Week 1

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Housekeeping: Course and site review
  • Diagnostic: Beginning-of-Term Reflection (core values)
  • Write Self-Introductions (alternately, students can interview each other)
  • Create free New York Times account
  • NYTimes Word of the Day
  • Mike Bunn, “How to Read Like a Writer”   (WP: What are your regular reading and writing habits?  What do you tend to read?  What forms of writing do you engage in?  Do you tend to write on paper, a laptop, your phone?)
  • Reading strategies:  annotating, understanding main ideas, considering how reading and writing work together [Integrated Reading and Writing principles, or IRW]

Week 2   

Unit 1: Education Narrative

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

  • Unit 1 Rough Draft due in Google Drive
  • Revising and proofreading. How can a piece of writing be improved? What does it mean to revise? Revision components: argument, structure, development, grammar, word choice, sentence structure. What does it mean to proofread?
  • Peer review
  • Revise Unit 1 essay with feedback from Professor, peer review partner

Week 6

  • Unit 1 due in Google Drive

Unit 2: Critical Media Literacy (Guided Reflective Annotated Bibliography and Response Essay)

Week 7

  • Nicholas Carr, The Shallows  (book excerpt and/or transcript of the podcast)
  • Lucas Kwong and Carrie Hall, ChatGPT and Your Voice
  • Articles in NYTimes on ChatGPT
  • Rhetorical analysis and determining representative quotations
  • Work on your RAB (Reflective Annotated Bibliography) and Response Essay
  • The “Response” Essay (with directions)
  • Sample Student Essay

Week 8

  • Unit 2 Rough Draft Due in Google Drive
  • Share draft with peer reviewer
  • Use feedback to revise draft and prepare final version with cover page reflection

Week 9

  • Unit 2 Due in Google Drive

 Unit 3: Final Research Topic and Genre Determination

  • Emily Hu (City Tech Student) “Many Years After: A Letter on Anti-Asian Violence”
  • Many Years After (short film based on Emily Hu’s essay)
  • Arnold Ludd (City Tech  Student): “Critical Race Theory: Pass it On”
  • Prof. Hellman, Understanding Unit 2 PPT
  • Find an article in the New York Times (or on one of the library databases) on a current topic of your choosing.  Using information from this article, write a 1-paragraph summary and review.  What is the topic of the article?   Why are you  interested in the topic?  What are three things you learned about the topic?  What quotes stand out? What are some potential questions you still have? Lastly,  create a list of 1-2 additional sources (in different genres perhaps) that you also plan to consult.
  • Consider how you now want to present your topic to a wider audience. Which genre and writing style best suits your project, and your intended audience.  If in doubt about choosing a genre, consider submitting the written text that accompanies your Powerpoint presentation.

Week 10

Library Visit.  Review databases for research and discuss the importance of finding and vetting appropriate sources.

Week 11

“Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition at New York City College of Technology.

Week 12

  • Unit 3 Workshop: Outline due
  • Use your outline and annotated bibliography to generate a rough draft of Unit 3
  • How to make a great Powerpoint Presentation
  • Schedule writing conference

Week 13

  • Unit 3 Rough Draft due in Google Drive
  • Class presentations
  • Revision workshop

Week 14

  • Unit 3 Class Presentations continued
  • Revision workshop

Week 15

  • Unit 3 Class Presentations continued
  • Revision workshop

Week 16

  • Unit 3 Due in Google Drive

Week 17

  • Final Reflection Due



    1. Rhina P. Espaillat, “Bilingual/Bilingüe
    2. Stephon Hobson, “The Caged Bird Prevails” (29)
    3. Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons
    4. Matt Thompson, “Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch
    5. Perri Klass, “The Influence of A Perfect Teacher,” NYT
    6. Esau McCaulley, “What Mrs. Bailey Taught Me in A.P. History Changed My Life
    7. “What is School For” essays, NYT
    8. How We Learn (and how we don’t) (multiple examples)
    9. VIDEO: How to format assignments (MLA format)
    10. VIDEO: How to view rubric feeback


750 words (3 full pages, double-spaced).

Together, we have read/watched several “education narratives” (including video lectures, poems and spoken word poetry, flash fiction pieces, personal essays and memoir excerpts, and music videos). In these narratives, writers describe a time when they learned something important (either inside and outside school settings).

Now, it is time for YOU to write your own education narrative.

Think of a time in your life when you learned something important and transformative.

    • What did you learn or conclude, and take with you moving forward?
    • How did that experience affect you and shape who you are today?
    • This could be a lesson you learned from:
  • A parent, grandparent or family member
  • A role model
  • A work experience
  • A book you read
  • A teacher
  • An interaction in class
  • A random conversation on a city block
  • An educational experience (You do not have to discuss school specifically. If you decide to talk about school, you are not being asked to praise the educational system, or say that it transformed you in a positive way.).

Assignment Components & Rubric

Your essay should include these six components:

    1. Introduction (15%)
  • You (briefly) provide context
  • Your have a clear thesis (overarching point) about what your experience taught you
  • You (briefly) summarize your supporting details
    1. Body Paragraph A (15%)
  • EVIDENCE: You use examples (one particular memory, or a series of significant experiences or ideas s) that support your main idea and prove your main point
  • DETAILS: You include specific, fully realized examples and rich detail that paint a picture for your reader 
  • STRUCTURE: Your have a narrative progression/sequence or organizational structure that makes sense for your reader
    1. Body Paragraph B (15%)
  • Same as above
    1. Quote Sandwich A (15%)
  • You quote one of the education narratives we read for class (or one that you have found on your own, as long as you have your professor’s approval)
  • You explain how it relates to your experience, using a quote sandwich.
    1. Quote Sandwich B (15%)
      • Same as above
    2. Conclusion (15%)
  • You summarize your main argument 
  • You take us somewhere new 
    1. Title (5%): You have a title that conveys your overall point in an engaging, clear way
    2. Editing (5%): You have edited for:
  • Clear sentence structure
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Spacing
  • MLA Format

Student Examples





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