My curriculum design in Composition 1 and 2 is motivated by the lack of proper and thorough instruction I received in persuasive and research writing throughout my secondary, undergraduate, and graduate career. I give my students carefully constructed assignments that provide scaffolding for the next assignment, and the next, and the next, until by the end of the semester they are writing complex, cohesive, clear papers demonstrating mastery of a subject area and original, critical thought. Each assignment is presented with an assignment description that serves as the rubric for that assignment (100% is divided by the number of required elements described by the rubric). I do not care about formatting, punctuation, spelling, or grammar except in certain assignments, such as the annotated bibliography or the final draft of any assignment requiring more than one draft.
I did a great deal of reading on language acquisition and skills mastery while preparing for my doctoral research. My conclusion is that, in a composition classroom, the best way for me to improve my students’ reading and writing skills is to model certain skills and formats and then get the students to read and write as much as possible, using the skills and formats I have modeled. Specific instruction and practice in skills (“skills and drills”) can be provided by the college Writing Center.
Any handout that is not attributed to another originator in print on that handout or in its listing on this page is my own original work.
How We Make Knowledge
- Dewey, John. How We Think. The Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading. 1910. New York: Barnes and Noble. 2005. Text.
- Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam. 2006. Text.
- Latour, Bruno., and Steve Woolgar. Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. 2nd ed. 1979, SAGE Publications. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1986. Text.
- Tancredi, Laurence R. Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals about Morality. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2005. Text.
Reading and Taking Notes
How to Read a Book from Paul N. Edwards, School of Information, University of Michigan (used by permission)
Dogs Decoded, a documentary film that uses the same outline as a formal research paper, providing good practice in identifying key ideas and supporting testimony
Bare-Bones MLA Paper Format, given in formats for various operating systems. I also provide one in RTF, which is not recognized or accepted by WordPress.
- MLA Paper Format for English 122 DOC
- MLA Paper Format for English 122 DOCX
- MLA Paper Format for English 122 PDF
Bare-Bones Paper Format Instructions for Students
The PDF file is only for reference. Compare the PDF file to the file that opens on your computer to make sure the formatting of the other file remains correct.
Download whichever attached file (.docx, .doc, .rtf) works your computer. Test it on your computer to make sure it opens and still looks like the PDF. Post a copy of your downloaded file in the correct place on Blackboard (this is so students will post their writing in a format my computer can read).
Transitions and sentence templates are included in the back of Graff & Birkenstein (see Course Texts). I also connect students with good websites for transitions:
- The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Transitions
- Study Guides and Strategies: Transitional Words and Phrases
- BYU Writing Center: Transitions
The Research Process
Sample Student Work
Examples of Scholarly Papers
- Example 1, Panksepp and Bergdorf, “‘Laughing’ Rats and the Evolutionary Antecedents to Human Joy?”
- Example 2, Simonet, Versteeg, and Storie, “Dog-Laughter: Recorded Playback Reduces Stress-Related Behavior in Shelter Dogs”
Examples of Non-Scholarly Papers
- Example 1, Lovgren, “Animals Laughed Long Before Humans, Study Says”
- Example 2, Allan, “Quieter Shelter Dogs? It’s a Laughing Matter”
Research Paper Draft 2
Research Paper Draft 3
Research Paper Final Draft