Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In a well-written paragraph and in your own words, define "happiness".

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Media Fast

A review:
You will undertake a “Media Fast” for 24 hours during which you will refrain from using ALL electronic media. This includes: cell phones, computers, Internet, TV, car radios, smart phones, iPods, CD players, etc. If you cheat, you must start over. Then, you’ll respond to a question that will be posted [here] on the course blog:

Describe your experience with the media fast. Was it difficult? Did anything happen that was unexpected? Could you do it on a regular basis (once a month, for example)? What did you learn about yourself?

Your post cannot be longer than one paragraph (6-8 sentences). Make sure to identify yourself or you will not receive credit for the assignment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One Thing

What is the ONE work you think would have helped you in this course?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

America Today

Syndicated columnist, Mark Shields, on the Tuscon shootings:

"There was one observation that was made this week I just have to pass on to you by a friend of mine, Allen Ginsberg, who is an historian up in Maine. And he said,

'[W]e saw a white, Catholic, Republican federal judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic woman, member of Congress, who was his friend and was Jewish. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American college student, who saved her, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon.'

...And then it was all eulogized and explained by our African-American president. And, in a tragic event, that's a remarkable statement about the country."

The above is taken from the transcript of an installment of "PBS NEWSHOUR." There was a "quotation" (a modified version of the above) floating around the Internet (including Facebook) that credited Shields with the Ginsberg's words.

Comment on the importance of verifying sources (Ronald Reagan frequently said, "trust, but verify" - a phrase he borrowed) in our fast, reactionary, digital world. ALSO, comment on the actual quotation's meaning to you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Presidential Speech

“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment… And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity, but also for personal distinction.”
–JFK, at Amherst College, October 26, 1963 (less than a month before his death)

Please share your thoughts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

AP Exam

Please let me (and each other) know what you thought of the free response questions on the AP English Language and Comp. exam.

How did you select evidence? Which sources were most useful on the synthesis prompt? What were your assertions/arguements?

We CANNOT discuss the multiple choice section of the exam. Sorry.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Argument is the Thing

Please read the following editorial and comment on its application to you and your writing.

September 6, 2009
An Argument Worth Having By GERALD GRAFF

Freshmen are often overwhelmed by the intellectual challenge of college — so many subjects to be covered, so many facts, methods and philosophical isms to sort out, so many big words to assimilate. As if that weren’t enough, what your different instructors tell you may be flatly contradictory.

Students understandably cope with this cognitive dissonance by giving each of their teachers in turn whatever he or she seems to want. Students learn to be free-market capitalists in one course and socialists in the next, universalists in the morning and relativists after lunch. This tactic has got many a student through college, but the trouble is that, even when each course is excellent in itself, jumping through a series of hoops doesn’t add up to a real socialization into the ways of intellectual culture.

What the most successful college students do, in my experience, is cut through the clutter of jargons, methods and ideological differences to locate the common practices of argument and analysis hidden behind it all. Contrary to the cliché that no “one size fits all” educational recipe is possible, successful academics of all fields and intellectual persuasions make some key moves that you can emulate:

1. Recognize that knowing a lot of stuff won’t do you much good unless you can do something with what you know by turning it into an argument.

2. Pay close attention to what others are saying and writing and then summarize their arguments and assumptions in a recognizable way. Work especially on summarizing the views that go most against your own.

3. As you summarize, look not only for the thesis of an argument, but for who or what provoked it — the points of controversy.

4. Use these summaries to motivate what you say and to indicate why it needs saying. Don’t be afraid to give your own opinion, especially if you can back it up with reasons and evidence, but don’t disagree with anything without carefully summarizing it first.

It’s too often a secret that only a minority of high achievers figure out, but the better you get at entering the conversation by summarizing it and putting in your own oar, the more you’ll get out of your college education.

Gerald Graff, the past president of the Modern Language Association and a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been teaching since 1963.