conferences. You will have two completed papers. We will go over your individual progress and set up a prioritized list for improvement.


Week 8 (10/19, 10/21): Read Adisa’s “Lying in the Tall Grasses Eating Cane”; the focus will be on historical and cultural contexts in the essay and in our own lives. Workshop time will generate and refine paper topics and thesis statements. Draft of Paper #3 due 10/21.


Week 9 (10/26, 10/28): Read Sagan’s “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection”; bring in your handbooks; we will focus on logical fallacies and how to detect them; definitions of belief and opinion; selected op ed essays from The Buffalo News will help us test ourselves.


Week 10 (11/2, 11/4): Focus on distinction between quote, paraphrase, summary; Workshop time on Paper #4 based on Sagan and at least one of the op-ed essays. Draft due 11/4.


Week 11 (11/9, 11/11): Read King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and Bettelheim’s “The Ignored Lesson of Anne Frank.” Focus on emotional and logical appeals in argument. We will use workshop time to generate drafts for Paper #5.


Week 12 (11/16, 11/18): Read Abbey’s “The Cowboy and His Cow”; workshop time examining your own work for logical fallacies and types of appeal. Paper#5 due NO LATER than Tuesday 11/23.


11/23-12/9: Thanksgiving for almost being done! We will spend the last two weeks of class workshopping and holding one-on-one conferences to pull together revisions and make sure your portfolios are the best they can be. One goal of this class is for you to produce writing-sample quality material. Make sure to heed the sign-up sheets for individual and group work.