English Composition II

Week 13: May 2-May 6: Deadlines and Homework

Your rough draft for Unit 3, especially the Artist’s Statement, should be up on Open Lab now.  If it’s not, it’s ok because there was a conflicting deadline in an earlier post.  Try to have it in over the weekend because you have a Final Portfolio to work on and I don’t want it looming over your heads.   The absolute latest you can actually post Unit 3 Final Draft is Monday, May 9, 2022.  Make sure your Artist’s Statement is up at least as a draft by May 4.


HW Day One:  Read about Final Portfolio!  (It’s like a final exam, but you’ve already done much of the work!  DUE DUE MAY 18, 2022) 

READ AND ANNOTATE:  “The Maker’s Eye” by Donald Murray

WRITE: Reread your Unit One “Portrait of a Word” essay with a “maker’s eye.” Now that you have some time away from it, what do you think  you could do to improve your readers’ experience? Write a plan (at least 150 words) for re-vision. Where will you begin?

 HW Day Two:  Unit Three rough draft is due Friday.  Final Draft is due Monday.




We are now at our final writing assignment of a difficult semester.  I am so proud of you all for making it to this point.  Now it is time for you, as the title suggests, reflect on your work over the semester.

This semester, we’ve read a number of articles about writing. Now it’s time for you to write an article of your own which answers the following questions:

  • What have you learned about yourself as a reader, writer and scholar this semester?
  • How will you be able to use what you have learned this semester and transfer that knowledge to other writing situations—either in college or in your community?

The Reflection is due with your Final Portfolio, which also includes the Final Revisions of your Portrait of a Word (Unit 1) and your Feature Story (Unit 2), and should be a minimum of 1000 words.

As a way to begin your reflection, look back through your compendium of work: in-class writing exercises, homework assignments, blog posts, earlier reflections, essays/projects, and so on. As you browse through your work, ask yourself about and take notes on the following questions:

  • How would you compare/contrast work done early on in the semester to now?
  • What was your favorite/least favorite assignment and why?
  • What are some notable lessons that have stuck with you after completing certain assignments?
  • What changed in your writing (and reading and thinking) as the genres changed?
  • How did you make decisions in your assignments about content and design?
  • What were your early assumptions/beliefs about yourself and writing? Have they since changed? Explain.
  • What was your experience revising assignments?
  • Was there any peer feedback that stands out to you and why?
  • How did you adapt to the sudden switch to online writing mid-semester?
  • What was particularly challenging for you in our course this semester and how did you overcome it (or attempt to)?

Don’t simply answer the above questions in your final reflection; they are just meant to help you brainstorm ideas. You’re writing an article about writing, not just a list of thoughts. Think about all of the essays we’ve read about writing this semester—some of them certainly hooked your interest while others… probably did not.  The ones that did were well-written, they had a point, the writer had a voice that you felt was worth listening to.  Try to do that in your own writing here.  Remember that this isn’t just you writing off-the-top of your head; this is a finished piece of writing. Treat yourself as a respected author who has lived through a difficult time: you are someone with something to say.

Here’s what I will be looking for (and grading you on):

  • ATTENTION TO AUDIENCE. You need to have a “so what?” Don’t just list off a bunch of random opinions about your writing—write an article about what you’ve learned. Think about who you are writing for (hint: it’s not just me).
  • ATTENTION TO ORGANIZATION. This does not have to be a traditional organization, but you should have paragraphs (not just a 1000 word paragraph, please) and some reason for why they’re in the order they’re in!
  • EVIDENCE AND ANALYSIS. If you tell me you learned something about yourself as a writer, show me proof! By proof, I specifically mean quotes from your own writing. All reflections should have at least three quotes from your own writing this semester. And, as usual, don’t just drop those quotes in there and expect your readers to figure out why you’ve chosen them. Explain why that passage is important to your readers and to your “so what?”
  • PROOFREAD. Make sure it’s long enough. As usual, you can use whatever language you see fit to use, but make decisions about your language—that is, the words that are there should be there for a reason.

It’s gotta be on time. I have wanted to be as flexible as I possibly can this semester, but the final portfolio (including this reflection) are due May18 and I don’t have any leeway because I need to turn grades in.  The rough draft is due May 10.  Make sure to post it by then!

Week 12: April 25-29

Unit 3 Due Date:  Friday, April 29, 2022

HW Day One :  Write an Artist Statement Rough Draft. Remember, this should read like a personal essay– with distinct paragraphs (with points!) not one, long, rambling page!  Due by the end of the week. (Friday)

HW Day Two:  Come meet me at office hours, held T/W @ 6PM and other times by appointment to make sure you are on track with Unit 3.

Artist’s Statement should answer these questions: What was your purpose in making this piece?
Who is your audience?
Why do you think the genre you’ve chosen best reaches this audience?
Write about your process: how has this gone for you? What has been difficult (or easy?) What would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
What did you learn? What do you hope your readers/ viewers/ listeners learn?


Also please look at this slideshow



Hello ENG 1121 Students!  Please note that Spring Break has sprung.

As usual this time of year, many of you have been doing every single weekly assignment and turned in both Unit 1 and Unit 2 projects.

Some of you may  have fallen behind.  Be in touch with me over the break to work out a plan to catch up.  I am here for you!  Email me and let’s set up a meeting.  I am happy to look over papers, weekly projects, etc.

For those of you who are way ahead of the game, CONGRATULATIONS!  Have a wonderful break and reach out if you need anything.

I am so proud of each and every one of you!  College is a great challenge and you are all facing it in your unique way.

In the last part of the semester, I will be offering a ton of office hours and writing sessions.  Please try to make some of them, and come ready to get personalized help and responses to your work.  Or come and write beside me!  We will get through this together.

That’s all for this week!  Enjoy the break!


Prof. Edelson

Week 11: April 11-14. 

OFFICE HOURS:  I am here for you and I want to help.  Please let me!

If you have not come to office hours for awhile, you need to attend this week.  I will be giving out grades, answering questions about the Unit 3 project, and responding to questions like “How am I doing?”  “Can I still hand this in?” and the like.

In the spirit of having high attendance, I will offer office hours at 6PM on Tuesday, 12PM (noon) on Wednesday, and 9AM on Thursday.  If you cannot make any of those times, please tell me in an email what day/time  you can attend, and I will see if I can set something up for you.

Remember these sessions do not last long, but they can really help.

Join Zoom Meeting



If you don’t know what you made on a paper, you can go to the post and find a reply and a grade. If you don’t see one, you need to let me know.  A couple of my replies and grades were not there after I posted them so I want to make sure you are all getting feedback.  For the final project, you will need these responses to rewrite and rework your Unit projects for the final portfolio.

HW Day One: 

WRITE a proposal of at least 200 words (not including schedule) for your Unit 3 project. This proposal should include:

  • Your audience
  • Your main point (has this changed from your Unit 2 main point?)
  • The genre of your Unit 3 project– and why this is the best genre to reach your audience?
  • A plan– what do you need to work with this new technology? What will you need to learn? Where will you find these resources?
  • A schedule. You will have four homework nights to finish this project (due week 15 day 1).  Only ONE of these days (Week 13 Day Two) am I giving you homework. The rest of the time, you need to organize your time. Please write out a schedule for completing this project. Do you need to research the technology? Draw? Do more interviews? Etc…
  • All proposals must be approved by me! 

HW Day Two:  You schedule your own goals for what you’d like to accomplish over Spring Break. Remember that these projects are often quite time consuming, so make sure you set a achievable and reasonable goal.

The schedule should be posted in the same document with your proposal.  So for this week, there will be only one post from you.

Week 10: April 4-April 8

HW Day One: 

WRITE (at least 300 words): Look over what you wrote for Unit Two. 

  • What is the MOST important thing you learned in your Unit Two research? Why? (Write these things down.) 
  • Now, of the five groups mentioned in the Unit Three assignment sheet, who do you think needs to know about this “important thing” from your Unit Two project the most? Why? 
  • How do you think you could best reach this group? A video essay? A TED Talk? A Comic Book? Why is this the best medium for your message? 
  • Lastly,  take a moment to reflect on your Unit 2 article. What do you think you did well? What do you wish you had done better? What will you improve upon for the final portfolio?

HW Day Two: 


READ AND ANNOTATE:  Melanie Gagich “Multimodal Composing”  (just read pages 65-76)

WRITE: Do you think it’s important to have a multimodal component in writing classes? What does “multimodality” mean to you? And, most importantly, what are your specific plans for Unit 3 (Due Day 1 Week 15). How do you think the multimodal component will help you reach your audience?



For this assignment, you will repackage what you wrote for Unit Two in order to reach a totally new audience. To do this, you’ll chose a new genre* that you think will best reach that audience. You will also write an Artist’s Statement explaining your choices. 

What do you mean?

Maybe you wrote about the effect of Covid in the Bronx for Unit 2, and you think New York politicians should know about what you wrote. Maybe you wrote about young women skateboarding in the Olympics and you want girls in grade school to know how awesome those athletes are to boost their self-esteem. In this unit, you’ll think about a specific audience that should know about your unit two article (and why). You will then “repackage” or “re-vision” your article to reach that audience.

First, choose from ONE  of the following five audience groups:

  • Fourth graders
  • City Tech Freshmen
  • New York City Council members
  • Your grandparents or older relatives
  • Activist groups (like BLM or LGBTQIA+ Youth, etc.)


Once you have decided who your audience is, you will decide how best to reach them.  In other words, you will have to choose the best genre for your project.  For Unit 3, this genre must be multimodal. We’ll talk more about what this means, but for these purposes, it means you need to have words and images or words and sounds or words, images and sounds.  In other words, you cannot write a simple essay– this is time for your Unit Two research to come alive!

Remember, you are trying to reach a specific audience here. So you don’t want to choose a genre arbitrarily. You want to choose a genre that is going to speak to the audience you have in mind. Fourth graders probably aren’t going to want to watch a TED Talk. Likewise, you probably shouldn’t make a comic book for the City Council. An Instagram page, with well-curated stories might be a great way to reach high-school seniors, though!

A note: we’ll brainstorm possible genres in class, but there is one restriction now: No PowerPoints!  The reason for this is that PowerPoint  isn’t a genre–it’s a tool, a slideshow, basically. You would never just send a slideshow to City Council and say “here you go!” You might use a slideshow when you give a speech (and you can use a PowerPoint in any speech or lesson plan you give) but the speech is the product, not the PowerPoint. You should also be aware that PowerPoints are famously boring, so it’s best to rely on them sparingly and to rely mostly upon what you have to say.


Composers of all sorts often write an Artist’s Statement for their audience that explains their inspirations, intentions, and choices in their creative and critical processes. It helps the reader understand the process that led to the final product by providing insight into what the author set out to do, how they did it, and what they might do to further improve the piece. You will write a one page, single-spaced Author’s Statement that reflects on your finished Unit 3 Project.

A successful Artist’s Statement should:

  • Discuss your specific rhetorical situation and related choices:
    your purpose: why you composed the work on that specific topic, in that specific way
    your audience: what you understood about your readers and how this affected the compositional choices you made
  • Explain your choice of genre and how you worked with its conventions. For example, maybe you created a photo essay. An accompanying statement, in which you explain why you found the photo essay to be the best way to communicate your ideas about gun control, for example, would go a long way toward helping your viewers get the most out of your work.
  • Reflect on your composition, discussing successes and limitations. Use this as an opportunity to look back at your composition and evaluate the extent of your achievement as well as note what you would have done differently or better.

*Note: This should be a fluid, cohesive document that reflects on and justifies the rhetorical choices in your Unit 3 Project. Do not just merely answer each question in list form.


Grading Criteria:

You will largely get graded on: Appropriateness for your audience, Effectiveness of message, and care. What do I mean by this?

  1. APPROPRIATENESS FOR AUDIENCE: Well, first of all, a puppet show is not appropriate for a city council meeting any more than a brochure is appropriate for a preschool class, so , in part, I’m talking about what genre you choose. But I am also talking about topic and diction. If we take the examples of the preschool and the city council meeting, it’s pretty easy to think about. Learning how to use crayons isn’t a real city council topic, and commercial zoning laws aren’t a real preschool topic. Likewise, you would use different diction (and fonts, and pictures, and so on) with kids and with politicians. Usually.
  2. EFFECTIVENESS OF MESSAGE: This one is simple to explain, though not always simple to DO. Does your point get across to your intended audience?
  3. CARE: This sounds pretty vague, because it’s going to vary by genre, but basically, this is how much of a finished product you turn in. If this is a more formal paper, or a children’s book, or a brochure for the city council, it should be relatively free of grammatical “error.” If you are writing in Brooklyn English, that’s fine (if it fits your audience, of course,) but you still need to be consistent and free of typos and your project needs to look good. In other words, you need to be able to explain why everything that’s on the page (or in the video, or on the webpage, or in the recording, etc) is THERE.
  4. ARTIST’S STATEMENT: A fluid and cohesive Artist’s Statement that explains the rationale behind the rhetorical choices made in your Unit 3 assignment.

Some notes for the instructor: First of all, the students may decide on a specific audience beyond one of these five choices, but we’d like this to be an at-request situation. That is, if someone really wants to address Congress– great! But if we just leave the audience wide-open to students, we’ve found it way too vague and students just say their audience is “everyone” or “teenagers” or “New Yorkers.” We wanted to give clear specifics.

Second of all, if you would like to open this assignment up and give students the option of revising Unit One OR Two, that’s great. 


Week 9: March 28-April 1: UNIT 2 ROUGH AND FINAL + LIBRARY DAY

OFFICE HOURS THIS WEEK 11 on Tuesday With Librarian Prof. Berger who can help you with all of your research questions and ideas.

Also email me if you are having questions about your Unit 2 Project —  bedelson@citytech.cuny.edu

Join Zoom Meeting

HW Day One: Rough Draft (at least 1200 words)

You  have the intro, nut graf, a few paragraphs with quotations, and your field research.  You’ve also looked at the ways published feature articles are structured. In office h, you’ll probably need to review conclusions. Here, you may want to visit  this slideshow from earlier in the semester.  

Post a working rough draft EARLY in the week and make sure to “publish” the rough draft so others can comment.

2) Offer constructive feedback on two other essays.  Help your friends get a better grade! Show them where they made typos or aren’t making sense! Be there for each other!!

  • Write at least one short letter to a peer (at least 150  words) explaining what you thought the purpose of their article was and which audience it was addressed to. Then, choose at least 2 specific examples in the article where you felt the student achieved his/her purpose or successfully appealed to his/her audience, and explain why you thought they were successful. Finally, suggest 2 aspects of the article where you were confused or wanted to know more. Be very specific about what you wanted to know and why (or where you were confused and why). Begin your letter with your partner’s name and sign your own name.
  • Note that you do not have to follow all the changes your peers suggest. Just take what they say into account; you ultimately must decide what needs to be revised.



Week 8: March 21-March 25

OFFICE HOURS WEDNESDAY MARCH 23 at noon this week.   Join me to ask questions about your assignment!  I love seeing your… um…typed names on my screen!  🙂 If this time doesn’t work for you, please email me and we will try to set something up.

Join Zoom Meeting



HW Day One: 

REVIEW: Slide show on writing intro hooks and slide show on nut grafs.

WRITE: Write your own introduction (at least one paragraph) and follow it up with a revised version of your nut graf. Make sure they flow together! Remember the intro should lead nicely into your nut graf (which should lead nicely into the body of your article).


HW Day Two: 

Over this week, you should gather and write up (in paragraph form, if applicable) your field research! 

Day One: 

  • Watch video on writing introductions for articles in-class
  • Look at your articles and ask yourself:
    • How does this article hook the reader?
    • How does this lead into the “nut graf?”

Study  THIS slide on the structure of the feature article. Remember it’s simply a road map (not a strict set of rules!) You don’t have to worry about the conclusion yet, but this will give you some idea of how everything fits together.

Day Two: 

Respond briefly on OpenLab answering these questions about your articles.

    • What kind of opening does the article use? Is it effective as a hook?
    • Where is the first little bit of research? How does it support the author’s initial point?
    • Where is the nut graf? Is it before or after the initial research? Do we know what the writer is going to be talking about from here on — what the main point is?
    • In the body of the article, where and how does the author use research (give an example)? 
    • In the body of the article, where does the author use personal information, if at all (give an example)? Does it help tie the article together or does it hurt?
    • How are individual paragraphs structured (do the paragraphs follow PIE structure? Do they each have one main point? How to they lead into each other, etc) 
    • Where and how does the author use images (give two examples)? Are they data/information graphics? Are they decorative images? What do they add to the article?
    • What kind of conclusion does the author use? Circle back to the initial paragraph/idea? Advice and tips? Impactful quote? Call to action? Does it leave a strong impression?


  • A run-on sentence is not just a Terribly Long Sentence.  No.   I can write a perfectly good really really really long extravagant sentence and it won’t be a run-on.  I can also write a bad long sentence that won’t be a run-on.  Furthermore, I can write a short sentence that is a run on: I laughed I cried.
  • A run-on  is TWO sentences fused together without a period or a joining word like and or but and a comma or a “danger word”  (subordinate conjunction)  from our earlier worksheet like although, because, after, when, if…

Here is a run-on sentencer: My neighbor Brett is twenty four he goes jogging every morning.

A comma splice is a run-on that tries to get away with being a run-on by sticking a comma in between the two sentences instead of a period.    

Here is a comma splice:

My neighbor Brett is twenty-four, he goes jogging every morning.  

Can you fix those two sentences?  How?

My neighbor Brett is twenty-four AND he goes jogging every morning.

  • Use two sentences.
  • Use a “fanboys” coordinating conjunction:  for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
  • Use a subordinating “Danger Word” conjunction:  after, although, as, because, before, if, since, unless, until, when, whenever, while.
  • Use a semicolon.  (NOTE!! A semi colon is a period that wishes it were a comma. Don’t use a semicolon where you can’t use a period.)

Here is an exercise. Correct the following paragraph by fixing the run-ons.

It was an astonishing exhibit, the Guggenheim Museum’s recent show was called “The Art of the motorcycle.” Museum-goers sported leather vests and ponytails, their motorcycles jammed the streets. Displayed were motorcycles through the years, including the earliest-known cycle. That was the 1968 French velocipede, it looked more like a bicycle with a steam engine under the seat than a motorcycle.  The Italian Agusta F4 was the latest model on display this one looked like a fantastic space machine. A 1993 Harley-Davidson stole the show it was a replica of Dennis Hoppers’ Easy Rider cycle. The show attracted more visitors than any other Guggenheim exhibit museum attendance was 45 percent higher than usual.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if you don’t have at least one subject and verb you get a…

FRAGMENT!!!!!!!!  A fragment is a group of words pretending to be a sentence, but lacking an independent clause.  Watch out for the following two rules:

  1. 1 Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. (In every sentence SOMETHING or SOMEONE must DO or BE something.)
  2. If a sentence begins with a subordinate conjunction, (danger word) it must be attached to an independent clause.

DANGER WORDS:  Subordinate Conjunctions!

after, although, as, as if, because, before, even though, if, in order that, rather than, since, so that, than, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whether, while.

The above words turn perfectly good sentences into fragments!!!!  

She sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts.

After she sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts.  

Before she sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts.

  • These words (after, before) leave us hungry for more.  They cause us to ask, What happened then?  What comes next?  It’s okay to use them, but you need to add another clause explaining them.

After she sat under the blue sky thinking her thoughts, she fell asleep. 

Identify the fragments and correct them.

Jumping for great joy.  Anna shouted, “I won, I won.”  

Since we live in New York.  We have thousands of interesting events to see.  Ballets, plays, music.

To see all the paintings at the Museum of Modern Art.  It would take weeks.  

Although I haven’t seen him in years.  I still think of him often.

She was an amazing woman.  Who risked her life for the good of others.

On the stove in the corner in my sister’s kitchen.  There was a chair that had been in my family forever.

The most beautiful girl in the world living in Brooklyn.  

Although I hope to go to college.

After I went to the ballet.

If I read that book.

In the great hope of finding gold.

Week 7: March 14-March 18



HW Day One:

read: “Nut Graf” Slide show and/ or article on nut grafs from the New York Times

WRITE: Write a nut graf for your Unit Two article.  




Research: Find least one more source.

Write: annotate and write a paragraph of at least 200 words quoting that source using the quote sandwich!




HW Day Two:

So, you’ve done a lot of research, you’ve figured out what your article is about and why it matters (with your nut graf). You’ve also written a paragraph or two citing those outside sources. On top of that, we’ve looked a lot at how feature articles are structured, how they fit together. You’re well on your way. 

Now it’s time to make this thing really shine! And that’s with fieldwork. This is the part where you take your “beat” to the test and bring your voice to life. Get out of the library (or the internet, probably) and get a primary source! You might use:

  • Interviews 
  • Site visits (if you’re writing about a neighborhood, walk around! Write a description of that neighborhood in concrete, significant detail!) 
  • Photographs
  • Videos

Keep in mind, you will need to integrate anything you find here into your article. Don’t just write an article and tack a video on at the end! How will it fit? 

HW: Come up with a plan for your field research! 

It may be useful to review this slideshow on research and/ or this handout on interviews. 


  • What kinds of articles/ stories/ media  (and ads and videos for that matter) are on that site? 
  • What does that tell you about who they think their audience is? How do you draw that conclusion?
  • How long are the pieces usually? (pages, words, minutes)?
  • What is the tone, usually? (funny, serious, casual)
  • What kind of diction is usually used? (casual, formal, academic, etc.)
  • How do they usually use evidence/ support (such as data, quotations, interviews, etc)?
  • What can you tell us about their visual presentation?  Is it all black and white text? Video with lots of graphics?
  • How can you make your article a good fit for this publication?

GOOD LUCK!!!  Let me know if you have questions!  I am here for you!

Statement about Ukraine from Russell Hotzler, President City Tech, CUNY

The unprovoked attack on the citizens of Ukraine by Russian forces stands as a reprehensible and unjustifiable act of aggression. We affirm the worldwide condemnation of Russia for this senseless violence, and stand with the Ukrainian people in their courageous defense of their sovereign state. Our hearts go out to all members of New York’s Ukrainian community, in particular those members who are our students, faculty, and staff, witnessing and enduring this ongoing devastation. Please know that we stand with you in this time of immeasurable atrocity. If you are struggling with mental health or in need of emotional support, resources exist to support you. Students can visit our Counseling Center or make use of other services outlined here. Faculty and staff can turn to CUNY’s employee assistance program for support.

Russell Hotzler, President

City Tech, CUNY

Week Six: March 7-March 11

Sorry this update is late!!!  Extension automatically granted until Tuesday, March 15.

Office hours will be Tuesday at 6PM.  If you haven’t come to any office hours, please email me immediately!  bedelson@citytech.cuny.edu.

HW Day One:

READ: Read and annotate at least two sources for your Unit Two article.  Preferable these are from the NYTimes.

REVIEW: “Quote Sandwich” handout, linked here

WRITE: Write a “quote sandwich”  paragraph (at least 250 words) in which you introduce, quote, summarize and analyze a quotation from one of your sources.


Week 4: Feb 22-Feb 24 (No Monday Classes) 

Next weeks write in and office hour is on Wednesday at 6PM.  Please come ready to write on OpenLab. We may even share what we wrote together.  


HW Day One:

Watch: Intro and Conclusion Overview slideshow  


POST: Unit One Rough Draft: At Least 1000 words


Today, you will be read your classmates’ rough drafts, and write responses to them.  Look for one other thing especially: PURPOSE.  In other words, Latifah tells us about the use of the word “queen” in her community to talk about self-respect .  She’s not just randomly telling us things about the word.  Diaz tells us about the fuku for a number of reasons as well: to tell us how Dominican culture has affected the US, to give us some history… and even to warn us.  They both have a PURPOSE.

Without a purpose, a piece of writing is, to put it kindly, hard to read.  Your reader wonders: why in the world am I reading this?  Now, in a rough draft, the purpose may be a little bit hidden, and that’s okay.  But when you are reading these rough drafts, I want you to write down WHY you think the author is telling us about this word (even if the purpose is hidden). And for writers, if your readers are totally off and they missed your purpose– well, you may have to clarify when you revise!

Read your classmates’ drafts and respond. Also, let them know what you think the purpose of their piece is: why are they writing about this word?  Here are some of the types of comments you might want to make as well: 

  • 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…


Week 3: February 14-Feb 18

First order of business: I will be hosting a “write in” on Wednesday at 6PM.  We will all work together.  I will write, you will write, I will play a library video, and all will be magical.  I’ll also be available to answer questions at this time.   This is a great way to have accountability and get some work done so please join me.  If you can’t come this week, you will need to come next week when I will host them at Thursday at 11AM.  If you have a problem doing that, let’s email with each other and set up a time when you are available.

Special Focus of the week:  Let’s think about “concrete, significant detail”— the importance of being specific when talking about a particular incident.  Think about the readings thus far (including student writing). What are some good examples of clear, vivid detail? What did those details add to our understanding?  

What details are concrete? What are significant? How does significance change depending on the point we are trying to make? 

HW Day One:

READ AND ANNOTATE: “Tel l ‘Em All to come and get me: A Year of Being ‘Alright’” Hanif Abdurraqib.

A side note: we read another piece by Abdurraquib in our first week of class, when he wrote about his name. In that piece, he wrote about being Muslim, and never mentioned being black.  In this piece, he writes about being black, and never mentions being Muslim.  That is to say, in each of these fairly short pieces, he focuses distinctly on one community (and its language), though he is a member of multiple communities, as we all are.

WRITE: Finish up the scene you wrote. Make sure it is at least two (clearly defined) paragraphs.

HW Day Two:

READ: “Shitty First Drafts”, Anne Lamott.


WRITE: A Less Sh*&ty First Draft of UNIT ONE—the scene you wrote in class today can be a good starting place. The draft should be at least 800 words. Make sure you look at the assignment sheet before you start writing so you know what I’m looking for and what you’ll be graded on!


Help making a great grade on Your Unit 1 Draft:

Think of a particular scene when you (or someone else) used your word.   Now let’s get some great specific details about the scene.  

      Where are you in this scene?

      Who are you with? Can you describe them?

      What time of day is it? How do you know?

      What season is it? How do you know?

      What does your body feel like in this scene?

      What can you hear?

      What can you smell?

      Where is the light coming from and what is it like?

      Look to the left of you (in the scene.) What do you see?

      Look to the right of you. What do you see?

      Look at your feet– what’s there?

      Look above you. What do you see there?

      Look behind you. Describe what you see.

      Is there anything else about this scene you should mention?


Let’s think about paragraphs and their form during this exercise.  Take a peak at this slideshow. 




Week 2 Homework, Due Friday, February 11, 2022 READ CAREFULLY

First and most importantly, I will be holding office hours this week to go over your first major assignment (as opposed to the little weekly assignments).  The office hours will be held at 6PM Tuesday and 11AM Thursday. These sessions will be SHORT.  (Under 20 minutes).  If you cannot make it to either of those sessions, I will provide you with a copy of the assignment and you may write a 300 word summary of what it says to make sure that I know you know what you need to do.  If either of these times don’t work and you really want to come, please email me right away and we will work something out!


Zoom Link for Office Hour:



Day One HW:

READ AND ANNOTATE: Read the first 7 pages of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao  (this is the prologue, all about the word “fuku.”) Don’t forget to read the footnotes!

WRITE: Write a post of at least 300 words about this text. What do you find difficult or confusing? Be specific! Point out particular passages that confused you and explain why you were confused.  What do you think the writer may have been trying to do?  Find a particular passage that was difficult and explain specifically where you got caught up and why. I get it. This seems like a really strange thing to do– but there’s a point to it!  The places you have difficulty are where you’re doing your best thinking.  The places you struggle are the places PhD students struggle too.  Difficulties aren’t walls to stop you but obstacles that you can (and will) overcome!

Also, if you haven’t already, you need to go find other students work and give them feedback.  I saw some really interesting responses this week and people get an extraordinary amount of participation credit for being active in getting to know other students!

Day Two HW:

READ AND ANNOTATE : HERS” by Klass. In this article, the writer paints a portrait, not of a particular word, but of a whole new language she had to learn in order to fit in with her new profession. While you are reading, please mark places in the text that caught your eye, where you wanted to know more, where you were confused or where you related!

WRITE: At least 300 words. What are some communities that you are a part of? (hint: we’re all a part of multiple communities!) What “languages” have you had to learn to engage with these communities—and how did you learn these languages? Are there particular words or phrases that stick out to you as helping you feel like you were part of the in-crowd? Which of these words do you think might make a good


Hello!  I’ve received some great questions about when is what due???

My weekly writing & reading assignments should be posted by me on Fridays.  They are due the following Friday with an automatic extension until Sunday  at 11:55PM (5 minutes before midnight). There are NO  extensions granted after that.  There are no penalties for turning in work on Sunday, but it is due Friday.

So if there are no penalties, what is the big deal?  For one thing, you have to do it on the weekend and how blecky is that?  Also, I will see it later.  Also, other students might not see it and respond to it.  Also, it will be logged as “late” and who wants that?

The weekly assignments are Pass / Fail.

You’ll notice that I assign Day One and Day Two Homework.  I do that because  I am trying to help you manage your workload a little better.  But they can both be turned in on Friday at the same time.

Due dates for the major projects will be announced as they are assigned.

Hi! Welcome to the first day of class!

Day One HW: 

Now that we’re getting a tiny bit more comfortable online — and sharing our fears about this whole distance learning thing —  let’s get to know each other a little better. 

First, watch “(un)Learning my Name” by Mohamed Hassan and read Zayn Malik and the Songs that Bring us to Prayer”  by Hanif Abdurraqib

Second, write a new post responding to these two pieces (the video and the article). You can do it in whatever way you want! You can talk about how your name or your language makes you who you are, or gives people “permission” to treat you a certain way even though that’s so wrong! You can talk about how school has made you the writer or thinker or student or professional you’re becoming. You can talk about your family’s influence on your literacy — your education, your goals, your belief in yourself, your attitude toward the world. You can also think through how a group has helped define you. As part of it, you can add images or links to videos… whatever you think will help us get to know you and your experiences better. You can even add a link to a video. Or record an audio file and link to it. Or draw something and upload the image. Whatever you want. Remember: we’re all about composing in the 21st century, so feel free to do what you think would be interesting for us to see/hear/learn about. The idea is to get you thinking about how those issues affect you. How they’ve helped shape who you are and who you’re becoming. 

Third, Read the course syllabus.

Day Two HW:

Comment: Comment on at least three of your peers’ name posts.  This is just meant to be a conversation, so what did you learn about this person? Can you relate? Is there something they wrote you are curious about or moved by? 

Read and Annotate: “How to Read Like a Writer” by Mike Bunn. 

In this article, Bunn says that his students suggests that the advice they would give to future students is that they  “write yourself notes and summaries both during and after reading.” So I’d like you to do that. Please take out a piece of paper and a pen (or pencil) and have it beside you as you read.  Just write down whatever stands out to you from the text– jot down a few key words.  Doodle! Write a summary. Write a question. There are no right or wrong answers here.  


Write:  On the website, write a post of at least 300 words discussing the following questions. You can also post the picture of your notes from the reading in this same post: 

  • In his article, 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?  (Hint: “Nothing” is not an acceptable answer.) Think of all of 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 you would like to try to do in your own writing? What, in particular? Please be specific!


Welcome, Students!

Please take some time to explore this OpenLab course site. Use the top menu bar to explore the course information, activities, and help. Scroll through the sidebar to find additional information about the materials shared here. As the course progresses, you will be adding your own work to the student work section.

Join this Course

Login to your OpenLab account and follow these instructions to join this course.

If you’re new to the OpenLab, follow these instructions to create an account and then join the course.


If you have any questions, reach out via email or in Office Hours. If you need help on the OpenLab, you can consult OpenLab Help or contact the OpenLab Community Team.

Unit 3 revision

Dear Black Girl

Your hair is one with nature

Your hair is the flowers that the butterflies Grace with their elegance

The vines of which roses emerge

The ropes of the out pine Forrest

As delicate as the dandelion in the wind

And as strong as the thorns on a prickly bush

You need not to explain your hair’s uniqueness

Don’t be afraid to let your naturality shine

Naps curls wave all the form of expression of love from the man from above

wake up and look in the mirror and it’s a mess This curly hair that I posses but I feel blessed

Our hair is our crowned jewel. Own it. Relish it. For it is synonymous with our individuality


Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves on a topic that they feel passionate about. The topic of natural hair is a topic that is very dear to me and I chose to convey the unique aspects of it through a poem. 


A black woman’s natural hair has been a controversial topic for decades now. Many people seem to judge the presentation of it due to the unexplainable uniqueness that it holds. But it is in human nature to judge what you don’t understand, is it not? Society has made it their unfortunate mission to outcast black women and the beautiful hair that they were blessed with. This results in many young women hating the appearance of not only their hair but the beauty that they hold as a person. I know this to be true because I have been one of those young women for a very long time. 


I chose to construct a poem for my topic because I wanted to give a different outlook when it comes to describing our hair. Likewise, I wanted to be able to grab my audience’s attention, which are citytech freshmen,and captivate them throughout. I understand that my audience would not want to sit and read a long and tedious essay or article on this topic. I wanted to describe our hair in ways that we did not normally hear while we were growing up. I know that many people from my audience would be pleased because we are so used to hearing our hair being described in such an unpleasant manner with words such as “rough” or “nappy”. To hear it go from such words to being compared to the beauty of nature it feels like a breath of fresh air and it would help a lot of people heal the little girl inside of them that hid away from the fear of being judged. 

Unit 2 revision

As a black woman, one of my biggest issues that I have had with my identity ever since I was young, was my hair. The way that I would fix it and the style that I would wear, determined how other people would view me and treat me.  Ever since I was a little girl getting my hair done was a very crucial thing to me. You see, I love the attention that it would bring me all the compliments from the other students and teachers and the jealous stares of my “enemies” Brought me joy. I would feel like an absolute beauty queen. I was known for changing my hair every single day, each style better than the one before. 


Sitting in between my godmother’s lap With a book in my hand while getting my hair done was my favorite childhood memory. The attention and care she gave every single braid and the way she made sure each part was clean and neat not only made me feel loved but, it also made me feel like no one could tell me anything about my hair. I looked good and I knew it.  


Back in my country my people were different but similar in so many ways. Different facial features,personalities, and some were light while others were darker, but our hair was very much similar, but we took pride in the beauty that it held. No matter how short or long or tangled that it was, it was ours and we loved it. Because I grew up in such an environment that was so accepting of such uniqueness I was under the impression that everywhere I went would be just as accepting or even more. It wasn’t until I came to America at the age of eight that I realized the rude awakening I was in for.


I started living with my stepmother that didn’t know how to properly handle natural hair because she cut her’s off before it would get to a certain length. She would put chemicals in my hair to make it straight so I would look “presentable” in the eyes of everyone around me; because God forbid I went to school with the beautiful hair I was gifted with in its natural state. 


I would find myself missing  my mother and God-mother frequently, whom both were hairstylists that would constantly remind me how beautiful me and my unruly hair were. The hairstyles with the bubbles and the bows that would only enhance the beauty of my hair were my favorite part of my morning routine. However, coming to America and observing  how badly I was treated for accepting my hair as it is; by people who looked exactly like me with the only difference was that their hair was straight, I would find myself  climbing on top of the tub to look in the mirror and asking myself “is it really beautiful”.  


I would constantly feel envious of how the other girls’ straight hair would fall so effortlessly down their backs and blow in the wind like a cliche scene from a movie. So From the age of 12 to 15, I would often find myself with the heating comb and flat iron at hand constantly giving my hair heat damage. As I straightened my hair more and more, It wouldn’t fall perfectly like the others and I didn’t feel any more beautiful than I already was.  


It is extremely depressing to see the amount of young African-American children they get discriminated against due to their hair. Evidently, according to an article written by the New York Times an 11-year-old girl who is attending a private Roman catholic school in New Orleans What’s at home due to the fact that she had braided hair extensions. The school officials claimed that because the student‘s hair wasn’t “natural “ it went against their handbook but refused to speak to reporters regarding such handbook. Similar to that incident, A young man that was attending a high school in Mont Belvieu, Texas was suspended due to the fact that he did not want to cut the locs that he has been growing since he was in the seventh grade. When I read these articles I was appalled and angry at the fact that someone would threaten the education of a child just because of how their hair looks. The extreme measures an individual would take to simply discriminate against a group of people because of their culture is insane. Our hairis our culture and it holds a lot of historical background and being forced to change it to fit into society’s standard of beauty and what’s normal is very unfair. 


Society has a bad habit of making young children  question their beauty and essence. As young black children we were taught to push back our authenticity and fit in the crowd to make everyone else happy. But what about our happiness? Our hair is our individuality, why do we have to change it to make everyone else feel comfortable.



Jacobs, Julia, and Dan Levin. “Black Girl Sent Home From School Over Hair Extensions.” The New York Times, 22 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/us/black-student-extensions-louisiana.html.


Jones, D. C. W. A. K. (2020, August 20). A Texas school system can’t make a Black teen cut his dreadlocks, court rules. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/20/us/texas-hair-injunction-trnd/index.html



Professor those are the links for the unit 3 and artist statement you can click them or below you can copy and paste on the search and it will appear. let me know any inconvenience

Ok, thank you!







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