Research Paper Due: May 17

Final Exam: May 24

***Previous Assignments*****


Rough Draft due May 10.


Reminder: Journal Check is May 1.

Continue to ideate your topic, creating questions and issues around it as we discussed in class. Start to research it. Start to find sources. Be prepared to SHARE.


In your Journals, begin brainstorming your topics for a Research Paper. (This paper, when completed and submitted in its final format, will be 1,500 to 2,000 words in length and will require a proper Source Citation. Hence, you should pick a topic which you really find interesting and which has some sort of intriguing aspects, or you won’t want to spend time on it!) Make a list of your top three Topics and be prepared to discuss them next class. Write a paragraph or two on your top choice and explain why you chose it over the others. Go Online and read something from at least one of the following newspapers/magazines that relates to your topic. If you can’t get anything on your topic, then say what you did find. We will discuss this on April 19 and or April 20th:

The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

(The above will help you in your Research Paper, and will also be counted towards class participation in the next Journal Check.) Please see my helpful post, on our site’s Main Page, for more discussion. Upcoming dates to note:

Thursday, April 20: School follows a Monday schedule

Next Journal Check Day: May 1 (subject to revision)

Research Papers Due: May 19


Continue to interview your partner, using the additional questions we added (these include the person’s favorite animal/do they prefer dogs or cats, more info about their family life, etc.). Submit them to me next class (Monday, April 3) and be ready to discuss! There is a link to the list of main topic questions on the Home Page. Yes, it looks a little bit like a poem. Yes the Hobbit question is required.

Remember that we will be having a Test Prep on Monday, April 3, for the Midterm on April 5.


Nice job on your Inner/Outer Dialogues! Continue to write them. Type them up in clear format as we discussed in class (I will give you more format suggestions on the home page of this website) and hand them in on Wed. 29. Length: 500 words. Double spaced, typed.


For Wed. 22, write your Inner/Outer Dialogues in your journals. We suggest your working in transit (subway/bus) like Martin Wilner, or at least in public spaces. We will discuss formatting in next class. Handwritten, no length limit.

We will read and share in class.


Hi Class. Our first Journal Check will be this coming Monday, March 20. Your “Journal” consists of any notes, writing exercises, and any other ungraded writing pertaining to class of your own. Include all photocopied work pertaining to class as well (your highlighted movie reviews would count here). Morning “Shazam” research counts as well. As mentioned before, your Journal can take the form of a spiral notebook with pocket folders, or a three-ring binder, or any system you use to neatly contain all your handwritten and non-graded efforts.

Am looking forward to seeing them!


Hi Class. You next assignment is to find 20 more words in the word “exceptional” and use a few of the words in a sentence. For extra credit, you can write another Object Description (the exercise we did in class, in which we described an object based only on its purely visual characteristics — as it appears to the naked eye) with no references to its use, and with no assumptions about its purpose, and without mentioning its name.


Hi Class. Please continue to  highlight your three movie reviews, using yellow for Description and pink for Judgement; if you would like to work ahead I would encourage you to also try to use blue for Analysis and green (or orange–any extra color of your choice) for Context. We discussed these four types of language in class. Again, this exercise in critical reading is not being graded except as class participation, so simply try to do your best and BE PREPARED to DISCUSS in class. Our next class, March 6, is Library Day. Please remember to meet at the entrance to the Library, 4th floor, at 8:30AM.

Looking ahead, your next graded paper will be due March 13. You will write a review of a film of your choice. I would like to know what movie you have chosen, first, if you can please inform me.


Hi Class. Your new assignment, due Monday Feb. 27 is: pick a movie you have seen that you either enjoyed a lot or that affected you a lot (you don’t necessarily have to love this movie — but you do have to want to read about it). Now, go out and find three movie reviews of this same movie by three different authors/writers and bring them to class. I would like you to print them out.

Note: You should have acquired by now, for class work, highlighting pens in four different colors: yellow, pink, blue and another color of your choice.


New Assignment, due next Wednesday, Feb. 22nd:

Now you will type up a short essay on your feelings/personal opinions/observations about Beauty. 500 words. Double-spaced, typed. Your name and your class section and your professor’s name go on the first page. You can (and probably should!) incorporate what you have written and gotten feedback on thusfar (“When I see something beautiful, I…”; “I know I am beautiful, when…”; a particular object of beauty to you…, and so on) into your paper. You may quote from Peter Schjeldahl if you like, but you are not required to.

(If you have kept up with all of our free writing thus far, this assignment should be much, much easier than it sounds, cold. Good luck!)


Your “beauty” writing work continues in this next assignment, due on Wednesday, Feb. 15. You have a choice to continue writing about beauty; you may either:

a) write about an object of beauty — something you appreciate; tell us all about it, and why you admire it,


b) you can begin writing with the following prompt: “I know I am beautiful when…”

This can also be re-phrased, “I realize my own beauty when…”

Parameters: handwritten. No length requirement. This writing will go in your journal and will be checked later as part of your class participation grade.

Update: Looking ahead, our first, typewritten, letter-graded paper will be due on February 22nd. I will give you more information soon. It will be on the topic of beauty, and will follow along the lines of Peter Schjeldahl’s essay, in that it will be your own thoughts about beauty. It will be worth 10% or your grade.


Great first circle, class! Your next assignment(s), due Feb. 8, are: Read the article “On Beauty” by Peter Schjeldahl that was distributed in class. And in your own, in your own words, write beginning as follows: “When I see something beautiful, I…”

handwritten. No length requirement.


Hi Class! Great Meeting You!!

So, as you know, you have a first short writing assignment for Monday. Let me recap. It’s inspired by the Nina Simone song, “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life,” that we watched in class. In case you want to watch it again, I’m gonna include the link, below. Your job is:

Make Two Honest Lists. One is “Ain’t Got No”; the other is “I Got My.” …… You fill it in. Be as honest or poetic or simple or personal or courageous whatever as you can or wish to be. Just look into your life at present and write. Due on Monday, Feb. 6.

Here is the video: