Quick Poetry Writing

Junior English

August 28th, 2013

Themes: ,

Tonight you’ll write a quick essay comparing two of the poems in the packet. It can be over any two poems, but your thesis must explain two things: what the authors are trying to convey with the poems and how your point of comparison (a theme, imagery, content, tone, etc.) helps to make the point in each.

We’ll discuss them in class tomorrow.

If you are concerned about your skill grades for the last essay, try to focus on the skills that you didn’t do well on. For example, if your formatting was poor or you didn’t include a works cited page, type up your paper according to MLA guidelines and include a works cited page. I will only grade the papers of those who ask me to. Remember: your grade in this class is based on your demonstration of your understanding of the skills. Everything I ask you to do is “practice.” If you only want feedback this time around, just tell me that.

The Best Laid Schemes o’ Maus

The Graphic Novel

March 22nd, 2011

Themes: , , , , ,

. . . ‘an men / Gang [na] agley.

I’ve uploaded several journal articles to the folder in Google Docs. Read over a few1 —during class tomorrow you will choose one to present later in the week.

Here is the plan (with dates!).


  1. Wrap up your reading of Maus.
  2. Skim through the articles in the Docs folder, choosing a few that look interesting (for your group’s discussion and your own research).
  3. If you’ve already finished Maus, begin work on your analysis by reading one or two of the articles and working on your hypothesis.

Tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd):

  1. Read and discuss the articles you skimmed (or read) last night.
  2. Choose one article to read thoroughly and present to the class. You may run your presentation as you wish, but your goal should be to help your audience understand the article (they will have read it the night before) and the place of the argument in the context of our discussion of the work. You will need to cover the following:
    1. The author’s thesis
    2. Clarification and examples of any major points
    3. Examples of the author’s argument in areas of the text not explicitly mentioned in the article (I will have a copy of Maus that you can project, if you wish)
    4. Questions and comments for class discussion.
  3. Write a synopsis (individually) of the article to be turned in the day you present.
  4. At the end of the hour I will let you know which group will be presenting on Thursday.

Thursday 24th–Wednesday 30th:

  1. If your group is presenting, you will have the full period. You may wish to divide the major points in the article among the members of your group, then come together for comments and discussion, but it is up to you.
  2. If you are not presenting, read the article the night before and come to class with a copy. Be prepared to ask questions about the work (for clarification) and comment if necessary (in support or rebuttal).
  3. All should take notes with the development of your thesis in mind, asking questions of the class if you are having difficulty with its formulation or support.
  4. In the evenings you should be reading the article to be presented the next day (or skimming it if you’ve already read it) and working on the outline of your analysis. Let me know when you have finished the outline (shared through the Docs); I’ll give you feedback before you begin your rough draft.

Thursday 31st:

  1. Come to class with a rough draft and works cited for your own analysis. (Google docs is fine.)
  2. You will have all hour to work on it in the lab; if you finish, you should trade with another for editing and support.

Friday 1st:

  1. We will discuss the analyses and reflect on the process, planning for further investigation of the medium in the weeks to come.


That may have been overly specific, but I hope it clears up any questions you may have about our process. Let me know if you have any further questions.

[A copy of this is also in the communal folder in Google Docs.]

    1. You’ll be using several in your analysis, so any work you do tonight can go towards that. []

    Some things to double-check before you wrap up your finals

    British Literature, World Literature

    November 10th, 2010

    Themes: , , , ,

    I’ve mentioned some of this in previous posts, but I thought I’d bring it all together. The following is an annotated version of the rubric I used to grade your midterms and will be using to grade your final essays.

    Communication—Do you have a point?

    Your thesis statement should connect Shelley’s novel to the Romantic movement in a way that illuminates the novel’s themes, other works written at the time, and/or elements of the movement itself.

    Credit—Do you back it up?

    As we discussed in class, this will be an “all or nothing” grade. I provided sample citations for most of the works passed out in class. For more information about properly formatting this page, see the OWL at Purdue.

    The general rule for in-text citations: use the first word of the Works Cited entry. See OWL at Purdue, above, or your notes for examples.

    This is a skill that can take some practice to master, but many of you have greatly progressed in this from the beginning of the year. The goal with integrated quotations is to remove the unnecessary or redundant information from either your writing or the quotation in order to create a seamless flow of information to your readers. Here is an example of what not to do followed by a smoother one:

    During the Enlightenment, philosophers saw nature as something that can be logically understood. “Nature can be understood. Nature is rational. Man is part of Nature, therefore, man can be understood” (Lecture 9).

    The student simply paraphrases the beginning of the quotation, so that bit can be removed. The sentences can be combined to create a clear flow between the two:

    Enlightenment philosophers believed that “Nature can be understood. Nature is rational. Man is part of Nature, therefore, man can be understood” (Lecture 9).

    Block quotations are rarely necessary. If you find yourself wanting to pull a large passage, highlight the parts you need in order to support your point, and cut the rest. Instead of all this:

    He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener . . . to surround her with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in her soft and benevolent mind (23).

    …try this:

    With her mother’s philosophy in mind, then, it is odd to find Victor describing Elizabeth as a “fair exotic” with a “soft and benevolent mind” (23), but this underscores Victor’s….

    And a fantastic example that puts it all together, including the use of square brackets—[ ]—to indicate changes in tense to keep the quotation grammatically correct within the sentence:

    Rousseau said “[humans] are undone if [they] once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to… all, and the earth itself to nobody” (Discourse on inequality).  It is the pride in claiming territory or “[trusting] to have equaled the most high” (Milton 40) that corrupts the goodness humans are born with. They will go to great lengths to achieve what they believe is important.  When people are getting their fame the ones  “next himself in power” are often the ones who find themselves “next in crime” (Milton 79).

    Cogency—Does it make sense?

    Your topic sentences should elaborate on the points you make in your thesis.

    The rest of the paragraph should support the topic sentence. In this way you are able to provide a logical progression of ideas supported by the source text(s).

    Each point regarding the source text(s) should be supported by paraphrased or quoted material. This provides credibility and clarification.

    The work as a whole should represent a clear line of thought from thesis statement through elaboration in the paragraphs to a concluding statement that reflects thesis in light of what your audience has learned.

    In addition, transitional sentences should connect paragraphs in a way that prevents abrupt changes in focus, tone, or subject. A good rule is “old then new”—begin a sentence with the information your audience has just learned, and within the same sentence bring up the topic to follow. This connection will smooth any transition.

    Clarity—Does it look right?

    Information on this section is available at the OWL at Purdue (link above), or in your notes.

    How To: Head Your Paper

    AP Language

    September 7th, 2010

    Themes: , ,

    …by popular demand:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Quick Calendar for Midterm

    World Literature

    March 30th, 2010

    Themes: , ,

    You are currently working on your final outlines for Love in the Time of Cholera. These will be due this Friday, April 2nd. Your first rough drafts will be due the following Monday, April 5th. You will spend that week reviewing the drafts with your peers and one-on-one with me. Your final drafts will be due that Friday, April 9th.