Author Archives: Professor Fraad

Vocabulary assignment

I give students a list of relevant vocabulary words important to our work.  We are doing a unit on the environment and New York City now.  I ask the students to get into pairs or triads and write dialogues or trialogues if the word exists and then present them to the class.  Below is the list of words they have already encountered in their readings and should have looked up.  A  few I have already gone over with them, such as sustainablity since it has a specific environmental meaning.  This is the list of words.

  1.  sustainability
  2. resilience
  3. estuary
  4. current
  5. mitigate
  6. berm
  7. dune
  8. levee
  9. equity
  10. evacuation
  11. reservoir


Post about incorporating the old and new modes

Just because we are using genre and rhetoric does not mean we do away with comparison and argument.  We can do away with the redundant comparison and contrast since comparison implies contrast.  Why not do a paper comparing several genres about similar topics?  I personally am thinking about this.  As for argument, there is no way we are dispensing with argument.  Many articles, books, essays advocate positions.  As such, we as teachers need to bring up argument.  As a citizen our students need to know argument and comparison to watch a presidential debate.  Part of our job is helping students become literate, informed citizens.  They will need argument and comparison in addition to rhetoric and genre. Understanding rhetoric itself implies understanding of argument.

Lesson plan “Mother Tongue”


How do you integrate all the languages you speak?

Respond in writing to the following:

  • How many languages do you speak? Here I mean, not necessarily foreign languages but languages you speak with friends, languages you speak with family, languages you may speak with people with whom you share a hobby like a sport.
  • To whom do you speak those different languages?
  • How do you feel about speaking different languages to different people in different contexts?
  • How does your intended audience impact how you speak to someone and the word choice you use?
  • How does the purpose for your communication impact what you say and how you say it?
  • How can you have a similar message or purpose for different audiences but use different word choice based on your audience?

Discuss with a partner, and then we will discuss this as a class.

Let’s watch Amy Tan’s speech at the White House and do

Say Mean Matter about it.

Let’s do a little role play of how you would ask your mom for a raise on your allowance.

Now, let’s do another role play on how you would ask your boss for a raise.

What did you notice about the language?

Take out the SOAPSTONE chart that we used with “Superman and Me,” and do the same thing for “Mother Tongue” and go over it.

Let’s look at how Amy Tan brings her mother and her language to life. Let’s reread as a class paragraph five. In paragraph five what techniques does Amy Tan use to bring her mother’s language to life?

How does she contrast the way her mother sounds to what her mother knows and can understand?

When you write narratives, use dialogue, frame dialogue, develop concrete, specific details, use verbs precisely and use your senses. Show, don’t tell. This came from the students

Definition of anecdote- a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing or biographical incident.


In this essay, Tan uses anecdotes about herself and her mother with the stockbroker and the hospital. Reread 0page2, paragraphs 2-7, and discuss with a partner what makes these anecdotes effective? Make a list and we will share the list.

Use verbs precisely

Add dialogue

Use your senses

Add concrete detail to create a scene.

Build a scene


You are going to write anecdotes about your own reading and writing life. Think about your own reading, writing or speaking life.   Think of an anecdote from your own life? Write it down. Use what we found effective about the Tan essay in your own writing.

Share what you have written with your partner.


  • Do Homework for Open Lab. It’s easy.
  • Do the Brainstorming Worksheet and questions about Baldwin and the Tyson video. The Tyson video is on Blackboard.