Spring 2023

Week 11: Finish Unit #2, Begin Unit #3 (Research Project)

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Fox to Pay 1 Billion

Vermont Runner Excels in Non-Binary Category

In light of our upcoming Literary Arts Festival, featuring Akwaeke Emezi (author of Freshwater), and the current controversy over Bud Light and Transgender, please read and reflect on the following pieces:
“My Friends and Family Know I’m Not a Woman”: Akwaeke Emezi on Figuring Out She Is Transgender
by Otosirieze Ob-Young
Akwaeke Emezi.

Akwaeke Emezi, most recently photographed for Vogue ahead of the release of her debut novel Freshwater, has come out as a non-binary transgender person—she is not a man in a woman’s body, she is just not a woman. She realized this five years ago and has since undergone surgeries to remove her uterus.

“It’s easier when I’m alone. My friends and family know I’m not a woman — I’ve told them — but some continue to think of me as one anyway,” she writes in a new, intimate essay for New York Magazine‘s The Cut. “I ignore it because sometimes it’s easier to not fight, to accept the isolation of being unseen as a safe place. I exist separate from the inaccurate concept of gender as a binary; without the stricture of those categories, I don’t even have to think about my gender. Alone, there’s just me, and I see myself clearly.”

But her case is a peculiar one, as she is also an ogbanje—a term she has used for herself for years now. An ogbanje, in Igbo cosmology, is a being born into the world but who constantly leaves to rejoin the spirit world.

Children, inhabited by Ogbanje, (like Ada in Freshwater) grow up sensuous and multi-dimensional, while also struggling with their sense of self, an often tumultuous journey that requires enormous stamina to stay strong.  



Please join us at the 2023 City Tech Literary Arts Festival on Thursday, April 27, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Academic Complex Theater, 285 Jay Street.. 

This year’s event features acclaimed multidisciplinary artist, writer, and a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater and the bestsellers You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty and The Death of Vivek Oji

Please register here now!  

Please also encourage your students to attend! The first thirty City Tech students who register to attend will receive a free copy of Freshwater by LAF featured writer Akwaeke Emezi at the event!  

There is also a limited virtual option to join by Zoom available to City Tech students, faculty & staff. Please choose the virtual option when registering for the event and the link will be sent two days before the event.  

For more information see 



Also read: “Behind the Backlash Against  Bud Light’s Trans Gender Influencer”


  1. What genre (type) of writing is this?
  2. Who is the author?
  3. What is the main purpose of the piece?
  4. What are three things you learn?
  5. What are two effective writing “choices” the author makes?
  6. Pick out your favorite quote.  Explain why it sticks out for you.
  7. How do you feel about the controversy over Bud Light?





Over the last few weeks, you have read articles on new technological developments and the importance of critical media literacy.  Nolan Higdon introduces this topic in “Teaching Media Literacy” Teaching Media Literacy” arguing for federal funding to teach students how to be more critical of the media they consume and in their own writing. He offers the Critical Media Project as a place students can turn to begin to really understand how their world is shaped by the media, including representations of men and women, different ethnicities, the LBGTQ community, the disabled and others.  In      The Shallows“The Shallows” Nicholas Carr argues that the ability to think deeply and maintain concentration is a lost battle.  Our addiction to social media and the internet has altered our brains, so that reading long works doesn’t even seem possible (or desirable). In Banning Tik Tok, we discover that it really does matter who owns the apps we use, as we can be “watched” and easily manipulated, without even knowing it. More frightening still is the emergence of ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), in which AI now has the ability to write content for us by just by asking. The savviest thinker in the world, Noam Chomsky is deeply troubled by this technology alone. If we don’t learn to distinguish what the human brain is capable versus the mindlessness and amorality of computer generated thought, the results may be disastrous.

In a carefully argued essay, I ask you to consider some of the ideas raised in these writings and your own use of technology.  What are your thoughts about the capabilities and liabilities of technology.   What good can it do?  What are its dangers as applied to how we think, act, and create?  How does the media help humankind?   How does it misrepresent and misguide us?  Do you think it’s a problem at all?  What, for you, are the best ways to protect ourselves from becoming passive consumers of technology.

In your essay, be sure to set up your argument in dialogue with these authors.  Make your point clear, then focus on specific examples to support your assertions. Consider including counter-argument and ideas missed by the articles.

I recommend brain-storming your thoughts, then using an outline before you start writing.


Main Argument:

2 Supporting Arguments:



Circle Two Great Quotes

Circle (and look up) two interesting words

Do You Agree or Disagree?




Complete your Education Narrative Essay (Unit #1)




Reminder: The deadline for the 2023 Literary Arts Festival Writing Competition is March 20 All creative work is welcome! 

To submit work, students should visit the City Tech Literary Arts Festival OpenLab Website:

Literary Arts Festival is on Thursday, April 26. The feature author is Akwaeke Emezi

Interview on the Daily Show (2022)

NYTimesBook Review of Freshwater


NYTimes Word of the Day

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SENTENCE AND GRAMMAR REVIEW: Conjunctions (FANBOYS)/ Compound Sentences


UNIT #2 Topic: Critical Media Literacy


Teaching Media Literacy by Nolan Higdon

Critical Media Project (Website)

Banning Tik Tok

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

The False Promise of ChatGPT by Noam Chomsky



In “Teaching Media Literacy” (2023) Nolan Higdon argues that the only way to combat fake news  is to teach media literacy. Currently, the government has decided to set up a Disinformation Governance Board to combat disinformation on social media and other platforms.  Higdon, however, thinks that this will only make the problem worse and lead to censorship.  Instead, he thinks that schools need to take over this mission and teach students to be more careful about the media they consume.  Schools he writes should train every student “to be a journalist, evaluate and analyze sources, separate fact from opinion, interrogate the production process, and investigate the politics of representation.” Our democracy demands well-informed citizens. Higdon calls out for public support and the necessary funding to acheive this.  This is no easy task, as its clear the issue requires changing how we think, in more ways than one.

How to Write a Summary

* Begins with a sentence that includes author, title and publication year of text

* Begins with the most significant, central point of the material you are summarizing

* Moves on to convey additional important ideas in your own words

* Does NOT include your own opinions or thoughts

* Includes a quote, with appropriate signal phrase (As Higdon writes, “quote “,  According to Higdon, “quote,” Higdon argues that “quote”

* Ends with a wrap-up sentence

* Total length: one paragraph

Complete Education Narrative Essay









Education Narrative (Unit #1)


Mike Bunn, “How to Read Like a Writer”  (2011)  RLW

Caroline Hellman, “In Defense of the Classroom” (2020)

José Olivarez, “Maybe I Could Save Myself by Writing” and “Mexican American Disambiguation” (2018)

Perri Klass, “The Influence of A Perfect Teacher” (2021)


How to Write A Summary

 Writing Process

 Outline for Unit#1



Go to this site if you are in need of a loaner laptop or chromebook or MyFi (portable WiFi): https://www.citytech.cuny.edu/device-loan/



  1. Mark Noonan

    “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr

    Main Argument:

    2 Supporting Arguments:



    Circle Two Great Quotes

    Circle (and look up) two interesting words

    Do You Agree or Disagree?


    • Norman

      Norman Williams


      Prof. Noonan

      “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr

      Main Argument:

      In “The Shallows”  Nicholas Carr introduces the argument, will books become obsolete by new forms of media. Carr also argues that the invention of computers has had an adverse effect on our ability to focus.

      2 Supporting Arguments:

      1) Carr argues that one of the most proliferating forms of new media is the internet, as it has so effectively scattered our attention and ability to focus.

      2)Many different types of technologies and forms of media have come along over the centuries that were thought to be a threat to the existence or relevance of books. But despite these predictions’ books have stood the test of time and are still widely used today.

      Circle Two Great Quotes

      “Fifty years ago, it would have been possible to make the case that we were still in the age of print”

      “literacy as we’ve traditionally understood it. “ Is now nothing but a quaint notion, an aesthetic form of that is as irrelevant to the real questions and issues of pedagogy today as is recited poetry, clearly not devoid of value, but equally no longer the structuring force of society”

      Circle (and look up) two interesting words

      Burgeoning (To grow or increase rapidly)

      Intelligentsia (A group of highly intellectual people)

      Do You Agree or Disagree?

      I do agree with his argument that despite the benefits of technology, as a society we are steadily losing our ability to truly focus on the task at hand.

  2. Tiffany

    Main Argument: Will listening to a reading replace actually reading a book in your hand?

    2 Supporting Arguments:

    1. That people would soon be listening to literature rather than reading it
    1. Listening didn’t replace reading

    Circle Two Great Quotes:

    1. “A conflict between two different ways of working and two different understandings of how technology should be used to support that work”
    2. “ Fifty years ago, it would have been possible to make the case that we were still in the age of print. Today, it is not.”

    Circle (and look up) two interesting words:

    1. Quintessence means the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class
    2. Burgeoning means beginning to grow or increase rapidly

    Do You Agree or Disagree?

    I agree and disagree because most people still like to read and get a better understanding of what the author is talking about while you look at the book face to face. And I also agree because the way we use technology now will soon replace everything like books, paper maps, and even dictionaries. When it comes to listening and reading it has good and bad benefits for understanding materials. 

  3. EFTY

    “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr

    Main Argument: The internet and computer technology is changing our brain relies heavily on historical context. In order to show how the technology of the current digital age affects thinking, the Author explores how previous technologies formerly shaped the human mind.

    2 Supporting Arguments:



    Circle Two Great Quotes

    Circle (and look up) two interesting words

    Do You Agree or Disagree?

  4. EFTY

    “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr

    Main Argument: The internet and computer technology is changing our brain relies heavily on historical context. In order to show how the technology of the current digital age affects thinking, the Author explores how previous technologies formerly shaped the human mind.

    2 Supporting Arguments:

    1)The constant distraction of the internet is leading to a decrease in our ability to focus and engage in sustained, concentrated thought.

    2) The Internet’s focus on short-form content, such as blog posts and social media updates, is making it more difficult for us to engage with longer, more complex texts.

    Circle Two Great Quotes

    1. “We become, neurologically, what we think.”
    2. “The net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves, and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.”

    Circle (and look up) two interesting words

    Do You Agree or Disagree?

    I agree with the author that argues that the Internet is changing the way our brains work, rewiring them to be more adept at skimming and scanning rather than engaging in deep reading and contemplation. He suggests that this may have long-term consequences for our ability to think critically and creatively.

  5. Mark Noonan

    In “The Shallows” Nicholas Carr argues that more and more people are no longer reading books. Instead, they spend their time on the internet, instagramming, surfing, and multitasking. As a result, people are losing the ability to focus, concentrate, and think deeply. To support his argument, he points to the history of technology that often seemed to threatened our mental abilities. One example is the invention of the phonograph in 1889. Supposedly, everyone would now listen on these devices rather than read. Other inventions Carr mentions are radio, television, and even computers. But these too did not stop people from reading books. In the last decade, however, people (young and old) have become addicted to the apps on their phones. According to Carr, this is a disaster. We have all lost the ability to stay focussed and read anything longer than a tweet. It’s clear, as Carr says, that “fifty years ago, it would have been possible to make the case tha we are still in the age of print. Today it is not.”

  6. moussa

    Main Argument: The main argument of “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr is that the internet is altering our brain’s ability to think and process information by distracting us and encouraging shallow thinking.

    2 Supporting Arguments:

    1. Carr argues that the internet is designed to distract us with constant notifications, links, and advertisements, preventing us from focusing on deep thinking.
    2. Carr suggests that the internet encourages us to skim through information rather than reading deeply, leading to a decrease in our ability to concentrate and analyze complex ideas.

    Two Great Quotes:

    1. “The net’s cacophony of stimuli short-circuits both conscious and unconscious thought, preventing our minds from thinking either deeply or creatively.”
    2. “We become, neurologically, what we think.”

    Two Interesting Words:

    1. Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change and adapt throughout an individual’s life.
    2. Hypertext – a non-linear way of presenting information in which text, images, and other media are linked together through a network of hyperlinks.

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