September 2007 Archives
I would rather not read a paraphrased dictionary definition or something snagged from Wikipedia or UrbanDictionary.com. Maybe you could make up a new word that should exist, but doesn't. (Why isn't there a word for the little dance that happens when you meet someone coming the other way in the hall, and you both step in the same direction to let the other person pass, then you both step in the opposite direction, and finally you make eye contact with each other and laugh?) Or you could describe an event that only takes place in your family. (For my family, Thanksgiving Day dinner was not complete without a ceremonial presentation of a plate of cranberry sauce -- cylindrical, quivering, standing on one end. Someone would say "Here's the cranberry sauce," and everyone else would say, "in the shape of the can." Since I hated stuffing with onions, and my sister hated stuffing with raisins, my mother would make special bowls for each of us. The arrival of the cranberry sauce was a unifying event. I don't think any of us really liked cranberry sauce, but it was an important part of the day. Here's a related thought, that I might be able to work into the paragraph if I found the right thesis... my father never criticized my mother's cooking -- never ever. When she served him Lima beans, he ate them. So she kept buying them, thinking he liked them. He kept eating them, thinking the reason that she kept serving them was because *she* liked them. My mother was shocked the day my father finally told her that he didn't like Lima beans any more than the rest of us. We all rejoiced, knowing that we would find ourselves eating far fewer Lima beans in the future. Could I find a way to tell that story along with the stuffing and cranberry sauce story, all in a single 200-word paragraph? Chances are, I would have to pick just one story -- but it's better to choose the best story out of three possibilities, instead of desperately trying to squeeze insight out of the first story that seems plausible.)
I won't keep putting this on the syllabus, but each week you should aim to complete "Exercise Zone" units according to your individual learning plan (ILP).
What specific details in your environment help you to define yourself? Choose something specific -- your Facebook profile, a favorite item of clothing, or something intangible, like a favorite word or a habit. For instance, I am a suburban father and husband. I also have identities as an English professor, a computer nerd, a Catholic, and a guy with thinning hair who's pushing forty. I couldn't possibly address every one of these identities in a single paragraph, but perhaps I could choose some specific sign of my identity -- like my minivan, or the growing number of hairs in my comb each morning -- and use that detail to help me make a specific point about one part of my identity.
Based on your diagnostic scores, assemble a list of MyCompLab "Exercise Zone" exercises that cover the grammar areas where you feel you need the most help. (How many? When are they due? We'll talk about it in class and during your initial office visit.)
In your ILP Proposal, aim to demonstrate your willingness to identify
areas where you need to improve, and to match that need with the
resources available to you (in MyCompLab, your textbook, the writing
- MyCompLab Plan: 15pts (a list of MyCompLab exercises that you plan to complete, with deadlines; a general idea of how many exercises you plan to do each week, and how many you plan to complete by the end of November). (No exercises completed in December will count towards your grade.)
- Personal Plan: 15pts (an informal plan in which you explain how you will use the resources that are available to you as a basic comp student).
- Office Visit: 30 pts (a 15-minute visit to my office, where we will go over your ideas for your ILP proposal. Bring written drafts of parts 1 and 2 to this meeting. The drafts can be very rough, but I need to see evidence that you have thought about this on your own.)
Before the Office Visit
Make sure you have printouts of your drafts for parts 1 and 2. Bring them to my office, so we can consult them right away. Those printouts may be bulleted lists, an informal list of questions, a formal paragraph, charts, or any other written document that you find useful.
Propose a thesis (or main idea) for a 3-page expressive essay.
Before class, complete 2-3 additional MyCompLab"Targeted Diagnostics."
Even though class will not meet, paragraph 2 is still due via Turnitin.com.
Before class, complete 2-3 MyCompLab"Targeted Diagnostics," chosen according to the areas in the "Comprehensive Diagnostic" where you have the most opportunity for improvement.
The individual learning plan (ILP) is your response to what you learned about your grammar skills, based on the feedback you received from the comprehensive grammar pretest, and on feedback you receive from me during a visit to my office. (I will pass out a sign up sheet.)
The ILP is a promise to yourself, that you will complete online exercises that address your weaknesses and enhance your strengths. Completing the ILP is your first step towards finishing the Final Self-Assessment Paper (due in December).