Tag Archives: Writing

Summer Syllabus

20 Jun

English 305.1, section 9055 ~ “Development of College Reading and Writing”

Summer 2017

1624 Emeritus Hall, Santa Rosa Junior College,

Main Campus

Michael J. Madigan

M-Th, 6pm-8:15pm

6/19/17 to 8/10/17

CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION

Development of general education and career-technical reading, writing, and information competency skills necessary for college work.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

1. Describe and apply reading strategies and rhetorical patterns of organization for level appropriate materials.

2. Comprehend, infer, interpret, and analyze vocational and academic texts.

3. Use the writing process to: narrow a topic suitable for an essay of a prescribed length; formulate and develop a thesis with details, examples, and reasons; and express ideas in clear and grammatical sentences and logical paragraphs.

4. Demonstrate proficiency in reading comprehension through writing summaries, and responses, short essays, and short research assignments.

5. Demonstrate proficiency in learning practices that foster literacy skills and promote student success.

6. Access, select, and evaluate research materials, recognize the principles of academic integrity, and use research materials in written assignments.

Objectives:

Using general education and career-technical readings of various lengths and increasing

complexity, such as short articles, chapters from textbooks, short

stories, novels, full-length works of nonfiction, and/or other materials, students

will:

EFFECTIVE LEARNING PRACTICES

1. Participate in college classes effectively.

2. Demonstrate effective academic habits.

3. Find and use campus and community resources that foster literacy skills and student success.

Attendance:  All classes are mandatory.  If you miss more than 4 meetings, for any reason, you will not pass the class.

GRADE COMPOSITION

Short Writings — 30%

Essays — 20%

Attendance & Activity — 20%

Journals — 10%

Quizzes — 10%

Readings — 5%

Creative — 5%

Before we can address anything in the course outline, we have to get you comfortable with you, and the way you think, what you think about in reaction to something you read.  THEN, we can get fancy.  We’ll start the first day reading a couple short passages, and talking with each other about what we notice.  What does it make us think of, how does the writing feel, what kind of punctuation is used… when reading a text, what issues are brought up?

WE ONLY HAVE EIGHT WEEKS.  That’s it.  To get through everything we have to and have you leave feeling comfortable, more comfortable about how you read in a college setting and your written reactions to what you read, as well as the discussions that follow with your colleagues.

My biggest advice to you, before we begin, is relax.  Then, think about your life, everything you’ve seen, and everything you know.  Your life, and all the experiences that entails.  Your Human Experience will help you identify certain themes in what we read, will help you conduct research, write a thesis and defend it.

The catalogue description specifies, “necessary for college work”.  Well, what is truly necessary for academic success at the college level is not only being able to read the material and understand it, but notice what’s taking place in what you’re reading— What’s being said, how the author feels and what their intentions are, taking a closer look at the examples provided and them forming our own conclusion and opinions to civilly share with one another.

Over the summer, we’ll be keeping a ‘new word roster’, somewhere in our journals.  This is not just for sakes of widening our vocabularies, but as well exploring words themselves, seeing how they affect the feel of a reading and how it might say something about the author’s attitude.  And, okay, it’s just fun to find and gather new words, words that we can make out own and use how we want.  This will also help with becoming more comfortable with the way you think and read a text and write a reaction to what you read.  We only have eight weeks, so consider your first assignment finding a couple new words, why not make it three, and reporting back to us telling what the words mean and how they might be used in prose.

YOU…. this is about You.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE —

WEEK 1:  Short writings, discussion

WEEK 2:  Essay 1, readings, journal WEEK 3:  Readings, creative

WEEK 4:  Essay 2

WEEK 5:  Journal, short writings, creative

WEEK 6:  Research, readings, re-writing of essays, editing

WEEK 7:  Presentations, planning… short writings

WEEK 8:  Presentations, journals, re-writes, short writings

Hughes, Desire

Discussion 1—  What does this poem mean to you?  Does it remind you of anything?  How does Mr. Hughes sound in the poem?  And, what does “mingled breath” mean?

With anything you write,

10 May

put on a more-than-fantastic show for YOURSELF.

Trust yourself,

25 Apr

just not too much, with writing.

Sometimes you need to let the story steer.

On the first page of Dharma Bums,

12 Apr

the narrator mentions how “Charlie Parker’d been mad and relaxed back to normal health…” Further into this book we read, it should be brought up, or at least entertained if these characters’ habits and modes are “healthy”.  I argue they are, in the short-term.  Searching and searching…. Search is necessitated in finding purpose.  The wander is part of the equation.  But, there should be at least mild awareness of what you want, what kind of destination you hope to reach.  As characters with rich and curious souls, they are anything but “bums”.  They are travelers, students, seekers.  The order is in their search.  There’s the trust of the stranger, the enjoyment of the stranger, the kindness toward the stranger.  This is entirely healthy.  Not just in the civil attributes, but with the openness of soul.  The way Ray asks the thin old little bum to watch his pack while he hops off to fetch some wine, then later offering him some bread and cheese to pair with his sardines.  This is kindness.  This is healthy.

And, on the note of being “relaxed”, as readers we can only feel relaxed on this Buddhist-born journey and intention to intensify a sense of Personhood.  Kerouac urges us to be a ‘crazy dumbsaint of the mind’.  And, of those around us.  It’s health, to be around others.  And it’s even healthier to learn from them.  Kerouac even confesses himself in Big Sur that he went mad in just three weeks of being by himself.  He pained for his gang back home.  This book shows us healing, health, exploring, how to avoid the humdrum pattern of regularity.  But, we also see that we need a peak to shoot for.  These travels disclose a certain edginess, that can only be rewarding for us as the readers, and surveyors of his thoughts.

Even at the gas station,

17 Mar

take time to think.

Collect yourself.

Meditate.

Write in your head.

Ownership of Topic

16 Mar

Anyone can see this is encouragement, when I say it in class—  “Make the topic your own.” Or, “The onus is all yours.” But it’s more than that, actually.  The ‘ownership’ precipitates from the eagerness and exploratory urges from the student.  ‘What is the author wanting us to do?’ and ‘How does this relate to my life, and society today?’ The ownership is really a connection between the student and their work, their life as a matriculant.  A student can be passive, merely going from one assignment and class to the next, or they can feel an irrefutable inner-compulsion to explore their abilities, to test themselves.  Ownership of topic is command of experience.  But, the student has to make that choice.  The other day I stressed that “The student has to be an animal, a predator feeding on knowledge, otherwise they become prey to their own idleness.” It comes down to choices, actions, maintenance of mental activity.  The ownership begs creativity, to find new approaches and thoughts, ways to read and write, do research and study.

In the college purview, you need to encourage yourself and not wait for some momentous encouragement from the outside.  The owner of anything should be starkly abreast that the story begins and ends with him/her.  Again, I know, “encouragement”.  But why not encourage?  Why not encourage yourself?  Make all topics, classes, semesters, programs, goals your own.  There is no student who can’t be a serious student, who can’t master, own, something in the curriculum.  Once you’ve mastered something, or feel that sense of ownership and control of your work, you’ll be lifted… lifted from angst and self-doubt.  You, the student, are the master.  You are in control.  You own what you’re working on.  You have to convince yourself of that, and maintain, encourage, that conviction.

Writing Prompt–

16 Mar

Look out the nearest window, write 1000 words on the first thing you see.