In-Class Resources, Thursday

Remember, you want to find a SPECIFIC problem– if you are concerned with racism, you’d want to narrow that down to some specific issue of racial profiling in your neighborhood. On Tuesday, when we talked about poverty, someone asked “why are people getting kicked out of my building?” That’s specific!! You want questions that you can A. Research and B. Do something about through writing.

Other specific issues from Tuesday were: problems with Uber, problems with financial aid.

Okay, time to do some work!

Make some lists. Write down as many problems as you can think of. Use the internet to think of more! At LEAST 7 for each!!

  • Problems I notice around me
  • Problems I learned about from reading up on nonprofits (listed below)
  • Community problems associated with access to healthy food
  • Community problems associated with kids. For example, what are kids learning that they should not be learning? Or what aren’t they learning that they should be? What should be done?
  • Community problems related to art. What is the role between art and the health of the community?
  • Community problems related to health (food, air, water, medicine, cleanliness, hygiene, trash)
  • community problems related to transportation and traffic
  • community problems related with… create your own category.

After you’ve made your lists, circle your favorite for each.

Nonprofit links:


Papers and Projects (Unit 2) Now due by Tuesday, March 26th!

Okay, you guys, I’m extending the deadline to Unit 2 until next Tuesday, March 26th. That said, we won’t be spending any more class time on them. You can meet with me to talk about your project, though, if you feel stuck.

Also, please think more about SPECIFIC  problems that you see in your communities for unit 3– if you are concerned about racism, for example, please think about specific issues that you could work on– racial profiling by the police, lack of diversity in advertising, etc…


  • The assignment is posted under “Units” (it’s Unit Two)
  • No matter which option you’ve chosen, your final project should be posted on the OpenLab– it’s a video, please post it using the “add media” link. If you did an image, take a photo, or photos, and post them online
  • The category is “Pop Culture!”
  • For paper-writers: consider posting a link to the artwork you were inspired by– the song, the painting, a clip from the movie or tv show, somewhere in your paper.
  • For creative projects: remember! Especially if you are doing something purely visual (not a video essay or poem, etc) your Artist Statement is a BIG part of your grade. I am grading you, not on your artistic ability (this isn’t a drawing class) but on your thinking– so please explain how the original artwork inspired you to make your own artwork!

For Tuesday

Keep working! We’ll have a little more time to look at rough drafts in class. Creative project people especially, I would like you to bring in something concrete, some version of your final project to get some feedback on!

Everyone, please note that the assignment is under “Units” (it’s unit 2)

I will post some tips here later this weekend for paper writers if you are feeling stuck.


For Thursday!

Hi everyone, I hope you enjoyed your unexpected free day. I sure didn’t! I’m so sick.

Anyway, just keep working on your papers/ projects, but ALSO for Thursday, please post the following:

Paper-writers– please write a paragraph of about 250 words about how you were influenced by your Mentor Article. What is this writer doing that you want to do in your own work? What would you like to avoid? Also, how do you see your own article fitting into the publication you’ve chosen– who is the audience? what kind of language and topics do you think will engage that audience?

Creative Project People:  Write about 250 words about how the artwork you’re making is influenced by your pop culture artifact. Explain to viewers, for example, how you got from a TV show to a painting, for example. This is the first draft of your artist statement, which, as you know, is a BIG part of your grade!

Here is a good formula to start with:

Step 1: Explain your vision or idea.


Step 3: What difficulties did you have? How did it work out for you?

Other ideas to include in your statement:

Title of the Piece – this alone helps the viewer understand the subject or makes him/her think about your work in a different way.Why do you like to make art?
What did you do? (Describe the artwork, including the type of art and what the main idea is.
What happened along the way? (Did anything interesting or unusual happen? Did you solve any problems in the process? Did you change your approach to doing the project? etc.)
Did the project turn out how you expected? Why or why not?
What did you learn through the art project?
What would you do differently next time?



For Tuesday

Hi everyone! For Tues we’re going to, among other things, workshop your projects. They’re due on March 21st. I just want to see what you’re doing and help you get some feedback.

Article writers:

  • Please post online and bring in a paper copy of at least 400 words of your rough draft.
  • Also post a link to your mentor article.

Creative project people:

  • Post online: a few sentences about what you are planning to do
  • Bring to class: SOMETHING to show to your peers of the progress of your project. This may be a storyboard (quick stick figure drawings of what you intend to get video of– with a few sentences beneath each drawing describing the action– look it up!) or a sketch of the painting or album cover, the lyrics of the song, a draft of the poem, etc… Just something to discuss. Please take a photo or video and post online. You can do this using the add media button.  For help posting media click HERE

For Tuesday

Hi everyone!  For Tuesday, please read and annotate one or the other (or both!) of these two articles about Beyonce’s LEMONADE:

HILTON ALS or bell hooks 

Please write and post a response of approx 200 words answering some or all of these questions — What is this writer saying about “Lemonade” that you find interesting (or confusing/ annoying?)  What did you learn from their article? And what are they doing in their writing that you would or would not like to do in your own writing?

Category: Pop Culture!

Also, please think about what pop culture artifact you would like to write about (or do a creative project about) for your next paper. This “artifact” can be a song, a video, a book, a tv show, a movie, a youtube channel, a video game,  etc… It does need to deal with social issues, but remember, most music these days does this (drugs, money, gender issues, etc…) and television often does too. Nick also mentioned that he wanted to write about issues of gender inequality in gaming– that’s great! The games he’s dealing with may not be ABOUT gender inequality directly, but he will still be able to discuss social issues– so I will accept it! 

You will need to know your artifact for next Thursday’s homework, but don’t worry about what your final paper or project will be yet. We’ll spend some time figuring those things out in class.

By the way, if you’re interested, a friend of mine just posted this story about something we talked about in class: “why white school districts have so much more money” HERE


For Thursday! (And a few meetings)

Hey everyone– just a reminder that the only homework for Thursday is to fill out the “Collaborative Project Evaluation Form” ONLY IF YOUR GROUP PRESENTED TODAY.

Also– I have meetings scheduled with the following people. My office is in Namm 525. It can be a little tough to find, so please allow yourself some extra time.

  • Weds:
  • 1:15 David
  • 1:30 Waleed


  • Thursday:
  • 5:15 Joshua
  • 5:30 Giuseppe
  • 5:45 Santi  

Presentations Tuesday!

Hi everyone! Your presentations are on Tuesday. Remember to email me your slides by noon on Tuesday. (At chall@citytech.cuny.edu) Don’t email me on the OpenLab!

You may post images on the OpenLab if you like. You may also invite me to a google slideshow if you like.

Also– if I asked you to make an appointment with me, please do so! That is David, Josh, Santi, Brianna and Waleed!


For Thursday– and a note on paper grades.

Hey guys, first of all– just a reminder that your homework for Thursday is just to keep working on your presentations for next Tuesday. YOU decide your homework, especially what research needs to be done. If you are arguing against grades, then look up who else has argued against grades (and what they think would work in their place!) If you missed class, you should be in touch with your group to figure out what they would like you to do. Most of you have contacted me about this. If you haven’t, it will affect your grade on the presentation, of course.

Also, I am slowly but surely grading those papers. If I tell you I’d like to talk to you, please set up an appointment with me in class on Thursday or by email. You can find my comments in two places: 1. there will be a link at the end of your paper that has the marginal comments on your paper and 2. there will be a private comment that has more in-depth remarks and the grade itself.


What am I looking for in the presentations?

A week from today, the 26th, you will be doing presentations on education. These will be: 

  • Approx 6-7 minutes 
  • Will refer to the themes of your education narratives– what did you guys bring up in the work you’ve written already? THIS IS KEY!!
  • Will quote from some of your education narratives. 
  • Will incorporate the work of EVERYONE  in your group somehow (you’ll evaluate each other!) 
  • Will have a visual component 
  • Will teach your audience (us!) something
  • Will include new research
  • And will answer one or both of the following questions:
    • What are some of the core problems with education in America?
    • What are some of the first steps we can take to improve the education system?

Please, please please do not oversimplify your answers! I am asking you for “first steps” for a reason– these are big questions, and over-simple answers do not do them justice.  If you’ve proposed solutions in your blog posts for today, that’s fine– but think of those as starting places for your research.

How do you get started? It’s up to you, but here are some ideas if you’re stuck:

  • First of all, look at what you’ve written.  What are some of the themes throughout the group? What can you learn from each other?
  • What topics could you research related to those themes? I like to use the KWL+ rubric for research. That is, I write about what I K(know) about a question or theme, and then what I W (want to know.) Then I do a little bit of internet research, maybe 10 mins or so. Then I write about what I L(learned) from that research and what I (+) Still want to know. This helps me get to some good research.
  • What do you think your audience needs to know? What is the best way to deliver that info in a way that will keep them interested?

Some of you have group members who are gone today.  Both Hend (group 3) and Lenesha (group 4)  have spoken to me about having to miss class. You should give them assignments and we will contact them to let them know what those assignments are.

Here are some of the questions you wrote in class last week. They might help you think about your presentations. Only use them if they help with the assignment above. Don’t let them sway you from keeping to your group’s theme!: 

  • Do you agree with Sir Ken Robinson that the education system should change from pushing a very generalized style of learning to a more individual tailored style?
  • Do you agree with Robinson that the focus on standardized testing keeps students from true learning? What is a better alternative?
  • Is education an anesthetic to young people? Does it have to be?  
  • Sir Ken Robinson claimed contemporary education systems are stuck in the past. Based on your experience with today’s way of teaching, how should we change or “modernize” the American education system?
  • According to Robinson, a college degree doesn’t guarantee a successful future, as it once did. How does this motivate or discourage you as a college student? 

For Tuesday

The book is  HERE  (that’s the cover up there!)

Sorry it’s a little late. I was waiting on an essay.

Here’s the deal: Click on the “HERE” above and you’ll get to the class eBook.  I put everyone in a group (I am very sorry that I couldn’t fit all requests. They just didn’t all work!! Some of the people requesting were just writing about totally different topics.) If you click on your group in the table of contents of the PDF in the link I’ve given, it will take you to your group.

Your homework is to read all the essays in your group. Think about what these essays as a group tell you about how education (both in and out of school) is working in the US and beyond.  What, from what you have read of your peers’ writing, might be some concrete ways to improve the education system? Don’t say “better teachers” or “better classes.” Tell me what you mean by “better!” Or, on the flip side, what are some concrete ways that the education system is failing? Use SPECIFIC examples from student writing– and look for connections between the essays! 

Please write a post of approx 250 words on OpenLab responding to the above questions. 

Spoiler Alert! The Questions in red above will be guiding questions for your presentations. 



Hey everyone, final drafts of unit one are due next Thursday, Feb 14. Remember that we do not have class on February 12. You will need to post your essay on OpenLab BEFORE class time. The category is “Education Essay” again.  Please make sure that somewhere on your paper you have clearly indicated that this is the final draft. (However, please do not title your essay “Final Draft”) Please note that titles, my name, your name, page numbers and other headings don’t count toward the word count.

Do you need exactly 850 words? No. But the shorter it is, the better it needs to be. And honestly, 500 words will not be enough. And 700 words almost certainly won’t be enough unless those are the greatest 700 words I have ever read in my life. Shoot for 850-1000. I won’t accept more than 2000. 

The guidelines for the essay are under “Unit One” which you can find in the header at the top of the webpage. I also wrote WAY too much describing this essay in my blog post below if you have more questions. If you have more questions, you can also email me.

If you would like to meet with me to discuss your essay before it’s due, I’m happy to do so, but you’ll have to come meet with me. Email me to set up an appointment.

See you next week!


For Thursday, February 7

Hey everyone– great work in class today. For Thursday, I would like you to write a rough draft of Unit 1 Part 1– your Learning Narrative. Please post this on OpenLab and bring a paper copy to class. Both copies are important!! At least 500 words. (Final is 850 words)

What do I write about? In this essay, you will be writing about an experience you had with learning that you think would be interesting or important to an audience outside yourself. What about your experience is worth hearing about? It might be something dramatic, like Gilyard’s experience, but it also might be more low-key, like Tan’s (HERE in case you lost it) or Graff’s (posted HERE. You don’t have to read this, but it’s another example, should you get lost.) You do not have to quote Tan, Gilyard or Graff (but you can if you want to!) They are there as examples of learning narratives. Remember the video we watched in class– your readers will benefit from both anecdotes about your experience and reflection that tell them why those anecdotes are important. Also remember that even if you have 3-4 anecdotes, they should be somehow related to each other. There should be some thread that connects them all.

All of that said, for Thursday, you are writing a rough draft.  I know this sounds weird, but you really just need to get enough words down on the page– you’re gonna change things. Also, you never know what you’re going to write until you actually write it. The main thing here is to get started. (HERE is an article, called “Shitty First Drafts” which talks about how to get started if you’re lost. It’s not required either, but it might help.) Also, a great place to start is in a scene– you’ve written a couple. If you get stuck, explain to your readers why this scene is important. What does it tell them about education or learning? You don’t have to start in a scene, by the way– but if you’re lost, start with something you’ve already written!

Still stuck? Here are some of the ideas we had for scenes or topics in class. You don’t need to use any of them, but they’re possible starting points:

  • Overcoming odds and obstacles(or not overcoming them) 
  • What I learned from living in New York City
  • What I learned in school
  • What I learned outside of school
  • Peer pressure
  • People who believed in you (and those who didn’t.) 
  • Personal breakthroughs
  • What I learned from my family (this doesn’t have to be positive!)
  • Being looked down upon for being different
  • Experiences with different Englishes
  • How your Mother Tongue affects your learning
  • Learning on the street

Here is a guided explanation of how to do an X-page and write a scene with someone who is not me!


For Tuesday, Feb 5.

Link to OpenLab’s Help section on “How to Write a Post” HERE

Hi! For Tuesday, please read and annotate the excerpt from Keith Gilyard’s “Voices of the Self.” If you missed class, I have put a few extra copies outside my office, which is Namm 525.

There are basically 3 sections to this reading: VII (which you should read, but can skim), VIII (which I would like you to pay close attention to) and the reflection (“Conclusion.” I have also written “Part 2 starts here” on that page). You should pay especially close attention to this section as well.

Please also post a response to the Gilyard reading on Open Lab. For this, please think of yourself as a writer, and answer the following question: What is Gilyard doing in his writing that you would like to do in your own writing? Be specific! (by which I mean, use quotes– and tell us what it is about the writing that you like– the style, the subject matter, etc.) You may also talk about what Gilyard does in his writing that you do not want to do in your own writing– again, be specific– use quotes, and explain what you do not like. DON’T SAY IT’S TOO LONG, THOUGH. That’s just…too simple. It’s only too long if it bores you. If it does bore you, explain what, specifically, is boring! This response should be 200 words or so, and posted on OpenLab.

When you post on OpenLab, you must add a category or it won’t let you post. The category for this assignment is “Gilyard” Categories are on the right side of the page in a column. Directions for writing a post can be found at the very top of this entry.



For Thursday

Please read and annotate “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan. Please also type up a response of at least 200 words in which you answer the following question. Bring it to class!:

How does Tan’s experience with education and English compare to your experience with education and English? Think about this deeply– you might not speak Chinese, for example, but you may have been made fun of for the way you talk, or you may speak in ways that are not considered “standard.” Or maybe you do speak a totally “standard” English. If so, how do you feel when you hear someone like Tan’s mom?


Keep It Up!! – Waleed Qureshi

Waleed Qureshi 

ENG 1121 

Dr. Carrie Hall 



Keep it up (Laga Reh) is a song by Shahzad Roy which conveys to the people that all most people do is complain about what is going wrong and all they do is just talk. They talk about the ways people should improve the society but do nothing and even when the singer is trying to motivate the people by also telling them about the problems, the people just come up with one question, “so what should we do”. I am planning to make a comic page which shows the main idea of my pop culture artifact depicting how people are similar to sleeping when they are asked to work for themselves. I did almost end up giving up this idea because I thought that there is no way I can explain the song to the audience because of its difference in language. I did start off with the Idea that I should make a sketch but then I realized that the sketch would not be much help because there is not much that I can fit into the sketch. Since I am somewhat good with art, drawing was the only thing I could think of when thinking about this piece. Later I realized that I can also create a comic page when I was going through my old drawings and I found the comic page that I once made for my very own story but ended up abandoning later. Though it did disappoint me that I forgot about the piece, but I ended up realizing that a comic page was what I needed. 

Mentor Article Influence

Pavel Nunez


English 1121

Dr. Carrie Hall


Based on the mentor article, what influenced me about it was what looked like a disclaimer said “Before reading the article” and from there it explains what is the event and what’s occurring about it and the effects of it, it basically gives all the important details in the beginning so you have an idea what the rest will be about.


I will probably add this to my essay because the author is aware of what people will think right away so they try to get all the facts out in the beginning before reading the actual article and won’t develop a bia’s of some sort.

What I will try to avoid though is the amount of questions being asked, I don’t want the reader to go off topic trying to answer questions, I want them to focus on the article and summarize it

I will try to engage a normal middle class people audience since that’s the majority of the people here in the U.S. I will try to use statistics and data to engage the audience, like the amount of people killed by drugs(since that is my topic) and also use  a formal type of writing so that it will be easy to understand for everyone.


I see some of the mentor article elements  going into my essay because some of it fits well with the topic that  I’m going to talk about (which is drugs). It also use information from another source and writes it in quotes as evidence to talk about the topic and its impacts, So I’m going to use this in my article as well

Joshua’s Paper Draft

My creative project is gonna be a video on the late artist XXXTentacion, explaining his background, going in depth with his controversial lyrics, and mainly, how he inspired me both spiritually and emotionally. I want to make something related to videos we saw in class with Frank Ocean, describing the artist, his actions, and how they impacted me. I figured since I’m currently getting into video editing, this would be a great opportunity to go into detail on how this misunderstood artist was an inspiration to me.
Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, also known as XXXTentacion, a SoundCloud rapper from Miami, Florida, was shot dead in late June of 2018 and was 20 years old. It is truly sad that such an influential artist has passed away. Though we are all aware of what he had done wrong, from his violent history of beating people up to allegations of him beating his pregnant girlfriend. XXXTentacion had always been spreading love and positivity through his movements and messages he sent out to fans, and through his music, and that’s the point I want to make in this creative project.
Later in life he has donated to many different charities and helped a lot of people in need of help. His music inspires people to be creative and do what they want to do. It also helps people with depression and other personal issues feel better. If I had to summarize his music I would say that it is a audio therapy session. The music that he crafts has helped me get through hard times in my life and still does. His music makes your depression kind of fade away.

Hend Elwahwah

Dr. Hall

        While I was reading this mentor article I was surprised because that’s the way I wanted to start my essay as well. Speaking about the artist and how amazing his hits are. How it all started and I chose a specific song meanwhile my article chose a specific album. I focused on J.Coles new hit, “Middle Child.” I focused mainly on the lyrics and the meaning behind them. If you know J.Cole, you know he’s deep. Behind every lyric there’s a meaning to why he said that. This article focused on some of the lyrics and the writing style that author did was similar to what I want to do for my essay. It relates a lot to my essay as well because the Audience that the mentor article was focusing on, is the same audience that I’m focusing on. This generation and era. I also like the way the author went with the flow about drake and his past, how he came up, how he stayed up as well. That’s also what I would like to do in my essay, talk about jcoles come up towards the end and relate it back to the lyrics of “Middle Child.”

Mentor Article

In my paper I will talk about suicide among celebrities and how they can affect other people lives. Suicide is a serious problem in society with a steady increasing rate each year. This is one of the many reasons I wanted to talk about the issue. My mentor article is written by Quintin Fottrell and the title of the article he wrote is “Studies show suicides increase in the months after a celebrity takes their own life”. In this article Fottrell is using a lot of evidence to show all his points, this is one of the many things I want to get done in my publication too, because that way if you support your thoughts then you’re more likely to be credible. What I would like to avoid is repeating myself, and what I mean is that, sometimes people to make things clear they’ll repeat themselves during their writings, this is what I hate about some writers, so I’ll try my best to make things clear before I start another crucial point in my publication. I think that my article could feet my mentor article because, it will add more details to the main point of both articles with more complex examples and more explanation on the topic I chose. The audience in this case I think should be regarded to everyone in the world because the main point, is that everyone should know about it, so I will not refer to a specific group of people. To engage more and more people to read this article I will try to make the article very easy to understand and also explaining how can the problem be prevented from happening.