September 9, 2008 Archives

Due Today:

ILP1: Prewriting

This assignment is advance work on your "Individual Learning Plan" (ILP).  Bring an electronic copy of this document to class Tuesday. You will share it with your peers, and I will circulate through the room and discuss them with you. 

At the moment, there is no slot for this assignment. (I will create one after we've had a chance to discuss your progress in class on Tuesday.)

Below you will find questions that are designed to get you thinking about the issues that will be important to your ILP.  Please note that your "Individual Learning Plan" is not simply answers to a series of questions. Your ILP, when fully developed, will be a brief essay, that includes your goals, evidence to provide justification for your goals, and promises (to yourself) about what you will do this term to reach those goals.

I resist showing you a model ILP, because I don't want you to think that your job is to duplicate the model.  Instead, I want to work closely with you, so that you develop an ILP that is meaningful to you. 

Context for the Assignment -- the ILP

We will work our way gradually towards composing a full ILP.  We're not ready to write one yet, but when you are ready to write it, the shape will look something like this:

  • A brief introduction, articulating your goals in this class (beyond "getting a good grade" or "doing it because I have to").
  • A brief explanation of your strengths as a writer (statements supported by evidence, in the form of examples, your MyCompLab pre-test scores, comments from me or other teachers, motivation in the form of career goals or work experience, and/or guidelines you find in the textbook).
  • A brief list of the major weaknesses you want to work on this term.  This list must include some major grammar issues (as identifed by your MyCompLab pre-test), but may also include other issues such as time-management, or personal attitude towards writing.   (Thus, you would say "I want to work on A, B, and C.")
  • A longer section that includes examples of your own writing (or anecdotes about the process of writing) that illustrate the weaknesses you want to improve, along with a plan that incorporates your understanding of all the resources available to you (including office visits with me, visits to the writing center, MyCompLab exercises, and your textbook).  (Thus, you would have a section that includes examples of your struggle with topic A, and resources that will help you with topic A. Then  you would move on to topic B, and give resources that will help you with topic B, and so on.)
  • A general section, in which you make promises that will help you to meet your goals. This section must include a statement about how many MyCompLab exercises you plan to complete each week.  In the past, students have used this section to make promises such as "Attend every class" or "submit every assignment on time" or "spend at least 3 hours studying the night before each class" or "make appointment to talk with professor once a month" or "bring rough drafts of every assignment to the writing center.

Today we'll talk about your first full paper (2-3 pages), I'll briefly touch on material that's contained in pages that I've linked to here.

A "narrative" is simply a story. I'm asking you to write a personal essay in the form of a story based on your own experience.  I want a true story, not a work of fiction, but I'm asking you to describe your experiences as if you were writing a very short story (with a protagonist with a clear goal, who struggles to overcome obstacles, and in the process goes through a meaningful change.)

Requirements for P1:
  • Demonstrate your ability to punctuate quoted speech correctly.
  • Rather than simply describing the big game, or a scary car crash or the loss of a loved one, present a story that SHOWS the consequences of an escalating series of moral choices.
    • Example... in high school, a kid I didn't know accidentally threw food at me in the cafeteria one day. I ignored it. The next day, he did it again on purpose, and my friends told me he was laughing at me behind my back. I could have ignored it again, but I told my friends, "If he does it again, I'll throw my chocolate milk all over him."  I was just blustering to save face with my friends -- my plan was to drink my milk really quickly and then leave, but the kid threw a donut at me immediately.  I had another choice... ignore him again, back down in front of my friends, or throw the milk in his face.
    • I've stopped this example at the CLIMAX -- the moment when my own moral choice -- the decision to bluff in front of my friends -- forced me to make another, more significant, choice. In order for the story to work, I'd need to introduce some context -- why was it so important to me to bluff in front of my friend, what the consequences were likely to be (the kid who was picking on me was a wrestler). My story would eventually get to the food fight (that's right, I threw the milk in his face), but the reader needs at least a glimpse of what the "normal" routine is, before something happens that makes this particlar day worth writing about.
    • Note that a CRISIS is simply an exciting emergency -- a car crash, a wave sweeping somebody overboard, a crowd of bullies threatening to beat you up. A story needs CONFLICT.  In this case, I wouldn't make my adversary into a fully-fleshed out opponent (with his own set of motivations and values).  I'd keep him a background figure, just a prop, something that helps me SHOW a conflict between opposing moral systems (turn the other cheek, even if it means getting beaten up? Keep the respect of your friends, even if you're still gonna get beaten up and get sent to the principal's office?).
In class on Tuesday I said that I will mark all assignments on a four-point scale, with a 3 out of 4 being a B.

On reflection, I realized that, because I included a different grading scale in the syllabus, I really should stick to that grading scale, since it's the same one other LA100 teachers use.

Honestly, I don't feel that it will make a difference, because if you submit B papers, at the end of the semester you'll get a B, regardless of whether your B appears in my gradebook as a 3.0 out of a possible 4, or 85%.  But I thought it was worth explaining. 

Recent Comments

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