Category Archives: Announcement

Your papers and your final grades

Hi everyone,

One last reminder that you can still post Blog Post #3 until midnight tonight to receive extra credit!  You can also post comments to Blog Post #3.  The deadline for posting vocabulary words has passed.  

Starting January 2, I will have graded Paper #2 and you may pick it up in the English Department (Namm 512). You should ask the department secretary, Ms. Lily Lam, and she will return it to you.  Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 pm.  The phone number is 718-260-5392.

I am hoping to have final grades posted in CUNYFirst by the end of the weekend.  If you want a breakdown of your final grade (or to know your grade on the final exam), please email me at once your final grade is posted.

Final grade calculation:

Paper #1: 20%
Paper #2: 20%
Midterm exam: 10%
Final exam:15%
Quizzes, classwork, participation:10%
Open Lab Work: 25% (10 vocabulary words, 2 required blog posts, 3 required comments; Blog Post #3 counts as extra credit and erases a failing vocabulary quiz grade)

Here’s my poet website that we looked at in class today:

Wishing you all a restful January–I really enjoyed our class this semester.

Blog Post #3: Your Thoughts on Spoken Word Poetry

Blog Post #3—My Thoughts on Spoken Word Poetry

Must be posted by Mon, December 17, 2018 by 11:59 pm

Assignment: Write a blog post of about 200 words (at least 2 strong paragraphs) in which you react to studying spoken word poetry.  Here are some questions you might consider in writing your post.  Here are some questions to help you write a focused post.  You don’t need to answer all of these questions, but a strong post will respond to a few of them:

  • Which spoken word poems that we read were your favorites, which didn’t you connect with?
  • What did you think of the film we watched, Louder Than a Bomb (2011)? What surprised you about it?  What did you learn from it?
  • Do you prefer spoken word poetry over older kinds of texts? Or vice versa?  Why?  Give examples of texts to help us understand your preference.
  • Do you write spoken word poetry? If so, would you like to share a poem with the class? Feel free to post it and talk about what inspired it.
  • Do you think you could perform spoken word poetry: why or why not?
  • Are there other spoken word poets whose work you know that you would like to introduce to the class? If so, feel free to introduce us to his or her work and tell us how you found it, and what you find compelling about it.
  • Are there connections between spoken word poetry and contemporary music, like rap or hip hop? Write about specific songs, artists, poets, or texts.
  • Have you ever been to a spoken word performance? Where and when?  What was it like? If not, do you think you would go to one in the future? Why or why not?

Please title your Post, My Thoughts on Spoken Word Poetry and choose Blog Post #3 as a category when you post.

Remember to comment on at least one other student’s blog post by December 19th at 11:59 pm. 




Working on Paper #2 on November 28

Hi everyone,

I hope you found today’s library session with Prof. Anne Leonard helpful.  Below is the handout she distributed in class to assist you with finding sources:

Handout on Research

For Wednesday’s class, you should keep working on your paper, using this handout, and refine your thesis and conduct some research.

Please bring hard copies of the sources you’ve found for the paper to class on Wednesday, as well as your annotated poem. If you have a draft of the paper, you may bring that also.

Here’s what we’ll work on in class on Wednesday:

  • refining your thesis and developing the paper
  • brief recap of finding sources
  • review of MLA format 8th edition for Works Cited page
  • work on draft of Works Cited page–entry for your poem and for the news sources you plan on using in your paper

One last reminder that Blog Post #2 needs to be posted by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, November 28th for you to receive credit. 


Mon, November 26 we will meet at the library

Hi everyone,

One last reminder that we will meet at the library on Monday, November 26th to work on Paper #2 with a librarian.   We will meet outside the entrance to the library on Monday, November 26th, the class after Thanksgiving. If you are late, you can find us in the library classroom by going up the stairs inside the library, and making a right turn to room 540.



From Topic to Thesis for Paper #2

After you identify your topic for Paper #2, the next step is to figure out how to move from a topic to a strong thesis statement.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say your topic is how Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” connects to New York City’s yellow cab drivers and the increase in driver suicides.

This is still just a topic.  You need to identify a specific point of view or angle on this topic so that you don’t wind up writing a paper that is very broad.  A strong thesis statement leads to a  strong paper.

Here are three examples of thesis statements stemming from this topic.  Which one is the strongest?

In Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing” the speaker writes about jobs. This connects to contemporary taxi drivers.

In Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing,” the speaker writes about jobs that help men earn a good living. This is an economic issue that connects to New York City’s yellow cab drivers.

In Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing,” he writes about jobs that were common in the nineteenth century but they aren’t common now.  This connects to the recent news stories about yellow cab drivers in New York City taking their own lives because they can’t earn a decent living, due to competition from apps like Uber and Lyft.

Which of these will lead to the strongest paper and why?

Aim to be very specific as you develop your thesis.  I will give you feedback as quickly as possible as to whether your topic (poem + specific news even or  poem + specific person in the news) is approved, and then I’ll give you additional feedback on how to improve your thesis as we move forward.





Blog Post #1 is now graded

Hi everyone,

I finally had a chance to sit down and grade Blog Post #1.  Everyone should have received a private comment (which means only the student writer and I can see it on our site) and a grade (a numerical value that only you and I can see).  These have all been posted.

I just want to remind everyone how I graded Blog Post #1, since I’ll be using the same system for Blog Posts 2 and 3:

4 points=full credit: the post was complete, responded to the assignment, was posted on time, was about 200 words

2 points = partial credit: the post responded to the assignment and was posted on time, but was incomplete, substantially fewer than 200 words.

0 points= no credit: the post wasn’t submitted, was submitted too late to receive credit (late posts do not count as per the guidelines I distributed) or does not respond to the assignment.

The Open Lab work portion of the course grade consists of Blog Posts 1, 2, and 3 (full credit will be 12 points), plus 10 vocabulary words posted by December 12 (full credit will be 10 points), plus 3 comments on other students’ blog posts 1-3 (full credit is 3 points).  This totals 25 points, which is 25% of the course grade.  

If you write 3 additional blog post comments above the 3 that are required, then I will drop one failing vocabulary quiz grade.  I will only drop one failing quiz grade so everyone may only use this option once.  Please remind me to announce this in class as well.