Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fall 2014 Syllabus

COA ENG 1A Spring 2014 Syllabus
Professor Wanda Sabir

ENGL 1A (42981)  Comp and Reading (Lecture) Tu 6:00PM - 7:50PM  A 202 Hybrid

Class Meetings: August 19-December 9; Holidays: Nov. 11(teacher absence October 14)
Final Exam Week: Dec. 8-12 (Portfolios due via e-mail by Dec. 12).

Final: Tuesday, Dec. 9, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Drop dates: Aug. 21 (w/refund); Aug. 31 (without/W); Nov. 15 (with/W).

Syllabus for English 1A: College Composition and Reading

English 1A is the first transferable college writing course. Don’t get nervous, hopefully you took English 201 and passed with a B or better. Perhaps you’re fresh out of high school, did okay on the placement exam and voila wound up here. Maybe you’re returning to college after a significant hiatus and aren’t confident in your writing, yet once again passed that placement exam, which, if you recall, tested grammar not writing.

Hang in there and you’ll do fine in the class if you:

1. Know what an essay is
2. Have written one before
3. Are ready to commit yourself to the task of reading, writing and thinking

Plan to have a challenging, yet intellectually stimulating 18 weeks, which I hope you begin by setting goals for yourself. Writing is a social activity; especially the type of writing you’ll be doing here. This is challenging in an on-line course, so effort needs to be placed in engaging dialogue with classmates. Comments need to be succinct, direct, on-point and demonstrate depth.

We always consider our audience, have purpose or reason to write, and use research to substantiate our claims, even those we are considered experts in. I believe we’re supposed to write about 8000 words or so at this level course. This includes drafts. What this amounts to is time at home writing, time in the library researching, reading documents to increase your facility with the ideas or themes you are contemplating, before you once again sit at your desk writing, revising, and writing some more.

Writing is a lonely process; perhaps one could say writing develops an appreciation for solitude.  Silence develops a keen creative process. No one can write for you. The social aspect comes into play once you are finished and you have an opportunity to share.

In the past I have used primary sources, for the past two years I have been using a textbook. It is my hope 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology, Third Edition by Samuel Cohen, will give students the kind of essay modeling often needed by beginning writers no matter how skilled. We will read the essays by topic, which means we will skip around in the book. We might not read all 50 essays, but we will make a serious dent in the book. You will definitely get your money’s worth (smile). And if an essay looks interesting, by all means read it. (Quite a few essays are on-line, not all; however, feel free to look. Unfortunately, the essays are not always accompanied by questions, which I think are helpful in unpacking the writing.

One of the primary goals of Freshman Comp is to familiarize students with academic scholarship, how one reads a variety of sources and then through synthesis comes up with new, often original, ideas. Scholarship is based on sound texts and the way the writer shares his or her document trail with the audience is through what is called in the humanities discipline MLA or Modern Language Association documentation in the form of both in-text and works cited pages at the end of the essay. There are specific standardized ways to note this research and at the end of the course, students might not have all of the forms memorized, but certainly students should leave the course a lot more familiar with how to find the answer in your grammar style book Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers Seventh Edition.  (We also use Owl at Purdue).

Students are encouraged to make an appointment to visit me in my cyber office, at least twice this semester. Come prepared with questions. It is a good opportunity for us to get to know one another.  In the introductory assignment, let me know what three days and times work best for you to chat with me. I will then post the schedule.

This semester we are looking at “happiness,” per author Gretchen Rubin year long quest. We will read her book and once a week in groups discuss our own “happiness projects.” We will read her book at the same time as reading the essays in our textbook to strengthen our grasp of rhetorical forms that is, narrative, expository and argumentative writing.

Note the reading list below for Rubin:
Aug. 25-29 prepare: pp. xviii-68; 293-294; 295-296. Read" The Happiness Project Manifesto." Skim the "Tips" section at the end of the book.

Note Reading Group Guide for your discussions in class & on Moodle (smile). Note "Suggestions for Further Reading" for your book report essay pp. 311-315.

Tentative Reading Schedule (by week)—students are encouraged to read ahead. Finish the book. I am going to juggle these dates. So check back.

Sept. 1-5 prepare: pp. 69-111
Sept. 8-12 prepare pp. 112-140
Sept. 15-19 prepare pp. 141-193
Sept. 22-26 prepare: pp. 194-220
Sept. 29-Oct. 3 prepare: pp. 221-292 (finish book)

50 Essays, Rules for Writers and They Say Reading Schedule
Week 1—
Aug. 19-24
Course Introduction
Writing Exercise; Response to Syllabus

Week 2—
Aug. 25-31

50 Essays: Sherman Alexie, “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” pp. 15-19; Getting Started and Finding a Focus (Hacker 1-18)

50 Essays: Frederick Douglass, “Learning to Read and Write,” pp. 129-35.
Sketch a plan (Hacker 19-23). Developing a thesis (Hacker 23-33).

Week 3—Sept. 1-7
Lec: Developing and Organizing Ideas 50 Essays: Gloria Anzaldua, “How to Tame a Wild tongue pp. 33-45. Hacker: “Revising and Editing (33-45).

50 Essays
: Nancy Mairs, “On Being a Cripple,” pp. 244-56; Hacker: Writing an Argument and Thinking Critically” (84-109)

They Say
: “Entering the Conversation” xiii-17

Week 4—Sept. 8-14
50 Essays: Maxine Hong Kingston: “No Name Woman,” pp. 221-33

Research Basics. Hacker pp. 419-451.

50 Essays: Sarah Vowell,Shooting Dad,” pp. 412-419.

Part 1. They Say 17-42

Week 5—Sept. 15-21

50 Essays
: Brent Staples, “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Spaces,” pp. 383-386.

Research essay workshop—sources

50 Essays
: Barbara Ehrenreich, “Serving in Florida,” pp. 136-145. 50 Essays: Susan Sontag, “Regarding the Pain of Others,” pp. 373-78.

They Say
: Part 1, The Art of Quoting pp.42-52

Week 6—Sept. 22-28

History and Politics

50 Essays: Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue,” pp. 396-402. Lec.: “The Five C’s of Style”

50 Essays: Bharati Mukherjee, “Two Ways to Belong in America,” pp. 280-83 or student choice.

They Say
: Part 2. “I Say,” pp. 53-67; 68-102.

Week 7—Sept. 29-Oct. 5
Race and Culture

50 Essays:
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son,” pp. 50-71

50 Essays: Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” pp. 203-20 and/or
N. Scott Momaday, “The Way to Rainy Mountain,” pp. 273-279.

They Say
: Part 2 con’t.

Week 8—Oct. 6-12
If there is time, students can choose 2-4 essays we haven’t read to analyze (smile).

50 Essays: Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue,” pp. 396-402

While we are reading these essays and reviewing the various writing concepts indicated, we will also consider the templates in They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (Second Edition) by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, Part 3, “Tying it all Together,” 103-138.

Weeks 9 -11Oct. 13-19; Oct. 20-26 & Oct. 27-Nov. 2
Students can choose 4 essays we haven’t read to analyze if there is time. 

They Say
, Review of Parts 1, 2, 3. Part 4: “I Take Your Point,” “What’s Motivating this Writer?” pp. 103-155.  Students can read on if they like section 13 and 14.

Essay due dates:
There are three major essays. Each is about the same length and has to use minimally three sources—all do not need to be cited. All essays use free paraphrases, direct quotes and block quotes. The first two essays are between 3-5 pages; this count does not include the bibliography and works cited page. The last essay is to be minimally 4-5 pages:

First essay on Rubin’s Happiness Project due for peer review: Monday, Oct. 6 with Initial Planning Sheet and Outline. Final draft due me Sunday-Monday, October 12-13.  There will be optional opportunities to have additional peer reviews the week the essay is due. However, I am also trying to take into consideration student schedules and not give too many firm dates except for assignment due dates and weekly discussion dates.

Second essay due dates:
Book approved for Book Report Essay about or by a happy person Sept. 22-29.

Book Report Essay Portfolio due date: Sunday-Monday, Nov. 2-3 with Initial Planning Sheet (IPS) and Outline.  Peer review Oct. 20-24.

Third and final essay due dates:

Final Essay on social entrepreneur (a person whose happiness is tied to service):
SE proposals due October 13-19; Peer review Nov. 17-20. Final draft due Sunday-Monday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.  Presentations which are a synthesis of your research on happiness finals week: Sunday-Friday, Dec. 7-12.

Reading Logs for Analysis

We will be completing chapter annotations on Rubin. In the annotation or reading log, note her changing definition of “happiness,” also note the scholars she cites who validate her query and the direction of her research. Include a brief summary of each chapter and what stood out most for you as a reader—of course this note will vary based on individual experience. See and for an example: 

Each Wednesday will be a Discussion Session on a topic related to the readings. Separately from the annotation keep a list of key vocabulary and arguments, with primary writing strategies employed: description, process analysis, narration, argument, cause and effect, compare and contrast, definition, problem solving. As Rubin’s year progresses month by month, she builds on previous lessons which she often repeats for her audience, just in case we forgot.

If you are struggling with grammar, let me know in an email. I will periodically give students tutorials to help develop writing skill sets, especially related to research –paraphrasing, summarizing, citing directly and the use of natural transitions. They Say, I Say, (one of your textbooks is a great resource for this.)

I do not expect error free work, but there are certain errors which at this level of composition I expect students to avoid, such as run-on sentences, which includes comma splices and fused sentences, also misuse of commas—too many or not enough (smile). I also expect sophisticated language and not over reliance on be-verbs. At this level students use strong active verbs and concrete rather than abstract language.

I do not expect students to be familiar with MLA or documentation for humanities courses. I would hope that you have had experience with research even if this involved looking for the best car for your money, or the best orthodontist for your crooked teeth (smile).  In the past, students have told me they skip the lesson and just do assignments. The lesson is where students develop skills to write polished essays. If you skip the lesson, which might be a video or reading or exercise (most often presented as a Forum), you will miss key information.

On-line courses require a lot of discipline. Make a schedule and keep to it, so you will not fall behind. Read ahead.
If you are near any Peralta college, all campuses have Writing Centers with skilled tutors. At COA the Writing Center and Tutoring Center in the Learning Resources Center (LRC) is located on the second level of the L-bldg. where the library is located. To use these services students have to enroll in the free class LRNE 501 (Supervised Tutoring). It takes 24 hours for the class to become effective, so enroll now.

Using 50 Essays, students will write essays demonstrating mastery of each rhetorical mode which fall between narration, exposition and argumentation (Cohen 9)—I happen to believe that everything is an argument (smile). These short essays (250 words max) will be an opportunity for students to practice for the larger essays which will determine their grade in the course.


These essays and comments on peers’ essays from 50 Essays and They Say, I Say are 25 percent of the grade.  Each of the shorter essays is minimally 250 words (1 page).
This does not include the works cited page.

The three mastery essays are 40 percent of the grade:

1. Happiness Project Narrative and Plan

2. Book Report Essay and presentation

3. Social Entrepreneur Profile

Profile and Presentation of an Entrepreneur whose service work brings happiness (the person has to be alive and living in Northern California). I do not expect students to complete their Happiness Project in a semester. We will read Rubin’s book, have lively discussions and use the subjects of our research to shape the important questions Rubin raises. How does your subject’s “Manifesto” read (Rubin 297)? What quote(s) do you resonate with most (Rubin 309-310)?

4. Presentation is 15 percent of the grade (Final).

5. The student portfolio is 20 percent of the grade.

6. Weekly Assignments are 15 percent of grade

7. Participation is 10 percent of the grade.  Showing up is important, it is not enough to pass the course, but it certainly counts.  If you show up and do well on the rest, you can get the A.

Research Project

Your research project will entail finding a happy person here in Northern California who is a social entrepreneur (business person). The person has to be alive. I would like students to look for a person whose service brings happiness to others and to him or herself. The paper will be about 4-5 pages. This will include a works cited page and bibliography.

New Heroes

Visit to read about social entrepreneurs. has another program call: Frontline World which also explores social entrepreneurship. Visit: We will explore this assignment more, later in the course. The Skoll Foundation lists many social entrepreneurs as does the San Francisco Foundation and other foundations and charities. You are profiling a person who is alive, not their organization.  We want to discover what motivates such a person.

Why socially responsible economics?

Too often people feel helpless or hopeless when there is a lot you can do as an individual as soon as you realize the answer lies inside of you. Rubin’s query comes back to this truism often. Choose an entrepreneur who lives in Northern California, someone you’d like to interview and perhaps meet. Students can work on the project together, share resources. Each person has to write his or her own paper, but you can make a group presentation if you like.

Weekly Discussion Group

Rubin has a website with the Happiness Project Group Starter Kit:

Each week we will look at topics from this Guide. Students will be required to participate in all Forums and respond to minimally two- three classmates.  You can always respond to more writers. Also, students are to look at writing and writers who do not have comments first. Students who miss deadlines are still required to respond to other classmate’s work to get credit for their assignments. If the work is late, the assignment might not get commented on in return, so make sure your work is in in timely manner, that is, by the deadline.

First Assignments:

Jot down briefly what your goals are this semester. List them in order of importance.






Second Assignment

Tell me about yourself

1. Your name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail answer, along with answers to the following questions:

2. What strengths do you bring to the class?

3. What skills or knowledge would you like to leave with once the class ends?

4. What can I do to help you achieve this?

Is there anything I need to know, such as a hidden disability, childcare issues, etc., which might jeopardize this goal?

Email your response to me: by Monday, August 25, 2014.

Third Assignment

This Assignment will be posted in a Moodle Forum (August 18-22).

Write a respond to the syllabus Moodle.  Include a summary of the goals and objectives. Materials, how you can get an A (smile). Make sure to include examples from the syllabus to support your points. Include your impressions, whether you think the syllabus is reasonable, any questions, and/or suggestions. This is our contract. I need to know that you read it and understand the agreement.

If ever a post is too personal for all eyes, students have the option of sending it to me at Let me know in advance or after it is sent, so you get credit for the assignment.

The Writing Center

The Moodle short essay assignments (250 words) (Forums) are practice analytical essays. The aim is lucid, precise, and clear prose. If you are also taking classes on a Peralta college campus, utilize the Writing Centers.  Many students who take on-line courses are not prepared for the rigor involved and can use support. Even if you are a great writer, this particular form of instruction involves many different skill sets that have nothing to do with composition. There is help available so seek it and ask for it so this experience is rewarding and satisfying. Success means completion. A passing grade is an A, B, or C.

Plan to visit the COA Writing Center (L-234-231, (510) 748-2132) weekly if you need extra help with your writing. Have a teacher evaluate your essays for form and content.

The Writing Center is a great place to get one-on-on assistance on your essays, from brainstorming and planning the essays, to critique in areas like clarity, organization, clearly stated thesis, evidence or support, logical conclusions, and grammatical problems. In the Writing Center there are ancillary materials for student use. These writing programs build strong writing muscles. The Bedford Handbook on-line, Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers on-line, Townsend Press, and other such computer and cyber-based resources are a few of the many databases available. There is also an Open Lab for checking e-mail, a Math Lab. All academic labs are located in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) or upstairs from the library.

Again, students need a student ID to use the labs and to check out books. The IDs are free. Ask in Student Services (A-bldg.) where photos are taken.

Have a tutor of teacher sign off on your essays before you turn them in; if you have a “R,” which means revision necessary for a grade or “NC” which means “no credit,” you have to go to the lab and revise the essay with a tutor or teacher before you return both the graded original and the revision (with signature) to me. Revise does not mean “rewrite,” it means to “see again.”

When getting assistance on an essay, the teacher or tutor is not an editor, so have questions prepared for them to make best use of the 15-20 minute session in the Lab. I will give you a handout which looks at 5 areas of the essay you can use as a guide when shaping your questions for your peer review sessions.  It is in Hacker under “global revisions” (36-37).  Please use these guidelines when planning your discussions with me also.

For more specific assistance, sign up for one-on-one tutoring, another free service. For those of you on other campuses, you can get assistance at the Merritt College’s Writing Center, as well as Laney College’s Writing Labs and of course Berkeley City College.

This is a portfolio course, so save a copy of all assignments from August – December.  Keep them in a folder on your flash drive or computer. It will make your portfolio assembly process a lot easier.  Hint: Save the assignments by portfolio: Happiness Project; Book Report Project; Social Entrepreneur Assignment.

You can average the grades to see how to weigh the various components. Participation is included in the daily exercises and homework portion of the grade, so if your attendance is exemplary, yet you say nothing the entire 18 weeks—translate, do not sign-into the Moodle website you lose percentage points. There will be extra credit assignments posted at random, so visit often (smile).

Correction Essays; Essay Narratives

All major essay assignments you receive comments on have to be revised prior to resubmission; included with the revision is a student narrative to me regarding your understanding of what needed to be done, that is, a detailed list of the error(s) and its correction; a student can prepare this as a part of the Lab visit, especially if said student is unclear over what steps to take. Cite from a scholarly source the rule and recommendations for its correction.

Student Learning Outcomes


Apply strategies for understanding and evaluating a range of professional and public writing and be able to express and synthesize the main ideas.


Assess clearly in writing the tools and materials in the workplace and in the community and be able to suggest changes in order to increase personal and institutional effectiveness.

Critical Thinking:

Recognize messages and arguments in speech and text, analyze and critique such messages, and act accordingly.

Diverse Perspectives:

Expand and deepen understanding of diverse life experiences and differing perspectives, identify their impact on written and spoken communication, and express sensitivity toward the values and ideas of coworkers, family members, and local and global neighbors.

More on grades, and portfolio

We will be honest with one another. Grades are not necessarily the best response to work; grades do not take into consideration the effort or time spent, only whether or not students can demonstrate mastery of a skill – in this case: essay writing. Grades are an approximation, arbitrary at best, no matter how many safeguards one tries to put in place to avoid such ambiguity. Suffice it to say, your portfolio will illustrate your competence. It will represent your progress, your success or failure this session in meeting your goal.

In past semesters, students have skipped the portfolio and/or the final. Neither is optional.

Office Hours

In your introductions give me a few times when you are available weekly for chatting with me and classmates in real time. It is okay if these times are late. Some of us burn the midnight oil (smile).  I am available Tuesday mornings 10-12 noon by appointment. I am also available by appointment Thursdays 4-6 p.m. My office, D-219 is located in the D-216 suite.  My campus number is (510) 748-2286. Leave messages on my cell number which I will share with you when you introduce yourselves to me. When I begin to teach my Saturday class, Sept. 6-Nov. 11, 9-2:35, if anyone wants to drop by the class (A 200) for extra help, please join us.

Let me know the day before, if possible, when you’d like to meet with me. I am more of a phone person. Texts are fine. If none of these times work, email me and we can set something up. I am on the island.

More on Logs

Keep a vocabulary log for the semester and an error chart (taken from comments on essay assignments). List the words you need to look up in the dictionary, also list where you first encountered them: page, book and definition, also use the word in a sentence. You will turn this in with your portfolio for 50 Essays and The Happiness Project.

Students are expected to complete their work on time. If you need more time on an assignment, discuss this with me in advance, to keep full credit. You lose credit each day an assignment is late and certain assignments, such as in-class essays cannot be made up. All assignments prepared outside of class are to be typed, 12-pt. font, double-spaced lines, indentations on paragraphs, 1-inch margins around the written work.  See OWL Purdue or Rules for Writers.


Plagiarism is ethically abhorrent, and if any student tries to take credit for work authored by another person the result will be a failed grade on the assignment and possibly a failed grade in the course if this is attempted again. This is a graded course.


Again, students are expected to visit the site weekly and complete assignments. You cannot skip weeks, if you find yourself locked out of class based on nonattendance, send me an email so we can talk (

Student Comments on Moodle

When commenting, make sure you are respectful of diverse opinions and at times agree to disagree. Stay on topic too.  Also, do not contact classmates outside of the Moodle forum. This is inappropriate and a violation of your classmate’s privacy. What is in the class stays in the class, that is, Moodle content cannot be copied and shared; ideas cannot be exploited. We would hope such protections allow students to freely share their ideas without fear.

Each writer is the legal owner of his or her work. 

Student Code of Conduct

Students are responsible for complying with all college regulations and for maintaining appropriate course requirements as established by instructors.

Disciplinary action may be imposed on a student for violation of college rules and regulations, the California Education Code, California Penal Code, and the California Administrative Code.
Student misconduct may result in disciplinary action by the college and prosecution by civil authorities. Misconduct that may result in disciplinary action includes, but is not limited to, the following violations:

2.  Willful misconduct which results in injury or death of any person on college-owned or controlled property, or college-sponsored or supervised functions; or causing, attempting to cause, or threatening to cause physical injury to another person.

7. Dishonesty such as cheating, plagiarism (including plagiarism in a student publication), forgery, alteration of misuse of college documents, records, or identification documents, or furnishing false information to the college.

8. The use, sale, or possession on campus of, or presence on campus under the influence of, any controlled substance, or any poison classified as such by Schedule D in Section 4160 of the Business and Professions Code or any controlled substance listed in California Health and Safety Code 11053 et seq.,an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind; or unlawful possession of, or offering, arranging or negotiating the sale of any drug paraphernalia, as defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 11014.5

9. Possession, sale or otherwise furnishing any firearm, knife, explosive or other dangerous object, including but not limited to any facsimile firearm, knife or explosive, unless in the case of possession of any object of this type, the student has obtained written permission to possess the item from an authorized college employee.

10. Willful or persistent smoking in any area where smoking has been prohibited by law of by regulation of the governing board.

11. Lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression on college-owned or controlled property, or at college sponsored or supervised functions; or engaging in libelous or slanderous expression; or expression or conduct which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on college premises, or substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the college.

12. Disruptive or insulting behavior, willful disobedience, habitual profanity or vulgarity; or the open and persistent defiance of the authority of, refusal to comply with directions of, or persistent abuse of, college employees in the performance of their duty on or near the school premises or public sidewalks adjacent to school premises.

13. Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administrative procedures or other college activities.

14. Committing sexual harassment as defined by law or by college policies and procedures; or engaging in harassing or discriminatory behavior based on race, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability, or any other status protected by law.

15. Persistent, serious misconduct where other means of correction have failed to bring about proper conduct.

Note:  I left out codes related to theft and aggressive acts against other persons, students or staff, such as assault or robbery or extortion or vandalism. I also did not include codes related to parking violations, unauthorized entry or use of college facilities.  I include codes students might not be aware of. All of the codes are in the College of Alameda Catalogue, 2009-2011, pages 212-213).

Class disruption (even on-line) or other violations can result in a two day or more suspension, failure or expulsion from the class or the college. Depending on the violation, a student can also be arrested and jailed.

Just think of it this way:
behave in a way that does not detract from another student’s positive learning experience. When in doubt, take the matter to the professor; do not get into an altercation with a classmate. If something inappropriate happens in class –on-line or in person, let me know. We are to maintain a professional relationship with each other. This is not the place to proposition or engage a classmate in conversation not connected to the course materials. Any attempt to do so is inappropriate and grounds for suspension and/or failure in the course. 

Students and staff have rights. In some of my classes in the past, I have noticed that some students are not familiar with the student code of conduct. I thought I’d share this with you so you would know what the codes are before you break them (smile). Most of it is common sense.

For the complete list as well as what laws protect students and the college, see the College of Alameda Catalogue.

Required Textbooks Recap:

Cohen, Samuel. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. Third Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print.

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Second or Third Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010. Print.

Hacker, Diane, and Nancy Sommers. Rules for Writers. 7th Editions. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martins. Print. If anyone has ©2006, make sure it has a sticker with “2009 MLA Update” indicated.

Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. New York: Harper, 2009. Print.

Students also need a dictionary. I recommend: The American Heritage Dictionary. Fourth Edition.

The Prepared Student

Stays abreast of the news or current events. Education is not limited to the classroom; true education changes lives, so in order to make the best impact, certainly one has to live in the world, that is, be aware of those people around you and situations where you have tools which are an asset to problem solving.

Buy a daily paper or read the news on-line. Listen to alternative radio: KPFA 94.1 FM (Hard Knock), KQED 88.5, KALW 91.7. Visit news websites:, Al Jazeera,,,,, CBS 60Minutes.

The syllabus and course schedule are subject to change, at the instructor's discretion, so stay loose and flexible.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Portfolio Checklist for Spring 2014

This checklist can serve as the table of contents. Put a grade, count or number of assignments or check next to the items to show inclusion in the portfolio.

Use as the second page to the portfolio, after the cover sheet. 
The arrangement of assignments that follow in the actual portfolio reflects this order.

Name ______________________________
Date ______________________________
Class including class code and semester ____________________
Address _______________________________________
Phone number __________________________________
Email address__________________________________

English 1A Composition and Reading (3 classes)

ENGL 1A (23973)  Comp and Reading A-ONLINE  Jan 21, 2014-May 23, 2014  
ENGL 1A (24853) Comp and Reading (Lecture) Sa 9:00AM - 12:50PM A 200
ENGL 1A (21951)  Comp and Reading (Lecture) Tu 6:00PM - 7:50PM  A 202 Hybrid

Portfolio Due Date Deadline: Sunday, May. 25 Noon via e-mail
Make sure you receive a receipt for your submission.
(If more time is needed, ask.)

Drop-in Portfolio assembly workshop(s) in A-205 _______________
Tuesday, May 20 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday, May 22 11-12:50 by appointment.

Grade justification:

What grade do you think you have earned this semester? Use evidence from your assignments to support this conclusion. 

1. Portfolio Essay 1 Reflection on COA Spring 2014, Professor Sabir’s English Class_______

The synthesis will look at the theme this semester: Happiness via Gretchen Rubin’s THP, student selection of a book by or about a happy person and lastly a profile of a person whose happiness is derived through service. In 50 Essays and the earlier essays by Frederick Douglass, Sherman Alexie, Malcolm X, and Helen Keller we also explored similar topics.

In an essay of 500-750 words (2-3 pages) reflect on the topic "happiness." Use your three essays (and the essay on the film Happy) as evidence.

How has this research impacted your life? What have you learned about yourself this semester? What have you learned about the discipline you are studying here: reading and writing that you plan to carry forth into your lifelong pursuit of learning and happiness?

2. Portfolio Essay 2 Reflection on revision process__________________

Look at the writing process and what you have been learning about yourself as a writer. Take two essays and talk about the planning, research and revision strategies you used. It helps to choose an early paper and compare to a later paper. Often you can more easily see the differences in your writing and a better example of mastery of certain concepts. Look at the role grammar plays in the writing process.

Also discuss skills you need to improve and how you plan to address that.

Include the two chapters from Writing with a Thesis, Diana Hacker's Rules for Writing, also references from OWL Purdue, in your bibliography. Site at least one of these sources in your analysis of your revision process. Also cite your essay(s) used as examples in this second essay.

This is a scholarly essay and it does count.

Additional narrative considerations for the portfolio essay:

The second essay has students look at the writing process and discuss their own writing process: the topics chosen, the information used, revision strategies, writing as a process. There should include a definition of the difference between editing and revising and a value statement on the place for both in composition.

I am really interested in discourse about audience and how that shapes or determines how the writer approaches her topic.

I am also interested in discussion of the revision process, and whether or not seeing writing as a work in progress or a draft, liberates or stagnates the creative process. (Students are to use examples from their writing to illustrate these points.)

I'd also like students to think about and give at three specific ways how they have grown as writers and thinkers this semester. Both essays will be between two and three pages (500-750 words). This does not include the works cited and bibliographies pages.

Give your essays a title.

Social Entrepreneur Portfolio

Planning _____________

List of sources (5) minimum in MLA format (post in the portfolio)_________

If included check off.
Essay: Planning Sheet, Outline, Thesis__________
First Draft (peer review)__________
Final Draft Grade ______________

Profiles of Social Entrepreneurs (3)__________

Book Report

Planning Sheet, Outline, Thesis___________
Final draft grade__________
Revision Goals Narrative(s)________________

The Happiness Project Essay Portfolio

Planning Sheet, Outline, Thesis___________
Final draft grade__________
Revision Goals Narrative(s)________________
Related Assignments (how many)_________
Reading Logs ________

They Say, I Say____________ (How many?)
NOTE: Only post Assignments here that you posted on the blog which are not a part of an essay portfolio. If the assignment is a part of an Essay Portfolio, do not repost.

Additional Cyber-Assignments and Freewrites (type them) (not connected to an essay)
How many?__________ (Post here in the Portfolio)

50 Essays+:

Frederick Douglass, Helen Keller, Sherman Alexie, Malcolm X____________

50 Essays Assignments includes Freewrites (how many?)________

Happy, the film, in class essay________


Extra Credit Assignment_________

Students can submit an essay from another course or discipline if the other teacher is okay with this provision. Include the assignment prompt, course and the grade. The essay has to use research and MLA style documentation, so certain courses are not applicable.

Teacher research

Can I use your work in presentations and publications? Would you like to be anonymous? If I plan on using your essays or work in a book, I will let you know and share any proceeds.

Yes, I agree._____________
No, do not use my work.____________

Final Grade

Portfolio checklist _____________
Portfolio Essay 1_______________
Portfolio Essay 2_______________
Portfolio Grade_________

Course Grade_________

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Today in class students did peer reviews on each other's Essay 2. I read the essays as well and gave free advice (smile).

Essays are due ASAP, Monday-Tuesday is good. I want to commend Yessica on her essay, it was excellent. I really like the books students chose. All the books have protagonists who deal with difficult topics with grace. I am looking forward to the book talks Saturday, May 10, 2014 in class. Bring your books. If you want to prepare a poster or powerpoint you can.

Also due next week are the 5-10 sources for the third essay in MLA format. Students were taught a new thesis sentence form, bring three potential sentences to class on your topic. Also use the back of the worksheet for your outline for this paper.

We read the essay on Muhammad Yunus and watched a New Heroes video from Youtube on him as well. This is a model for the third essay. The third essay is your final. It is the essay where you demonstrate your grasp of MLA and research scholarship. Each essay is building towards this final paper.

There were also handouts on Revision from Writing with a Thesis. We also went over the cyber-assignments not many students are completing. Make sure you read They Say, I Say. This coming week we are completing the final chapters: 8, 9 and 10. I will post the specific assignments later. Use these moves in the final essay. Each essay used specifics moves based on where we were at the time of the writing.

If you have been absent, call me or come to my Tuesday evening class, A-205, 6 p.m. We only have two more meeting left. Your final portfolio is due into me by Saturday, May 24, 2014.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Happiness Project Cyber-Assignment: Topic 7: Inspiration.

Topic 7: Inspiration.

First half of the meeting:
Resolutions report--how is everyone doing?

Second half of the meeting:

Activity: Talk about your sources of inspiration--books you loved, songs that lift you up, movies that resonate with you, quotations that you remember.

Everyone will leave with a long list of happiness-boosting books, music, and movies to check out.

You can post your responses here.

Revision Help

For those who are struggling with revision strategies. Perhaps these tools will help: (It is always best to connect the ideas. Conjunctions fail when the ideas are not related.)

They Say, I Say, Chapter 7, Cyber-Assignment 2 due April 21-26, 2014

Read Chapter 7, "So What? Who Cares?" (pp. 92-100).

Complete the exercises on pp. 100 and 101. For Exercise 2, use Essay 1, THP. Post the assignments here.

They Say, I Say, Chapter 6, Cyber-Assignment 1, Due week of April 21-April 26, 2014

Read They Say, I Say, chapter 6, "Skeptics May Object (pp. 78-90).

Complete exercises 1 and 2 (pp. 90-91). For Exercise 2, use Essay 1, THP as the writing you critique. Post exercises here.

Frontline World Cyber-Assignment Due April 21-26, 2014

Post all responses here.
Watch three (3) Frontline World Videos:

Students can also combine the Frontline programs with 1-3 of these profiles: 
Social Entrepreneur, Lailash Satyarthi:

To read about him visit:

Read about Mimi Silbert, founder of Delancy Street Foundation in San Francisco:


Muhammad Yunus
, 2006 Nobel Laureate, founder of Grameen Bank
Watch:    Read about:

Answer the following questions for each social entrepreneur:

1.Who is the social entrepreneur profiled?

2.What problem did the person profiled identify?

3.What is the name of the organization/business(es) they started?

4.Describe his or her relationship to the community served?

5. Why did the person decide to address this issue?

5b. How is the person connected to the community?

6. How does the entrepreneur ensure the community owns the process?

7. How is success measured?

8. What are the evaluative tools?

9. What did the Social Entrepreneur gain?

10. What did the community gain?

Respond to the following questions for all three. Post one response per video.

Your essay needs to answer all of these questions, you can structure it like a typical problem/solution essay or cause and effect.

Essay 3 Social Entrepreneur Essay

The first step is to define the terms:  Social Entrepreneur, then decide on a research plan. I have listed three (3) tutorials below. You do not have to do all three, chose the one that helps you most.

Define the terms: social, society, entrepreneur, "social entrepreneur", philanthropist and philanthropy. Be clear about the difference between a philanthropist and a social entrepreneur. Also define: hero, local, selfless, selfish, community, help, support, supporter. care, independence, money, wealth.

Here are a few links that define Social Entrepreneur:


Research Tutorials
1. Use the Research Process Tutorial to find a Social Entrepreneur.

3. (a bit general)

Logic behind assignment

I created this assignment after seeing the program: New Heroes on I wanted students to realize the power they possess to be the change in their communities they want to see, that one person can make a difference.

The question you want to ask after you have identified a person or two:

1. What motivated this person to want to change something in society?
2. How did this person get the community's support for the project?
3. What did the community gain?
4. What did the social entrepreneur gain?
Your essay needs to answer all of these questions, you can structure it like a typical problem/solution essay or cause and effect.

The person has to be alive. The person has to have been doing this work for 10-20 years. Well this is negotiable. Just make sure before you prepare your proposal that the person is well-documented.

Create a Bibliography

Next, you need to locate 5-10 sources on your subject to form a bibliography; you don't have to cite 10 sources. The sources can be published or broadcast interviews, books, articles, and films or you can interview the the person yourself.

Due dates

The Social Entrepreneur Proposal is due between April 21-April 26. The proposal needs to answer the questions you asked of the SE profiled in the 3 video assignments.

I will post a Cyber-Assignment link for the proposal for peer responses. Please also email me. Do not start the essay before the approval.

The planning sheet and 5-10 sources is due week of April 28-May 3.

The 5-10 sources are due April 28-May 3. 

The Initial Planning Sheet and Outline are due April 28-May 3.

The fast draft of essay is due May 3 for peer review.
The Essay 3 Portfolio is due May 10 for peer review.

Outline for the Assignment
Social Entrepreneur Essay
Worksheet for Assignment--Social Entrepreneurs: Engaged Citizenry

1. How to start:
Students need to explore the terms, entrepreneur, engaged citizenry, business, social good to grasp fully what it meant by the term: social entrepreneur. Another related, but different term is philanthropy. An entrepreneur is not necessarily a philanthropist. You need to know the difference and do not choose a philanthropist.

2.  Identifying the person to profile

This semester we are looking at a person whose happiness is connected to service.  Identify a business person who exemplifies this concept.

The person has to be documented, which means she cannot be new to this field. The person profiled cannot be you (smile) unless you meet all the criteria and present a convincing argument to me first (smile). I used to say the person couldn't be related to you, but that's okay as long as the other criteria are met.

I suggest students get the person approved as soon as possible so if you plan to interview the person, you have time to get on their calendar. Interviews are great as one of the sources cited in the essay. You need three or two other references for the paper. 

3. The Essay

Open with the problem statement. Be descriptive. Connect the solution to the problem and the organizational work to happiness for both the entrepreneur and the people involved, that is, the community partners and target population.
The thesis sentence names your social entrepreneur as a "happy" person who is addressing the problem identified in the introduction (which is the reason why they are happy).

Define what you mean by happiness in the essay, if not in the introduction, then somewhere near the beginning of the discourse, so we will know what you mean when you say "happiness." 

Body paragraphs
Background on the social entrepreneur and what brings them to the work. You can cite statistics here to illustrate the problem. 

Introduce the organization or business venture. Does the work grow out of the community? 
How do the SE and the community interact?

Are there any partnerships with other organizations and/or government?

Are there any peer reviews or industry reports?


What are the measurable results for the community? Share a story here.

What are the measurable results for the Social Entrepreneur. You could quote the SE here.

Your essay needs to answer all of these questions; you can structure it like a typical problem/solution essay or cause and effect.
The person has to have been doing this work for 10-20 years (the length of time is negotiable, see me). 


1. You need to locate 5 sources on your subject to form a bibliography; you don't have to cite them all. The sources can be published or broadcast interviews, books, articles, and films or you can interview them yourself.
2. You will have three citations: 1 in-text citation, one paraphrase, and one block quote in the essay. The rest of the writing has to be your own. The essay should be about 4 pages of writing.
This does not include the works cited page or bibliography.

This paper is your final.