Our final exam is: Mon Dec 18

Let’s practice for it intensively next class  (Wed.)

Fyi: The last day of classes for all of CityTech  is Tues Dec 19, so our final exam will be our last day


Journals are due on Monday, Dec. 6


Hello Class. Sorry not to be there to speak with you. Here are your updated assignments over Thanksgiving Break. Hopefully I will be in on Wednesday to help you, but I want you to have the schedule now:

Your rough draft of your research paper will be due our first day back from holiday. Please type it up (you should have written a number of pages by hand by now…) for my ease of reading and submit it. This is will not be given a letter grade. However, it must be “passed” in order for you to proceed with your Research Paper.

Journal Check is on hold until further notice.

Looking ahead, you will have also completed reading your Stephen King memoir. Answer the following 4 questions in your Journals before Dec. 4:

1.) What “formula” did King receive in a rejection letter that helped him to write second drafts?

2.) How does King feel about pronouns?

3.) Does Stephen King think that you need to take a class in order to learn how to write?

4.) What does this proofreader’s mark mean? (below)

Hope to see you Wednesday. Just in case not, good luck, and have a safe and happy break.


By next Monday, you MUST present to the class for a minimum of three minutes on your research paper topic and thesis. You can present what it is you know so far — and you can also ask for help with what it is you don’t know in order to get focus.
Some students will be presenting on Wednesday.*
You are expected to have a rough draft of your Research Paper completed by Nov 27.
These presentations exist to help YOU in that task.
Many thank you’s, in advance, to those students who have consented to go on Wednesday. Please give them your notes and full attention.

*If I have not already reached out to you via email, and you would like to present on Wednesday, just let me know with a quick email to sschmerler@citytech.cuny.edu or via “message” here on OpenLab.
For next Monday, the following is required: It is REQUIRED that you fill out the Library handout you received on Monday and submit it. By the end of “Lab” class, you will also submit, in writing, at least two paragraphs discussing your proposed topic. (Neither of these assignments must be typed.)

For next Monday, you must also view the video (a TED Talk by Eli Pariser on Filter Bubbles) posted on our OpenLab site. Write a brief reflection, telling me your thoughts on this video, in your Journal. Be prepared to discuss your thoughts in class.

Looking Ahead: By Wednesday of next week (Nov 15) you will have a working Thesis Statement for your topic. (Reading broadly, on your own, on your topic — and then, discussing what you learned from reading with others — will help you do this. If you are still unclear as to what a Thesis Statement is, you can read about it at length in all basic Style Guides, including The Little Seagull, Rules of Thumb, and the Purdue OWL.)

Dates to Remember: Next Journal Check — Nov 20

Research Paper Rough Draft Due:  — Nov 27 (no exceptions)

Final Research Paper Due: –Dec 11

Class Potluck Party: –Dec 13  (see Alexis)

Final Exam Day: — Dec 18


Write a proper MLA style citation for your published movie review(s) in your journals.

Write at least two paragraphs on the topic you might want to pursue i n your research paper.  Work on your top 5 topic list. Dig a little deeper. What makes you care about these topics?


For Wednesday: Print out at least one review from a major publication** on a movie that you chose. Be prepared to highlight it in class (bring pens).

Start to bring your Style Guide to class from now on.

**(The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, The Guardian (UK),  Rolling Stone, The New Yorker (magazine))


Vocab homework for Monday: On one side of the index card you received: write the definition of a word you did not know that you learned during our in-class exercise; on the other side of the index card, write the etymological roots of a word you already knew. Include any information about this word, its other possible meanings, where it came from.

OpenLab: Write at least one “comment” on another student’s movie post. Feel free to comment on comments, or to comment on posts that are on my other class’ site. Here is the direct link.

Continue to read in your Stephen King memoir.


Assignment due Wednesday, Oct 18: Write a short movie review (two paragraphs at minimum!). Integrate at least one quote from a reviewer who writes for a reliable source publication* into your review. Try to include both a “pro” and a “con” if you can.  Post this review** to our website’s front page. You may use pictures if you like.

*Once again, those publications are: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, The Guardian (UK),  Rolling Stone, The New Yorker (magazine).

**We discussed how to post to OpenLab in class. Briefly, you need only click on the “+” in the menu at the very top of the screen. From there you can title your post, “Add Media” (which means upload photos) if you choose, and write the body of the post. Once you are done, don’t forget to press the blue “UPDATE” button on the right of the screen. You can revise you post at any time by editing it and pressing UPDATE.


Oct 11 –Apologies! Assignments did not update. We are discussing our movie reviews today — both our own, and reviews written by others. Please be sure to have found someone from one of our major publications who reviewed the film you chose. The publications are: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, The Guardian (UK),  Rolling Stone, The New Yorker (magazine).


Your Inner/Outer Dialogues will be typed, 500-words in length, for your next formal paper. Formatting suggestions are provided under “PAPER FORMATTING,” above. A series of small vignettes is totally fine. Continue to use your small journal to gather much more material, either in transit, or in public spaces.

Continue to read Stephen King. 20 more pages.

Reminders: No School on Monday, Oct. 9

Paper Due: Oct 16

Please bring your highlighting pens to class.


Continue doing your Inner/Outer Dialogue writing–in transit (on the subway, bus, et al.). Don’t be afraid to note conversations exactly as you hear them. Do be conscious of the fact that you are in a public space, and be circumspect–namely, be aware of your surroundings and be safe!

Be prepared to share your writing on Wednesday.


Read still further in your Stephen King book to section 22 of Chapter One. It will look like the image, below. Answer the following in your journals: Name two things that his encounter with John Gould taught him.


Read further in your Stephen King book — 20 more pages, total. Answer the following in your journals: Name 2 movies that he likes; what are “Happy Stamps”; what did Miss Hisler tell him?

Also, you must watch John Cage’s 4’33” again — with someone else. Note their reactions. Also, note your own reactions.


Congratulations on handing in your first paper. Now: on to the work of learning more about the craft of writing. Your next Reading Assignment, to be completed for our next class on Monday, Sept 25, is:

Read your Stephen King Memoir from the very beginning (including the “Forewords”) until you reach section “9” of Chapter One. (Each edition of the book is different, so the exact page numbers will differ. For instance, in the pdf version, it’s on page 29.) You will know where to stop when you get to the part where his aunt pays him a quarter each for his stories (see below). Then: In your journals, tell me, very briefly, what sorts of illnesses and other lousy events happened to him as a child. Four or five will do.

Grammar and Punctuation Videos and Exercises: I will be giving your exercises to complete and videos to watch to help you in your specific problem areas. If I post a video on the Home Page of this website, and that issue pertains to you (see my comments on your paper), it’s your responsibility to watch the video. (Yes, they can be a little cringe-y, but they will help.)


Continue to work on your essays on Beauty. They will be due Oct 2. The format is the same as for the previous essay. (See PAPER FORMATTING, above.)

Your reading is the chapter called “Toolbox” from the Stephen King book, On Writing: A Memoir.  Please respond in your journals with your opinions and observations on the following two topics in this chapter — vocabulary and grammar. Do you agree or disagree with what King says on these topics? We will discuss this on Sept. 20.

Also, don’t forget: we meet outside the Library next class, Sept 18 for Library Orientation Day.


Your first reading assignment, “Notes on Beauty” by Peter Schjeldahl, was distributed in class. Read this essay and write a very short summary of it in your journals (one paragraph is fine). Also, find two or three points of Schjeldahl’s that you liked most and be prepared to quote them in class (Wed, Sept 13).

We began writing in class. Continue at your own pace. Be prepared to share your writing (in process) next class (Wed, Sept 13). Looking ahead, you will be developing this writing into your next 500-word essay assignment: On Beauty. It will be due Oct. 2.

For information about additional readings and texts and materials required for class, please see “MATERIALS/SUPPLIES,” above.


Your 500-word paper on your family (without the word “the”) is due on Sept. 11. See “Paper Formatting” for the specs on the menu, above. We discussed this paper at length in class. You will receive your next reading assignment in class on Sept. 11.

Important Dates Coming Up:

Sept. 18 — Library Orientation Day. We will meet outside the Library and take attendance. Then, a Librarian will introduce us to how to use the Library and give us a kind of mini class. This is required of all 1101 sections.

Sept. 20 — No Class. Holiday.

Oct. 2 — Journal Check Day.


Your next assignment, due on Wednesday, Sept 6 (Monday is Labor Day and there is NO class): continue to write about your family without the word “the.” You will soon work this generative writing into your first 500-word, typed paper for me. Please be ready to share excerpts from this work-in-progress/first draft/ in class on Wednesday, Sept. 6 — especially if you did not read aloud on Aug 30.  Please continue to check this page over the break for any further readings or updates.  Furthermore: if you did NOT register for this OpenLab course by Wed, Aug 30, then you also have a short “Comment” assignment. See this post on our Main Page and respond.

If you’d like to respond to our post anyway — go right ahead! We are happy to hear from you.

Looking ahead: Your first, typed 500-word paper will be due on Sept. 11. We will discuss any formatting questions you may have in class.


Your first assignment was an exercise in constraint writing which we completed in class: Write about your morning / how you got to school without using the word “the.” Now, you have a second “constraint” exercise for homework:

For next class: Write tell us about your family. Do not use the word “the.”

There is no length limit for this. If, however, you need direction, do not write less than two paragraphs. Be prepared to share this next class. This does not need to be typed. It can be handwritten, and kept in your notebook.

Also, by next class, you should be able to access OpenLab, and have registered for this class’ website by requesting Membership (see handout).