Week 1 (August 25-29)

Wed Aug 25

Intro to class. Walk around the site. How to post in OpenLab. Housekeeping: Slack, Perusall.

  • Slack: Here’s the Slack invitation to join again. So join and say hello in the #general-comments-and-questions channel.
  • Perusall: You can wait until we meet the first time to join, but if you’d like to get a head start, go to perusall.com, register using any email and password you want (doesn’t have to be CityTech), check your own email. When you come back to Perusall, click on I am a student to join, and enter this code: BLAIN-V36UF. Then you can go to the course and take a look around.

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HW for Aug 30:

READ on Perusall: Look at the Syllabus, but don’t do any annotating. We’ll be playing with it in class.

READ: these two short “Tips” pieces

POST on OpenLab an introduction to you – with image. Create a new post. Here’s the link to the Class Resources page which has a how-to video (and a downloadable handout to go with it) for how to create a Post.

  • Start with one word that describes how you’re feeling about this course as we get started (it could be the same one you mention in class). No need to explain that word, but you can if you want to.
  • Next, talk about your worries, concerns, reactions to class and/or to the “Tips” readings… whatever you want. No censoring (except for keeping it more or less clean).
  • If you think you might have technical issues being fully online this term, add that here. That will help us both!
  • Then tell us a little about yourself: major, where you came from if you’d like to tell us, that kind of thing.
  • AND add an image that means something to you, and explain why you chose it (why it means something to you).
  • AND and tell us a little about the story of your name. Who gave it to you? Is it a family name? Part of your culture? Do people treat you differently because of it? Are you proud of it or do you with it was something else?

Category: Introductions

  • CHECK BACK IN and see what other people are saying, and reply to a couple of people. It’s nice to know we’re not alone!

Week 2 (Aug 30 – Sept 5)

Mon Aug 30

How to do good annotations on Perusall. Talking about our education, and about writing!


READ and annotate on Perusall: “How to Read Like a Writer” by Mike Bunn.  Annotate the heck out of this thing! Do exactly to Bunn’s piece what he’s asking you to do: question why he wrote something a certain way, comment on whether you think it’s effective or not, respond to his questions. If someone has already highlighted a sentence, just click on the highlight and add your own comments — make it a conversation!

WRITE and Post on OpenLab:  Follow up on your annotating by writing a post of 300 words that discusses the following questions.

  • Mike Bunn writes, “You are already an author.” He’s talking to you. What do you think he means by this? What are some of the things you write already? (Yes, we talked about this a little in class, but now’s the time for you to talk about it from your own life. And by the way “Nothing” is not an acceptable answer.) Think of all the ways you already use words in your everyday life. That’s authorship! How will that existing expertise help you in your college reading and writing career?
  • Was there anything you noticed in Bunn’s article that yo u would like to try to do in your own writing? What, in particular? Please be specific!
  • How did you feel about reading and annotating this way? I know it seems time-consuming, but what did you learn about reading and writing by doing this?
  • CATEGORY: Bunn

Wed Sept 1

More about education. Introduction to Unit 1: It’s about an event or experience or memory that had impact on your view of education and/or school. Carillo set up our education system in general. Now time to get personal. What makes it so hard? How about the idea of language, of “English”?


READ and annotate on Perusall: Tan, “Mother Tongue.”

POST in OpenLab: As a blog post (at least 300 words) in which you write about your experience with various “Englishes.” In other words, how has your experience been similar to Lyiscott’s and/ or Tan’s?  Please be specific and use at least one quote from Tan or Lyiscott in your response. CATEGORY: Englishes

Week 3: No classes the week of Sept 6 – 12

Week 4 ( Sept 13 – 19)

Mon Sept 13

An education narrative is a genre, and genres have conventions.


READ & Annotate on Perusall: Olivarez, “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing” and his poem “Mexican American Disambiguation”

READ & Annotate on Perusall: Barry, “Tardy.”

WRITE on OpenLab: (250 Words) So far in this unit, we have read (and heard) three examples from the genre of the “education narrative.”  Your first essay assignment in this class will be to write in this genre yourself.  So in this discussion forum, I’d like us to have a conversation about what the features of this genre are. Please discuss some of the following:

  • What, from what you’ve seen so far, are the “ingredients” (also known as “conventions”) of the education narrative genre?
  • What do you think might be a place to get started with your own education narrative?
  • What are your questions or concerns about writing an education narrative of your own?
  • If you like, you can also feel free to share an educational experience you had and ask for feedback from your colleagues (and me) to see if we think that might be a solid place to begin writing.
  • CATEGORY: Conventions

Wed Sept 15 – no class

Week 5 ( Sept 20-26)

Mon Sept 20

Brainstorming ideas. Writing descriptive paragraphs.


WRITE a post on OpenLab: Write at least two distinct paragraphs describing one specific incident that changed your views on education using Concrete, Significant detail. It can be what you came up with in class or even something else that occurs to you. CATEGORY: Paragraphs

Wed Sept 22

Writing SFDs. How to write a Reviewer’s Memo to add to your draft.


WRITE and upload to the Google Drive folder labeled Education Narrative: A Less Shitty First Draft of UNIT ONE. At least 800 words. Pay attention to your paragraphs! 

WRITE and add to the end of your SFD in the Google Drive folder: Reviewer’s Memo. 

The short Reviewer’s Memo that you add at the end of your draft is simply a message (100-200 words) you write to your peer reviewers that addresses these three things: 

  • This is what I intended to do: Here’s why I wrote it. What I hoped it would do. What I want people to take away from the piece.
  • This is how I feel about the project so far: how I think it’s going, what problems I’m having, what I think is working, and what I think I need help with, what I’m proud of, etc.
  • Here are other questions/issues I would like the reviewers to look at such as: what do you think is working? What is confusing? Does each paragraph address a single idea, or does it wander all over the place? Have I mentioned or used something from the readings? If this were your essay, what would you do next?

Week 6 ( Sept 27 – Oct 3)

Mon Sept 27

How to leave really useful comments for each other.


WRITE in the Google Drive folder: Use the Comment feature to leave feedback on at least two other people’s Education Narratives remembering the things we talked about in class and addressing their Reviewer’s Memo concerns if you can. Here are some prompts for the kinds of comments you can leave:

  • I liked (…) because…
  • I got this from reading your work.
  • I found this part interesting because…
  • I got confused here because…
  • I wanted to know more about (…) because…

Wed Sept 29

Writing a Revision Plan.


WRITE and add to the bottom of your Education Narrative Draft: Write a note to yourself (and to me) labelled “Revision Plan” that addresses these things.

  • The most frequent comments you got from your classmates and me.
  • The specific things you feel like you need to do to revise this draft when we get to the end of the term.

Week 7 (Oct 4-10)

Mon Oct 4

The problems you ran into writing Unit 1. Intro Unit 2 – TEDTalks are also about doing the research to make them interesting and useful. What are you curious about? What bothers you? What do you want to learn more about? And are you still curious at all?!


READ & Annotate on Perusall: Wierszewski, “Research Starts with a Thesis Statement”

READ & Annotate on Perusall: “Schools are Killing Curiosity” from The Guardian

WRITE a blog post for OpenLab: Address these prompts in a post of at least 300 words:

  • What is something you were interested in when you were a kid? Are you still interested in that topic? How did asking questions help you learn more about that topic? 
  • If so, how has your curiosity changed and grown over the years? And what role did the educational system play in your curiosity (good or bad)? 
  • If you are not interested in this topic anymore, what do you think happened to that interest? Do you remember the specific time you LOST interest?  What did you become interested in instead (and why?) 
  • CATEGORY: Curiosity

Wed Oct 6

Research. Rhetorical analysis to understand what other people are saying and trying to get us to know and/or understand and/or be convinced of. How to do a rhetorical analysis on written and visual texts.


READ & Annotate on Perusall: “Navigating Genres” by Kerry Dirk

WRITE on Padlet: Jot down some things you’re interested in, something you might want to know more about and would want to write a TEDTalk about. This can be something heavy, like police brutality, or it can be something that seems on the surface more light-hearted, like ballet. The only criteria is that you are actually curious about it.

OPTIONAL: Write and post a “Dear Tomorrow” letter on the Dear Tomorrow website.

Week 8 (Oct 11-17)

Mon Oct 11: no class

Wed Oct 13

Genre scavenger hunt to look for conventions and doing rhetorical analysis. How to do it for a TEDTalk!


WATCH & annotate on Perusall: Pick one of the TEDTalks in Perusall, a topic that interests you. Respond to the prompt by saying what you liked most, disliked most, how well you thought it conformed to the template, whether you got any ideas about presentation that you might be able to use yourself. You cannot use this as a source for your own TEDTalk!!!

Week 9 (Oct 18-24)

Mon Oct 18

Share TEDTalk analyses/creating a TEDTalk template. Finding YOUR topic. Looking at the ideas on the Padlet.


WRITE a post for OpenLab: Write a blog post (at least 400 words) in which you introduce your research question. You may find your topic anywhere– from Unit One to the blog posts we wrote last week, to your peers’ blog posts! (It’s really okay if two people write about the same topic– I promise you). Write it in question form (it can’t be a yes-or-no question, though). You must cover all of the questions in bold:

  • Why are you interested in this question?  (Feel free to talk about your own personal experience with the topic, or to tell an anecdote about your experience with this subject matter.) 
  • What do you expect to find in your research? (Why do you expect to find this?)
  • What will you do if you find information that goes completely against what you had expected to find? (Will you throw it out? Will you write about it anyway? Will you challenge your own assumptions?)
  • CATEGORY: Questions

Wed Oct 20

A better way to do research: 5Ws & H, KWL+. Doing the Reflective Annotated Bibliography. What a Source Analysis looks like.


WRITE and upload to Google Drive folder marked Reflective Annotated Bibliography. Create a new Google Doc in that folder and then add your First Source analysis. You’ll keep adding to this Doc over the next week.

Week 10 (Oct 25-31)

Mon Oct 25

Revision. Source Analyses and Rhetorical Analysis. Incorporating quotes.


WRITE and add to the Google Drive folder doc you started last week: Add your Second Source Analysis.

Wed Oct 27

Visual analysis to set up Third Source Analysis and Image Bank.


WRITE and add to the Google Drive folder doc you started last week: Third Source Analysis/Visual.

Create your image bank.

Week 11 (Nov 1-7)

Mon Nov 1

The TEDTalk template. Writing the introduction.


WRITE and upload to the Google Drive folder labeled TEDTalks: Create a new Google Doc in that folder with your intro slide and Introduction to your TEDTalk.

Wed Nov 3

Writing the Body.


WRITE and upload to your Doc in the Google Drive folder labeled TEDTalks: Add your Body to the doc you already created.

Week 12 (Nov 8-14)

Mon Nov 8

Writing the Conclusion to your Talk.


WRITE and upload to your Doc in the Google Drive folder labeled TEDTalks: Add your Conclusion.

Wed Nov 10

Reviewing and leaving comments (revisited).

HW:On the Google Drive: Review and leave Comments for at least two TEDTalks.

Week 13 (Nov 15-21)

Mon Nov 15

Final Drafts workshop/conferences

Introduce Unit 3 – what, helpful tools/links. Examples from previous terms.

Genres revisited: conventions of different ones.


POST on OpenLab: You will need to write a proposal of at least 200 words outlining what you plan to do for Unit 3. Post to website. This proposal should tell us: 

  • A 1-2 sentence statement of what you want to teach your audience (the most important thing you learned in Unit 2). 
  • The audience you are trying to reach. Get as specific as you can here. Everyone is not an audience!
  • The genre you are planning to write in and why you chose it.
  • A plan — how do you intend to get started?
  • Anything you might be worried about.  What are your concerns about finishing this project?
  • CATEGORY: Project Proposal

Wed Nov 17

In class on Padlet, put your idea and genre. Comment on other people’s ideas and genres, things like:

  • A specific publication or website you think the author could write for.
  • A question or comment to help narrow down the audience: “You say you want young people to watch this video essay, but there’s no publication all young people watch. Are you actually trying to reach New Yorkers?”
  • A question or comment to help narrow down the genre: “There are a lot of different kinds of articles in the world. You could be writing for a newspaper like the New York Times or a website like Buzzfeed, and the writing is totally different for both. Can you be more specific?”
  • You can also just talk about things in the proposal you find especially cool or exciting.

We’re looking to create support groups of people who are working in the same genre: video, podcast, graphics, article for website, etc.

We’ll also look at the idea of Mentor texts and how to use them to help us.


WRITE a post for OpenLab: Do an analysis of a mentor text in the genre you want to use for your project using these questions:

  • What tone/ type of language does this example use?  
  • How does this source use research?  Do they quote from outside sources, use a lot of statistics, etc…
  • What can you tell us about this source visually (and auditorily, if applicable)?  Does it use a lot of imagery and color? Is the layout very clean? Is there a soundtrack?
  • How long is it?  (Words, pages, minutes)
  • Who do you think is the audience of this source?  What makes you think that?
  • What aspects of this source would you like to emulate in your own writing? How might you do that?
  • What aspects of this source would you like to avoid in your own writing?  How will you do that?
  • CATEGORY: Mentor Text

Week 14 (Nov 22-28)

Mon Nov 22

Workshop with groups.

HW: None! Just keep working.

Wed Nov 24

Workshop with groups.


On the Padlet: post evidence of progress on your project, whatever you want that evidence to be! Your project is due on Mon Dec 6 so today, just post something you’re working on – a picture of your comic, a page of what you’ve been writing, a short transcript of your podcast, a minute of your video…

Week 15 (Nov 29-Dec 5)

Mon Nov 29

Workshop. Writing the Artist’s Statement

POST on OpenLab: Paste the SFD of the first part of the Artist’s Statement that you did in class.

Category: Artist’s Statement SFD

HW for Wed Dec 8: Artist’s Statement uploaded to Google Drive folder labeled Artist’s Statement.

Wed Dec 1


HW: Project!!! There’s a folder in the Google Drive for them, but you can also find other ways to let us find your project – we’ll talk about it in class.

Week 16 (Dec 6-12)

Mon Dec 6

Share the projects! Celebrate!

On to the Final Portfolio. Revisiting the term.


WRITE and upload into Google Drive folder labeled Artist’s Statement: Your Artist’s Statement for the Project.

REVIEW: your work from the term.

Wed Dec 8

Discuss revising. Writing a SFD of your Final Reflection.


WRITE: finish the SFD of your Final Reflection. Upload into the Google Drive folder labeled Final Reflection Drafts.

PREPARE questions about your Unit 1 and Unit 2 assignments for conferences next week

Week 17 (Dec 13-19)

Mon Dec 13

Questions about the Final Portfolio and Final Reflection. Workshop Final Reflection.

Wed Dec 15

Final meeting. The Final Graffiti Wall.

HW: Portfolio due EOD Mon Dec 20.

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