English 101                                             College Writing I

Fall 2003



Tamara Rabe   Baldy 667  Hours: T R 8-8:50 and by appointment on Mondays

Email: rabe@acsu.buffalo.edu

Home: 837-4705 leave a message until 9 PM


Required Equipment:

A Pocketful of Essays: Volume I,  David Madden

Prentice Hall Reference Guide, Muriel Harris



A sturdy two-pocket folder


Typically, when we consider the definition of limits we envision various boundaries set by forces outside ourselves such as parents, institutions, society. However, Americans traditionally find inspiration in individualism, applaud rebellion against oppression, encourage activity over passivity. Does this traditional thinking contradict the necessity of external limits? What are the connections between the limits we impose on ourselves and those others impose upon us?  In discussion and in 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 internal and external limits, we will ultimately refine our abilities to create cogent, sophisticated arguments in essay form.


To some writers, the essay form itself screams “Restriction! Conformity! Suffocation!” Yes, writers will need to prove they have mastered the basic deductive essay model in order to succeed in this course —and in their academic careers. The same holds true for mastery of Standard Written English at a university level. Nevertheless, these forms present ample room for creativity, and writers will learn to find their own spaces within them.


To reach that goal, this is a class in reading as well as writing. We will work on developing and refining critical, organizational, and rhetorical skills. We will explore a variety of ways in which to communicate ideas effectively.


The writing process requires thought, action, and revision. Practice and revision will be the keys to this semester: we will read, review, write, and revise examples of the primary rhetorical modes, blending them together into sophisticated arguments.


Usage, grammar, and punctuation sessions will be based on the needs of the group; exercises may also be assigned on individual bases. If you have any questions, however small, speak up in class. If you are not sure about a particular point, chances are that others are not either.


Each writer should finish this course with confidence in sharing written work with the public.



Each writer will have a minimum of twenty five pages of polished, finished writing in his or her final portfolio.

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 the 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 the course and disciplinary action by 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.


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 following session.


Grading: Seventy five percent of your final grade will be based on the written work submitted. Each final draft will represent 15% of your grade. The vocabulary quizzes represent 10%, participation and preparedness 10 %, and the letter of reflection at the semester’s end 5% of the final grade.


Proposed reading and writing schedule:

Week 1: Introduction and handouts; A written introduction of yourself to the class.

Week 2: Ehrenreich and Staples essays; Freewriting on discrimination, stereotyping, culture, and identity. Group work on clustering and brainstorming.

Week 3: Group work on drafts; Finding a thesis; Draft for Paper #1 DUE Thursday; Peer editing and review.

Week 4: Narrative essays: Dillard, Hughes, Orwell; Editing sheets based on Paper #1;

One page response due on the essay of your choice; Draft of your own narrative DUE Thursday.

Week 5: Group work on Paper #2; Comparison/Contrast strategy; How to use sources in your papers; Draft for comparison/contrast of narratives (Paper #2) DUE Thursday; Peer editing and review; Buckley’s essay.

Week 6: Defining a complaint; Determining validity of evidence; Group work on complaints and problem solving; Editing sheet from Paper #2.


Week 8: Paper # 3 DUE: Present and analyze a complaint; Peer editing and review; King and Toth essays.

Week 9: Media’s relationship to society; Present examples/evidence of media influence; Group work on evaluating evidence; Editing sheet from Paper #3.

Week 10: Paper #4 DUE; Peer editing and review; Analyzing arguments; Selected Op-Ed handouts.

Week 11: Continuing with arguments and logical fallacies; Response paper to Op-Ed selections due; Editing sheet from Paper #4; Group work on brainstorming.

Week 12: Paper #5 DUE; Peer editing and review; Letter of Reflection; What students need to know to be successful in English 201.

Weeks 13 &14: Conferences and Revision Workshops; Putting together the Final Portfolio.