ENGLISH 1A … Start in your creative storming…

22 Aug

ENGLISH 1A  – Reading & Composition

Section:  2693

4 Units

FALL 2017


Room:  2714 Maggini Hall, Santa Rosa Campus

Time:  Tuesday, Thursday … 1-3pm

Instructor:  Michael J. Madigan

Blog:  maddenedread.com

Email:  mmadigan@santarosa.edu

Course Description

Critical reading and discussion of works in various literary forms. Composition predominantly of reasoned and reflective prose. Content and emphasis of particular sections specified in the English Department’s course description bulletin “A Hundred Doors” issued every year.

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.  Write a comprehensive, well-developed and coherent essay with a focused thesis and appropriate support.

2.  Recognize and correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

3.  Identify and analyze argumentative, stylistic, and narrative techniques in non-fiction and fiction.

4.  Obtain, summarize and synthesize research materials including correct use of MLA citations.

Outcomes and Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

Reading – From expository essays, full-length works of non-fiction, and short and full-length works of fiction at or above grade 13 level:

1.  Identify the main idea or thesis.

2.  Identify the sequencing or order of the ideas presented.

3.  Explain how the writer supports and illustrates ideas and connects

them to the thesis.

4.  Paraphrase and summarize paragraphs and essays.

5.  Annotate an essay with appropriate comments.

6.  Identify the stylistic features of an essay.

7.  Identify an essay’s tone.

8.  Distinguish between literal and inferential information and identify

the use of assumptions and biases.

9.  Identify argumentative techniques and recognize logical fallacies.

10. Articulate their opinions and assumptions in relation to reading



1.  Write 6,000 to 8,000 words in expository and argumentative essays,

each with a clearly identifiable thesis.

2.  Organize their essays, paragraphs, and sentences logically and


3.  Develop paragraphs with concrete, appropriate, and

relevant details.

4.  Write essays which express a mature attitude toward their subject

with a consistent and appropriate point of view.

5.  Write argumentative essays responding to opposing arguments and

avoiding logical fallacies.

6.  Revise their prose for clarity, precision, and variety of sentences;

correct diction; and appropriate voice.

7.  Recognize and correct errors in punctuation, grammar, and spelling.

8.  Demonstrate familiarity with college-level library research techniques

and with the basic reference works and facilities of the college


9. Use MLA or APA format in citing research.

Required Texts

Collected Poems (Plath

Moveable Feast (Hemingway)

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (Sedaris)

On The Road (Kerouac)


Dictionary & Thesaurus

Small journal you keep on you at all times!!

Daunting optimism

Grade Composition

3 Essays 30%

8 Short, Typed Reactions 25%

In-Class Writings 5%

Journals 5%

Creative 5%

Attendance & Activity 10%

Final Submission 20%


All assignments are to be turned in when they are due.

12 point font, Times New Roman or some other professional font.

1-inch margins.



Heading in upper-left…


Come on time, come prepared, or you’ll be sorry you came at all.

If you miss 4 classes, for any reason, you will not pass this class.


Any act of cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic ‘F’.  Period.  Don’t do it.  I’m always here to assist you with reading, writing, idea development, so there is NO reason to be academically dishonest.

Cell Phones or any electronic devices…

Please turn them off, or put them on vibrate if you’re expecting an important call, or might get one for some reason.

Students with Disabilities or any Needs

See me and/or contact the disability services office, and your needs will be met.

The Weeks…

Week 4 – Essay 1 Due

Week 8 – Essay 2 Due

Week 12 – Essay 3 Due

Last Class Meeting – Final Submission Due


quick thoughts, before we start our collective and individual stories in this class…

Everyone wants something… but so many, too many, don’t want to test themselves, be tireless in their efforts.  Why?  I’ve always wanted to know this.  And don’t think I’ve always thought this.  I’m just now, at my old age realizing certain remedies and solvents.

Set yourself in dreamer mode.  Why not?  You have to have a job, right?  Why not have it be something that you wildly love?

Sow your own narrative.  Have it take you to what you want.

When you read something, anything, you should look for something that you can relate to your own life.  This only makes sense, as there will be occasions where you’re assigned something and you just flat out don’t like it.  This, too, is part of being a student.  Make it about you.  Make the text, however big, part of your reality and your Now.

Emerson said “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” In order for us to get whatever it is we want, or need… wherever we see ourselves later in our stories, we must hold ourselves to a positive, yay-saying and ever-enthusiastic and emphatic tenor.  How else will we get to where we want to go? If happiness is the prime pursuit of every human, it can only be tasted with the enthusiastic gallop.

Creativity and conversation solve everything.  Everything.  Especially in an English class.  And, note, there is invitation for creativity and expression everywhere.  What distinguishes a masterful essay from an average one is enthusiasm, creative, depth, and description.  But, the creative is always prime, paramount, the utmost poetic.

However you have to get there, to what you want, just get there.  Your doubters are doubters because they’re blind.  They see nothing but their own weights, what holds them down, so they have no motivation to encourage you.  So… encourage yourself.  Teach yourself.  Lecture yourself on your strengths and what’s ahead.  There is no dead-end.  Be your most present of best friends…

Use every minute…

When you’re bored, you’re blind… you’re blinding yourself.

*Vision is a choice.  Agony and misery are choices.  Why would you ever elect either?

Go for a walk.  Write in your head.  This WILL help with your writing, and by extension your reading.  Read and re-read your writing.  Always be in editing mode.

Appreciate your story.  Be a fan of you.  You want to be a “better” writer, and reader?  This has to come before everything.  Conviction that you can is never a negotiation.

Another way to be “better” at reading is to see more in the story.  Don’t just stop at the words on the page.  Look further into what’s on the pages.  CONNECT WHAT YOUR READING TO YOUR STORY.

This class is an Exchange of Ideas.  Civility is not suggested, it is demanded.  It is the order of the classroom.  Let your colleagues finish their thoughts, then respond.  Never interrupt.  When you interrupt someone, if in some debate or lively discourse, you indicate weakness.  Let them finish, then react.

College Reading & Writing is a course that focuses on reading and writing, yes, obviously, but as well original thought… building from the ideas that are presently present in your consciousness… from your Human Experience.

Before we start, though, and you must not dismiss this question, “What do you want?”  Be tireless, and you will get it.  How do you be and stay tireless, by testing yourself.  Not letting yourself stop.  Of course, yes, you will have to take breaks and of course sleep at night, but plan… writing a plan for yourself on how you will get to whatever it is you want, wherever you want to be.  Be creative, be involved in the conversations, always.  Don’t be silent.  If you let yourself settle in silence, you may as well be asleep.  If you want something, want to be somewhere… want to see some part of the world… want a certain career or quality of life?  You have to be TIRELESS.

I want you all to enjoy your semester in this class, your experience, and your conversations with each other.  All the new ideas and new pieces you will read, all the material that you’ll write for yourself (and you may think you’re writing for me, or the school, but no.. you write for YOU).  My goal in this class, or one of them, is to have as many of you leave having attained what you set out to.  I’m here for you.

Be here for you, too.  Wholly, wildly, creatively HERE.

2 Responses to “ENGLISH 1A … Start in your creative storming…”

  1. Andrea August 22, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Yay for your new semester! Kill it, Mike! ❤️

    • mikemadigan August 22, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

      Thank you!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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