April 2008 Archives

A presubmission report is a working document that asks you to focus on whether you have all the components of a good paper, before you launch into churning out the paragraphs.

You may find, as you work on the presubmission, that you need to adjust your thesis or otherwise shift your approach. That's fine -- you don't need to ask my permission to make such changes; that's what this assignment is for.

Remember that you might not find an entire article or book on the subject that you're researching; or, a book that you think is important may not be available in the time-frame you have left. These are the realities of research, and the best way to respond is to adjust your thesis so that you set out to prove something that you can, in fact, prove with the evidence available to you.

Your presubmission report is a word processor file, uploaded to Turnitin.com.

Also, bring a copy on Monday for your informal peer presentations.

1. Topic
2. Thesis statement (with topic, a precise but non-obvious opinion, and a blueprint for the paper)
3. Quotations supporting your thesis
4. Quotations supporting alternate or opposing arguments
5. Preliminary conclusion
6. MLA-style Works Cited list (demonstrating your knowledge of the correct format)
7. Format the presubmission as an MLA-style paper (title block, pagination, etc.)

I can give very useful feedback on just 2 pages, but the more you give me, the more helpful I can be.

Please don't write out the whole paper first, then "look for quotes" to support the opinion you reached before you did any research.

In small groups, you will give an informal presentation on how the sources you have found in your research are helping you to develop your thesis statement.

Focus on finding peer-reviewed academic articles and scholarly books. Note that you might not find a whole book or article on your chosen literary work. If so, you will need to look for brief references to your chosen work in publications on related subjects.

Wikipedia, SparkNotes, and other online study guides are not appropriate sources -- they simply summarize what you can find by reading more credible sources directly. Everything you learned in STW about finding peer-reviewed sources applies in English, but note that I will expect you to draw on literary scholarship. It's OK to use an article published in an education journal, or a criminology journal, or even (if you have a good reason) a scientific journal; but your thesis should be an argument about a work of literature, not about an educational theory, or a government policy, or a fact about the natural world.

Assigned Text:

Edson, Wit

Read the whole play.

Assigned Text:

Hamilton (236-246)

Assigned Text:

Card, Ender's Game

Ch 11-15

Optional... If you've got an itchy blank-verse finger and you're a fan of this ground-breaking (and cringe-inducing) film, feel free to try your hand at revising some of the dialog and contributing to the Pulp Bard project.  If you choose to do so, feel free to blog about your experiences and include it in your final blog portfolio.
Welcome to the Pulp Shakespeare Project, devoted to the reconstruction of William Shakespeare's play A Slurry Tale, which curiously resembles Quentin Tarantino's film Pulp Fiction. There is no way to stop this from happening, so this wiki exists to ensure that it is done well, or as well as it can be.
Vincent: And know'st thou what the French name cottage pie?
Julius: Say they not cottage pie, in their own tongue?
Vincent: But nay, their tongues, for speech and taste alike
Are strange to ours, with their own history:
Gaul knoweth not a cottage from a house.
Julius: What say they then, pray?
Vincent: Hachis Parmentier.
Julius: Hachis Parmentier! What name they cream?
Vincent: Cream is but cream, only they say la crème.
Julius: What do they name black pudding?
Vincent: I know not;
I visited no inn it could be bought.

Assigned Text:

Hamilton (216-235)

Assigned Text:

Card, Ender's Game

Ch 6-10

In-class Activity


I'm putting in this note to schedule in time for an in-class activity. You don't need to prepare anything for it.
Complete this workout and bring a printout to class.

Assigned Text:

Card, Ender's Game

Ch 1-5

Claim a topic for a bibliography and 5-minute informal presentation. (You don't have to give the presentation today -- just claim the topic and demonstrate you have already started your research.)

Assigned Text:

Short Research Papers

As you know by now from your STW class, writing a college research paper involves finding original research from credible academic sources.

While we still have some works of literature to read before the end of the term, much of our focus will turn towards preparing you to write a short academic research paper.

Today's reading (please write an agenda item as you would for any other assigned reading):

Short Research Papers
In addition, come to class today with a topic for your short research paper (which should examine one or more works we have discussed in class, or possibly a topic related to a language concept we have discussed).

We will discuss turning your topic into a research question, which is a step on the way to coming up with a thesis statement.

In class Friday, after I realized that students weren't as familiar with prefixes, roots, and suffixes as I had expected (I had four years of that stuff in high school), I decided to add a quick unit on that subject. We might not get as far into the ongoing changes that English is experiencing, but if you know more about the raw material of language (that is, the pieces that make up our vocabulary), you'll be able to make more sense out of new words you encounter.

Prefixes are important, as in this label for an "AB NORMAL" brain.


You have already written several poems for this class. In a single word-processor file to be uploaded to Turnitin.com, compile a selection of works that demonstrate your ability to apply what you have learned about prosody, meter, language, and "showing." Call to my attention any specific effects you strove to achive.

You may include one poem that you consider "finished" -- that is, something that you wrote before this class, and something you aren't interested in revising. (Please mark that poem as such so I can respond to it appropriately.)

I'm not requiring you to wrote up a formal analysis of each poem you submit, but if you want to call attention to something you wrote, or a theme that defines your portfolio, please write a short statement.

You may arrange your portfolio to highlight your growth as a poet, or your ongoing struggles with a particular aspect of poetic form.

You are welcome to post your portfolio on your blog, but it's not required.


Poetry Slam

Assigned Text:

Hamilton (189-215)

OED stands for "Oxford English Dictionary." It's a huge dictionary that took decades to complete; it records the meaning of words as they change over time, and includes quotes from published sources that actually use those words.

Urban Dictionary is full of new words, some of which are destined to become everyday words in the English language, but most of which are not. Contributors to the Urban Dictionary seem to enjoy using the most vulgar examples they can think of.

For this assignment, find 3-5 words in Urban Dictionary, and for each word, find a use online (not just in the Urban Dictionary) where that word is actually used online. Write a brief agenda item about each word, just as you write about words in our Hamilton book.

Just because a word is in Urban Dictionary does not mean that you'll find a "real" instance of that use online, or that the definition given on Urban Dictionary matches the use you find online.



Someone or something that is both intelligent and attractive.

Example: A from a comment posted by JAMESWalker to the blog Mountain Power Lineman: Better a Nerd, than a Fool

"And we can all thank the ultimate dork of the family: our proud father, Mr. Stephen Walker. He carries on the great tradition of dorkery through his blog, sldubya.blogspot.com, by posting his nerdelicious recipes and discussing such topics as traffic, cheese, and Got Milk? commercials."

Thanks, Dad. I love you and your nerdiness. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I chose the this term because it suggests nerd pride -- that the special qualities that make somewhat obsessive, socially awkward, but talented people have benefits in the modern world that may not be apparent to the beautiful and popular people who still have VCRs that are blinking 12:00.

Word Games

Assigned Text:

Hamilton (150-188)

Write ten-beat lines of verse, like Shakespeare wrote.

Donne, etc.

Update: We've actually already read the poems I wanted to assign on this day. Nothing to see here... move along.

As I mentioned in class in late March, I'm not actually requiring a revision of your professional portfolio. If you would like to meet with me to discuss further changes you can make, please feel free to do so.

I'm leaving this part of the exercise on the syllabus just as a reminder that your professional documents will always be developing, and that every day is a chance for you to make a change ("Start today!") that can affect your future career.

There's nothing to download.

Write a parody of an existing sonnet.

Include the "real" sonnet and your parody on a single piece of paper, with a brief explanation of your accomplishment.

Bring a printout to class.

Assigned Text:

Truss 3

Dashes, hyphens, miscellaneous (132-204). Write 2 separate agenda items.

Due Today:

Portfolio 2

Update, April 1:

The format for this portfolio follows the same as the last one.

Remember that your individual entries should include a link back to the page devoted to each reading.

Please pay special attention to interaction, especially in cases where you are the first one to leave a comment on a blog entry that sparks a long discussion. (So, seek out entries that have no comments, and try to get a discussion started.)

Feel free to include any extra blogging that you did.

Assigned Text:

Truss 2

Commas, colons, semicolons (68-131). Write 2 separate agenda items.

Recent Comments

Ethan Shepley on Portfolio 3: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/EthanShepley/2008/05/po
Chelsea Oliver on Portfolio 3: "Sooner or later, you'll be looking back on everyt
Stephanie Wytovich on Portfolio 3: Say Goodbye as you fade to black... http://blogs.s
Jessie Farine on Hamilton (236-246): Free verse is still not freedom. http://blogs.set
Jessie Farine on Hamilton (216-235): Couplets: Because things are always better in pair
Jessie Farine on Card, Ender's Game: "And always Ender carried with him a dry white coc
Maddie Gillespie on Portfolio 3: It all comes back to ya in the end! One way or ano
Angela Palumbo on Portfolio 3: My last portfolio! You know you want to take a lo
Greta Carroll on Ex 2-2: Poetry Portfolio: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/GretaCarroll/2008/04/fo
Greta Carroll on Portfolio 3: "If you believe in magic, come along with me" (fro
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