Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting Started and the Indomitable Thesis

One of the most difficult things to write is your thesis statement. This is due to the fact that we often attempt to write it first, yet the thesis guides the whole paper. How can we write it before we know where we're going? One answer is in stages. After thinking. A lot. Check out the following two excellent college level resources on writing your thesis.

University of North Carolina Writing Center
Dartmouth Writing Center

Cornobble: An example for a study break.

Monday, October 29, 2012

JFK Paper

Please do questions 1-4 and 1-9 on pages 55-6 of the TLC book. Due Wednesday October 31st.

If you feel like you've been cornobbled by this JFK assignment and are lost in a collieshangie with rhetorical devices, remember to step back, take a breath, and reacquaint yourself with the purpose you are dealing with in each paragraph/section. Focus on how he attempts to fulfill each purpose using rhetorical strategies. Remember that rhetorical strategies can include such things as diction & syntax, appeals (both classical and various, i.e. patriotism, pride, compassion, etc.), choice of detail, figurative language, imagery, organization, etc.

Remember the rhetorical situation: speaker, occasion, audience, purpose(s) as well.

Thesis work on Wednesday.

We will be in the Library Lab to work on this paper on Thursday and Friday this week. More specifics on the paper Wednesday. 

Please bring your books this week!

Here's the speech file if you need a clean copy.

Best of luck with this paper. Don't over-think it. Just identify a purpose and show how he tries to accomplish it in his speech.

Hmmm, wouldn't cornobbled and collieshangie be great words to add to a vocabulary test?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Extra Credit...whaaaa?

He said, he said
Alas, things took a bit longer than I'd hoped in first period this morning, so we did not get to the activities that would have led to your homework. I know you're all sad about that. Given that you likely now have nothing to do this evening, I suggest that you watch/listen to the final presidential election debate tonight at 6:00 PM. Various networks will likely carry it and it will be streamed live on Hulu and YouTube (more options are listed in this article).

If you watch the debate and evaluate the rhetorical techniques of the candidates on your blog, you will earn extra credit. Focus on how effective they were at making their points, not whether you happen to agree with one or the other more or less.

Here's the video we mentioned in first period as an interesting rhetorical move by Obama after the second debate. Echoes of Jeff Foxworthy, don't you think? The punchline comes toward the end of course.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn of the Multitaskers

Take another look at the multitasking article and identify the overall claim/assertion (the glossary of The Language of Composition has a good definition if you need one). Then, identify the claim/assertion in each section of the article (handily, sections are indicated by a drop cap). Blog your results for tomorrow.
 By the way, here's a good NPR story on this subject. You can read it or listen to it here. Aside form looking at assertions, this topic goes well with our metacognition papers as we continue to learn how to use our brains most effectively.

Side note: Here is a really graphic blog on texting while driving that I found while looking for a picture of someone running off a road in Wyoming. ONLY for those with strong stomachs. It is the result of an accident. Seriously only for those with strong stomachs.

Oh, and I thought all of these cartoons were funny and I couldn't decide which one to use.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oh, Sweet DGP...

Once again, sorry to those of you who love the predictability of the routine grammar problem, but this grammar is really  the next step. As a quick reminder, at the end of each thematic chapter of our beloved TLC book is a grammar section.
The fun part of these sections is that they provide some instruction (Yipee!), they give some basic practice (yay.), and then they provide some practice examining how using these grammatical forms create effects in text (Whoo hoo!!)
Now that you have mastered the appositive, please begin the exercises for short simple sentences and fragments in the Grammar and Rhetorical Style section beginning on page 252. (See the topics for all the grammar sections in the table of contents if you so desire). This second set of grammar exercises are due Monday.
As before, so we can review them in class, it is fine to do them on paper.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Modest Proposal Argument

Wasted opportunity for a sweet comb-over...
Revisit paragraph 29 on page 919 in its context (you've already thought about this in question #9).Using Questions for Rhetoric and Style on page 920-21 (maybe look at question 10 to help with this as well), write a short reflection (try to keep it between 150 and 200 words) on how Swift uses satire coupled with his true ideals, hinted at throughout the piece and especially in paragraph 29, to drive home his argument to his audience.
Post this to your blog.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Modest Proposal

Though a disturbing piece, A Modest Proposal is a brilliant argument — in part because it is so disturbing. Let’s take a closer look at how Jonathan Swift crafts his argument.

To that end, blog your responses to the following questions found on pages 920-921 in TLC: Questions on Rhetoric and Style #s 1-5, 7-9.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Academic Competition: Best in Class

There can only be one!
After reading Best in Class, please blog your thoughts on questions 1-2 and 4-6 on page 122 in TLC.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the's been a long time. Those rhododendrons by the girls locker room I can see from my desk look like they're about to shrivel up and die, so the rain is just in time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Education: The Ralph Waldo Emerson Way

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finish reading Emerson's On Education on page 102 of The Language of Composition (TLC). In order to get a solid understanding of what he is on about, do Questions for Discussion on page 108 numbers 1, 3, and 5 on your blog. Once you're done with that, it'll be time for some analysis of how he does what he does. To that end, thoughtfully respond on your blog to Questions on Rhetoric and Style 1-3, 5-6, and 8-12 on pages 108-109.

And as you do this and your other homework, remember that:
"Not less delightful is the mutual pleasure of teaching and learning the secret of algebra, or of chemistry, or of good reading and good recitation of poetry or of prose, or of chosen facts in history or in biography." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take delightful pleasure in this learning activity up through Wednesday evening (due Thursday October 11). We'll discuss this in class on Thursday.

For some all-important context, please see this transcendentalism article from the Stanford website, quoted in part below.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume, the transcendentalists operated with the sense that a new era was at hand. They were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and urged that each person find, in Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” (O, 3). Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing. By the 1840s they, along with other transcendentalists, were engaged in the social experiments of Brook Farm, Fruitlands, and Walden; and, by the 1850s in an increasingly urgent critique of American slavery. 
Goodman, Russell, "Transcendentalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Superman and Me

"I am breaking down the door."
Today in class we read  Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie. Reread this short piece paying special attention to the syntax and the rhythm of the language. Also pay attention to his use of metaphor. These are related and work together to convey his overall meaning. Please blog your analysis of this little essay in the terms discussed above. 

Follow-up Note: Some of you neglected to do the above half of your homework at all. Most of you that did do it only talked about syntax or rhythm, but not metaphors. No one dealt with the central metaphor of the piece at all. I was surprised.

In addition, please blog your answers to questions 1-4;7-8 in the same blog post as your thoughts above. Hint: questions 5 and 6 will help you answer the slightly more vague directions above -- you may want to do the questions first.

This is a short piece. Read it again. Remember as you analyze to focus first on the details and use them to reveal the big picture, then when you write, start with the big picture and explain it using the small details.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Toxophilus Unleashed

Read pages 38-48 in the TLC book and apply one of the techniques enumerated therein to the Toxophilus excerpt from this book written by Roger Ascham in 1545 and dedicated to King Henry VIII (the assignment is on page 48).

I've linked the Toxophilus excerpt in a Google Docs version so you can copy the text into your Google Docs or Word if you wish. Using tables, you can do the dialectical journal or graphic organizer on Google Docs and you can annotate using comments. You may wish to bring something in done by hand, though. Not sure if you can circle and draw arrows in the way you may wish to in a Google Doc. I do encourage you to try your hand at the dialectical journal or the graphic organizer.

Since a number of people will wish to turn this in as a physical document, please print out your electronic efforts if that's the direction you take so that I receive all of the assignments in the same medium. Thank you!

Enjoy your trip back into the scientific observations and practical concerns of the mid-Sixteenth Century England!

Due Thursday (10/4) in class.