Final Exam (attached) and Final Portfolio Checklist

Due tomorrow in your Google Drive folder.  11:59p.
Good luck!

Final Portfolio / Google Drive Folder CHECKLIST
Due: Thu 7/30, 11:59p

–> share the whole folder as a link in this survey

  1. Five (5) article summaries (guidelines in course syllabus)
  2. Two Revised OpenLab responses (not your Essays 1 and 2; these are your shorter responses to assignments #1-5 on OL; revise using feedback I gave you on OL)
    –Make a separate Google Doc for each revised response; save it in your Google Portfolio Folder
    –Include your original response, your revised response, and a brief note explaining what you revised.
    One (1) of these revised OL responses can be your Midterm (see #4 below) 
  3. Essay 1 and Essay 2 (2 drafts each; 4 documents total)
    –please share as separate documents in your Google Portfolio Folder.
    –Include 2 drafts of each Essay assignment: your first draft and your revised, final draft
    –Include a note at the top of each Final essay that explains what you revised
  4. Your revised “Midterm/Checkpoint” article summary (assignment #3 on OpenLab) and a note explaining what you revised.
  5. Your Final Exam essay, to be completed in no more than 90 minutes between now and Thursday night. NOTE: This will involve reading a short, new article and writing a persuasive essay with your own thesis that responds to the topic of the article.

#6, due Wed 7/29, 7p

#6, Due Wed, 7/29, 7p

Good evening y’all!  Thanks for hanging in.  I can’t believe we’re done on Thursday (when the final exam will be given—more info on that on Wednesday).  Also remember that your final portfolio (your shared Google Folder containing *all* of your coursework) will be due Thursday as well.

OK, here’s what I want you to tend to for *Wednesday.*

  1. Readings & Article Summaries.  Finish reading the final two reading assignments:

Dan Diamond, “Suddenly, Public Health Officials Say Social Justice Matters More Than Social Distance”
10. Chelsea Janes. “Protests probably didn’t lead to coronavirus spikes, but it’s hard to know for sure” (activated CUNY library card needed to access)

Remember: due in your final portfolio (your shared Google Drive portfolio) on Thursday will be 5 article summaries.  Feel free to summarize either of these articles if you still need to get to 5.


2. Essay 2 Feedback.  Please read and comment on 5 of your classmates’ Essay 2s.  For each response you give, please provide the following 3 things (I repeat: each of your 5 responses should contain these 3 things):

A–What you think the writer’s thesis is (in your own words).  If you can’t identify the thesis, ask the writer to make their thesis clearer.

B–One supporting reason or story the writer gives for believing their thesis to be right.  Again, use your own words to describe this.  If you can’t identify a supporting reason or story, tell the writer to make this part of their essay clearer.

C—A counter-argument that the writer introduces and then argues AGAINST.  Again, describe the counter-argument in your own words.  Does the counter-argument go AGAINST the writer’s thesis?  If it doesn’t, let the writer know that they should come up with a counter-argument that goes AGAINST their thesis (and then they need to find a way of refuting the counter-argumnet).


3. Revise essays + 2 blog assignment responses (comments).  Using the feedback you got from me and from classmates, revise your Essay 1, your Essay 2, and 3 of your blog assignments.  Save all drafts, including your final draft, in your Google Drive portfolio folder that you shared with me.

#5, part A due Sunday 7p; part B due Monday 7p

#5, 2 parts, A and B:

A: Essay Outline due Sunday 7p as comment below this post
B: (Full Essay 2 draft) due Monday 7p as separate post (categorize under “Essay 2 Feedback”)

NOTE: For those of you who I’ve told to work on Grammar & Paragraphing—and for anyone wanting extra credit—please do the Grammar & Paragraphing exercises (3 of them) and share your responses as a comment on that post.

A due Sunday 7/26, 7p:
Read the Essay 2 assignment.
Read the first two Essay 2 articles—on protests during the pandemic—to get ideas for your essay:
–Rep. Ken Buck, “First lockdowns, then riots – here’s how left’s hypocrisy added fuel to the fire”
–Open Letter Advocating for an Anti-Racist Public Health Response

–Brainstorm and outline for your Essay 2.  Post an essay outline containing the following items below as a comment responding to this post:

Essay 2 Outline
–Title/Author of an Article on this Topic you will summarize (can be one of the above readings):
–Your thesis (on whether and how protests should be happening during the Covid pandemic—and your reasons why

–Reason 1 supporting your thesis (topic of body paragraph 1)
–Reason 2 supporting your thesis (topic of body paragraph 2)

–1 related story you can tell that will support your thesis (3-4 notes on the key events and characters of this story will be fine for now)

–1 quotation from the article you’ve chosen that you want to discuss

–1 counter-argument (a perspective that disagrees with your thesis/opinion)

–1 point you will make to refute the counter-argument (why you think the counter-argument is wrong)

B, due Monday 7/27, 7p
–Write your full Essay 2 draft and create you own post containing an upload/link to your essay.  When posting, remember to choose the category “Essay 2 Feedback.” <<<< If you’ve posted correctly, your post will show up there under that link.

4. Due Fri 7/24

  1. Due Fri 7/24, 7p

Using Detailed Storytelling to Persuade

For this assignment, I want you to focus on developing a story for your revised Essay 1 that will SHOW your readers the DETAILS of what is at stake in your topic: racism & police brutality.  Telling a detailed story can be one of the most powerful—and powerfully convincing—strategies for convincing a reader to believe in your thesis.  So this is what I want you to get practice doing for Friday.

First, for inspiration, I want you to (re-)read the opening sections of Larry Elder’s “Where’s Black Lives Matter When You Need Them?” and James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory.”  Both of these texts begin with powerfully detailed stories that show us horrific acts of police brutality which draw us into the topic the writer wants us to think about.  However, you will notice that there are some key differences in the way each of these stories is worded and angled.  As discussed in today’s Zoom, Elder writes his story in a way that suggests subtly that what Officer Chauvin did to George Floyd wasn’t murder.  Meanwhile, Baldwin, in his story, plays up the violence that the black salesman experiences and witness while in police custody—violence which leads to his being partially blinded.  I point this out because while both of these stories draw us in to the topic of police brutality, they do so with different purposes in mind: Elder wants to convince us that police brutality towards black people is not as much of an issue as black-on-black violence; on the other hand, Baldwin wants to say that the policing of black neighborhoods like Harlem is tantamount to a military occupation of an otherwise autonomous “territory” or community.  Unlike Elder, he is not at all sympathetic to the cops…

Anyway, for this assignment I want you to respond below with two things:

A) A paragraph-long summary of the story Baldwin tells of the salesman’s experience with the police, and

B) A 1-2 paragraph story you will tell in your Essay 1 to try to convince your reader to believe in your own thesis about police brutality in the US. The story you tell can be from your own experience (something that happened to you or someone you are close to), something that you heard about happening to someone you know, a story you saw/heard about online, on social media, in a movie, etc. Please just make sure you make it as detailed as possible.  Details to include (not necessarily in this order):

–Who are the key characters involved?  What do they look like…sound like…smell like…etc.?  (You can make up details as needed, so long as you remain true enough to the spirit of the story.)

–Where are these characters in space?  Where do the key events of this story take place?  When do the events in this story take place (in history/time)?

–What are they (the main characters) doing?  What happens to them?  Which key events need to be described in order for the reader to understand what is going on and why it matters?



3. Due Wed 7/22, 7p (Midterm and Essay 1 Feedback)

Due Wed 7/22, 7p

For Wednesday, I want you to do two things: (A) take the midterm exam (instructions below; don’t worry: you will be allowed to revise this test for a re-grade) and (B) read and write feedback on 5 classmates’ Essay 1s.

Mini-Lesson: TOPIC v. THESIS
Last week, we worked on noticing the THESIS of Kaba’s and Meares’ texts.  Remember: a thesis is a debate-able statement (often a writer’s “opinion”) about a topic.  A THESIS is not the same as a TOPIC.  A topic is simply the main idea or content of a text; a thesis is the writer’s opinion or point of view ABOUT the topic.  For instance, in both Kaba’s and Meares’ texts that we read last week, the topic is police brutality and racism.  Kaba’s thesis is her opinion about this topic: what she thinks should be done about racist police brutality (she thinks that we should defund and get rid of police departments).  Make sense?  OK, now you’re ready for the midterm (below).

A) Midterm Exam. This is a test devised and required by the Summer Program. As such, it is slightly different than the assignments I’ve given so far (which will nevertheless have prepared you well for it. The instructions are simple: read an article and identify the author, title, topic, thesis, and the reasons/details supporting the thesis.  Then write a short summary of the article, including therein your response to the article (whether you agree or disagree with it and why).

 15% of final grade

The article I want you to read and do your exam on is:

Larry Elder, “Where’s Black Lives Matter When You Need Them?”

As always, write your work in a Google Doc and save to your Google Drive folder for the course, then paste your work as a comment below, responding to this post.  Format your exam as follows:

Reasons/Details Supporting Thesis:

Summary (1 paragraph, including all of the above as well as your response to the article—whether you disagree/agree with it and why)

B) Go to Essay 1 Feedback and read 5 classmates’ essays. Respond to each writer’s post with a comment containing feedback (I repeat: do NOT respond to this post with your feedback—respond to each writer’s post individually; see below for requirements). Please choose classmates who have few-to-no comments from other classmates.

Please reply to your classmate’s post with a comment containing…
1 specific sentence you admire (and an explanation of why you like it) and…
1 specific suggestion for revision (and an explanation of how this should be fixed).

10% of final grade (along with Essay 2 feedback you will give next week)

Quoting Using SIgnal Verbs Exercise

Read the following PDF on how to use signal phrases to introduce quotations from an article.  Then, practice using signal phrases using quotes from our assigned readings.  Below, introduce 1 quote that you agree with (use the signal verb phrases for “agreeing”) and 1 quote that you disagree with (use the signal verb phrases for “disagreeing”).

Grammar & Paragraphing Assignment

For those of you looking for extra help with grammar and mechanics (how to build sentences, a paragraph, an essay), I’ve compiled the below assignment.  Please respond with your work as a comment under this post.

1–Read this guide on Subject-Verb agreement; pay particularly close attention to #3-4.  Write 10 sentences modeled on the examples in #3-4 (with abstract nouns—ideas, percentages, etc.–as the subjects of your sentences).  Please do 5 sentences with singular subjects (1 of the thing/idea–e.g. The assumption was limiting…) and 5 sentences with plural subjects (noun phrases designating more than 1 of the thing/idea–e.g., The assumptions were limiting…)

2–Read & do the exercises in this document on linking ideas using transition words.

3–Read this guide on how to form a paragraph using a controlling idea.  Write a well-developed paragraph explaining your thoughts on what you think the 3 main elements of police brutality are (according to YOU.

2. For Monday 7/20, 7p

For Mon 7pm:

  1. I’ve made some changes to the course syllabus. Please carefully read it, especially the “Core Course Assignments & Grading Section” (from the bottom of p. 1 to the top of page 3). In your response below, please list the 10 core assignments and the % of the final grade for each. Also, please post 1 question you have about the syllabus.
  2. Make a tutoring appointment by sending an email to
  3. Before you begin writing your Essay 2, read: Larry Elder, “Where’s Black Lives Matter When You Need Them?” ;  Bill McCarthy/PolitiFact, “Larry Elder Mislabels Stats on Fatal Shootings…”; “PolitiFact Tags Black Conservative Larry Elder as ‘Mostly False,’ But He’s Not” (activated CUNY library card needed to access). For now, you aren’t required to write anything about these articles. However, I do want you do try to answer as you read these questions: Does Elder agree with Kaba (the first reading we did) about the Black Lives Matter movement and what to do about police brutality?  Does Bill McCarthy agree with Larry Elder?  Why/why not?  Does the final article (by an anonymous author) agree with Bill McCarthy’s view of Larry Elder’s article?
  4. Write your Essay 1 assignment in a Google Doc saved to your Google Drive folder. Post a link to your Google Doc (link contains instructions for how to do this), being sure to categorize it as “Essay 1 Feedback.” To make sure you’ve posted correctly, go to the Essay 1 Feedback part of the website and you should see your post with your essay there.

In terms of organizing your essay, please try to use this format for now:

Paragraph 1: Introduce the topic, why it matters, and summarize 1 of the articles on BLM/Police Brutality that we’ve read.  Then also include YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT ARTICLE and YOUR THESIS (what you think should be done about racism/police brutality)

Paragraph 2: Explain 1 of your reasons why you think your THESIS (what you think should be done about police brutality) is right.  In your paragraph, please include an example (a story from your own life or that you’ve heard told by friends, on the internet, etc.) which helps your reader understand your reason for thinking your THESIS is right.

Paragraph 3: Explain 1 other (different/new) reason why you think your THESIS (what you think should be done about police brutality) is right.  In your paragraph, please include an example (a story from your own life or that you’ve heard told by friends, on the internet, etc.) which helps your reader understand your reason for thinking your THESIS is right.

Paragraph 4: Counterclaim. Here, I want you to explain at least 1 reason why someone might disagree with your thesis.  Then respond to this imaginary person who disagrees with you.  Defend your view!

Paragraph 5: Conclusion.  In this paragraph, I want you to restate your THESIS (don’t copy & paste it; now that you’ve gained new insight from writing the essay, you should have new language for explaining your Point of View).  Also explain the broader outcomes for society that you hope will happen if more people take up your thesis and act on it.

Lastly (optional), you can include any questions about your topic that you want to come back to in a future essay.

1. Due Fri 7/17, 7p

Due Friday 7p.

  1. Read the following two articles (Reading Assignments 1 and 2):
    Mariame Kaba, “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police…”
    Tracey Meares’ “Policing: A Public Good Gone Bad” ? | Does Kaba (#1) accurately represent Meares’ views?
  2. Post a response below as a comment containing two parts. In Part A, I want you to tell me in your own words what you think the thesis of each article (#1, by Mariame Kaba and #2, by Tracey Meares) is. A thesis is a debate-able statement or opinion that an author tries to convince the reader to believe in.  What is Kaba trying to get us to believe in?  What is Meares trying to make us think?  Your responses in part A should answer these questions as best you can.
  3. In Part B of your work, I want you to write a 100-150 word summary for both articles. Place your summaries in your comment below (in the part labeled “B”); also save them in your Google Drive portfolio. Each summary should include the following:

–BEFORE YOUR SUMMARY: a list of 5 vocabulary words from the article (of your choosing); for each word, create your own sentence showing its meaning // THEN… Your summary:
a sentence introducing the author and title of the article: In “[Title of Article],” [Author Name] writes about…[topic of article]
discussion of at least 2 different perspectives on the main topic of the article—the author’s perspective as well as an opposing or different viewpoint as well (one that the author mentions or which is implied by the content of the article)
1 direct quotation with adequate context and introduction: Toward the end of her article, Turkle most clearly conveys her main point, that “____sentence-long quotation here____.”
discussion of important or confusing ideas/words/phrases in this quotation: The most important thing to notice in this passage is…. Something I find interesting/odd/confusing about this passage is….

OpenLab How-to Instructional Videos

I just made some very embarrassing but hopefully helpful instructional videos to help you get set up using OpenLab and City Tech email–as well as to show you how to respond to assignments with “Comments” and how to share your essays as “Posts.”
These 3 videos—Setup, Post, and Comment—should be available for you to view soon at the link below.