Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Welcome to English 1C

You'll need to visit this website regularly. Each week, I will post information about readings and assignments that are due for the upcoming class. Some of the assignments will not be announced in class, and you are responsible for knowing about any assignments announced here on this site for the first time.

This blog also lets you download important documents like the syllabus, assignments, and class handouts, and it has links to readings and other assignments. Always check the blog if you miss class.

Those hoping to add the class should appear at the first two class meetings to see if there is room. Decisions about who may add will not be made until after the second class meeting. Priority is given to those who are on the school's waitlist if they attend both class meetings. Second priority goes to other students who attended both class meetings. If you are trying to add the class, you should do the homework assignment listed below since I will not accept it late even if you add late.

This is the highest level composition class our school offers. As such, you are expected to write essays completely free of grammatical or spelling errors. If you still have problems with basic grammar or sentence structure, you are encouraged to review these skills before attempting this class. As well, if you cannot commit to reading the lengthy assigned materials on time, you are unlikely to succeed. The class also requires active participation in discussions on a weekly basis. Your understanding, as expressed by your contributions to our regular debates, form a large part of your grade.


For the second class meeting, bring a single page (hard copy) on which you type your response to the following prompt. This assignment is worth 20 points of your semester grade. You get all the points if you successfully follow directions, 15 for making an honest effort or 0 points if you do not. I will use this page to make my recommendation as to whether you are prepared for this class at this time. You are limited to one, double-spaced sheet of paper. Therefore, do not make a formal introduction or explain the purpose of the writing as you would do if this were a full essay. Jump right in with "The article's claim is accurate/inaccurate with respect to [insert state here] because. . . ]. ALSO, be sure to UPLOAD this page to www.turnitin.com before coming to the next class.

In this class, deadlines are enforced rigorously and uniformly with no credit or recognition for work turned in late. As mentioned, the purpose of this assignment is to assess your readiness for English 1C. If you miss this very first deadline, you should reflect as to whether that will be a pattern for you in this class. Not understanding the assignment is not a good excuse (just try). Not having Internet access during the whole week is not a good excuse (rely on friends, family, public libraries, school campus, your or someone else's cell phone).


Find a news article from the Internet that bears a misleading headline. This misleading headline is usually, though not always, the text clicked on to get to the article in the first place (the "clickbait"). Be sure you are focusing on a misleading headline, meaning that the headline purposely creates an impression that the text of the article does not correspond with. Do not choose an article merely because the headline is sensational. Also, do not choose an article just because you believe the whole article is false or poorly supported ("fake news"). You are looking specifically for an article with a headline that creates an impression the article itself does not support.

Explain in a one-page, double-spaced writing why you believe the headline is misleading. First explain the impression that the headline gives and then quote the article to show the discrepancy between the headline and the article. If your explanation does not fill a full page, move on to a second article and discuss that one, and if necessary, a third or fourth article until the page is full. I am just looking for a writing sample here, not an essay, so simply stop writing when you reach the bottom of the page. You can even end in mid-sentence and do not need to include an introduction, conclusion or works cited page.

Example: There is an article with the headline: "Chicago Housewife Shoots Cheating Husband." This creates the impression that a woman shot her husband because he was cheating or even upon finding him cheating. It paints her as vengeful and with poor self-control and implies that she is a criminal. The article itself, however, reveals that the reason she shot him had nothing to do with his cheating. He was cheating on her, but the actual reason she shot him is because he came home drunk one day and tried to stab her with a knife. So yes, she did shoot her husband, and yes, he was cheating on her, but one thing had nothing to do with the other. The headline in this example actually contains no false statements, but it is misleading and almost anyone who reads it would assume a cause-and-effect relationship.

It's very important that each of you create your turnitin account right away. The purpose of the Week 2 assignment is to ensure that you are well prepared for English 1C before the drop deadline of September 8. The only way for me to be sure you get your score (20, 15, or 0) by then is for you to create your turnitin account. I will post your score promptly. If there's a major problem with your writing competency, I will send an email to the address you associate with your turnitin account. But I can't do any of that if your account doesn't exist. Remember that the class ID and class password you'll need are in the syllabus (available via link on right side of this page).

I will not accept the Week 2 assignment late. If you missed the deadline, you will not get those 20 points. Timeliness is important.