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.