Weekly Schedule

Unit 1 February 21
Unit 2 April 3
Unit 3 May 3
Journal May 3
Final Reflection/Portfolio May 8

Week 1: January 25, 2023

Course Overview & Annotating Texts

Read “How to Read like a Writer” by Mike Bunn.

Review “RWL” (Reading like a Writer) Power Point by Laura Westengard.

Writing: Learning to Free-write

Create a NYTimes Account The New York Times


Free-writing on Education

Discuss City Tech resources: the library, computer labs, the Writing Center,subscription, OpenLab resources (Tips for Success on The OpenLab for Students).

Introduce yourself through writing and read introductions aloud in small groups.  Write a paragraph discussing your academic interests, why you chose your major, what you enjoy reading, listening to, watching, and doing in your spare time, or anything else you want to share (include your pronouns if you wish).

Write a short paragraph responding to the Bunn essay: identify one specific moment you found useful and you want to try out as a reader. Quote or paraphrase this moment, and explain why this idea appeals to you.


Week 2: January 30 & February 1 2023

Understanding the term “Education Narrative”


Read “The Memory of My Grandmother” (City Tech student essay) by Anita Jiang.

Read “Chapter 7” from the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.

Read “Learning to Read” by Malcolm X.


Review “Double-Entry Reading Journals” (Butte College).

Watch “Understanding Genre Awareness.”


Jiang’s Technique: Choose one technique that Jiang used in her essay to bring you into her story. Was it effective? Why or why not?

Douglass’ and Malcolm X’s Techniques: Choose one technique each author used to get his ideas across. Was it effective? Why or why not?

Pick one quote from each of the Douglass and Malcom X readings. Choose something that reminds you of an experience you have had. Your experience does not have to be exactly the same as the author’s… just be sure to pick one reading that you relate to in some way. Mark it in your text.

Speaker Who is Douglass?
Occasion What is the context for this piece? (clue: it is a slave narrative)
Audience Who is this piece for?
Purpose What is the reason for writing this text?
Subject What is the focus here?
Tone How would you describe Douglass’s language?

Think about the pieces by Douglass, Malcolm X, and Jiang. Although these pieces are very different, they are all education narratives: what do you think puts them into this category? In other words, what do they have in common? Share your thoughts on this. In your response, include a list of ingredients that you think are essential to this type of writing.

Brainstorm topics for Unit 1: As you prepare to write your own educational narrative, set a timer and spend 5-10 minutes brainstorming a quick list of stories, ideas, questions, and moments that are important to your experience.

Finally, select one of these texts as a model for your own narrative. The story in the model text does not need to be like yours, but there is something about the way the story is told that you would like to emulate. Identify which text you have chosen as your model and what it is about the way the author composes their narrative (their techniques, strategies, and style) that appeals to you

Freewriting (5 minutes each)

Write about all of the times you can think of that changed how you approached the learning process or shifted how you felt about education

Write about your chosen major or career goals and all the valuable moments that shaped your interest in your chosen field

Write about all of the moments when you “woke up” in some way and changed a central belief, value, or idea that your felt certain about for a long time

Choose your favorite brainstorming strategy and write for 5 minutes about the experiences you mentioned in your double entry journal for Douglass and/or Malcolm X. Include as many details as possible.

Week 3: February 6 and February 8 

Reading Plato and Working with Writing Strategies


Read “Allegory of the Cave” (Book VII) from The Republic, by Plato.

Watch “The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay.”

Watch “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave” by Alex Gendler.

Read the text out loud.  

Next, spend 3-5 mins. annotating the text. Add 2-3 of your most interesting notes as comments. Or share your notes and I will add them as a comment. We will discuss.

Write a summary of Plato’s text. 

Analyze: What’s going on here? Where are we? Who’s there? What do they look like? What’s happening?

Draw a picture (sketching is fine!) of a moment in the text. Don’t worry if you “can’t draw”– just sketch out what you see in your mind’s eye as you read. If you can, post a picture of your sketch.

Look Over Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” again. Look for moments where Plato emphasizes physical and concrete details the prisoners experience; for example, pay attention to anything they see, hear, and physically feel (along with what causes it). Find three of these details, and think about what they might symbolize. For each detail, write a few sentences explaining the point/s Plato makes through his imagery.

Have you ever had an experience where you felt like you were in a “cave” or where you felt like you emerged from a “cave.” Free-write about that experience. Include as many specific details as possible (think about your five senses when writing: recall what you saw, but also what you heard, smelled…). Hold on to this free-write, as you may want to return to these ideas for your first project.

Week 4: February 15

Drafting the Unit 1 Assignment


Read “The Fourth of July” by Audre Lourde.

Read “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott.

Review “Narrative Basic Features” Power Point by Laura Westengard.


With your group, find the “feature” of the narrative that you have been assigned to examine (dramatic arc, dialogue, vivid description, significance). Identify moments in the Lorde texts where you see the feature you have been assigned. Copy out quotes or mark the text where you see the feature at work, and explain why it is that feature and/or how the feature is working in that moment.

After reading “Shitty First Drafts,” think about how you approach writing assignments and write a few sentences describing this approach; for example, do you write several drafts? wait until the last minute? proofread carefully? Give honest details! Then, add what you would like to change or improve about your writing process.

UNIT 1 Writing

Work on your own “shitty first draft”! Look at the material you’ve generated through brainstorming and free-writing, and use the process below to help you form your writing into a draft:

First, answer the following questions:

What have you decided to focus on for your education narrative? Why have you chosen to tell this particular story?

What is the meaning/significance of your story? Why should people read it? Write this out in one sentence.

In one word, how do you want people to feel when they are done reading your story?

Freewrite details you remember about the situation you are describing: include people, places, dialogue, feelings, thoughts, etc. that are in some way connected to your story.

Second, review what you have so far and try to label the features of your narrative arc.

Exposition/Inciting Incident (who, what, when, where  and how does your story begin?)

Rising Action (you should include a lot of the story details here)

Climax (the moment of most drama and significance)

Falling Action (what happened after?)

Resolution (what was the result of this experience? What is the significance?)

On a new piece of paper (or a new screen) use all the writing and thinking you have done to draft your education narrative.

Think about beginnings and endings.

What makes a good beginning?

Of the pieces we have read, which had the most memorable beginning for you? Why?

What makes a good ending?

Of the pieces we have read, which piece had the most memorable ending for you? Why?

What are different ways to organize a narrative? Make a list.

Also, think about the order in which you will tell your story. Will you tell it chronologically? Will you use flashbacks? Will you work backwards? Also, think about to whom you are telling the story.Week 5: February 21 & February 22

Drafting (cont’d.) & Peer Review


Review “Citation and Formatting Guide” (City Tech Library).

Review “MLA Style Introduction” (Purdue OWL).

Review “Writing Transitions” (Purdue OWL).

Review “What’s a Paragraph?” by Carrie Hall.


Bring a printed out copy of your Unit 1 Draft for a peer review workshop

Read your partner’s draft and do the activities below.

Note things you really liked, and places where you want to ask questions either about what they’re saying or what else you would like to know. Write three to four specific comments about your partner’s work on the shared document. Here are some sample phrases to help you get started:

When you said… this really caught my attention because …

Your piece got me thinking about…

I got confused here when you said… because…

I wanted to know more about…..

At the end of the document, leave an overall comment for your partner. Quote at least one key phrase or moment that stands out to you, and use a “quotation sandwich”: introduce, summarize, and respond to the quote explaining why you chose it.

For more on quotation sandwiches see the “Quotation Handout” by Carrie Hall. If you need help with citing sources, refer to the City Tech Library’s “Citation and Formatting Guide,” Purdue OWL’s “MLA Style Introduction,” or the City Tech Writing Center at https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/writingcenter/.

Read through the feedback (either from your instructor or peers) on your draft


Week 6: February 27 and March 1 

February 27

March 1

Read “A Talk to Teachers” by James Baldwin.

Watch “Writing an Annotated Bibliography” (City Tech Library).

Review “Annotated Bibliography Breakdown” (Purdue OWL).

Read the Declaration of Independence.

Listen to the Declaration of Independence.

Read The Declaration of Independence Annotated by Randy Barnett.

Read “38” by Layli Long Soldier.

Review “Quotation Handout” by Carrie Hall.

Writing: What is Baldwin saying in the quote below? What do you think he means when he says “the world is larger?”

“I would try to make [the student] know that just as American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it, so is the world larger, more daring, more beautiful and more terrible, but principally larger – and that it belongs to him. I would teach him that he doesn’t have to be bound by the expediencies of any given administration, any given policy, any given morality; that he has the right and the necessity to examine everything.”

What do you think you have the “necessity” to examine, or the obligation to learn more about? Why? Alternatively, what do you wish had been taught to you in school that wasn’t? Why do you want to know about these topics?

Find one moment in The Declaration where you feel the authors’ argument is particularly compelling– quote or paraphrase the section and use a quote sandwich to explain why you think the writing is convincing.

Think about The Declaration of Independence in modern terms. Write a paragraph explaining how the arguments in this founding document are relevant to you and relate to issues that affect you, your family, and/or your community in the 21st century. If you feel the document is completely irrelevant to your life, explain your reasoning.

Think about the history that Layli Long Soldier covers in her poem “38.” Are there any incidents or chapters in US history that you think are not as visible as they should be, and that you think are important for people to learn about? Are there contemporary incidents that you think should be included in historical accounts of our era so people in the future can learn from them?

Week 7: March 6 and March 8

Research & Research Questions

Unit 1: Education Narrative due


Review the City Tech Library’s Guide to Developing a Research Question.

Review  “What Is Research?” by Carrie Hall.

Review “Reflective Annotated Bibliography” Power Point by Laura Westengard


What is summary? analysis?  

Return to your brainstorming for Unit 2 the topics and pick the one you think is the most interesting

Review the presentation “What Is Research?” by Prof. Carrie Hall.

Complete a KWL Worksheet or complete this Research Question Worksheet:

KWL Worksheet:

K- KNOW: Set your timer for five minutes.  Write that whole time.  It is important that you don’t pause here, so if you are stuck, write “I’m stuck!” But just keep typing.  Write down everything you can about what you KNOW about this topic or question.

W-WANT:  Set your timer for another five minutes.  Same thing– you’ll write that whole time.  This time, write what you WANT to know about the topic.

R-RESEARCH: Here is where you do a little bit of research.  Again, time yourself– spend 10-15 minutes on searching your topic on the internet and library databases.

L-LEARNED: Another five minutes.  Again, write the whole time.  Write what you LEARNED from your 10-15 minutes of preliminary research.  Cite where necessary.

S-STILL WANT TO KNOW: Another five minutes.  After doing very basic internet research, what are some questions about your topic that you still want to know? It’s okay if your issue has changed a little bit.  Try to come up with (1) a list of questions you still need to research; and (2) a list of sources you can consult, including people you can reach out to and possibly interview (by email, phone, or video conference). (Hint: NO yes or no questions)

Decide on your overall research question. My comments should help you do this. You can also use the City Tech Library’s Guide to Developing a Research Question to help you narrow down and finalize your research question.

Set a timer. Spend 15 minutes writing a substantial paragraph answering the following: How did you get interested in your research question? Why are you interested? What answers and information do you expect to find in response to your research question? (These notes are for you and will help you write the introductory section of the annotated bibliography.)

Look at the student samples. Before you even read the pieces, notice the formatting and technical elements. Discuss what makes the pieces look finished and professional.

Read the student samples. Decide which is the “summary” section and which is the “rhetorical analysis” section. Then find one phrase that indicates when the writer is summarizing a source and one phrase that shows the author is expressing their opinion of the source. Quote these phrases and incorporate them into your answer.

What is the difference between a summary and an analysis?


Student Name:
Name of Article.

MLA Citation:

Example: Author’s Name. “Article Name.” Publication Name or Book. Date Published. page numbers. website link: http://website.com

Fake article by Prof. Edelson:  Darwin, Prince.  “A Dog’s Life.”  Dog Magazine.  March 6, 2021.  www.dogmag.com

QUOTE: “Your favorite thing the article says goes here.”


Write one sentence that states the Main Idea of the article

Write 1-3 paragraphs with the supporting ideas and points made in the article.


WHO is the person who wrote the article?

Background? Education?

How can I be sure I can trust them?

Have I fact checked the article?

How did I do that?

Who is the audience for the article?

What is the author’s intention in writing this article?

What genre is the author working in and why did they select that genre?  Is it a medical text? Poem? Play? Newspaper article?  How is the genre connected to the purpose?


What is your response?  Why is this article or source important to understanding the subject?

Week 8: March 13 and March 15

Drafting Annotations








Use the City Tech library’s online databases or the internet to locate one reputable source that helps you respond to your research question. Some useful databases are NexisUni, Academic Search Complete, and Opposing Viewpoints. Remember that the first source you come across will not necessarily be the best one! You will have to look at multiple sources to find one that is truly useful for your specific question.

Read your source carefully a couple of times and take notes. (Either take notes directly on the article or write down ideas and quotes from the text that you find compelling.)

Draft the entries for the Annotated Bibliography Project. This includes the following:

The MLA bibliographic citation

A summary of the source (include at least one direct quote and cite it properly)

A rhetorical analysis of the source

include at least one direct quote in a quote sandwich and cite it properly

your opinion of the source

your views on the credibility of the author/s

further questions for the author/s

your ideas on the genre choice as it relates to the content being delivered

Continue researching and looking for sources. Try to explore a variety of genres for this assignment: consider journal articles, TED Talks, podcasts, Op-Eds, letters, or news reports.

Work on the other parts of this project: review the resources on citations and quotations as well as the annotated bibliography project student samples and work on your citations, integration of quotes, and formatting. See the template that is with the Unit 2 assignment guidelines.

Week 9: March 20 & March 22

The Reflective Annotated Bibliography Continues



Week 10: March 27 & 29

Considering Different Genres



Freewrite about the genres you may choose from and how they each might/might not appeal to your audience:

script for a TED Talk

script for a radio or television interview

an interview

podcast script and (optional) recording of the podcast

an infographic or academic poster presentation

a play or film script

a poem or song

a children’s book

Genre Scavenger Hunt

Pick one of the following genres:

script for a TED Talk

script for a radio or television interview

an interview

podcast script and (optional) recording of the podcast

an infographic or academic poster presentation

a graphic short story

a play or film script

a poem or song

a children’s book

open letter





photo essay

street art

public service announcement (PSA)

Write a short definition of the genre you have chosen. Tell all the things you know about this genre. Note: this is an exercise for thinking about genre and not necessarily the genre you will use for your Unit 3 assignment.

Week 11: April 3

Unit 2: Reflective Annotated Bibliography due

Find two examples of the genre.

Explain what each example is, why it’s an example of the genre you are discussing, and what you find interesting about the piece.

Write an analysis of what you found: what do the examples you found have in common, how do they differ, why would someone create something in this genre?

Begin Unit 3 

Mentor Text for Unit 3 

Review individual mentor texts, which you will choose as part of our Unit 3 preparatory work.

Notes to Instructor:

Help students locate both obvious and subtle differences among various genres.


Read & listen to “Louise Erdrich On Her Personal Connection To Native Peoples’ ‘Fight For Survival’” (NPR interview).

Read & watch “Native American elder Nathan Phillips, in his own words” (CNN interview clip) by Sara Sidner.

Suggested prompts to pair with readings for class discussion, group work, posts, and/or writing reflections:

What are the traits of the interview genre?

Reflect on the purpose of the NPR interview with Louise Erdich vs. the purpose of the CNN interview with Nathan Phillips, and discuss what you think the reasons are for airing these pieces.

Who do you think would be interested in listening, watching, and/or reading each of these pieces? Why?

Suggested prompts for scaffolding the major assignment in Unit 3:

Think of a specific audience to whom you would like to share your argument and research. Explain why. What do you think your audience knows and thinks about the subject? And what might their concerns or assumptions be about this particular topic? Make a list of 3-5 genres you think will appeal to your audience and help you share your research effectively.

Freewrite about the genres you may choose from and how they each might/might not appeal to your audience:

script for a TED Talk

script for a radio or television interview

Twitter thread (at least 10 Tweets for the thread)

an interview

podcast script and (optional) recording of the podcast

an infographic or academic poster presentation

a play or film script

a listicle

a poem or song

a children’s book

OVER SPRING BREAK:  Genre Scavenger Hunt

Pick one of the following genres:

script for a TED Talk

script for a radio or television interview

an interview

podcast script and (optional) recording of the podcast

a play or film script

a poem or song

open letter


photo essay

street art

public service announcement (PSA)

Write a short definition of the genre you have chosen. Tell all the things you know about this genre. If you use outside sources to understand your genre better, be sure to cite them properly.  Note: this is an exercise for thinking about genre and not necessarily the genre you will use for your Unit 3 assignment.

Find two examples of the genre.

Explain what each example is, why it’s an example of the genre you are discussing, and what you find interesting about the piece.

Write an analysis of what you found: what do the examples you found have in common, how do they differ, why would someone create something in this genre?


Week 12: April 17 & April 19

Drafting Unit 3 (cont’d) & Peer Review



Week 13:  April 24 & April 26

The Beginning of the End.  Reflections & Revisions & Portfolios

Look at the reflection questions below and freewrite for 20 minutes. This freewrite will help you generate material for your Final Reflection:

How have you developed as a writer? As a reader? As a researcher?

Choose three quotes from your writing that represent three moments you are proud of because either you figured out how to express a difficult thought or concept or because you made an important connection or compelling point. Explain why you choose these quotes.

What were your early assumptions/beliefs about yourself and writing? Have they since changed?

What was your experience when revising assignments? Give an example from your work of a sentence, paragraph, or idea that you changed. Quote both the original and the new versions and explain what you changed and why.

What did you expect to learn in this class? What did you actually learn? How do you feel about the class and what you have learned now that the semester is over?

What advice would you give to students taking this course next semester?


Read “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts” by Donald M. Murray


Finish Unit 3

Week 14: May 1 and May 3





Writing: Revising 

Specific instructions will be announced in class and/or our class site.

Week 15: May 8 & May 10

Final Reflection

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