UPDATED Schedule Below:

Important Dates

Dec 3 — Be prepared to speak for at least 3 minutes on your research — beyond the obvious and the purely informative

Dec 6 — Journal Check Day — put some kind of marker where our last check ended, please. A Post It or just turning the page down will do.

Dec 11 — Research Paper Due and Class Party

Dec 13 — No Class Scheduled (“Reading Day”)

Dec 18 — Practice for Final Exam

Dec 20 — Final Exam*

*The  English Dept. requires that all students take the Final Exam; you can not pass the course unless you sit for the exam.


Research and Information, Our Next Unit of the Semester

Going forward this semester, we will be delving into the why’s and how’s of research. We will focus on topic areas that interest us, both individually, and as a class. You will need to manage your time well, and also be prepared to share your progress in group formats. Our end goal is a coherent Research Paper, 2,000 words in length.

Due next class:

Group Exercise: 1) By next class you will have in hand a minimum of one resource on your chosen topic that you have found, preferably via our Library’s search pages. Bring us tangible proof (an article in a periodical or a book) so that we can  evaluate it in class. 2) Be prepared to share, in informal conversation with your peers, about your topic, teaching your fellow students two things that they may not have known about it. Due: Nov 8.

Looking Ahead — Our Schedule:

By the end of next week (Nov 15), you will have picked a topic and will be prepared to present preliminary research on it to the Professor for her approval. You cannot receive a grade on your final research paper without this approval.

By Thanksgiving break you will have a Rough Draft of your Research Project, having completed a minimum of half your research.

By December 11th you will submit the Final Draft of your Research Paper.

Our Final Exam Week is December 14th–20th.


Congratulations on successfully reaching Mid Term. Here is your reading assignment, to be completed in your Journals, by next class.

Read the article by Professor X (link provided in previous assignment — see below). Answer the following questions. (Note —  everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and you may voice yours here. Just give good reason.):

Do you think that NYCCT is a “college of last resort” as Professor X describes his college. Why? Why not? Describe.

How did Mrs. L react to her grading of a research paper? How did the future police officer react?

After reading this article, please reflect on the following: How do you think students ought to be graded in a school like NYCCT: leniently, in a way that gives the student positive encouragement to complete their studies? Or, should a studentbe  graded more stridently in accordance with standards that the school decides are relevant to the students’ grade and stage of study?

Due: Oct 25.

Reminder: We have our Library Orientation Day on Nov. 1. We will not meet in the classroom. Please meet outside the Library on that day at 10:00 AM.


Oct 19: Important deadline updates. Your paper for Beauty is now extended; the new deadline is Tues, Oct. 23. Please use this extra time to work on the main grammatical/mechanical issues you have, as well as to proofread or otherwise energize your paper! Rest assured that I am interesting in hearing YOUR ideas and reflections, and that I am NOT interested in receiving papers that sound phony. Plagiarism is something that I reward with an “F.” No exceptions. May I reiterate that using The Little Seagull Handbook will help you? I also spoke with many of you about using the Purdue OWL Writing Lab as a resource and I shall copy below a few links to encourage you further. Chances are, if you are writing an essay about some daily, personal encounter you have had with the beautiful, that it is taking the form of a Descriptive Essay.

Here is a link to Purdue on the Descriptive Essay:


If your paper is more philosophical or analytical in tone, it is probably taking the form of an Expository Essay.

Here is a link to their description of the Expository Essay:


And, as I mentioned before, there are many exercises you can find at their site on grammar and punctuation. Scroll along their menu on the left. Here is their advice for writing more concisely (a number of us spoke on that topic) for example:

On being Less Wordy:


And finally, a link to their YouTube channel:


My apologies for overwhelming you here. I just want to make up for some lost time. Keep reading just a bit more…

Note–Our other deadlines are also pushed forward:

MidTerm Exam Practice: Oct 23

MidTerm Exam: Oct 25

Reading Assignment: Oct 25. You have a new, short reading assignment. We will discuss it after the MidTerm on Oct 25. It is an article by “Professor X” that was published in The Atlantic Monthly in 2008 and its full text is available Online. Here it is:


I look forward to seeing you in class.


OCT 9:  On Thurs, Oct 11, there are “Doctor’s Hours.” Namely: will discuss your papers and their markings and any other issues you wish to discuss, one on one — I will go in order of your names on the signup sheet. Seven minutes, tops.

Upcoming DATES: MidTerm Exam Practice Day is Oct. 16

Your essay on Beauty (or Ugliness) is due Thu Oct. 18


OCT 4: Continue writing on the prompt on Beauty as discussed in class. (This writing will transition into your next 500-word paper.) Note—On Tues, 9: Instructor will hand back previous assignments; students can then book short private conference times with Instructor for Thurs 11 .


SEPT 26: Some of you are writing about ugliness, but most of you are writing about beauty with the following prompt: “When I see something beautiful, I…” (ugliness would be the opposite). You are pulling out two or so quotes from the Schjeldahl article and are prepared to discuss them in class.  We will also discuss our previous writing assignment more fully, vis. the comparison of ugliness and beauty as subject.

Please hand in your Dialogues. Due: Oct 4.


SEPT 27: Read the essay you received in class by Peter Schjeldahl called “Notes on Beauty.” (It is also available Online for free, fyi.) Make note of your favorite passage in the essay and be prepared to discuss why you chose it. Free-write on the following question and be prepared to share in class: Would a discussion by Schjeldahl on “ugliness” rather than beauty differ greatly from the way he writes here? Why or why not? Are they similar/different? How might you write about ugliness? Due: Tues Oct 2.


SEPT 23: Reminder that Journal Check is Thursday. That’s all your notes thus far and any handouts thus far. Your next paper is due Oct 4. The I/O Dialogue formatting can vary, as long as it is consistent and clear and clean and you now have a PAPER FORMATTING page on this site to consult!


SEPT 20: Thank you to our new Peer Mentor, Travis, for visiting class. As we discussed, please do not hesitate to contact him with questions. We also discussed formatting for your writing constraint paper due on Tuesday (500-words, double spaced, printed on one side, typed…). Please come to class ready to read further all the new Inner/Outer Dialogue work you are doing in coffee shops/public sites/in transit. You should have more material by Tuesday such that you can generate another 500 words for you next paper. We will discuss its formatting on Tuesday and Thursday. Reading: please finish the Stephen King memoir. Due: Tues Sept 25.

Upcoming important dates: Journal Check Thu Sept 27 (your “journal” includes all handwritten work and notes thus far as well as any handouts you have received thus far).

Library Orientation day Nov 1.


SEPT 13: Read further in your Stephen King memoir until p. 249.

Bring your drafts in to class from your Inner/Outer Dialogues created In Transit. We will read some of them aloud. These drafts will be worked into your second, 500-word paper for this class. We will discuss formatting in class. Due: Thu 20

Reminder: Your first 500-word, double-spaced typed paper (with writing constraint) is due on Sept. 25. If you have not already done so, please purchase the other required text for this class: The Little Seagull Handbook. See MATERIALS and SYLLABUS on this website if you need more details. If you do not have the textbook, there are many sources for MLA Format available Online for free. One of the best is the PurdueOnlineWritingLab. Here is a link.


You will see an example of the first page of a standard, double-spaced, typed paper there. Our college follows MLA style. You should be familiar with this format for all papers for classes at NYCCT.


SEPT 6: Read to page 220 in your Stephen King memoir. In your journals make note of the following: How does Stephen King feel about grammar? (what if you are not good at it? what if you are?); How does Stephen King feel about adverbs? Why? What does Stephen King say about drafts and revisions?

Writing: Have a first, handwritten draft of your constraint paper about life is change and be prepared to share it in oval time. POST at least one paragraph of what you wrote on OpenLab.  Be prepared to be critiqued and have revisions suggested to you.

Also, In your journals: write the literal meaning of your name. What is its root/what language does it come from? All Due: Sept 13.


SEPT 4: Read to page 107 in your Stephen King memoir. Answer in your notebooks/journals the following:

Name three bad things that happened to King in his youth.

What is writing, according to Stephen King? (this is a one word answer.) Due: Thurs Sept 6.

Note, upcoming due dates: Your first typed paper: Sept. 25; your first Journal Check: Sept. 27. Your first paper topic is as discussed in class. Please bring your work in progress to share in class “circle” time.


AUG 30: Write about one of the following two topics without using the letter “i.”

  1. Your favorite season
  2. The end of summer/Labor Day Weekend
    There is no length limit, but you MUST have a minimum of three paragraphs. Due: Sept 4. Obtain at least one of your textbooks — The Stephen King memoir on writing — by Tuesday.

AUG 28: Write without using the definite article as we discussed in class. Your topic can expand from the morning into the rest of the day if you like. “My day continued…” No length, but a three paragraph minimum. Handwritten in your journals. CP. Due next class (Thurs Aug 30).