Class Notes: Project #4 and final exam prep

***Today I distributed the reading for Monday’s final exam. If you have not gotten it, please be in touch with me either in a comment on this post or by email.***

Think about how to succeed on an in-class essay exam. What will make you prepared? What do you need to avoid?

Preparing for the exam

  • annotate the article for the exam!
    • underline/highlight important information
    • write notes in the margins to help you find information
    • summary of each paragraph, difficult parts/main ideas in the margin
    • emphasize the main ideas in the margins–maybe paraphrase
    • define any words you’re unfamiliar with
    • passages you would want to quote if you accurately anticipated the questions
  • anticipate possible questions
    • write outlines for them
    • draft thesis statements
    • identify passages you would quote
  • reread the article!
    • and again!
  • be able to identify the main argument of the article
    • and main supporting points
  • Reread the sample questions to get comfortable with the instructions and the types of questions
  • Think about similar experiences or ideas from:
    • your life
    • other people’s lives
    • things you’ve read or watched
  • Be prepared
    • pack your bag with the reading, pens/pencils, eraser, etc
    • sleep!
    • eat breakfast/lunch
    • bringing a quiet, innocuous snack
    • be on time–leave yourself plenty of time
    • breathe

During the exam:

  • read the questions and instructions
    • usually, one is about the specific topic and one is broader
    • instructions: write approximately 5 paragraphs
    • decide on which one you want to answer
      • read both questions
      • reread article–or parts of it
      • think about which will be easier to write
      • devote some time to choosing
      • outline both?
  • Your written response:
    • approximately 5 paragraphs
    • not one long paragraph
    • one possible plan: 10 minutes to choose/plan; 50 min to write (roughly 10 min per paragraph); 15 min to review/edit. Be sure to begin with some planning!
    • name the article, author (full name the first time, last name afterwards), source, date
    • thesis statement in the first paragraph
    • examples: quotations from the reading; examples from your life/experience/things you’ve read or seen
    • introduction and conclusion
    • you can agree/disagree/little bit of both with the author
    • revising some errors in these sentences:
      • [In] the article “A Natural Fix for ADHD,” [the author] [Richard A Friedman] talks about the ups and downs of having ADHD.
      • In the article “A Natural Fix for ADHD,” by author Richard A. Friedman claims that altering someone’s environment can be a opportunity to recover from ADHD.
      • According to the article in paragraph 6 [the author] [Friedman] states “blah blah blah.”



Some examples for the formal bits at the start of the business letters: Purdue OWL, UW-M Writing Lab, and UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center

Here’s one sample of what the top of the letter could look like, using the block format (which I recommend) rather than the indented format (which I don’t recommend):

New York City College of Technology
300 Jay Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

December 12, 2018

Artsy Pants, DFA
WordArt Gallery
123 Ink Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Dear Dr. Pants:


FYLC “Our Stories” end-of-semester prompt: We drafted our responses in class on Wednesday. Please post these on the FYLC site (not on this site!) by Monday, 12/17.


Class Notes: Project #4 Cover Letter

Upcoming schedule:

  • M 12/10:
    • draft formal cover letter for Project #4
    • add 14th (and 15th) glossary entries
  • W 12/12:
    • Post complete draft of Project #4
    • Q&A about Project #4
    • Review for final exam
    • receive copy of final exam reading
    • draft FYLC writing response about adjusting to college
  •  Th 12/13
    • Project #4 due online
  • M 12/17:
    • Write final exam
    • Glossary Write-Up due
  • W 12/19:
    • Complete survey about ENG 1101/Ways of Seeing
    • Final presentations/critique/showcase of work (bring your Glossument book, please!)

Project #4 formal cover letter (questions? ask them here!)

Whether you’re submitting an application for a job or materials to be reviewed for submission to a gallery, or writing for publication, or any number of other things, you’re going to want to include a cover letter. For the purposes of this assignment, the cover letter is a business letter designed as a way to let the recipient know about your project and about you as a designer/artist/writer. As we’ve discussed, we’re writing some of the same information in each part of the project (gallery catalogue entry, didactic panels, and cover letter), but they’re each with a different purpose and a different audience in mind.

For the cover letter, we’re going to follow a template:


Your Address


Recipient’s Full Name
Recipient’s Title
Recipient’s Address

Salutation with Recipient’s Name: (note the colon not comma here)

I am writing to you to inquire about your gallery/museum/etc space and to propose an installation based on the work my classmates and I have compiled. I am a Communication Design student at New York City College of Technology studying…interested in… Together with my classmates, we have developed an installation entitled A Glossument. Inspired by Tom Phillips’s A Humument, this project…

[fill in blank areas]:

  • classes you’re taking
  • interests you have (could serve as transition)
  • what A Glossument is: altered book, using glossary entries, image and text
  • gives the books new meaning…rewrites, recasts, reimagines

Our installation includes….My work, in particular, [work in the name of your project]….Each piece to be displayed has already been prepared with appropriate didactic panels (see “Title 1,” “Title 2,” “Title 3,” and “Title 4,” as well as catalogue entries for my and each artist’s contributions.

  • explained more about what A Glossument is
  • technique
  • goals for the project
  • goals for the installation: what visitors would take away from seeing this work

My classmates and I hope that this installation is of interest to your (gallery/museum/etc). If I can answer any additional questions, please reach out to me at the address above. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Signature [don’t include your real signature!]

Your Name [ or your display name]


Glossary Write-Up

Your Glossary Write-Up will be due on Monday, 12/17. Follow instructions posted in the Glossary assignment information.

Class Notes: Practice Final Exam

In today’s class, you will be writing a practice final exam. This writing will become the basis for our Final Exam review next week.

You should bring with you your practice Final Exam reading “A Natural Fix for ADHD” by Richard A. Friedman, and make sure it’s as marked up as you need it to be to write the essay.

You were also given a copy of the questions. Bring that page as well. Choose one of the two questions and write your response.

Your writing is your attendance for the day. I need one volunteer to get the envelope from my mailbox (N512) and one volunteer to return the envelope with everyone’s writing.

For the lab, we decided that the best use of time would be to work on Project #4. This can include drafting your didactic panels, drafting or further developing your catalogue entry, or beginning to draft the cover letter. We will address the cover letter in class on Monday, so it would be most productive if everyone had spent some time brainstorming for that aspect of the assignment.

If you have any questions, please ask by leaving here or emailing me directly. If you would like to volunteer to pick up or drop off the envelope, please do so by leaving a comment here. I will be very grateful!

Class Notes: Catalogue Entry

Important aspects of E.N.’s draft:

  • working outside of the digital is a departure from usual workflow
  • makes an argument about the materials used
  • HAS A RATIONALE for the work included in the book
  • links to sources
  • different topics: everyday objects; uniformity; blackout poetry; digital vs analog/physical/material/tactile
  • show what from the outside sources is relevant and how it influenced the work or how it relates to your work
  • process, choices–how you ended up making what you made
  • what effect did you want this to have? who are you including or excluding? what message did you want them to take away from spending time with your work?
  • highlight the 4 pages/spreads you write the didactic panels about–though without repeating exactly what you say in those didactic panels
  • artist’s bio: how does this represent your artistic vision, your aesthetic sensibility, how is it a departure?

To do BY THE END OF 12/3:

  • post a brainstorm of your catalogue entry
  • post your 4 didactic panels
  • Use the category ENG 1101 Project #4 and any tags you want

Class Notes: Glossument project


  • What do you hope to get from the Glossument project?
  • What do you need to do to successfully complete the project?
  • What questions do you have about the project? OR: what roadblocks have you encountered?

What goes into the catalog entry?

  • covers the 4 pages/spreads you’ve written didactic panels for, or more (can address the Glossument book overall).
  • specific focus on the 4 you’ve chosen to highlight–not all general
  • inspiration
    • you might include some bio that addresses you as a designer/artist/writer as is relevant to this project
    • personal aesthetic/design aesthetic
    • even if it’s to say “this is a departure from the artist’s previous work, which focused more on X and Y instead of Z”
  • motivation(s)
  • THEME(S)
  • research: show that you know what’s come before, that you’re aware of others’ projects
  • technique


  • complete 4-6 pages/spreads in your Glossument book
  • post by Friday one didactic panel
  • aim to complete the 4 didactic panel drafts for Monday
  • in class, start to outline our catalog entry
  • please bring your book with you for class
  • we will revise our schedule to complete Project #4
  • be sure to be up-to-date on glossary entries, 12-13 words

Class Notes: Project #4 drafting


  • Project #3 is due on 11/26/18 by the start of class
  • We will work on the Glossument in class so be sure to have your book
  • We will work on drafting parts of Project #4, so be sure to have more materials developed in your Glossument as the foundation for your work on Project #4

Writing didactics/labels/wall text for our Glossument projects:

  • Write about the page/spread
  • refer to the artist in 3rd person if at all
  • the genre of this writing is not a reflection piece
  • about a paragraph or two
  • aim for 50 words
  • audience: visitors/viewers
    • some are knowledgeable
    • some are invested
    • some want to learn but don’t know much
  • jargon vs instructive language? aim to reach a wide audience
  • name each piece so it’s easier to refer to it. Could be the word you’re representing, or that word in a phrase, or something else
  • write about:
    • choices you made
    • your method
    • what materials and why
    • what effect you aimed for
    • how you see it represent the word you’re depicting
    • How this page/spread represents your theme, or, How this page/spread fits within your overall Glossument book
  • some resources:
  • Add your first didactic panel as a post, including a photograph of the page you’re writing about; Comment on at least one classmate’s post by Wednesday Friday, 11/30
    • Use the category ENG 1101 Project #4
    • Use any tags you think are appropriate

Class notes: Thesis statements and more

Reading “The Inclusive Museum” by Sina Bahram, from The Senses eBook

What is a thesis statement?

  • It’s not a question: it can be the answer to a question
  • it’s the main idea of the piece (essay, article, etc)
  • the claim that it makes or argument it establishes
  • is it an opinion or fact? it’s an opinion supported by facts
  • it’s specific to a topic, but it pushes that topic into something arguable, supportable with evidence
  • comes at the end of your introduction
  • road map of your essay
  • it’s a draft until you’re done!
  • it’s appropriate to the assignment in topic, scope, approach, etc


Although [thing we expect], actually [thing readers don’t necessarily expect].

Although both buildings represent workspace in downtown Brooklyn, they represent diverse approaches to architectural design that developed over the last 150 years.

Although [similarities we expect], actually [difference we come to discover]

Although both the built environment and the natural environment are located in downtown Brooklyn, they represent different materials, designs, and therefore, different experiences for Brooklynites.

Although [difference we expect], actually [similarity we didn’t necessarily expect]

Although the photograph makes these buildings seem like they are next to each other, they are far apart in terms of architectural design, uses, and ???.

Class Notes: library and research

For Monday, 11/19:

  • work on your Glossument project: have at least 5 words represented
  • add to/revise the annotated bibliography
  • keep working on Project #3: final versions due 11/26

Workshops about registration from First Year Experience (rooms TBA):

  1. T 11/20, 3:45-5:15
  2. W 11/21, 9:45-11:15 (Chevon will be hosting this)
  3. Th 11/29, 12:45-2:15

What were our take-aways from the library visit we had on Monday?

  1. Write a list in your notes
  2. What questions do you have?
  • use reserve materials for 2 hrs at a time, checked out to you, return it on time!
  • there’s a Mac lab!
  • printing: 30 page limit per day; does not print color
  • Ask A Librarian
  • find books from other CUNY libraries and pick them up at any CUNY Library via CLICS
  • you can do OneSearch
  • you can filter your search for things like publication date, source type, name of source, full-text, peer-reviewed
  • another way to narrow your search: use quotation marks to get those words exactly in that sequence
  • choose downloadable articles! you can print them, email them, copy them to a flash drive, etc
  • brainstorm to get search terms that are narrow enough, broad enough, etc

Workshops about registration from First Year Experience (rooms TBA):

  1. T 11/20, 3:45-5:15
  2. W 11/21, 9:45-11:15 (Chevon will be hosting this)
  3. Th 11/29, 12:45-2:15

Reminders for ENG 1101

A few reminders:

  • Please go to the City Tech Library, 4th Floor of the Library Building at 1pm for class on Monday, 11/12, for our library session on finding sources for our Glossument project.
  • Please review the Project #4 assignment
  • Your homework is to contribute at least 2 entries to our shared Annotated Bibliography, by 11/12. Please follow the instructions in the document and see my sample entries as models.
  • Continue your work on Project #3, and look for comments from me to help guide you through your next steps.


Class notes: reflecting on and writing about A Glossument


  • shading
  • cutting
  • blackout poetry
  • illustration
  • white-out
  • use 2 pages
  • in process
  • repetitive vs variety
  • character design
  • use more descriptive words
  • use the project to represent your own interests in art/design/writing
  • painting
  • gluing different words on different pages
  • collage
  • gluing pages together
  • window
  • wouldn’t it be cool to cut out so much of the book that you make a space for something or the word itself

How much does the text matter vs. the visual?

  • poetry?
  • dictionary entry?
  • something else?
  • helps the illustration match with the glossary entry word
  • let’s workshop the poetry/text aspect
  • tell a story
  • represent the defined word in a creative way, playful, engaging
  • also while still being accurate, informative

Theme, technique, argument:

  • uniformity on the page
  • random choices vs. planned choiced
  • display of range
  • find a path in chaos if you choose chaos

What would you want to know more about?

  • know more about word origins, etymology
  • how different colors affect mood: color theory, psychology of color
  • impact of learning new words
  • Tom Phillips, A Humument
  • Altered books
  • other artists and techniques: look at the compiled references
  • poetic/writing techniques such as collage poetry, concrete poetry

search terms

  • words that you put into the search bar
  • Google, Wikipedia