Table of Contents


I am still waiting for students to submit Final Writing Portfolio.  They were due at midnight last night!

I have sent emails to some of you explaining difficult issues I am having with reading your Final Writing Portfolio.  Please address these problems now.

Submit your Final Course Reflection before class.

Monday’s WRITING CELEBRATION:  On Monday May 23, our last class together, each of you will read out loud a favorite piece of your writing from the semester (two paragraphs, a page, or a scene or present your Genre Project). Choose from one of your works this semester – Education Narrative OR any part of the Reflective Annotated Bibliography OR Genre Assignment.

This will be a celebration of our work together, and your participation is required to pass the course.  Make sure your microphone works!  Bring virtual snacks! Your participation counts toward your Final Portfolio grade. I will also participate.

We will also screen the Film: Many Years After featuring voices from the Asian community here at City Tech.  Many Years After: City Tech’s Asian American Stories – YouTube

Thursday May 19

I am looking forward to see everyone’s projects and learning from you!

Here is our timeline as we make the home stretch toward the finish line:

  • Final Writing Portfolio due Saturday May 21 midnight.  Look at the Assignment for how to title your file and submission details (GDrive and BB).
  • Final Course Reflection due Monday May 23 before class.  Look at the Assignment for how to title your file and submission details (GDrive and BB).
  • Writing Celebration will be Monday May 23, our last day of class.  Please be prepared!  Everyone will read or present an excerpt of your own choice from one of your own writings this semester.

Monday May 16 post-class

  1.  On Wednesday we will discuss the Final Course Reflection due May 23 and the Final Writing Celebration on May 23 Monday.
  2. I have finished grading HW5 Progress Report.  Please look at my HW5 feedback.  Also please read back to my previous HW comments on Proposals, Outlines, Mentor Text Analysis. I may have added more ideas for you or updated my feedback.

I hope you are enjoying as much as possible the Genre Project. It is really an opportunity to get creative and to put forth a message out into the world on something big that you have learned in your research.

Keep it up — we are almost done!

Remember to use the Tutors’ help as you revise and as your work on Unit 3 Genre.

3.  Here are two student example Final Writing Portfolios from previous students for you to study.   I will also upload these to the Final Writing Portfolio in the Google Drive for easy access.  Remember that these student examples files are for reading only, so do not disturb/touch them in the GDrive.

4. I want to share some interesting readings and videos:

Here is an Op-Ed about college writing students like you and pandemic malaise Opinion | My College Students Are Not OK – The New York Times (

Thinking about the shooting in Buffalo, here is a video feature report on “Young Playwrights use Theatre to Confront Gun Violence”: PBS NewsHour | Young playwrights use theater to confront gun violence | Season 2022 | ThinkTV

Here is a short video film of City Tech’s Asian American stories:  Many Years After: City Tech’s Asian American Stories – YouTube.  This short film is made by Prof. Kwong who is the editor of City Tech Writer.  My voice and writing are included.

Finally here is Volume 17 of City Tech Writer, a publication for excellent City Tech student writing.  Some of the students whose writings are published here are my previous students.  I hope to submit some excellent writing pieces from this class to the magazine.  So please work hard on your revisions for your Final Writing Portfolio.  You too can be a published writer and put that on your resume.

Sunday May 15, 2022

  1. HW5 Progress Report DUE Monday May 16 before class:  Write a paragraph telling me how your project is going. Use the questions below.  Title: Genre Project Progress Report – Your Name.  Category:  Project Report
  • What parts/tasks have you completed?
  • What do you still have to do to get it done?
  • What obstacles are you encountering?
  • What’s your timeline to meet the deadline?
  • How do you feel about your project so far?
  • Where do you think you could seek publication for your finished piece?

2. Final Writing Portfolio due May 20 FIRM DEADLINE. 

  • Unit 1- Education Narrative (revised)
  • Unit 2-RAB (revised)
  • Unit 3-Genre Project (first-time-submission)

We will discuss the Final Writing Portfolio and how to put it together this week in class.

3. Reminders:

  • Two tutoring visits required.
  • Study the Unit 3 Assignment carefully (there are how-tos) and use the Genre Resources page.
  • Writing Celebration on May 23.  Everyone is required to attend this last day event.
  • May 17 is the last date to withdraw.  Please take notice.  How to Drop A Class and   Another Link on How to Drop A Class

Saturday May 14

I am working hard to finish the Late Submitted RAB Unit 2 works.

I have finished commenting on Unit3 HWs — all the HWs.  Please look at my comments and those of your peers to help you move forward on your Genre Project.

I must say that it is SUPER CONFUSING for me to be grading late works.  Remember you are penalized for late work!

You should be well into completing your Genre Project.  The next HW, HW #5 will be to show me a Progress Report (anything you can say about how your Genre Project is moving foward is fine) and that is due Monday before class, May 16.

May 17 is the last date to withdraw.  Please take notice.



WEdnesday May 11 pre-class

You must title your GDrive and BB submissions correctly and you must label parts of your work correctly— PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS given in the Annoucements when the assignment was due.  It’s your responsibility.  IF YOU DO NOT TITLE YOUR FILE CORRECTLY I CANNOT GRADE AND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FIND YOUR WORK.  THIS IS ALSO SUPER IMPORTANT AS WE HEAD TOWARD FINAL PORTFOLIO. 

Alex David, Karem Ali, David Antwi:  I am calling you out!

Tuesday May 10

I do know that all of us are tired and ready to get to the finish line.  Kudos to everyone who is keeping up:  We are almost there!

1.  You should have received, some time back, a City Tech email from SET.  I am not sure what that stands for, but is the end-of-semester evaluation of teachers.  Can you please make sure you have done that evalatuion for my class?  If you have not, I will give time in class on WED to do it.  Please locate it in your email threads and have it ready to do in class, if you have not already done it.


ALSO REMINDER to scroll down to Announcement below to see HW 4.

BIG REMINDER that the entire Final Writing Portfolio will be due May 20 NO EXCEPTIONS.  We will be reviewing and putting together the Portfolio next week.

REMINDER that last day is our Writing Celebration on May 23.

Monday post-class May 9

Open Lab HW#4 due Wednesday May 11 before class time.

  • TItle:  Outline (Put your chosen genre here) — Your Name
  • Category:  Outline Genre Project
  • Then, comment on two student peers.

Now you will show me your plan for whatever genre you  are writing or creating.

Write an outline o/r upload a px of a story board o/r show me the questions you have created for your interview.  This doesn’t have to be perfect, but you must start by planning.  Show me what you plan to do and describe the parts of your piece.  If you are doing a multi-modal piece with elements of video, visual, audio, graphs, you can also tell me what programs you are thinking to use.  (Look in the Genre Project Resources page.)

For example, if I was Ruth Bader Ginsburg and I was planning to write an op-ed piece about advice I have for young women who want to enter the legal profession, I might start by creating the following outline. (Above I would use the Title:  Outline Op-Ed Project — Ruth Bader Ginsberg)

I.  Introduction

  • A. HOOK: Open with a Question
  • B. HISTORY of women in law progress — SHOWING RESEARCH
  1. Struggling Women
  2. Then / Now
  3. Change
  4. Use of statistics and facts as evidence

II.  Personal narrative – education journey – PERSONAL aspect

  • A. My mother encouraged me.
  • B. Important teachers in my educational journey
  1. Prof. Vlad Nabokov
  2. Prof. Gunther

III. ADVICE that helped me further my life and career.

  • A. Advice for marriage and work world from my mother-in-law
  • B. Mentor quote from my father-in-law: “Ruth…no one will think less of you. But if you really want to study law, you will stop worrying and find a way to manage child and school.”

IV Work-Life Balance – A WOMEN’s Issue

  • A.  Having a child actually helped me manage my time.
  • B. The importance of a good partnership, good husband.


  • A.  I love my job.  I have had it for 23 years!
  • B.  Describe the job of a Supreme Court Judge

V. CLOSURE/CONCLUSION: My message is to encourage women in their chosen careers to be the leaders who will bring about future change.  I will end by restating the progress women have made, and I will stress that we must continue to work to create equality for all people in society.

Friday May 6

We are fully into Unit 3 now.  The Final Portfolio (including revisions of Units 1 and 2 AND the first time submission of Unit 3) will be due May 20.  NO EXCEPTIONS!

  1. I have commented on your Genre Project Proposal (HW #2)  if you submitted it on time.  Go to Open Lab to see my comments.  (If you have not submitted your proposal then you have fallen in the quicksand!)

2. Some people seem to be confused.  Remember you are using your RAB Unit 2 work to create your Unit 3 Genre Project.  You are using your same Research Question.  READ THE ASSIGNMENT.  You should be clear on this!

3. If you attended class last week (many people have been absent or have fallen into the quicksand!), we worked on the Reverse Outline.  We read the RBG Op-Ed “Advice for Living” and created a reverse outline to see the different parts of her Op-Ed Essay.

Here is the outline that we came up with in class:  Reverse Outline RBG Op Ed

NOTE:  You cannot use the RBG Op-Ed for this HW 3 Mentor Text Analysis below. If you are proposing to write an op-ed, then for this HW you must choose one of the other Op-Ed Mentor Texts to analyze.  

4. We will study and analyze mentor texts. These are called “mentor” because they are intended to teach.  (If you have been coming to class, we have been doing this.  If you have not been coming to class, you are in the quicksand.)

HW#3 Due May 8 Sunday midnight.

  • Title: Mentor Text Analysis —YOUR NAME
  • Category: Mentor Text
  • Comment on 2 student peers.  

Now that you have written a proposal and chosen a genre to work in, you will analyze one of the mentor texts in the Unit 3 Assignment sheet.  Doing this will give you an idea how to put your project together.  As you study your mentor text, think about how much you are learning from this text.  That is what your goal is in your Genre Project.  You will teach something to your audience!

  • GO to the Unit Three Assignment
  • LOOK at the mentor texts for your chosen genre (letter, op-ed, tedtalk/speech, news article, photo essay, podcast, video essay, video interview) you have chosen.
  • Choose ONE mentor text in the list I provided and read/view/listen to it. (For example, if you are choosing to write an Op-Ed, scroll down to the option to write an op-ed and choose one of the op-ed mentor texts.  Read it.)
  • Then analyze its structure (NOT content). Use the questions below for your analysis.
  • WRITE one paragraph.

*(If you have chosen a genre that I have okayed, then you will supply and show me a mentor text and use the same questions below.)

Use these Questions to write your Mentor Text Analysis.

  • How does the text HOOK the audience? INTRO.
  • Where does the text incorporate research? How does it use research? Does it quote outside sources, use statistics, use experts, refer to history?
  • How does the text incorporate storytelling (or narrative)?
  • What do you notice about the text visually (imagery, color, layout)?
  • If the text has audio, what do you notice about the text auditorily (music, background sounds, voice-over)?
  • Length: How long is the text – words, pages, minutes?
  • Who is the audience? What makes you think this? (Consider language, music, visuals, content.)
  • How does the text come to an end? CLOSURE.
  • What do you think the message is?
  • What aspects will you emulate (look up the word) in your project? How will you do this?
  • What aspects will you avoid in your project? How will you do this?

Next week we will create support groups of people who are working in the same genre: video, podcast, graphics, news article, op-ed, letter etc.

Here is  Prof. Blain’s presentation on Multi-Modal Genres with how-to information on video essays, photo essays, and podcasts:



Monday post class May 2

Now it’s time for some fun!  Think about what you want to teach your audience.  You can create in any genre that makes sense for communicating your message to your audience.  YOu have a lot of freedom for Unit 3 Genre Project; have fun with this!

Read and study Unit 3 Genre Assignment.  Explore the different options in the Assignment.  Click on the links in the Assignments and look at the Mentor Texts to get ideas. Some Genres to consider:

  • Podcast
  • Video essay / Photo essay
  • Video Interview (must have at least 2 or 3 interviewees)
  • TikTok
  • Twitter thread/tweetstorm
  • Short fiction story
  • Poetry
  • Songs and/or song lyrics
  • Instagram story/page
  • Graphic novel or comic
  • Letter to a targeted audience
  • Op-ed for a newspaper / website like NYTimes or Washington Post (WaPo)
  • Feature Article for a targeted magazine like People, PC Gamer, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated    OR for a targeted newspaper like NYT or WaPo
  • News Article for newspaper like NYTimes or WaPo)
  • Ted Talk / Speech
  • Animated video
  • or anything else you can think of and clear with me
HW#2 Proposal for Genre Project Due before class on Wed May 4POST on OpenLab.  Write a proposal of at least 200 words outlining what you plan to do for Unit 3. Post to website. You must have your proposal approved by me.
  • Use the Title: Project Proposal — Your Name
  • Category: Project Proposal
  • Then comment on two peer posts.

This proposal should explain: 

  • What your Research Question is.
  • Your Message:  A 1-2 sentence statement of what you want to teach your audience (the most important thing you learned in Unit 2).  This should come out of your Unit 2 Research but should not be a summary of your research.  Remember you already did that in Unit 2.
  • The audience you are targeting or trying to reach. Get as specific as you can here. Everyoneis not an audience!
  • The genre you are considering and why you chose it. If you are trying to decide between 2 genres, you can say what those two are — and why each one night work for your project.
  • A plan — how do you intend to get started?
  • Anything you might be worried about.  What are your concerns about finishing this project?

NOTICE THAT I CREATED A NEW PAGE:  Genre Project Resources.  There you will find resources for working with elements of video, audio, music, visuals, and others.

Monday May 2

  1. Those of you meeting the late RAB deadline (which is today — pls have your tutor email me) please make sure you label your RAB and name the file correctly. Scroll down to Sunday April 17 (the original due date which was TWO weeks ago) for the naming information and where to submit (BB and GDrive). Please NAME and LABEL your final submissions correctly.  That way I can find and grade your assignment.  Naming and Labeling is SUPER important as we get ready for the —

2. Final Portfolio (including Revisions of Units 1 and 2 // Unit 3 for the first time) which will be due May 20th.

3. You should be exploring the Unit 3 Assignment and making a decision about which GENRE you will work in to communicate your RAB findings, about which GENRE is appropriate to communicate your RAB message.

Wednesday April 27

  1. We are indeed moving on to Unit 3 Genre Assignment.
  • I will extend the HW 1 on RBG op-ed analysis to Sunday at 12 noon. 
  • Monday May 2:  Come to class with your RBG op-ed piece marked with sections we designated today in class:  I, II, III, IV.
  • You must read and study the Genre Assignment Unit 3.  Make a decision on which genre you will work on to bring your RAB to the next level.

2. I also announced that any late RAB Projects must be on the GDrive and BB by Monday May 2 before class.  ALSO THAT if you want me to accept your RAB project this late (it will then be TWO WEEKS LATE) YOU MUST WORK ON THE RAB WITH A TUTOR.  Pls tell the tutor to email me with confirmation. There is significant grade deduction for not doing on time the Open Lab HWs that were RAB preparatory steps.  As explained in class, the highest possible grade will be a C-or D for these late RAB Projects due to English Dept Policies outlined on my Course Syllabus page.  You will also receive less feedback in the Google Drive.  It’s not possible for me to teach and prepare Unit 3 lessons and grade Unit 3 HW while grading the latework.  I am a human being too; I have limits.


Monday April 25 post class

  1. Read Unit 3 Genre Assignment on the Assignments page.

2. Many of you have said you are thinking about writing an Op-Ed for your Genre Assignment.   We will begin Unit 3 with a study of op-ed mentor texts.

DUE Wednesday April 27 BEFORE CLASS on the Open Lab HW#1

  • Title: RBG Op-Ed Analysis
  • Category: RBG Op-Ed Analysis

Read the New York Times op-ed Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Advice for Living.”

A. Write the MI in one sentence.

B. Use Prof Blain’s Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet and choose any 3 questions to answer.  Write a 1 or 2-sentence answer for each of the 3 questions you choose to answer.   JBlain RhetoricalGenreAnalysisWorksht (hi-lited)

Sunday night April 24, 2022

I hope all of you got some rest–and also got some work done!

We meet tomorrow at our regular time.

I have finished grading the Unit Two RAB projects.  Kudos to those who did all the hard work necessary to complete this very difficult assignment!  Grades are posted on BB and comments are in the Google Drive, the same two places where the grades/comments were posted for Unit One.

Many students did not turn the RAB assignment in.  Many did not follow our Unit TWO writing process.  This process involved doing the Open Lab HWs on time and using teacher feedback to revise along the way. This lack of follow through has serious consequences for your grade and for passing this class.

We are continuing to Unit 3, Genre Assignment, which is built upon your Unit Two RAB Project.  But before we do, tomorrow we will look at some student examples of RAB finished work.

Sunday April 17, 2022

  • For the Google Drive, name your file:   First Name Last Name – RAB FD 1
  • So for example:  Nancy Kerrigan – RAB FD 1
  • For Blackboard use the same file name. 

2. DUE Tomorrow Monday April 18, HW#6 on the Open Lab:

Final Revision Ideas for Education Narrative (one paragraph, 5-7 sentences).  Title:  Final Revisions Ideas Ed Narrative–Your Name     Category:  Final Revision Ideas Ed Narrative

How, exactly, will you thoroughly revise your Education Narrative for your Final Portfolio?

  • Return to your google folder and study my comments on FD #1.  Name two revision strategies that you plan to use. Refer to “Development Writing Strategies” handout (posted on Grammar/Writing Skills page).
  • Remember, “fixing” grammar and clarifying wording are important, but if that’s all you do (or if that’s all you talk about for HW#6), you haven’t completed the assignment; true revision takes in the big picture: development and organization.
You could write, for example, 
After studying Professor Wu's marginal / end comments on my FD 1, I plan to develop two more scenes at key points in my story, in P. 4 and P. 6.  I plan to break up large blocks of dialogue by adding descriptive phrases.  I’ll experiment with starting my story at a more dramatic point and weaving some of the original material into the body of the story. I'll meet with a tutor at the Writing Center to study complex sentence (could be everybody here!)  I'll read the extended scene with dialogue on page 2 for our Final Day Celebration, May 23.

*Yes we will have a Final Celebration and everyone will read chose an excerpt from their own writing to share aloud.  I will participate too!

Saturday April 16, 2022

Please look at Open Lab where I have commented on HW 4.  Not many of you did that HW.  Remember Open Lab HW#5 Conclusion and the COMPLETE RAB is due tomorrow Easter Sunday at noon on GDrive and BB.

HW 5: Go to the Assignment Unit Two for instructions on how to write the Conclusion Paragraph.  It’s all there.  Plus look at the RAB Checklist and RAB What you’ll be graded on.

  • Use Title RAB Conclusion Paragraph– Your Name. 
  • Use Category RAB Conclusion Paragraph. 

You could all benefit by studying the RAB examples I have posted here in Announcements (scroll down to previous days) and by studying RAB examples on the Research Projects page Resource.  RLW!

Also look on the Student Works page at Richard’s Source Entry 3.  He did a great job!  He gave me original thinking in his Reflection part and that’s what should go there – deeper thinking on your RQ that came out of reading or viewing that source.  Thanks Richard for letting me share your HW post with my morning class too.

Some of you are putting in the hard work that this RAB Assignment requires.  I hope you are feeling the payback.

Happy Easter, Passover, and Ramadan!

Friday April 15

  1. Today DUE: RAB Source Entry 3 on the Open Lab.  This is HW#4.
  • Use Title RAB Source Entry 3 – Your Name. 
  • Use Category RAB Source Entry 3. 

I look forward to seeing what you found for this audio / visual / creative source.  Look at the examples by Students Fan and Amadou and my own research finding on how the pandemic has exacerbated Anti-Asian sentiment for my Source Entry 3, a beautiful moving video by the Chinese Italian Youth Union.  

  1. You should all be reading and studying the ASSIGNMENT UNIT TWO: Everything about the RAB Project is there. All of our lessons these past weeks are straight from the Assignment.
  2. Look in the Assignment Unit Two for how to write your Conclusion (we went over the Conclusion in Wednesday’s class) which will be due on Sunday.
  3. AND just now, I have added two sections at the end of Assignment Unit Two to help you as you wrap up your RAB:
  • RAB Checklist
  • RAB What You Will Be Graded On

]5. As announced below our Timeline for the up-coming next few days:

  • Open Lab HW#5 will be your Conclusion Paragraph for the Entire RAB Project and it will be due Sunday April 17 at noon.  Then you will be done with the RAB Project!  At the same time on this same day SUNDAY APRIL 17 please upload your ENTIRE RAB to the Google Drive and to the Blackboard as we discussed in class. 
  • HW #6 will be a Statement of Intent for the revision of Education Narrative and that is due Monday April 18 at midnight.  CSD coming soon.  


Wednesday April 13 post-class

  1. Thanks to students who shared their source 3 with the class.  It was interesting to see the video that Chris found on computer chips being held up by the supply chain disruption and covid.  What a nerdy topic — but Chris’s video got me interested. THanks Chris!

2. I just posted three example Source Entries 3 using a video / audio / creative source. Look at the Student Works page and see work by Students Fan and Omar and see my own example Source Entry 3 by Lisa.

Here I share a one-minute beautiful and creative video made by Jiang, a leader of the Italian Chinese Youth Union.  It was what I chose for my Source #3 on my RQ: How has the pandemic exacerbated Anti-Asian racism?

3.  The entire RAB Project is due on Sunday April 17 at 12noon Submit to Google Drive and to Blackboard as usual.  In addition see Open Lab HW 4, 5, and 6 due dates below.

4.  I will hold office hours on Saturday (sorry I cannot do Friday) — so Saturday at 2 pm, for anyone who wants to come.  Please do send me an email if you plan on coming, so I know to be there.  We will meet in our zoom classroom.

TUesday APril 12

  1. I have finished commenting on Open Lab Source Entry 2 HW #3.  Use my feedback to revise your work.  See deadlines below.

2. Please review and use to write and revise your Source Entries. Make sure you have all parts labeled correctly.  This will make you source entries organized and easier for me to grade.

3. See Student Fan and Student Amadou’s Complete RAB projects (posted on the Research Project Resources page. )

4.. We are now working on Source Entry 3 (creative / audio / visual source).

Monday April 10 post-class

  1. Revise your Proposal and Source Entries 1 and 2 NOW. Remember as we discussed today, the Part 3A Reflection will be your own personal thinking on the article. Think of yourself as engaging in a conversation with the writer, sort of like “You say; I say.” Study the Assignment to guide you in writing your Part 3A Reflection paragraph. You can also use these questions:  After reading this article, what do you think?  How has this article helped you with your Research Question?  Why did you choose this article?   Remember also that the article does not have to be a perfect fit and you can explain that in your reflection. 

2. Here is the Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet from Prof. Blain’s workshop.  Use this to write Part 3B Rhetorical Genre Analysis of your Source Entries. JBlain RhetoricalGenreAnalysisWorksht hi-lited

3. Here is our Timeline for the next few days in order to get the RAB in before Spring Break:

  • HW#4 will be your Source Entry #3 (audio / visual / creative source) and it will be due Friday April 15 at midnight
  • HW#5 will be your Conclusion Paragraph for the Entire RAB Project and it will be due Sunday April 17 at noon.  Then you will be done with the RAB Project!
  • HW #6 will be a Statement of Intent for the revision of Education Narrative and that is due Monday April 18 at midnight. 


  • You will work on your Revision of Educaation Narrative during Spring Break.
  • I will work on grading your RAB during Spring Break.

5.  The Writing Center Tutors will be working with students over Spring Break!  Many of you have not even made one visit.  Warning: your grade will be lowered.  Remember that you are REQUIRED to visit and work with the Tutors TWO TIMES.  

Sunday April 10, 2022

This week you should have your source 3 an audio / vidusl / creative source ready.  You will write your third source entry now.

  1. Kudos to students who did a good job and earned points for completing the summary part of the Group Quiz on David Brooks’ Opinion Editorial “The Pandemic Kills Compassion.”  That’s David, Oishe, Richard, Travis, Chris, Nateo, Leslie Ann, Jacqueline and Abel.  As you can see in the RAB Project, summary writing is an important skill!


  1. Everyone should be revising / editing their RAB proposal and source entries in the Open Lab using peer and teacher comments as we go along, and yet I see many of you have not. Remember our due date is coming up later this week for the entire RAB Project, so if you are not revising now you will be scrambling furiously in a few days.

I have now posted example RAB Complete Projects of previous students.  See Student Fan and Student Amadou’s works on the Research Project Resources page.

  1. Thanks to everyone who submitted HW3 on Source Entry 2 Op Ed.


  1. Special shout out to Richard for good work on Source Entry 1 News Article. Look at his work on the Student Works page.


  1. I am noticing that most of you are having trouble with the Reflection 3A and Rhetorical Genre Analysis 3B parts. We will practice that tomorrow.  Please use the Research Project Resources page and also see helpful worksheets I uploaded to the Google Doc Unit Two folder.


  1. We are moving on to Source 3 which is an audio/visual source. We will look at some examples in class tomorrow.
  1. I heard that some of you attended Prof. Blain’s RAB workshop. I hope it was beneficial for you!  I am getting a record of attendance later today from the Writing Center, so I will know who attended.  Reminder that some of you were REQUIRED to attend.  Likewise, I am waiting to get those emails confirming visits to the Research Librarian.

Wednesday April 6, 2022

REMEMBER:  Two visits to Writing Tutors is REQUIRED.  Your grade will be lowered if you do not go.

  1. Calling you out by name!

Pick up your Whereas Poetry books in NAMM Room 503:  Anastasia, Haileson, Mamadu, Kendra!   Chris, Jacqueline, Mateo!  We will be using this book in our UNIT 3 Genre lessons.

Get to the Thursday RAB 2pm Workshop:  Paula, Lauren, Alex, Haileson, Julian, Mamadu, Patricia, Maryfer, Anastasi!  David, Oishe, Richard, Savannah, Newton, Devin, Rehana!  YOU ARE REQUIRED. Zoom link: CTWC Workshop

Get an appointment with the Research Librarians: Paola, Lauren, Patricia! YOU ARE REQUIRED.

Extra Credit for anyone else who attends the Thursday RAB Workshop and anyone else who works with the Research Librarian.

The Thursday RAB Workshop will give you a better understanding of this difficult and huge project.  Prof. Blain is great!

One student worked with the Research Librarian and in that meeting she got many research sources to choose from including Op Ed,  News Article, and Audio/visual sources.  She now has all 3 sources chosen for her RAB!

  1. Reminder to study the Assignment Unit Two. This is your blueprint to the assignment.  Everything is explained there.  Everything we are doing in class comes from that assignment sheet.  PRINT IT OUT, STUDY IT, ANNOTATE IT.


  1. Finish your Google Drive Group Quiz on “Pandemic Kills Compassion” op ed piece by David Brooks by tomorrow Thursday morning 8AM. Note that I have given you extra time, but I will be looking at it early tomorrow morning to see how your group did. This is a Group grade. I will be looking at the Summary and Reflection. You should have three paragraphs: Summary and Reflection (Reflection part has two paragraphs 3A Reflection and 3B Rhetorical Genre Analysis). In the Google Drive in Unit Two folder, you will also find:
  • Rhetorical Genre Analysis worksheet; use for rhetorical genre analysis.
  • How to Write a Summary worksheet; use for summary.
  • LWu RAB Source Entry / Instructions and Example on “Spit on, Yelled at…”
  1. HW # 3  — which is your RAB Source Entry #2 — is due on Open Lab on Sunday April 10 at 12 noon. Your work on today’s Group Quiz and the lesson today should guide you in writing your source entry on the Op Ed piece you chose for your Research Question.

Use title:  RAB Source Entry 2 – Your Name.   Use category:  RAB Source Entry 2.  As usual, comment on two student peers work.

I have posted my example for RAB Source Entry 2 — LIsa.  You can find it on the Student Works page.

Remember to use the correct title and category on your HW Open Lab posts or I cannot find them!  If I cannot find them, I cannot give you credit or feedback.

  1. Extra Credit Opportunity:  Friday at 11 AM Virtual Screening of Student Film “Airpods”

City Tech student Alvaro Panozo, who is a COMD major, has made a film “Airpods”!  Virtual screening and discussion of the scriptwriting process with Alvaro on Friday, April 8, at 11 AM! Register here for a fun discussion of how the written word guides filmmakers as they bring their visions to cinematic life. After signing up, you’ll see a confirmation page with a link to the event – please copy this down. (You’ll receive a follow up reminder with a link, too.)

Looking ahead to Unit 3.  If you like making short films, you can elect to make a short film from your RAB.  Come and see Alvaro’s film and hear him talk about how he turned his writing into a visual medium!

Tuesday April 5

  1. For tomorrow:  Read David Brooks’ op ed piece from the New York TimesThe Pandemic Kills Compassion.” BE PREPARED FOR A QUIZ ON “The Pandemic Kills Compassion.”
  2. In addition, you should have searched and found an op-ed piece for your Source #2.  HW #3: RAB Source Entry #2 will be due this Saturday April 9.

Monday night April 4, 2022

  1. Please finish your group quiz.


2. Revise your Proposal Paragraph. Make it personal.  Show your passion and curiosity!  Review the 3 big pointers below (March 31 Thursday).  Kudos to Abel and Anastasia for sharing their excellent Proposal Paragraphs.  RLW: Please read and study their work.


3. Revise your Source Entry 1. READ READ READ your Source 1 (news article) carefully so that you can write a good summary.  It takes a good 3 times to understand the article well enough to write a good summary.

  • Use the LWu RAB Source Entry 1 Lesson example with instructions.
  • Use the Summary Lesson How to Write a Summary.
  • Remember to use the points you found as Main Idea (MI) and Suporting Details (SD) into your summary!
  • Remember the 3 things that go in the first sentence of your Summary: Author Title MI
  • Remember for the Reflection, use the MI to jumpstart your points.
  • 4. As I announced in class today:
  • Those who did not submit their Proposal Paragraph on time:  you must make an appointment with the Research Librarian.
  • Those who did not submit their Source Entry 1 for the news article, you must get to Thursday’s workshop.
  1. 5.   For Wednesday:  Read David Brooks’ op ed piece from the New York TimesThe Pandemic Kills Compassion.”     BE PREPARED FOR A QUIZ ON THIS Op-Ed READING.


  1. You should have submitted your Source Entry 1 for your News Article today.  Remember that your sources will be different genres.  How is a News Article different from an Op-Ed?
  2. Next, we will be studying the Op-Ed genre.   We will look at the Op-Ed that I used for my RQ:  How has the pandemic exacerbated Anti-Asian sentiment?

FOR TOMORROW’S CLASS:  Read and study Andrew Yang’s Op Ed “We Are Not The Virus, But We Can Be Part of The Cure” from the Washington Post. AYang op ed Wash Post April 1 (article alone)

3. Remember that you are REQUIRED to visit the tutors twice this semester. You can with the tutors on writing a summary for your RAB Source Entry.

4.  You should be revising your RAB Proposal Paragraph using my comments. Pls review what I wrote below Thursday March 31 on revising your Proposal Paragraph.  I gave 3 big pointers.


Thursday night March 31

I have finished reading and grading the RAB Proposal Paragraphs in Open Lab.  Please read my comments.  Many of you did not revise your RQ.  Very few of you have good focused targetted RQs. I am worried that you will fall behind.  You need a focused, refined, specific, and targetted RQ in order to go on to step 2.

Have you done enough free-reading and browsing? Go into the SECRET PANEL (click on Assignment Unit Two and to the left Research Source Leads will open) and read some of those articles I gathered for you as you start this project!  It’s a treasure trove of articles already selected on various topics.  Reading widely can help you formulate and narrow down your RQ.

You need to choose your first source, a NYT news article, in order to do HW2.  You will need to do close reading and annotating and looking up vocab of your chosen news article.

This RAB UNIT TWO ASSSIGNMENT is very difficult.  If you do not put in the proper amount of time, you may fall behind and the consequences could be that you are unable to finish by due date April 13. 

Kudos to Abel who wrote a good RAB proposal!  I encourage you to read RAB PROPOSAL by Abel  and to study my example RAB PROPOSAL by Lisa.   

Thursday March 31

ONE:  GET your group quiz done – Remember the 4th new question.  I will extend Quiz due date until Tonight Thursday.

TWO:  I am in the process of reading and commenting on your Proposal Paragraphs and will try to finish by end of today Thrusday.  There are a few things I notice as I read your Proposals:

  1. You must follow the Proposal Paragraph TEMPLATE that I provided. Read my example proposal paragraph by Student Lisa.
  2. Your proposal should explain a personal reasoning and connection to your RQ. Why are YOU personally interested in this RQ?  Your proposal is just that:  a proposal, therefore it is written BEFORE you do the research!  Your proposal should not have researching-sounding-speak.
  3. Your sources MUST be NYTimes! Look at the Secret Panel.  There are many leads there for finding sources.  Then search yourself using Google and find the most current NYT sources.

We are moving on and you cannot fall beind if you expect to finish this project by the due date April 13.  HW #2 Source Entry 1 due on Sunday April 3 at 12 noon.  See below.

Wednesday March 30 — pls read to the end

  1. Super Timely Workshop on the RAB Assignment – Extra Credit Opportunity! SAVE THE DATE!

On April 7th Thursday from 2-3pm, the Writing Center will be offering a workshop to help students work on their reflective annotated bibliographies (link below).

Thursday, April 7th (2-3pm): Creating an Annotated Bibliography   

Annotated bibliographies allow for an exploration of a topic or question, and help the researcher compile data and information. Many first-year writing classes create these documents as well! Join this workshop if you need help with yours.

Workshop Leader: Jackie Blain    Zoom link: CTWC Workshop 

2. Today I brainstormed with a few students.  Here I share a few RQs we came up with:

  • How has the coronavirus impacted the mental and physical health of homeless people living in cities (New York City?
  • How has the corona virus impacted family relationships as families quarantined together in one living space?
  • How has the corona virus pandemic affected the movie theatre business? What is the business doing to bring customers safely back to experience live cinema?

3. Group Quiz Due Tonight I added a fourth (4th) question to the quiz.  It is in the Google Doc Quiz.  Please add your answer to #4.  Please put everyone’s names and emails.  Contact each other to finish this quiz TONIGHT!

We are fully in Unit Two now!

Do not fall behind.  Do not miss class.  You will be lost.  This assignment has many moving parts and it is a huge project.  You need a strong RAB in order to move smoothly into Unit 3.  The entire RAB Project will be due before Spring Break.  This means a due date of April 13, about two weeks from now.

You should have fine-tuned and focused your RQ to be as specific as possible.  You can edit right inside your RAB Proposal HW OLab post and then re-titled Updated RAB Proposal.  I will read and comment on those people who turn in on time.  

4.  Now you will write the entire Source Entry #1 (with all four parts) for your News Article. This is a lot of work.  You should have chosen your best news article and have read it many times.  You will need to do close reading and annotating and looking up vocab for your chosen news article.

HW #2 Source Entry 1 due on Sunday April 3 at 12 noon.  Be sure all four parts are clearly labeled as in my example LWu RAB Source Entry.  Use Title:  RAB Source 1 — Your Name.  Use the Category RAB Source 1.  Then peer comment on two people as usual. Remember it is always best to work on your computer in MSWord and keep all your assignments there; then copy/paste into the Open Lab.

Here is the lesson on how to write the RAB Source Entry with my example source entry for NYT news article “Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked — Chinese Americans Fear for Their Safety.”  LWu RAB Source Entry (hi-lited) for NYT news article Spit On with Gr Org   I showed this in class today.  It is also posted under Research Project Resources.

Remember to use the Citation Machine (on Research Project Resources page)

Here is the How to Write Summary lesson. How-to-write-a-SUMMARY  It is posted in Grammar / Writing Skills page.

5.  If you are still fine-tuning your RAB Proposal, or still searching for articles, you are BEHIND.  Today I showed you the SECRET PANEL. It has sources from past semester on different topics.  Click on the Unit Two Assignment under the Assignments page, and the secret panel opens on the left.

6.  Our lesson on How to make a connection to the readings is now posted under Grammar/ Writing Skills page.  Remember to work on your revised Education Narrative in chunks.  Why not make your connection to the reading now and fix that part now while the lesson is fresh in your mind?

Monday March 28

  • You should have printed out and studied the UNIT TWO RAB assignment.
  • You should have fine-tuned and focused your RQ to be as specific as possible.

After class today, I brainstormed with a few students.  We came up with a few more refined RQs and I share with you:

  • How has the corona virus pandemic affected the way people exercise and stay fit?
  • How has the corona virus pandemic affected the way people shop online at megastores such as Amazon and Walmart?

You don’t have to pick a RQ that is serious; you can find a topic that is fun.  I myself have been researching and free-reading. Yes, I do what I tell you guys to do! If I were doing this project today, I might be tempted to use this RQ:    How has the corona virus pandemic affected the people’s hairstyles? Look at this NYT article: The Unexpected Beauty of Covid Hair Yayy for more women in my age-group who have decided to let their hair go natural!

FOR Wednesday REVISE and FINALIZE your RAB proposal paragraph in Open Lab.  Use the RAB paragraph template (below see Mar 21 post-class).

On Wednesday, come with your first source, a news article from a reliable newspaper (NYT best).  I hope you have already done some preliminary research to find a few articles and then chosen the best news article that addresses your RQ. 

As we viewed today in the RAB Proposal Example by Student Lisa, you will post these sources with your RAB Proposal paragraph.  I am making a slight moditication here:  FOCUS ON FINDING NYTimes and WSJ (Wall Street Journal) Sources.  You have free CUNY subscriptions to both of these.  WSJ link here:

  1. One News Report Article:  NYT or WSJ
  2. One Opinion / Editorial piece  NYT or WSJ
  3. Audio visual source

Wednesday will write the Source Entry #1.  We will focus on the News Article. Print out, read, annotate your Source #1, your chosen news article. 

Remember in searching for your sources, use reliable journalism/newspaper.  I copy here from the RAB Unit Two Assignment.


To conduct your research, you will consult a variety of print and non-print genres: newspaper and journal articles, interviews, documentaries, songs, poems, government reports, etc. You will use reliable journalism including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian. You will use news or university videos (ex Univ of Chicago), ted talks, podcasts, or interviews.  You will also conduct one original interview. You will use creative art forms such as photographs, poems, songs, music videos. (We will talk about genre awareness together.)

You will find 4 FOUR sources.  Note: having a variety of genres -- print and non-print -- is important.

1. One News Report Article
2. One Opinion / Editorial piece
3. One audio / visual / creative source
4. One Personal Interview

Sunday March 27

  1. I have submitted Midterm Grades and graded your Education Narratives. As I explained before, the grades are in Blackboard (BB) and the comments are in Google Drive Final Draft file.

Midterm grades (Unsatisfactory, Passing, Borderline) were based upon:  Attendance, Participation, 7 HWs in Unit One (including peer reviewing), Turning items in on time, Education Narrative, Tutoring.

2. Remember that you can revise your Education Narrative for the Final Portfolio, as long as you turned in in on time and have received a grade.

I used the following Checklist for grading the Education Narrative assignment:Grading Checklist Rubric
  1. Development
  • CSD
  • 5W’s
  • Clear Paragraphing
  • Logical Order of Events
  • Clear Timeline / Clear Sequencing
  • THREE full pages 750 – 1000 words
  • Language
  • Imagery
  • Vocab
  • Clarity of expression


  • Title is creative and packs a punch.
  • Introduction is engaging.
  • Story Arc is clear – obstacles, triumphs, process moves toward an ending
  • Main Idea about student’s Ed experience  – there is an overarching theme present    REMEMBER THIS IS AN EDUCATION NARRATIVE
  • Ending is meaningful, substantial, reflective and forward looking


  • Connection to at least ONE reading–We will review in class bc nearly everyone forgot this.
  • TWO extended scenes with dialogue


Essay is Engaging / Interesting /AND/ NOT rote NOT boring NOT just telling NOT just summarizing NOT generalizing


  • Formatting – margins, DS, 12 pt font
  • Grammar – Sentence Structure – Mechanix

VI:  The Writing Process – student followed this process:

  • HW 5 and HW 6 (Mentor Quote free-write and Between Two Worlds free-write)
  • RD (Rough Draft using teacher feedback on HW5/6)
  • FD (Final Draft using Peer Reviews)
  • Participation in Peer Reviews for RD
  • FD submitted on time

3. We will work on refining our RQ; research questions.  This is very important.   I urge students to meet one-to-one with the Research Librarians to work on refining your RQ.  Remember the librarians told you how to do this!

Let’s review the RAB Proposal I wrote as Student Lisa.

Let’s review the RAB Proposal I wrote as Student Lisa.

4. We will continue to read Layli Long Soldier’s poetry.  I was happy to see some of you there (at the Chat Bar)! What an great event! There were so many talented City Tech students sharing their writings.  Layli Long Soldier was a gracious personality and she treated us to such a lovely reading of her work.

Thursday March 24

  1. Thanks to so many of you who participated in our class with Professor Berger.  You were lively and actively engaged and volunteered up your Research Questions (RQs) for discussion.  Wow!  You guys made me proud!

2. NO Poetry HW – Yeah!  I think we all need a break.  JUST GO TO THE LAF EVENT AND ENJOY!  TODAY AT 4:30.  We will continue to discuss LLSoldier’s poems next week.  Consider all the research that LLSoldier must have done to learn the history of America’s treatment towards her community the Oglala Sioux Tribe, She did a lot of hard reading and research to create her book of poetry Whereas.  Is there something that you now want to research and learn more about?  Could poetry be the genre, the vehicle, to express your research?

Here is the video on Soldier that we viewed in class:

Here is the extra-credit paper opportunity for the Literary Arts Festival: Extra Credit Opp Paper LLS poetry reading LAF guest

3. Next week, we forge ahead with Unit Two RAB project. Please PRINTOUT and STUDY the Assignment.  Your RAB Proposal paragraph WAS ALREADY DUE on Wednesday.  IT you have not done it, it’s past due.

  • Here is the powerpoint presentation from Professor Berger Librarian who visited my other class.  Reviewing this would help you in learning how to search effectively: Prof. Berger Research PPt PresentationThis weekend, work on reading for curiosity and to decide if your RQ will bear fruit (speaking figuratively here). Does your RQ yield a lot of leads, sources?  As you search, are you shifting gears and pin-pointing your RQ more clearly. Are you making adjustments in your RQ?  DO THIS NOW as best you can.  IT will set you back if your question isn’t clear or isn’t specific enough or is not really what interests you.
  • JUST READ NOW — Read and preview possible source leads.  Learn more about your topic.  Formulate your RQ as best you can.
  • Remember the difference between a topic and a clear specific RQ. Education is a topic, but How has the pandemic changed education? would be a much too broad question.  Think about a sub-topic or a specific aspect of education that really interests you. You should be fine-tuning your RQ.  Remember the more focused and more specific your question is the better.

4.  I am working hard on getting your FDrafts Ed Narratives graded and midterm grades done.  I will post in the BB.  Comments on FD will be in Google Drive.  THey will be posted very soon!

Monday March 21 post-class

  1. We are starting Unit Two which is a research projectThis Assignment has many parts and is a difficult assignment.  In order to understand it, I strongly urge you to PRINT OUT and study the Unit Two RAB Assignment carefully.  

Our goal is to create a reflective annotated bibliography (RAB) with four sources.

  • A bibliography is a list of sources that one consults in a research process.
  • A Reflective Annotated Bibliography (RAB) includes more information about each source, including a summary, important quotes, rhetorical analysis, and response.


For Unit 2 Research Project you will choose one (ONLY ONE) aspect of life or society and examine how the CV has impacted and changed that aspect of life.  In the Assignment, I make some suggestions, but you should come up with a question you are REALLY interested in researching because you will do a lot of independent reading on this topic.

Look at the example post by Student Lisa in the Student Works RAB Proposal Paragraph.

Step One is to write a proposal:  Write a paragraph – This paragraph is your proposal which will later become your RAB introduction.  Address the following questions:

  • What is the topic that interests you? Why does it interest you personally?
  • What do you already know about it?
  • What do you want to explore further and find out?

Use this example paragraph starter as a template for your RAB Proposal:

My research question is: How has the CV pandemic impacted and changed ______? This topic interests me because ___. (good solid explanation, should be personal – 3 more sentences)  I already know that ______.  (3 more sentences). Some points that I plan to explore and find out more about are _________ (3 points).

THEN PUT LINK HERE (article that you found as possible source).

Post to the Open Lab  HW #1 due Wednesday March 23 before class:  Your RAB Proposal Paragraph.  Use the Title: RAB Proposal Paragraph – Your Name.  Use the Category: RAB Proposal Paragraph.  As usual, comment on TWO student peers in Open Lab. 

  1. You are not bound to your topic now.  You are just brainstorming and planning.
  2. Then let’s help and learn from each other: Comment on two of your classmate’s proposal paragraph.  (Go to Student Work Open Lab to find Proposal).
  3. Find at least one article that looks good for your research question and add the link at the bottom of your post.
  • Reminder to read below and register for the LAF Literary Arts Festival with guest poet Layli Long Soldier.  We will discuss her poems on Wednesday.
  • ALSO Wednesday, the Research Librarian Professor will visit our class. Please be on time!
  • Midterm grades coming on Thursday. I will put your grade for the Final Draft Unit One Education Narrative and your midterm grade in the Blackboard. I will comment on your Education Narrative in the Google Drive. That is why you should have submitted to these TWO places.

Wednesday March 16 post-class

BIG THX to Sangay, Rahana, Abel, Mateo, and Chris for being on camera today!  So nice to see you.  I appreciate your helping me out and making me feel that I was not alone today.

  1. Get your Poetry Book Whereas by Layli Long Soldier! We will dig deep into these poems on MONDAY.  LAF (Literary Arts Festival) Thursday March 24 on zoom at 4:30.  Register for the Zoom Event here:

LAF 2022: Featuring Layli Long Soldier – The City Tech Literary Arts Festival (

  1. Printout the Assignment Unit Two Research Project: Reflective Annotated Bibliography.  We will start this on Monday.  Be thinking about what question you might like to research.  Have your NYT subscription up and running.  (As Jaqueline kindly reminded us, the link can be found on Weekly Schedule Page for Week One.)

READ THE OBAMA Chapter 4 and think about how he presents his Hero’s Journey.  Be ready for a class discussion on Monday to finish up our Unit One work.  BE READY FOR A QUIZ ON THE READING!  IF THERE IS WEAK CLASS DISCUSSION, I will move to a pop quiz!

  1. GROUP WORK for Obama Discussion due on Friday by 6PM.  (clarification: in Part III, your group only has to choose ONE of the scenes in that list.  You do NOT have to do all of the four scenes.)
  2. Extension for HW 7 on Obama Reading Response to Saturday by 12 noon.

5.MIDTERM is a wake up call!  Midterm ends with this Unit One, so everything you have done or HAVE NOT DONE will be factored in.  If you have been absent multiple times, if you have not done HWs on time or not done them at all, if your Final Draft was not on time and most important if your Final Draft does not fulfill the requirements as described in the Assignment Unit One, then you will not be passing at midterm.  NOT passing at midterm means that you are headed toward failing the class.

I copy here from the Syllabus PageYou should have read this at the start of the semester. However if you do not understand what is required of you in a synchronous class I remind you:

Our class is a synchronous class resembling a traditional on-campus in-person classes in that students must all be (virtually) present at the same time. Though our class is conducted virtually, we will meet in real-time. Students must, therefore, commit to scheduled class times and sign onto their virtual learning platforms on schedule

Monday March 14 post-class

Monday March 14 post-class

  1. Did you receive in the mail or did you pick up your poetry book?  Remember the free Layli Long Soldier book.  AND — Please mark your calendar for the Literary Arts Festival, a virtual event next Thursday 3/24 on zoom at 4:30 to 6:30.  Extra credit event for attending and writing a 2-page report.

2. Open Lab HW #7 (This is the last HW for Unit One.  Next week we move on to Poetry and to Unit Two Research Project!)

Read and annotate carefully Barack Obama’s Education Narrative–Chapter 4, Dreams from My Father, posted on our Readings page.  If at all possible print it out!

Pay special attention to the following scenes.  Be prepared for a quiz on any one of them:

  1. Obama’s mental note of the “ledger of slights” he experiences daily (80-81)
  2. Party at Ray’s (starts bottom p83-85)
  3. Connection to Malcolm X’s autobiography (86-87)
  4. Grandparents’ argument (87-89)
  5. Visit with his grandfather’s friend Frank (89-91)

As you read, take note and clarify for yourself:  what is the race of Ray? Obama’s grandparents? Frank?  In these scenes, race does matter.

HW #7 Due Wednesday, March 16, before class.
  • Title: Reading Response Obama — YOUR NAME
  • Category: Reading Response Obama. 

Choose ONE of the above scenes.   Then you will write 3 paragraphs for HW #7.

  1. In your own words, summarize the scene you have chosen. Write one paragraph of 5-7 sentences.
  2. Select a significant quotation from the scene. Explain in your own words.  One paragraph 5-7 sentences.
  3. In this scene, what does Obama learn about himself and about the world? One paragraph of 5-7 sentences.

Sunday night March 13

Kudos to Gentian, Chris, Mateo, Savannah, Jacqueline, and Devin!  They turned in the Final Draft on time and submitted in the TWO places and also completed the two (2) required peer reviews of the Rough Draft for their group members.  As everyone should now realize, this course requires a lot of commitment and keeping up and hard work and careful reading.

If you have not turned in your Final Draft, your paper is now late.

Tomorrow we will preview Obama’s Chapter 4 of his book Dreams From My Father.  Yes, we will be reading about President Barack Obama’s growing up years.  You can find it posted under Readings.  For Wednesday, please print it out and read/annotate and be ready for Wednesday’s discussion on this reading.  We will also view the Hero’s Journey video.

Obama, Chapter Four   (This is just Chapter Four, 10 pages.)

Obama is very good at writing scenes.  Study the way he creates theatre of the mind for the reader.  He takes his reader on his journey; he is the hero learning about himself, about who he is.  In Chapter Four he shows us his high school years with friends and the transformative events that shaped who he is today.  We could call this reading Obama’s Education Narrative.

Saturday March 12

Between now and Sunday’s noon deadline, you have the opportunity to push your Rough Draft forward.  Remember I am expecting a true revision.  That means practicing ARMS: Add, Remove, Move, Substitute (from bottom of Peer Review Sheet).  You will rethink your paper on the level of development and organization.   Take time considering your tutor’s suggestions, as well as your peers’ comments and my own feedback from the Open Lab HW 5 or 6 comments.   Think about the revision strategies we have discussed in class.

Peer review is required to receive a grade on Final Draft #1. You should have completed peer review on your two peers’ papers by now.  This includes at least five meaningful bubble comments and an end letter.

You will submit your Final Draft to TWO places:

  1. You will upload to the Google Drive in the FINAL DRAFT folder in Unit One. As before, you will upload into your Group Folder.
  2. In addition you will also load your Final Draft to Blackboard under Content.  In BB (Blackboard) go to the Content page:  Click on “Unit 1 Education Narrative — SUBMIT HERE,” scroll down to “Browse My Computer.” Click there, find your document, click on it, and then press “Submit.”  Here is the link to our BB site where you will go to the Content page.


  • MSWord (NO PDF)
  • Label your file clearly:  Michael Smith — FD #1 (for example)

Friday March 10

You should have finished commenting on TWO student papers.

Unit One Final Draft Education Narrative will be due Sunday March 13 noon.  Please be mindful that I graciously gave you more time, so please be ON TIME.

You will submit your Final Draft to TWO places:

  • You will upload to the Google Drive in the FINAL DRAFT folder in Unit One. As before, you will upload into your Group Folder.
  • In addition you will load your Final Draft to Blackboard under Content.

RLT Read Like a Teacher:  As you revise your Rough Draft, study these 3 things.  In this way you be using the same checklists that I will be using when I grade.

As we discussed in class, it’s a good idea to download your Rough Draft with peer comments and work in MSWord on your computer and to keep the master file on your own computer.  Then you can upload your file to the Google Drive as the Final Draft.

I also encourage you to read the three example student Education Narrative papers (Meryam, Amadou, and Adrian’s Education Narrative essays) that I put on the Google Drive as model essays for your own work.


Major unit assignments are due before class begins on the due date.  Turning in assignments on time is a major factor in your grade.  If you are having difficulty completing a major unit assignment please speak to me well before the due date.  All THREE Major Unit Assignments are REQUIRED to pass the class.   NOTE:  You cannot make up missed work in the final weeks of the semester. 

Tuesday March 8

Using the Peer Review Sheet, everyone is doing TWO Peer Reviews from your Group on the Google Drive.  Pls read carefully on the Peer Review Sheet.  Pls only use the comment bubbles and do not write into the student’s document.   Do however, add your short one paragraph letter to the bottom of the peer’s paper.

DUE WED before class!

Monday March 7 pre-class 

  1. I can tell who’s NOT reading Announcements and not reading City Tech emails. How?  I’ve asked you to perform some very specific actions, with fabulous consequences, like receiving a free book, and only three of you have done that.  Please read my City Tech emails I’ve sent out since last and perform the requested actions.


  1. WHO HAS BEEN TO TUTORING? Have you asked the tutor to email me to confirm your attendance?  REMEMBER 2 visits are required and extra is extra credit.


  1. Here is the Peer Review Sheet we will be using today in class.  Please print it out:  Peer Review #1 Final Copy Fall 2022:

Today we will do Peer review:  Remember I do NOT comment on Rough Drafts, so pay close attention to student papers that are workshopped in class today.  And do the peer review mindfully so you can review what is required in this Assignment and you can help each other. The next time I will comment will be when I grade your paper.  SO this week is your opportunity to use what you are learning in peer review and workshop to improve your Education Narrative.

HERE ARE Writing strategies everyone can practice, for example:

  1. Paragraph formation/Paragraph Breaks. One idea/one scene per paragraph
  2. Read own work out loud.
  3. Develop two scenes with dialogue. Set in particular place. Introduce all actors by name.
  4. Clarify timeline/provide important background information.
  5. Define unusual vocabulary.

Keep your audience—fellow classmates—in mind!

FRIDAY March 4

  1. Get to The Writing Center! It is open Monday-Friday, 10am-8:00pm. Please sign up for free, 45-minute online appointments. Click below to book an appointment now! Work on your Rough Drafts with a tutor. All are excellent. Remember that you are required to work with the tutors 2 times this semester.

Here is the link to make appointments:

  1. Every Spring the English Department presents The Literary Arts Festival; it is fast approaching. Please save the date Thursday, March 24, 4:30—6:30.  Guest poet Layli Long Soldier will speak, and each of us will receive a FREE copy of her poetry collection Whereas.  To that end, I need your mailing address.

Please fill out the following form today– definitely include your full address, including zip code!

Some of you are on campus a lot this semester and therefore would be able to pick books up in person-which is why that’s an option on the form if you prefer.

  1. The Google Drive is now ready to receive your uploaded MS WORD (NOT pdf!) files of your Education Narrative.  Please go to Unit One and Rough Draft Education Narrative and find your Group.  DUE SATURDAY by 12 noon!


4. Please follow the proper format as instructed in the Assignment and be sure to write the proper header at the top left hand corner. You can see the Example Student Essays to see how it is done.

Your Name
Prof. Wu
ENG 1101 OL 05 or 10
Education Narrative Rough Draft


  1. Today’s class is CRUCIAL! We’ll discuss requirements of Rough Draft #1 (due Saturday) and review how to upload your draft to our google drive folder.

I will not repeat these directions to individuals who miss class.

2. Rough draft Education Narrative Essay Unit #1 is due Sat. March 5.  Decide on which prompt you wish to develop for  Education Narrative Essay Unit #1 .  Get started now!  Meet with a tutor next week!

3. Tutoring, Sign Up NOW:  As we move toward Unit #1 Essay Education Narrative, sign up with a tutor to work on organization and development of ideas.   All the tutors are excellent.

I do not comment on rough drafts (although have made abundant comments on HW 5 and 6), so it will be very helpful to meet with a tutor during the time frame of March 3-11 to review your rough draft.   Figure out the time in the writing cycle that works best for you.  Share HW5 Mentor Quote OR HW6 Between Two Worlds and your working rough draft with your tutor.

(Did anyone attend Workshop on How To Use Teacher’s Feedback with Tutor Margo?  IF so LMK so you will get the extra credit.)

4. Urgent reminder:  Many of you are losing points on your HW posts.  To receive full credit on your own post reply to two fellow students’ posts, 5-7 sentences each. You lose half credit for that!

TUESDAY March 1, 2022

For class on Wednesday, you will choose either HW 5 or 6 to develop into your Education Narrative.  You will then create ONE scene for that piece. Bring your work on creating this ONE scene to class on Wednesday.  (You will eventually have TWO scenes in your Rough Draft.)

You should be looking at your HW post and looking at my comments and decide where to include a scene.  Think about Paragraphs 7- 13, where Tan discusses her mother’s “broken” English and then she creates a scene of her younger self posing as her mother to speak to the stock broker.

I realize that the magazine version of Mother Tongue left out some paragraphs, so here is a new link to the complete Mother Tongue essay:

On Wednesday we will also “workshop” some of the HW 5 and 6 posts done by class members.

Bring you working Rough Draft to class on Wednesday, with ONE scene you have developed out of your Chosen HW 5 or 6.


MONDAY Feb 28 pre-class

Now that we are getting preparing for UNIT ONE MAJOR ESSAY, everyone can work on giving more meaningful and helpful comments. We will all help each other become better writers, BETTER STORY TELLERS.   START Reading like a Writer.  Give some meaningful feedback – Is there a good place where the writer can create a scene?  Is there some missing details?  Is there a good place to create a scene so that you the reader can visualize the scene?

Did you all read the example student essays I shared below in the Announcements for Friday and Thursday – if not, PLEASE DO SO NOW!

I noticed a few things that everyone needs to work on:

  • Paragraph breaks.
  • What are the two words. NAME THE TWO WORLDS
  • Need titles
  • Get to the tutors!
  • THINK the 5 Journalistic Ws: What Where Why How When?

Education Narrative Unit ONE Rough Draft is due this Saturday March 5.

Friday Feb 25

  1. Due tomorrow Saturday Feb. 26 by 12 NOON: HW#6 Between Two Worlds

Figure out a topic you’re passionate about. For best results focus on a specific conflict or time period rather than summarize generally a long period of years. Be sure to name your two worlds; don’t leave it up to the reader to guess!

Can’t wait to read these!  To receive full credit, be sure you replied fully to two peers’ posts.  (That goes for previous HWs too.)

As you continue to think about Olivarez’s “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing” and study Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue,” think about how they handle the theme “between two worlds.”

2. Tutoring, Sign Up NOW:  As we move toward Unit One Essay Education Narrative (posted now on BB under content), sign up with a tutor to work on organization and development of ideas.   All the tutors are excellent.   I do not comment on rough drafts (although I will offer feedback and comments on HWs 5 and 6), so it could be very helpful to meet with a tutor during the time frame of March 3-11 to review your rough draft of Essay One Education Narrative.   Figure out the the time in the writing cycle that works best for you. Use HW#5 or #6 to share with your tutor:

3.  Good discussion in last Wednesday’s of José Olivarez’s Education Narrative “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing.”  We talked about how he didn’t feel like he belonged in either Mexico or Chicago until he “found” himself through his high school’s poetry slam club.  As an adult he wanted to be a very different kind of teacher from his high school teachers who followed the “banking concept of education.” He wanted to “dismantle” the usual hierarchies of power between teacher and student.

Due Monday, Feb. 28, before class:  

4. Print out (if possible), read, and annotate:  Amy Tan,Mother Tongue

In your notebook:   Consider (1) the term “mother tongue” (2) the different Englishes Amy Tan speaks (3) how her mother is viewed by Americans based on her spoken English.  (4) How would Tan describe her “two worlds”?

5. Read and study Unit One Essay Education Narrative. I suggest that you PRINT IT OUT. (posted under Assignments) We’ll discuss the requirements in class next Monday.  Come with your questions.

6. Read the two students’ Education Narratives from previous semesters.  Meryam used the Mentor Quote; Amadou used Between Two Worlds.  Study their writing strategies.  Here is the link. I have posted these essays on our Google Drive in Unit One in the folder:  Example Student Essays Education Narrative 

7. Read Esmeralda Santiago’s “When I Was Puerto Rican” as another example of an Education Narrative.  I strongly urge you to read this piece as many of you will find Santiago’s story very relatable.  It might give you ideas for your own piece.  Extra Credit if you send me a two-page Response Paper on this essay.  (We may not have time to discuss it in class next week.)  Find Santiago’s piece on the “Readings” page and scroll down to Unit One Readings.



7.  Mentor Quote HW #5: For those who’ve submitted on time, bravo!  Terrific job.  I’m so pleased.  I’ve offered comments. Take a look at mine, as well as your peers’ comments.  To receive full credit, be sure you replied fully to two peers’ posts.

Note:  To receive full credit on HW posts, you must reply in a full paragraph to two fellow students’ posts (5-7 sentences each).  A few of you received only partial credit for those posts because you have not yet done so

8. Extra Credit:  Writing Workshops

Thursday, February 24th (2-3pm):  Did anyone attend?  Let me know!

Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

Are you wondering how to cite your sources and why you have to do it? Do you need strategies for introducing quotes into your paragraphs? Do you have questions about how to paraphrase and summarize (and the rules for citing sources when you do so)? At this workshop, you’ll learn the basics of in-text citations as well as how to create various types of reference pages for your sources… it’s the most fun you’ll have all week!
Workshop Leader: Barbara Paulus
Zoom link: 
CTWC Workshop


Tuesday, March 1st, 2-3pm

Using Your Professor’s Feedback

Getting feedback on your writing is part of the writing process! But sometimes it’s challenging to make changes when you get your draft back. This workshop will help you figure out how to understand your professor’s suggestions and give you tips on integrating that feedback into your revised draft.
Workshop Leader: Margo Goldstein
Zoom link: 
CTWC Workshop

FINALLY — Have a good working weekend.  Use it productively to move forward in all your classes.

Thursday Feb 24

  1. See the HW#5 Mentor Quote Example Student Post by Adrian. Here is link.  Notice how Adrian uses CSD (Concrete Specific Details) to create the scene of his meeting with Ms. Glass about what he thinks is his bad grade and then how he builds suspense as she surprises Adrian with back-handed  praise.  He shows us the dialogue and he gives details about the where, what, why of that scene. RLW – Read Like a Writer and learn from this student writing.


  1. Thanks to everyone who participated in our discussion of Olivarez’s “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing.” As he was growing up in America as the son of Mexican immigrants, Olivarez felt he was living between two worlds but that he belonged nowhere: “ni de aqui, ni de alla.”  He finally found a place where he fit in:  the poetry slam club in his school and describes that moment of belonging as “. . . the first time I saw my classmates perform their poems, I felt something bloom within me. I leaned forward in my chair. I picked up my head and looked at my classmates. If it wasn’t gravity, I might have started floating.”  He saved himself through writing poetry and became a poet.  In a sense he found his place in the world of writing.


  1. HW#6 Between Two Worlds due Saturday Feb 26 NOON.


Use Title:  Writing Task Between Two Worlds – YOUR NAME

Category:  Writing Task Between Two Worlds


For HW 6 Between Two Worlds, you will write about the experience of living between two different worlds, perhaps each with its own language or traditions or values.  How have “ambiguous” feelings or internal  conflicted feelings–about language, identity, injustice, or opportunities that put distance between you and your family–affected your own educational journey?  Have you had the experience of living “between two different worlds” or we might say of having two differing identities?  In your own life how have “ambiguous” feelings or internal conflicted feelings–about language, identity, injustice, or opportunities that affected your own educational journey? — OR –Do you feel a conflict between two parts of your identity.  Has society or mentors typecast you in a certain profile, putting pressure on you to conform to what others expect of you?  Then, are you battling with another part of yourself that seeks to be free to reach the dreams that you keep hidden in your heart, that only you can see in yourself?  What actions / solutions have you taken to address the conflict?  Have you found a place, like Olivarez did, that you do belong?  Or, how have you learned to live with belonging to two different worlds?  

Be sure to name for your reader exactly what the two worlds or two identities are. You might be bi-lingual or bi-cultural, but you may also consider other worlds besides nationality–work world, school world, home world, race, class, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, or other.

CREATE THEATRE OF THE MIND – Mine (dig deep into) your memory to find a moment that symbolizes this division in your identity.  Look for an event that shows you belonging to two different worlds, being torn between two different identities. Then was there a resolution?  Did you find a way to belong somewhere or did you find a new perspective? Be sure to set your piece in a particular place –- your living room?  your bedroom?  a classroom?  Also indicate the bigger setting, which country?  And indicate the time-line, present day, elementary school? high school?

Here are student example posts of Between Two Worlds that I share with you:

Between Two Worlds Student Example Posts

  1. Here is the new link for Amy Tan “Mother Tongue” our reading for Monday Feb 28. Consider how Tan uses language to explore the theme of Between Two Worlds.  Tan finds herself living between the English-speaking American professional world and the Chinese-speaking family and immigrant world. Notice that events she describes in CSD allowing you the reader to be there, to see, hear, the way her mother and she herself speaks signifying the different worlds she belongs to.


Printout and annotate “Mother Tongue.”  Look up new vocab.  IN YOUR PHYSICAL NOTEBOOK answer the following questions.  Write down notes to help you think.  I may ask to see your annotations and written answers in class on Monday when we discuss “Mother Tongue.”


  • the term “mother tongue.” What does it mean?  Why is this the title?
  • the different Englishes Tan speaks. What are these Englishes and when does she use them? Based on the different Englishes she speaks, what are the different worlds Tan belongs to?
  • how her mother is viewed by Americans based on her spoken English.

Wednesday February 23 pre-class

  1. For those who’ve submitted HW#5 Mentor Quote Writing Task on time — Bravo! Terrific job.  I’ve offered comments and suggestions should you choose to develop this writing.  Take a look at mine, as well as your peers’ comments.  To receive full credit, be sure you replied fully to two peers’ posts.  Some of you still need to comment on your classmates’ work.  Some of you are on the wrong track with this writing task.  You will learn from reading your peers’ writings and you can share your own thoughts to help others.

This HW is now past due AND–it’s required!  We all look forward to reading your post!   The important thing is to get it done (even though you’ll now lose some points), and comment on two fellow students’ posts.

You will be using these writing prompts on Mentor Quote and Between Two Worlds to develop further and expand into your Unit One Major Essay Educational Journey which we will start next week.

  1. Wake up call! Are you able to put adequate time into this class?  For some of you who need to catch up, now is the time to take a hard look at your schedule and decide.  We meet for roughly 3.5 hours per week in our zoom classroom.  A college course requires you to put that same amount of time, or more, into the course work outside of class time.  That means, 5 hours per week outside of class.  If you really don’t have that kind of time to devote to this class now, I suggest you withdraw and take it another semester.  I want you to do well in this course; having adequate time so you can put your best foot forward is key.
  1. We all have stories to tell. Remember in this class, we are all writers; we are storytellers! Make your writing tell a good story; tell YOUR story, and tell it in an interesting lively way.  SHOW me the moment in time when someone said something that changed your life.  Show don’t just tell!  This is a mantra we have all heard, but you really need to put it to work for you in this class.

I need good description, concrete details, dialogue, scenes.  Create Theatre of the Mind for the reader.  Do not just summarize or philosophize.  Take me to the room where it happened!  Think of how MX described the scene of dodging the night guards to accomplish his goal of learning to read. He did not just tell me he desperately wanted to learn to read; HE SHOWED ME. Think of places in your writing where you can create a scene and SHOW the reader a moment that made a difference in your educational journey, that put you on the path to becoming who you are today at City Tech.

  1. YOU NEED PARAGRAPH BREAKS! Some of you need to work on paragraph breaks.  When you start a new topic, start a new paragraph.  Clear paragraphing will organize and give structure to your writing – NO ONE WANTS TO READ HUGE BLOCKS OF TEXTS – AND LEAST OF ALL YOUR PROFESSOR!
  2. Between Two Worlds is our next Writing Task Prompt. As you reread Olivarez’s “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing” and study Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue,” think about how they handle the theme “between two worlds.”


Open Lab HW Post #6  Between Two Worlds Between Two Worlds, Due on Saturday Feb 26 by 12 noon  NOTE CHANGE TO NOON DUE TIME).  Two paragraphs, 6-7 sentences each.  Reply to two fellow students’ posts.

We have read educational journeys of people who felt they were navigating between two different worlds:

  • José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants.  He tells us that when he entered the local preschool in suburban Chicago, he was too Mexican, and that when he visited Mexico for the first time at age sixteen, he wasn’t Mexican enough. Throughout his difficult educational journey through public school, he writes of a double or “ambiguous” identity that has made it hard for him to feel at home anywhere–ni de aqui, ni de alla–in either the U.S. or Mexico.  He is“constantly fighting” with the different parts of his identity.
  • Frederick Douglass feels so conflicted when he learns the hard facts of slavery that it puts him it at odds with his fellow slaves, “In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity” (238).  He agonizes over which world is better existing in a state of knowledge or being in a state of ignorance.
  • In prison Malcolm X learns to speak a new language–proper English–because he can’t connect with his mentor, the Honorable Elijah Muhammed, using street slang.  He must learn the language of the educated world in America, yet he speaks the language of the street.
  • Esmeralda Santiago arrives from Puerto Rico and enters an American school only to be placed in a learning-disabled class instead of the standard 8th Grade class although she is a bright student. She must navigate between her eighth grade class of outcasts and the English-speaking teachers and students at her school feeling out of place in both groups.
  • Amy Tan shows us how she navigates her way in different worlds, each characterized by the different Englishes she uses in each of these worlds.  She believes that her family’s imperfect English language limited her own opportunities and that her Chinese background shaped how teachers and employers saw her and what they expected her to be..__________________________________

Here is the Writing Prompt:

Have you had the experience of living between two different worlds, perhaps each with its own language or traditions or values?  In your own life how have “ambiguous” feelings or internal  conflicted feelings–about language, identity, injustice, or opportunities that put distance between you and your family–affected your own educational journey?  Have you had the experience of living “between two different worlds” or we might say of having two differing identities?  In your own life how have “ambiguous” feelings or internal conflicted feelings–about language, identity, injustice, or opportunities that affected your own educational journey? — OR –Do you feel a conflict between two parts of your identity.  Has society or mentors typecast you in a certain profile, putting pressure on you to conform to what others expect of you?  Then, are you battling with another part of yourself that seeks to be free to reach the dreams that you keep hidden in your heart, that only you can see in yourself?  What actions have you taken to address the conflict?  Or, how have you learned to live with it?  

Be sure to name for your reader exactly what the two worlds or two identities are. You might be bi-lingual or bi-cultural, but you may also consider other world besides nationality–race, class, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, or other.

Sunday Feb 20

  1. Enjoy Presidents’ Day off!
  2. Kudos to those who turned in HW5 Mentor Quote on time.
  3. Printout and annnotate “Mother Tongue.” Look up new vocab.  IN YOUR PHYSICAL NOTEBOOK answer the following questions.  Write down notes to help you think.  I may ask to see your annotations and written answers in class on Wednesday when we discuss “Mother Tongue.”


  • the term “mother tongue.” What does it mean?  Why is this the title?
  • the different Englishes Tan speaks. What are these Englishes and when does she use them? Based on the different Englishes she speaks, what are the different worlds Tan belongs to?
  • how her mother is viewed by Americans based on her spoken English.

Thursday Feb 17

A. Good job to everyone who participated in our discussion of Olivarez’s poem Mexican-American Disambiguation.  You guys did a great job!

B. Our course is now private and closed.

C. No class on Monday Feb 21 for Presidents’ Day. Our next meeting is Wed Feb 23.

D.  DUE Saturday Feb 19 by midnight NO LATER! Open Lab HW #5 Writing Task Mentor Quote.  This HW post will be graded, 1-4.  4 means well-developed.  1 means underdeveloped.

Write two fully developed paragraphs, 6-7 sentences each (plus quotation of at least two sentences).  Use the title Writing Task Mentor Quote – Your First Name.  Check on the category Writing Task Mentor Quote.  After you write your post, reply to two fellow students’ posts.

Here is the prompt for the Writing Task:

At the start of “Saved,” Chapter 11 of his autobiography, Malcolm X remembers the “electrical effect” the words of his mentor Elijah Muhammad had on him in prison.  He then expresses his frustration at not being able to use proper English in writing letters back to him. Malcolm’s desire to address his mentor respectfully using standard English inspires him to start his “homemade education.”   

Think of a time a mentor or authority figure gave you positive encouraging words that moved you forward in your educational journey.  What were the precise words––and on what occasion did your mentor tell you these words?  What was the actual scene?  How did they help you move forward?  Start your piece with this quotation.  In what ways did your relationship with your mentor conform with or go against (“dismantle”) traditional hierarchies?  How do the lessons from this figure continue to impact you in college? 

Conversely, think of a time when a mentor or authority figure spoke to you using negative language that caused you pain.  Starting with the words themselves–give a quotation–how did these damaging words affect your educational journey? 

Your choice: positive encouraging quote OR a negative damaging quote.  Do not do both. 

Remember to start your story (narrative) with the mentor’s own words–that is, with a quotation–as Professor Caroline Hellman does in her essay and as I do in my student work post (Student Lisa).   If the person is speaking in another language, consider using that home language.

Also remember you are a story-teller:  make it interesting!

CREATE THEATRE OF THE MIND — In the first paragraph of this free write, after giving the mentor’s quotation, be sure to set your piece in a particular place –- your living room?  your bedroom?  a classroom?  Also indicate the bigger setting, which country?  And indicate the time-line?  present day?  when you were ten?  a junior in high school?

Refer to:

US Open Tennis finalist Leylah Fernandez, 19 years old, of Canada said she had faced many doubts in her early career about her potential. She remembered a teacher in Canada telling her to stop playing tennis and just focus on her studies because she would “never make it.”

“Now I’m laughing,” she said. “I’m just glad that she told me that because every day I have that phrase in my head saying that I’m going to keep going. I’m going to push through, and I’m going to prove to her everything that I’ve dreamed of, I’m going to achieve.”

E. Looking ahead to the upcoming week when we meet on Wed Feb 23:

  •  Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue” Find in Open Lab course site under Readings. Printout, Read, Annotate, Look up vocab.   I will announce the HW for Amy Tan on Sunday night.  Again no class on Monday 2/21.  We discuss Amy Tan on Wed 2/23.  So check back to Announcements on Sunday night.

F. Kudos to the students who are commenting on each other works! (Remember this too is part of your HW responsibility and if you have not started to do this, you can start now.)  It makes me smile to read what positive support and encouragement you offer each other.  What a wonderful community of readers and writers and peers we are building with each other!

Monday Feb 14 post-class

A. For Wednesday, we will finish Malcolm X discussion questions.  The groups that did not share, be ready to share you answers.

B. Then moving on to Jose Olivarez, read and be ready to discuss:

Find both in Open Lab course site under Readings

Watch Oliveraz video.  Notice repetition, rhythm, delivery.

To prepare for our discussion:

Look up new vocab words as always!

Choose any TWO of these questions and jot down notes/answers in your physical notebook. Be ready to read your answers aloud.  You do not have to post on the Open Lab, but you must be prepared. I may ask you to show me your answers in class OR I may ask you to show me your annotated pages OR we may have a quiz on the Olivarez readings.

  1. Can you explain the title of the poem? What does the word “disambiguation” mean?
  2. Choose one word from the poem that you feel captures its driving message.  Jot the word down and the line.  Why is this word so important to Olivarez’s message?
  3. What does he mean when he uses the words “diverse” “Mexican” “American” “college brochure”?
  4. We talked about this in class today. As Malcolm X was “home-educating” himself, he was between two different worlds: the hustler/criminal world and the world of the educated man. He used two different languages in these two different worlds.  In his essay, “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing” is Jose Olivarez also operating between two different worlds?  What are these two different worlds for Olivarez?

C.  Looking ahead. I want to just share with you the next HW writing prompt which comes out of our readings.  YOU DO NOT START THIS NOW, but rather you are getting an idea of where we are going next.

At the start of “Saved,” Chapter 11 of his autobiography, Malcolm X remembers the “electrical effect” the words of his mentor Elijah Muhammad had on him in prison.  He then expresses his frustration at not being able to use proper English in writing reply letters back to him. Malcolm’s desire to address his mentor respectfully using standard English inspires him to start his “homemade education.”

At the end of his essay “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing,” José Olivarez speaks of “mentorship relationships” that “dismantle” traditional hierarchies of power. 

Think of a time a mentor or authority figure gave you an encouraging word that moved you forward in your educational journey.  What were the precise words––and on what occasion did your mentor tell you these words?  What was the actual scene?  How did they help you move forward?  Start your piece with this quotation.  In what ways did your relationship with your mentor conform with or go against (“dismantle”) traditional hierarchies?  How do the lessons from this figure continue to impact you in college?

Conversely, think of a time when a mentor or authority figure spoke to you using negative language that caused you pain.  Starting with the words themselves–give a quotation–how did these damaging words affect your educational journey?

Start with the mentor’s own words–that is, with a quotation–as Professor Hellman does in her essay.  She gives a quotation from Governor Cuomo before starting her essay.


I will be turning our OLab site into a private site later today.  This way only those who are members will be able to participate on the site.  SO IF YOU ARE NOT JOINED AS A MEMBER YOU WILL BE LOCKED OUT!  In the 8AM class:  Delmer, Tayyab, Johnny, Kendra, Pierre are not yet joined as members.  In the 10 AM class: Joshua, Karan, Rehana are not yet joined as members. As I announced much earlier in the semester, go to Home Page to see how to join OR get in touch with the group members on WhatsAPP or Discord and get help from our class members.

Kudos to everyone who is keeping up with the HW posts!  And if you are getting scores of 3 and 4 you are doing fine – so proud of you.  I know I am asking a lot from my students, but you are doing great!  Those of you who have fallen behind.  I bring this image to your mind:  You are falling in quicksand and you may sink so far down that you cannot pull yourself out.  Please do not let this happen.

C. The Writing Center is offering online one-hour workshops in Feb and March.   Extra credit for attending any one of these Writing Center Workshops!  TOMORROW TUesday 3-4pm:  HOw to get started with your writing assignments:  Brainstorming, Outlining, even how to get started if nothing comes to your mind!  Go to the link above or find on the Resources page under Tutoring.

Sunday Feb 13

A. Tomorrow we will do the Malcolm X readings.  There are three (3).  Scroll down and see below.

B. I have finished grading HW#3 Writing Task Resilience — I am not yet finished with HW#4.  Pease look in Student Works to read my feedback to everyone who turned in HW#3 on time.  Also here are Global Comments (meaning addressed to everyone) reagarding HW 3:  You must read instructions for the HW tasks more carefully. If you write something that does not follow the instructions for the assignment you cannot receive full credit.

I am asking you to focus on ONE thing.  Each paragraph has a focus on ONE idea: One hardship and then One coping strategy.  In your writing I am asking you to DIG DEEP and move away from writing that just “skims the surface.”

C. It’s time to make our class Open Lab site private.  WE are getting “bombed” by outsiders.  I have kept it as a public site so that all students can join as members.  SO — If you have not joined as a member you need to do it NOW.  I am going to change the setting from public to private today.

Wed post-class Feb 9


Big thx to the people that were “with me” today in class:  Randy, Devin, Newton, Teo, Chris!  I hope more will join in. It’s so much better to talk to your faces, than to a set of puzzle rectangles!  Remember you may need the EXTRA CREDIT and don’t ask me at the end of the term about extra credit.

A.For Monday we move on to Malcolm X. You need to print out, annotate, read, and be ready to discuss:

 B. DUE Saturday 2/12 by midnight HW Open Lab HW Post #4 Reading Response Malcolm X.  Note: I posted an example (by Lisa) in Student Works.

Printout and annotate the reading (2 parts), Malcolm X, “Prison Studies: or Saved.

Part One Picture: take a picture of your annotated page (any page from your print out of the MX 2 texts) and upload.

Part Two Reading Response:  Choose two large block quotations that you feel is significant, meaningful, important from anywhere in the reading (5-6 sentences). Copy the quotation, enclose it in quotation marks and give the paragraph number.  Now analyze this quotation carefully, explaining each sentence in your own words.

Title your post:  Reading Response to Malcolm X — (your name).  Use Category Reading Response Malcolm X — (your name).

Remember to focus on Malcolm X’s words, especially key words. I am looking for you to study Malcolm X’s exact words. You will explain each sentence in your own words and show that you understand why this quote is significant.

Please title your HW correctly and choose the correct category as per the instructions I gave.  If you don’t use the correct title and correct category I will not be able to find your HW; I won’t be able to give you credit.

Please write the required length:  If I say TWO full paragraphs 7-9 sentences or 5-6 sentences for each paragraph, then that is what you need to do.  If I say ONE paragraph, you need more than just one or two sentences.  I talked about this in class.  We are learning how to develop our ideas in a low-stakes environment.  Later when the BIG-STAKES MAJOR UNIT assignments come, you will have had practice in writing well-developed paragraphs.

C.  After grading HW#2 , where you were asked to do the same choosing a significant quotation HW task, I have some tips for you.

In Part TWO — In the FDouglass reading, you were asked to choose a quote and then analyze that quote.  Here you must use the words in the quote and explain why these words are significant.  I am looking for you to study Douglass’s exact words to explain why this quote is significant.  For example, if you choose this quote:

Nothing seemed to make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper.  She seemed to think that here lay the danger.  I have had her rush at me with a face made all up of fury, and snatch from me a newspaper, in a manner that fully revealed her apprehension.  She was an apt woman; and a little experience soon demonstrated, to her satisfaction, that education and slavery were incompatible with each other.

A good answer would be:

The mistress gets angry whenever she sees Douglass reading a newspaper.  She believes the act of his reading is dangerous.  She goes to him in a furious rage and grabs the paper from him in a way that shows her suspicion of evil. She knows that a slave must not gain knowledge.  She knows that the danger is that the slave will learn about freedom and upset the power hierarchy of society.

You should see that in my answer, I have focused on Douglass’s words, especially key words.  Then, I have explained each sentence in my own words.  In a sense I have translated the chosen quote into plain English and I have proven that I understand my chosen quote.

Now do this for the Malcolm X HW!

Wednesday February 9 pre-class

  1.  The Writing Center tutors are standing by to work with students. Students do not have to have a completed draft of their assignment to attend tutoring; tutors can help with outlining and brainstorming, too.  Remember you are required to attend 2 tutoring sessions in the semester.  

ALSO, the Writing Center is offering online one-hour workshops in Feb and March.  Extra-credit opportunity!  The first one is Attacking Procrastination Workshop this Thursday at 3pm.  Go to the website link above.

2.  We will finish Frederick Douglass and we will also discuss Malcolm X, Laurence Fishbourne and the Theater of Your Mind (NYT interview).  

Monday night Feb 7 post-post-class:

  1. I have graded all HW posts that were turned in on time.  Please look at my comments by going to the Student Works page.  I am sad to realize that some people have plagiarized their answers.  It’s only the second HW, yet a few students have resorted to cheating.  I sent a message to those of you who are in the hot seat.  Please read carefully what I have responded and take this as a warning not to plagiarize again lest harsher consequences result. NOTE: I HAVE FAILED STUDENTS FOR THE ENTIRE COURSE IN PAST SEMESTERS FOR PLAGIARIZING.  THIS IS A WARING TO STOP YOURSELF NOW.

Your own original thinking, your own original writing even with imperfections will be valued far higher than slick sounding words that do not match up with your previous writing.

In my class I value honesty above all.

2. You will need to sign up for your NYT subscription to read the text for Wednesday’s class, NYTimes interview with actor Laurence Fishbourne.  I announced a few times the NYT subscription free for CUNY students.  It’s on our Syllabus page.  Scroll Down to Tools and Materials. But here I copy the subscription link:

The New York Times (Create a free NYT digital subscription with your City Tech email.)

Monday Feb 7 post-class:

Good class discussion today!  Thanks to  those who participated and were on camera!  I am hoping more of you will join in and be more active!  And good job to those of you keeping up with the HWs.  You are building your writing muscles.  Yes you are!

Please continue to tour our Open Lab site to become familiar with it.   Catch up by tonight to receive credit:  HW 1 Introduction and reply to two follow student intros (one paragraph each of 5-7 sentences!); complete HW #2.

Reminder to reach out to the class WhatsApp group to ask questions and to support each other!

Remember that tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 8) follows a Friday schedule, so if you normally have a class on Friday, you attend that class tomorrow.  Friday (Feb. 11) and Saturday (Feb. 12) are holidays (Lincoln’s birthday), so the college is closed on those two days and no classes are scheduled.

Are you watching the Olympics in Beijing?  Tonight at 8 pm on NBC watch as Olympian Nathan Chen competes for the Gold Medal in Men’s figure skating.  He’s amazing!

 A. HW#3, Writing Task Resilience  Due Wed 2/9 before class. Post to the Open Lab.

  • Title Writing Task Resilience – YOUR NAME
  • Category: Writing Task Resilience. 

Two paragraphs, (6-7 sentences each)  We’ve studied strategies the young Douglass practices to build resilience in the face of horrific obstacles.  Now turn to your own experience.

Paragraph One:  Think of ONE thing that’s been hard for you during the pandemic. Focus on ONE specific hardship  Describe it in some detail.

Paragraph Two:  Then write about one coping strategy you’ve developed to increase your resilience.   What have your learned about yourself in practicing this strategy?

        Option to apply this HW task to remote learning: Caroline Hellman’s opinion piece argues in favor of classroom learning.  Some of you may feel that the online learning experience has been difficult. What ONE aspect of remote learning has been the most challenging.  How have you coped?  What strategies have you developed to be resilient?

THEN Respond to two other student posts.

B.  Wednesday we’ll finish Frederick Douglass.  Look up all unfamiliar words in a collegiate dictionary. 

Also DUE Wednesday. A switch up from what I said in class.  For Wednesday, we will discuss a shorter reading.  Read Malcolm X, Laurence Fishbourne and the Theater of Your Mind (NYT interview).  

Find in Open Lab course site under Readings.

Monday Feb 7 pre-class

We will discuss Frederick Douglass this morning.  Kudos to all who turned in their HW posts #2 on time!  I see that many of you have enjoyed this reading.  Looking forward to our discussion on it soon!

  1. Please check that you have joined as a member to the CORRECT OPEN LAB SITE.
  • 8AM class features a picture of Mountain Goats
  • 10AM class features a picture of Mountain Night Scene

2. INTRODUCTION HW posts:  All of you need to get up and post even if late now.  I want to know who you are and the class also wants to know our entire class members, so introduce yourself if you have not.

3. I corrected a mistake in my syllabus. TWO required tutoring visits are REQUIRED.  (more is extra credit).

4. A reminder about correspondence with me:  When you email me, please designate which class you are in.  I copy email etiquette from the Syllabus Course Policy:

Email Etiquette.  Please compose your school emails as if you were writing a professional letter: include formal salutation, body, sign off.  Please address me as Professor Wu.  In the first sentence introduce yourself by your full name and give the course number.  Then in the following sentences make your request.  Always sign off with Best wishes, or Sincerely.  In the subject line, write your full name and the course number.  See First-Year Companion, page 100.

Wed Feb 2 post-class

Big thx to those of you who were on camera today!  Hope to have more join us next week.

A. We had a good discussion of “In Defense of the Classroom” by Caroline Hellman.  Thanks to everyone who contributed!  Here is a quick recap:

Genre: opinion piece.

We used the idea of Reading Like a Writer (RLW) to analyze the piece and see what writing strategies Hellman used:

  • Use a Quote as a hook
  • Start with a Quote and argue against
  • Use a List to describe the students and to convey a tone of sadness, loss, nostalgia.
  • Use Description to evoke the image of the classroom. SHOW the reader the classroom.

B. For Monday Learning to Read by Frederick Douglass.  Printout, Read, and Annotate.  Look up unfamiliar words. Do Open Lab HW #2.  HW #2 is a response to FDouglass “Learning to Read and Write.”  There are two parts.  You must complete both parts to receive credit.  Due Saturday 2/5 at 12noon.   Then comment on two ppl’s posts.  

Part One:  Choose one of the following Questions below.   Answer in one fully developed paragraph. 5-6 sentences.

Part Two:  Choose one part from the reading that you think is significant; it should be a part that you think has deeper meaning.  Copy that part, enclosing it in quotation marks and giving the Paragraph number. Now analyze Douglass’s exact words in this quotation carefully and explain what is significant about this quotation.  I expect you to write a full paragraph, 5-6 sentences.

AS AN EXAMPLE of what to do for Part 2, think back to Hellman’s opinion piece.  Think about how we analyzed the paragraph where she makes a list of her students. OR think about the last paragraph where she returns to her video of the class and remembers how they all came together in that classroom.  Why did I choose those parts to read aloud?  What was significant about her words in those parts?  NOW do this kind of analysis about your chosen part of FDouglass’s “Learning.” for Part Two. 

Questions for Part One, choose one:

  1.  After the young Douglass loses his mistress as his teacher, what strategies does he practice to continue learning to read?  Who does he turn to for help?  How does he persuade them to help him?
  2. What is the effect of Douglass’s own reading, in general, for him?  Reread paragraphs five and six.  In responding to this question, look carefully at how he describes his reading of both “The Columbia Orator,” and Sheridan’s speeches about Catholic emancipation.
  3. What does Douglass mean when he says that “learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing” (paragraph 5)?  Furthermore, what does he mean when he says that “freedom…was ever present to torment me” (same paragraph)?  In other words, is there a downside to becoming literate?  What might that be?
  4. Reread paragraph 7 and describe the process Douglass goes through to learn the word “abolition.”  How does this process explain why the author’s mistress found his reading newspapers so threatening?
  5. Look carefully at the various strategies D used to learn how to write (final paragraphs). What are they, and what do they suggest about the relationships between literacy and social power?

HOW TO POST:  Go to the top menu bar. Click on the plus sign.  You will land on a writing page.  Write in the title: Reading Response FDouglass– write your first name.  Type in your writing.  When finished, go to right hand side and check on category: Reading Response FDouglass .  Then scroll up and click on publish.  Please post by Saturday Feb 5 at 12 noon.

C. We have done a lot so in these first two days — so — please get caught up over the weekend for a strong start to the semester!

Tuesday Feb 1


  1. Complete Open Lab HW #1, Introductions.  Some of you need to correct your title. YOU MUST TITLE YOUR HW CORRECTLY.  Go back and re-read the instructions below on previous day’s Announcements carefully.  Be sure to comment on two peer introductions. 
  2. Read Caroline Hellman’s “In Defense of the Classroom.”  Print out. Use dictionary.
  3. Read and Study “Syllabus and Course Policies.” Print out.  Find on Syllabus page.
  4. Interested in City Tech 101?  Sign up now.  See below.
  5. Sign up for NY Timesfree subscription.

A.  City Tech 101: Space is limited so don’t delay! Sign up here now:

City Tech 101 is a tuition FREE workshop designed to help new students get started at City Tech. Students who attend this 8-session workshop will be able to: (1) identify tools and strategies for learning in a virtual and in-person environment; (2) access resources available at the college; (3) understand majors and degrees at the college; (4) understand specialized college vocabulary; and (5) be more prepared to begin their City Tech career. Students will also be connected with dedicated peer mentors to help provide additional personalized guidance. As a bonus, all students who successfully complete the workshop will be awarded a financial incentive of $200!

Tuesdays, 12:45-2:45p; Eight Tuesdays on 2/1, 2/15, 2/22, 3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22, 3/29

B.  Make sure your schedule works, especially if you have back-to-back classes.  You must attend class from stable, dedicated work space. No signing on from subway or en route.

C. Get in the habit of these daily practices:  Read Open Lab Announcements, Check Weekly Schedule and City Tech email.

D. Tips for success:  follow daily practicesarrive to class early and stay the entire class time, hand in work on time, ask questions, get to know peers, participate in all writing exercises, including peer review. SHOW UP!

E. Cameras:  To those who keep camera on for the whole class time I’ll give extra points for each day.  Many other ways to earn extra credit, too.  City Tech 101 is one, tutoring another.

F. Tutoring:  Extra credit for two sessions. This is online tutoring.  Sign up now at Writing Center at City Tech! I encourage you to utilize their services. Keep in mind you’ll need to make an appointment ahead of time. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to squeeze you in at the last minute, especially during busy times, so plan ahead!

G. Check out college home page

H. Returning to Campus:  Health and Safety /Getting Started with Spring 2022

Monday Jan 31 — First Day

Xin Nian Kuai Lo– Happy Chinese New Year!  Year of the Tiger 2022

So great to meet you guys on this first day of Year of the Tiger!  I noticed that many of you have already signed up as members on our class site.  Great!

So great to meet you guys on this first day!  I noticed that many of you have already signed up as members on our class site.  Great!

A. Please DO:

  1. If you haven’t, please get your CTech email up and running. Get your Open Lab (OLab) account and join our class as a member (instruction links on Home page).
  2. Browse around our OLab class site and explore what’s there and how to navigate your way.  Today we looked at the Home and Syllabus pages.  There’s a lot of material on our class site, so I won’t expect you to know everything right away; just get started and familiarize yourself. READ ANNOUNCEMENTS every day.  Sometimes I post even when there is no class, so check regularly.
  3. Join the Whatsapp Group for our class which Randy has kindly stepped up to organize:

Thanks also to those of you who were brave enough “zoom in on camera” today.  Going forward, I would like to encourage more of you to turn on your cameras, so we can get to know each other more quickly. It will help us build community and make our class more enjoyable. It’s SO hard to talk to a puzzle space of dark squares.  I noticed that if I was able to see your faces, I learned your names and I feel as if I know you already.  Believe me it’s good thing if the teacher knows you – hint, hint!

B. Read two articles before class on Wednesday.

We will get to the “Defense of Classroom” article first:

  • Read and Print Out and Annotate (write comments, notes, explanation, questions on the printout).
  • What are some of the main ideas (MI)? Underline MI or take notes in your physical notebook.
  • Vocab Work:  Underline and look up new words.

C. DUE WED before class Open Lab HW (homework) Post #1 Introduction

  1. Post on OLab introducing yourself. TWO FULL PARAGRAPHS PLEASE. (To get some ideas re-view “[un]Learning My Name: Spoken Word poem” and Teacher Vuong on student names (tiktok video) and the notes you took in class. Also look at my example post My Name Intro – Lisa.)  You can write about anything you would like the class to know about you.  You can write about your name, your cultural heritage or your family’s influence on your education, your goals, your belief in yourself, your attitude toward the world. You can write about your interests or hobbies or City Tech goals.  Also consider adding a visual element (I did).  Remember — make yourself the interesting person that everyone wants to meet at the party!

HOW TO POST:  Go to the top menu bar. Click on the plus sign.  You will land on a writing page.  Write in the title:  My Name Intro – write your first name.  Type in your writing.  When finished, go to right hand side and check on category: Introductions.  Then scroll up and click on publish.  Please post by Wed before class.  NOTE: You will be writing your own post. Do not write your post as a reply to my example post.

  1. Connect to our fellow classmates! Read TWO classmates’s introductions and respond.  Write one FULL paragraph for each classmate.  Suggestions:  You can choose a student who has a similarity with you.  You can ask questions.   You can share an observation.

We had a great first meeting.  Thanks to everyone who participated and those who shared helpful hints.  I know there is a lot to do.  As the weeks go on, I hope we will all be kind and helpful and we will all get through the semester learning together.

Note:  If you are on campus and need to find computer space to “zoom into” our class, there are computer labs in the following spaces:

  • Learning Center (Library Building Ground Floor) – LG18
  • General Building – G600: 10:00am – 6:00pm Monday through Friday

Students with their own laptops can find a quiet place on campus, perhaps an empty classroom or empty seating area. Another option is one of the study rooms in the library, typically allocated to students first come, first served, by checking out a key at the Borrow & Return Desk.

January 30 — Welcome

January 30 — Welcome

Dear Students,

Welcome to Spring 2022 at City Tech!

This is Professor Lisa Wu, your instructor for ENG 1101 Freshman Composition OL05, which meets via zoom Mondays and Wednesdays from 10AM – 11:40AM. I wanted to reach out to you prior to class to welcome you to the course.

We are what is called a “synchronous” class, meaning we do have “class meetings” just like in the pre-pandemic days.  Remember, you are required to meet on zoom for the entirety of our class.  Our class officially begins at 10AM, but I ask everyone to arrive five (5) minutes early, by 9:55AM, so we can check in with each other and I can start taking attendance.  I am giving you the zoom invitation for the course below.  This zoom link will be the same link for every single class.  I will also place the link on the home page of our Open Lab course site.

If you can join our Open Lab course site as a member now, please do so. Please read the Syllabus and Home pages.  (Click on Open Lab course site link; you will land on the Home Page; then go to Let’s Get Started.) If not, we will register and join tomorrow.  Both Blackboard and Open Lab are now available to students.

I suspect many of you are tech-savvy and know much about using technology. That’s great! You will be my teachers in this arena!  We will all learn the technology and the reading and writing together this semester. As a class, we will build a community and offer each other support in developing resilience as we continue to forge through these uncertain times.

I hope you’ll consider turning on your camera; I, myself, will be present with my camera on.  It’s so much more enjoyable to build community when we can see each other’s faces!  I will be giving extra credit for being present with cameras on.  (If you are tech-savvy and want to use a virtual background image, that’s fine.)

I am looking forward to working with you!

Best Wishes,

Professor Wu

Here is the Zoom Link for our class: