Monday, December 5, 2016

Extra credit project for the break

Good morning, all,

Apologies for the delay in posting. Following our final discussions of the semester, about global warming, I invite you to do an extra credit project in which you find ways to combat global warming on a local level. (For example, you might think of ways to use less plastic in your or your family's daily life.)

You will write about your efforts, and your thoughts on this and any related issues, in the form of journal entries. Include dates, and write in your most grammatical English.

You may be aware of the recent victory by Native Americans against the oil pipeline. There is hope for making a difference if we focus on fixing things on a small scale, and at the same time thinking big.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Final exam

Good afternoon, everyone,

As a reminder, since our final exam is on Wednesday during class time, you will not want to arrive late.

Please keep in mind that you will need to bring with you:

* Paper and pen/pencil
* A copy of the essay without markings/notes

Not permitted:

* Phones
* Computers
* Notes of any kind


* A hard copy of a dictionary

If you are a student who receives special accommodations, I will collect your essay at the end of class, and then we will work out a convenient time for you to finish writing.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Abraham Lincoln, "Address at the Dedication..." (response due by 1 pm on Sunday, 11/20)

For this response, imagine that you are the governor of Puerto Rico, or the president of the US. Write 2–3 paragraphs describing the problems you see around you, and how you will solve them.

(15 points)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Chief Seattle, "My People" (response due by 1 pm on Tuesday, November 15)

This response will be worth 15 points.

For this response, write 2–3 paragraphs in the style of Chief Seattle in which you address those in power (in Puerto Rico, the US as a whole, or both).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nicholas Carr, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (response due by 1 pm on Tuesday, November 8)

This detailed response will be worth 20 points.

1. Choose 6 quotes, one from each long page of the essay, that caught your attention. Cite them using a signal phrase (more on signal phrases here) and ending with a page number. For example,

Carr points out that "[w]hen the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating 'like clockwork.' Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them operating 'like computers'" (865).'

2. What do you think is Carr's main idea, or his "thesis"?

3. Dscribe your own interaction with virtual technology today in a short narrative. That is, write a brief account or "story" that describes how you used your phone, computer, etc. today. (1-2 paragraphs)

4. On the basis of what you have written, do you agree with Carr's thesis? Why or why not? (2-4 sentences)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"The Thesis Machine"

Unfortunately I'm not able to link to the document online, and I can't repost it because it's in PDF form, but if you're interested, look up "Thesis Machine Will Roberts" and you'll find the material I mentioned in class yesterday.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Your revised thesis statement (due by 1 pm on Tuesday, November 1)

Your final essay for this semester will be a revision of your work on Essay #1. In this second essay, you will develop your argument into a 5-page essay. To do so, you will develop your thesis statement so that it becomes somewhat more complex or well articulated, or simply more fully developed. 

Rework the thesis statement in your first essay accordingly and post it to the blog. Post only your revised thesis statement. As you rework it, keep in mind the following.

Effective thesis statements:

1. Are not questions or statements of purpose (such as, "In this essay I will explore..."), but instead answer an interesting, specific, even provocative question

2. Focus specifically on the text(s) and theme(s) at hand--they are not broad generalizations

3. Are unusual, unique, surprising--not obvious

4. Explain why your point is important

5. Can be supported in the number of pages given for the assignment

6. Are "debatable"--that is, an intelligent, informed and/or educated person might disagree with what you are saying

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Langston Hughes, "Salvation" (response due by 1 pm on Sunday, October 30)

Because this response is rather detailed, it will be worth 15 points.

Find a passage (3–4 lines or a paragraph) that caught your attention in some way.

What is the theme of this passage? In other words, what ideas or concepts does it focus on?

Rearrange the passage in the form of a poem. That is, retype it and break the lines up into shorter lines. Use your sense of what sounds aesthetic or cool as you rearrange Hughes's words in your own way.

Looking at your recreation, what seem to be the most important words of the passage?

What do you think the passage means?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Anna Lisa Raya, "It's Hard Enough Being Me" (response due by 1 pm on Tuesday, 10/25)

1) When you finished reading this essay, what was one question that you wanted to ask the author?

2) Try to imagine how the author would answer your question. As you do so, make reference to the essay and use 1 or 2 quotes. Remember that when quote, you always need  to use "signal phrases" and add page numbers in parentheses. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Joan Didion, "On Going Home" (response due by 1 pm on Sunday, October 23)

Please note: This more detailed response will be worth 15 points instead of the usual 10.

In your response, incorporate your answers to the following questions:

1) What do you think Didion's main point in this essay is? Find one or two sentences that seem to sum up her "argument" in this piece. Then record these sentences using the following:

    a) A signal phrase, such as: Didion argues that... to precede your quote.

    b) A parenthetical citation with the page number of the line(s) you cited

Example: In this essay, Didion argues that "XXX" (1298).

2) Describe your home in as much detail as you can, depending on what you feel comfortable sharing with readers.

3) What is the main point you find contained in your description? In other words, what point do you seem to be making about the meaning of "home"?

4) Compare your main point to Didion's main point. How is what you are saying the same as or different from what she is saying?

English conversation practice

During our last class some of you expressed a desire to practice speaking English more often. Here is an opportunity to do just that...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Extra credit workshop (summarizing and paraphrasing)

If you can, I encourage you to attend the Centro para el Desarrollo de Competencias Lingüísticas workshop on summarizing and paraphrasing, to be held on Friday at 10 am in ERA 221.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Brent Staples, "Black Men and Public Space" (response due by 1 pm on Tuesday, October 18)

For this response, you'll do some "close reading" of the essay.

1. Choose any of the longer paragraphs in the essay.

2. What is that paragraph doing? What is its function in the essay? In other words, why did the author include it? Looking at it from another angle--What would be missing from the paragraph if that essay wasn't there?

3. What is that paragraph saying? In other words, what is the content of the paragraph? That is, how would you summarize the information contained in the paragraph?

4. Now that you've done that detailed thinking, what is your opinion of the idea contained in that paragraph?

5. What is your opinion of the essay as a whole in 1 or 2 sentences (or more if you prefer)?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Midterm grades

Good afternoon, everyone,

I am about to post midterm grades for our class, and I wanted to let you know how I arrived at them.

I took the total number of points available to you (180 if you have not yet completed the project of leading class discussion, and 220 if you have), and tabulated the number of points you had earned. I then calculated what percentage of the possible total you had earned.

In other words, if you had available to you a total of 180 points, and you earned 160 of those, your total percentage would be 88.8. Technically this is a B, since UPR does not give the option of a B+. Therefore, depending on your attendance and participation, I decided whether to input such a number as an A or a B.

Bear in mind that I have not graded your first essays yet; your grade to date reflects mostly your effort (in the form of writing weekly responses and other work), rather than your writing skills in English. In the second half of the semester, this will shift, and your writing ability in English will begin to count for more.

Let me know if you have questions.

With best wishes,

Sunday, October 9, 2016

MLA Style

For information about how to cite your sources using MLA style, check out this site.

Note that for in-text citations (citations that you include in your paragraphs), the format is, for example:

(Showalter 45)

We will talk in more detail about how to cite as we go forward. In the meantime, please let me know if you have questions.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Gradebook on Moodle

Good morning, everyone,

I have emerged (mostly) victorious in my struggle with bureaucracy and technology. Your points for responses, etc., written this semester now appear in the grade book on Moodle, with two exceptions:

1) For some reason, Jeancarlos, Teófilo, and Francisco were not listed on the Moodle roster, a problem that I hope to have corrected no later than Tuesday.

2) Your points for drafts of Essay #1 and your peer evaluation do not appear, as I have not yet had a chance to evaluate them. These will be posted on Tuesday.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Response to George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant" (due by 1 pm on Tuesday, 10/11)

As you write, respond to the following questions:

1) How would you describe the tone of this essay? In other words, how does the author seem to feel about his subject? How can you tell?

2) Why does Orwell shoot the elephant?

3) Consider a moment at which someone in charge (a parent, teacher, or official, for example, or even yourself) was forced to do something against their will. Briefly analyze this moment. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Extra credit: Center for the Development of Linguistic Competencies Workshop

Workshop: Peer response

INGL 3103
Fall 2016
Dr. J. Adams

Project: Workshop, Drafts of Essay 1

Due: At the end of class on Monday, October 3 (no extensions)

Points: 30

Answer all questions as fully as you can. You will earn points based on the effort you put into this project. More importantly, the more effort you put into this project, the more you will help a fellow student, and the more you will help your own writing develop.

First, read the essay all the way through without commenting. Second, read the essay again, making corrections and comments in the margins. Third, approach the essay with the goal of answering the questions below as fully as possible.

1.     What question does the author seem to be trying to answer in this essay?

2.     What is the author’s answer to this question? In other words, what is the thesis statement of this essay?

3.     Evaluate the thesis statement.

a)    Is it a broad generalization? (not good)

b)   Is it a specific statement about the text at hand? (good)

c)    Does it make you interested or even excited to read on? (obviously good)

d)   Why or why not?

e)     Is it supported in the body of the essay? In other words, does the author prove their point? (not only good, but necessary)

f)     How can you tell?

4.    Create an outline of the essay. To do this, describe briefly what the point of each paragraph seems to be. In other words, why is each paragraph included in the essay? (You will probably find problems with organization and content using this strategy. Make a note where you find things that you think don’t work and things that you think work especially well.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Response to George Saunders, "Commencement Speech on Kindness" (due by 1 pm on Tuesday, 10/4)

For this response, include your answers to these questions:

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

What, in your opinion, is the best point that Saunders makes--and why? Include the relevant quote from the essay, including quotation marks and a page number. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Prewriting" for Essay #1

INGL 3103
Fall 2016
Dr. J. Adams

Due at the end of class today, September 28

Project: “Prewriting” for Essay #1

1.     Do some fun warm-up writing! (5–10 minutes) This is a useful strategy in preparing to write “academic” essays. Write a quick description of something that interests you, a poem, a dialogue, a letter to someone, a post you’d put on social media...whatever appeals most right now.

2.     What is the REVISED, specific question that you want to use to guide Essay #1?

3.     What text from the syllabus are you using to help you answer it?

4.     Write 2–3 paragraphs in which you explore your question (15–20 minutes).

5.     What emerged from #4 as the most compelling answer to your question? This may be your initial thesis. If you didn’t find something interesting in your writing above, keep going. Your initial thesis will change as you write the essay itself. It may well appear in your conclusion.

6.     Choose 3 quotes from the text that you think will be useful to you as you develop your main idea. Record them below, including quotation marks and page numbers.




Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gretel Erlich, "About Men"--response due by 1 pm on 9/25

For this response, choose one or two sentences that you think express the argument (or "thesis") of this essay. Then explain your perspective, using other quotes from the text if necessary. Be sure to put the page number of the quote you use in parentheses. In addition, use a "signal phrase," such as, "According to Erlich,..." to introduce your quote. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

An interesting (I think!) article on masculinity


Monday, September 19, 2016

Extra credit workshop

Good day, all,

Here is some information from the Centro para el Desarrollo de Compentencias Lingüísticas regarding a writing workshop to be held this Wednesday at 11:30 am this time in an amphitheater in the law school:

Great news, everyone! We were able to reserve an amphitheater for this week's workshop. Please let your students know how to find us: once inside the School of Law's main entrance, immediately turn right. 

Please note that the repetition of this workshop will be the following week as this Friday is a holiday. 

Thanks again for your support! We look forward to receiving your students!


On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 5:21 PM, Laura Martinez Ortiz <> wrote:
Dear professors—

Thank you so much for your support! The number of students visiting the Center is ever increasing and our workshops are packed. You are definitely a huge part of our success, and we are thankful that you are encouraging your students to be part of our community of learners. 

I’ve recently written to some of you to ask if your students are required to come to our workshops as part of their classwork: how many students and which topics, to be specific. Those of you who would like to take advantage of our services and send whole groups, please let us know in advance so we may accommodate a larger number of students in larger spaces. Our protocol is to limit the number of students once the maximum capacity of the room is reached, but it often happens that students squeeze in even if they don’t fit because they feel compelled to comply with the course requirements. It is important that your students rest assured that if they cannot make it to a workshop on Wednesday, they will have another chance to attend on Friday or they can take the workshop individually at the Center. Upon your request, we would be happy to send you a special attendance list of students who take workshops at the Center in addition to the monthly report of student visits.

Again, thank you so much for your support! We are currently working on finding an amphitheater for our next workshop: Outlining and Building Essays. We’ll keep you posted on any changes to our program. 

Ever thankful,
Laura Martínez Ortiz, directora
Centro para el Desarrollo de Competencias Lingüísticas
Facultad de Estudios Generales
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras

Laura Martínez Ortiz, directora
Centro para el Desarrollo de Competencias Lingüísticas
Facultad de Estudios Generales
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras

Friday, September 16, 2016

Steven Doloff, "The Opposite Sex" (respond by 1 pm on 9/20)

For this response, imagine that you are spending a day as a member of the opposite sex. What do you choose to do with your day? What issues come up for you during the course of this experiment? Add a relevant citation from the article somewhere in your response. Be sure to include quotation marks and the page number(s). 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Elaine Showalter, "Representing Ophelia"

Good day, everyone,

Please add your comment on this reading in keeping with the instructions given in class on 9/14. Post no later than 1 pm on Sunday, 9/18.

If you have questions, be sure to let me know. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Signal phrases"

This is a key concept that we will be discussing in class, as related to the paper assignment below. Please review the following link over the next week. The page is divided into MLA and APA signal phrases. Please ignore the distinction unless it's useful to you for another class. For our purposes, this entire list of verbs is useful!

Essay #1

Please peruse the following assignment. We will also talk about it in class.

INGL 3103
Fall 2016
Dr. Jessica Adams Stone

Project: Essay #1

In this project, you will engage with one of the topics we are covering in class leading up to the paper due date.

If you don’t already have a topic you like, you may want to read the works on the syllabus between now and Oct. 3.

First, you will ask an insightful question that you actually want to answer about the topic you have chosen.

We will discuss your questions and I will provide you with feedback.

After some “exploratory” writing and drafting, you will arrive at an answer to this question. Your answer will be your initial thesis statement.

If you consider the answer you discover to be boring, keep working. Obviously, you want to feel interested in/excited about your project!

Your final draft will reflect your further refinement of your idea. Your initial thesis and your final thesis will not be the same.

You will incorporate:

a.     Analysis of one of the essays we are reading this semester, using citations from the essay incorporated into the essay using “signal” phrases (to be discussed in class) and page numbers
b.     Personal experience
c.     Any other texts you find relevant (cited as per MLA style)
d.     A “Works Cited” page that lists any texts you quoted from, summarized, or paragraphsed, using MLA style (to be discussed in class)

Due dates

Sept. 21           The question you want to use as the basis for your essay is due at the
                        beginning of class

Sept. 28           In class: Discussion of essay topics/Prewriting

Oct. 3              Draft of Essay 1 due at the beginning of class (2 copies, typed)
                        In class: Workshop/peer response

Oct. 17            Final version of Essay 1 due (3-4 pages; 12-pt font; 1-inch margins all                           the way around; typed using Times New Roman)

                        Include the following:

a.     Your initial question
b.     Your “prewriting”
c.     Your typed draft and any subsequent drafts you wrote
d.     The final version of your essay, formatted as above
e.     A letter written in class on the due date, stating: Why you were excited to write about this topic; why you think I should feel excited to read your essay; what you think you did well, specifically; and what you would have liked to have done better, specifically