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Fcat Style Essay

By JAMIE N. STEPHENS
School of Communication
University of Miami

“During the school year kids like myself are made to feel like FCAT is pretty much our life because of the constant pressure we have to make our teachers and school look good. So, if you don’t pass the FCAT in March you kind of feel like this dumb person. A lot of students in my school who don’t pass the FCAT are being held back now but during the school year they get As and Bs and I just think that isn’t fair.”

Marcel Wolfgang Dussard, 14
aspiring social worker,
eighth grader
Coral Springs Charter School
Coral Springs, Fla.

In South Florida, there is a major concern regarding the FCAT (the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) and how the public and communities (teachers, students, parents, and administration) view the major impact of standardized testing on the futures of our youth.

Tracy A. Sumpter, a Greater Miami YMCA Grant Contract Compliance Supervisor and  Florida International University graduate addressed the social and emotional impact standardized tests like FCAT have on youth today.

With six years of experience in youth services and Public Administration, Sumpter stated that the exam is not helpful to most school children.

“For the most part I have seen more of a negative effect of standardized testing on youth’s emotional and social development,” Sumpter stated.“Children of testing age seem to suffer from stress in result of worrying about passing the test; and negative results more often than not yield low-self-esteem, higher incidents of seclusion and lower academic progress. Children who pass the test are just happy to be done with it and gain no real sense of achievement.”

Essentially, how do schools use standardized testing?

Standardized testing is a form of assessment. Schools use standardized tests to determine if children are ready for school to track them into instructional groups; to diagnose for learning disability, retardation and other handicaps; and to decide whether to promote, retain in grade, or graduate many students. Schools also use tests to guide and control curriculum content and teaching methods.

Niah Thompsom, a first-grader at South Miami Community Center, reads a 2nd grade level book in the Center’s Education room (Photo by Jamie N. Stephens).

FCAT is administered annually, to all public school students in grades three through 11. Students in grades three through 10 are required to take the reading and math portion every year.

Private and parochial school students are not required to take the FCAT.

“Standardized tests seem to be a double edged sword. On one hand they can help a student get the extra necessary academic assistance they need depending on test results in particular subjects or all around. On the other hand failing one particular test can spell the end of a child’s progress academically and professionally. A huge flaw in the system is the exclusion of standardized testing in private schools, while they are mandatory for public schools. Again it goes back to what type of resources and academic tools a child has at their disposal in order to be successful,” said Sumpter.

Students’ results from the FCAT are compiled to generate an overall score or grade for each public school. Under this plan, public schools receive a grade from A to F, depending on student performance and the degree to which the bottom 25 percent of the school has improved compared to its past performances. The higher a public school scores, the more funding it receives.

After passage of the “No Child Left Behind Act” by the U.S. Congress in 2001, the mandatory passage was moved from fourth grade down to third grade. In addition to the third grade requirement, public school students in Florida must also pass the 10th grade FCAT, not only in reading, but also in mathematics, in order to be eligible to receive a high school diploma.

“I’ve been teaching in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system for 34 years with most of those years taught at Coral Gables High School in Florida, so when the “No Child Left Behind Act”came into play in 2001, I said to myself, “now I don’t know how they (legislatures) expect children to absorb and utilize some of these standardized methods when they barely remember or use them in their current professions themselves. Though their intentions are well, ultimately they need to better understand the student evaluation process from a teacher’s point of view said Dr. Joyce Corces, former mathematics teacher, high school department head and University of Miami Teaching and Learning department faculty educator and lecturer.

“A plague has been sweeping through American schools, wiping out the most innovative instruction and beating down some of the best teachers and administrators. Ironically, that plague has been unleashed in the name of improving schools. Invoking such terms as “tougher standards,” “accountability,” and “raising the bar,” people with little understanding of how children learn have imposed a heavy-handed, top-down, test-driven version of school reform that is lowering the quality of education in this country,” wrote education critic Alfie Kohn, from his novels, The Schools our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards,” and  The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools.

First graders play and interact in Murray Park’s playground during outside activities of South Miami Community Center after-school program (Photo by Jamie N. Stephens).

Many South Florida parents, teachers, students and community leaders downright protest FCAT and accuse it’s standardization of being unfair and potentially biased to low-income minorities.

“Though there are good points of standardized testing like, for example, how it makes teachers more aware that they are accountable there are also disadvantages. For one, the school system is trying to make every kid achieve a certain level despite their background or ability and furthermore there are a major portion of kids who just aren’t good test takers and its wrong that we subject them to tests like FCAT,” stated Corces.

According to Fair Test, the National Center for Open and Fair Testing, in October 2003, the Florida chapter of the NAACP filed a federal civil rights complaint against the state’s education department alleging that the FCAT discriminates against minority students whose schools lack the resources white students have to pass the test.

Since minority schools often have poorer facilities and resources, the NAACP said, Florida violated its constitutional duty to give an equal and quality education to all students. Federal court decisions in the 1970s and 1980s in the Debra P v Turlington case established that the state had to provide an adequate opportunity to learn before imposing a graduation test.

Ultimately, most teachers when they’renot teaching math and reading claim that they are teaching test prep strategies and taking assessments.

Stephanie Blum, a special education seventh and eighth grade science instructor at Zelda Glazer Middle School who has taught for 22 years in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system notes that FCAT has made some progress in pushing reading levels, as she’s seen 10th grade student’s much closer to grade-level reading in comparison to the early 1980s and late 1990s when she witnessed many of them struggling on third grade reading level.

“Because there is so much pressure, its taken away the love of learning. Kids aren’t as eager to learn and with teachers it takes away a lot of the creativity. They tell us weekly what to do so the art of teaching is sort of lost,” said Blum.

Research in child development confirms that both formal and informal teaching styles are dually important in the classroom in order for students to successfully learn into the future.

“There has to be a balance and equal framework of what we need to accomplish and our flexibility during the school year. We need to be allowed to be creative and autonomous as long as we accomplish success at the end of the term,” said Blum.

In a detailed October 2001 survey, from Fair Test., Miami-Dade teachers expressed strong opposition to the FCAT. According to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Office of Research, 87 percent said decisions should not be based on a single test, though the FCAT is now a graduation exam.

Three-quarters believe classroom grades should determine student promotion, and two-thirds think grades should determine high school graduation. Eighty-two percent said the test unfairly impacts minorities, and 74 percent think there is too much teaching to the test, with 62 percent concluding this hurts the quality of education.

“Standardized testing presents the problems of “teaching for a test.” The pressure that passing the tests causes, often limits the information we teach a student within the school year. It also creates the issue of sustaining the focus of the students once the test has been completed. Students often believe that once testing is over, they no longer have new information to learn for the duration of the school year,” said Tia Hendricks, a first-year educator and sixth grade substitute math teacher in downtown Miami.

In June 2003, when FCAT was at its height of failing South Florida youth, particularly adolescent minorities, a prominent Miami-Dade public official and second term President of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP (the nation’s oldest civil rights organization) Bishop Victor T. Curry, referred to the FCAT as the “Florida Child Abuse Test.”

He also argued that it was unfair for the state to withhold diplomas from seniors who do not pass the 10th-grade FCAT and automatically retain third-graders for failing the FCAT reading test.

“We’re not saying our children are not intelligent enough to pass a test,” he said. “What we’re fighting against is what is called high-stakes testing…one test should not determine a child’s future,” stated Curry.

Florida Department of Education’s 2010 FCAT Demographics Report graph displaying 10th grade FCAT passing percentages for the Miami-Dade County district schools (Graphic by Jamie Stephens).

“States and districts should not bar students from graduating based solely on standardized test scores. The Standards on Educational and Psychological Testing of the American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association and National Council on Measurement in Education states that a major decision about a student should not be made “on the basis of a single test score.”

“It seems as if students are suffering from academic burn-out at an early age. While tests are important to gauge a student’s progress over a period of time, using one test to determine a child’s academic success seems to hurt rather than help,” said Sumpter.

“In 2003, approximately 12,500 Florida high school seniors were denied diplomas because they had not passed the FCAT. Of the 6,500 students in the Miami-Dade school district who had not passed by March 51 percent were Hispanic and 41 percent were African American. In addition, approximately 40,000 third graders state-wide were threatened with being retained on the basis of their FCAT scores,” according to Fair Test, The National Center for Open and Fair Testing.

According to Fair Test, “students from low-income and minority-group backgrounds are hurt the most by these standardized tests as more of these particular students are likely to be retained in grade, placed in a lower track, or put in special or remedial education programs when it is not necessary. This only ensures they will fall further and further behind their peers. On the other hand, children from white, middle and upper income backgrounds are more likely to be placed in “gifted and talented “or college preparatory programs where they are challenged to read, explore, investigate, think and progress rapidly.

Furthermore, states should allow schools and districts to use high-quality alternatives to end-of-course exams. For example, the New York Performance Standards Consortium won the right to substitute performance assessment tasks in lieu of four out of five high stakes Regents exams. This approach to assessment leads to innovative curricular design and teaching. Studies of the consequences of such alternatives, including success in college, should be conducted, as the Consortium schools have done.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests. Other nations use performance-based assessment where students are evaluated on the basis of real work such as essays, projects and activities. Ironically, because these nations do not focus on teaching to multiple-choice tests, they even score higher than U.S. students on those kinds of tests,” says Fair Test.

Often standardized testing especially that of the FCAT which is required for graduation is viewed negatively by parents, educators and employers in terms of successful academic and professional attainment for youth.

“Having taught high school in the past we forced every kid in Dade County to pass Algebra II in order to graduate with a diploma (this went into effect in late 90s). Now my thinking is if your whole goal in life is to be a nail technician then do you really need to pass Algebra II?” said Blum.

“As far as what the government, educators and parents can do to intervene or prevent potential health or social risks such as stress during the FCAT, my suggestion is that a long hard look be taken in regards to the overall effectiveness of standardized test and whether the results they yield are true indicators of students’ academic success or potentially failing school systems. Parents should get more involved and raise their own awareness about how these test are really affecting their children,” said Sumpter.

“The bottom line is that standardized testing can continue only with the consent and cooperation of the educators who allow those tests to be distributed in their schools – and the parents who permit their children to take them. If we withhold that consent, if we refuse to cooperate, then the testing process grinds to a halt. That is what happened in Japan. That is what can happen in the United States if we understand the urgency of the situation,” said Kohn.

So, are there better ways to evaluate student achievement or ability or is standardizing testing like FCAT truly enhancing our students’ education and futures? All in all, many South Floridians argue yes there are better ways such as good teacher observation, documentation of student work and performance-based assessment, all of which involve the direct evaluation of student effort on real learning tasks.

Whether society agrees or disagrees with FCAT and standardized testing in general, one thing that’s undeniable is its long-lasting impact on the youth that have to take it and pass it. As a community; teachers, parents, students and legislatures must make stronger efforts to work together to enhance our children’s future education and overall prosperity.

“I tell teachers all the time that we have to constantly tell our children that they can do it because if you believe in them children will always appreciate it. Believing in a child will cause them to believe in themselves that much more. Research will tell you that parent involvement is most important in a child’s education but you need good teachers also. It’s a partnership: the teachers need to hear from the parents and the parents need to work with the legislators and the legislators need to work with the community. Ultimately, education is about the students and working together to better our children,” said Corces.

First Year Composition Mission Statement
First-Year Writing courses at FSU teach writing as a recursive and frequently collaborative process of invention, drafting, and revising. Writing is both personal and social, and students should learn how to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Since writing is a process of making meaning as well as communicating, FYW teachers respond to the content of students’ writing as well as to surface errors. Students should expect frequent written and oral response on the content of their writing from both teacher and peers. Classes rely heavily on a workshop format. Instruction emphasizes the connection between writing, reading, and critical thinking; students should give thoughtful, reasoned responses to the readings. Both reading and writing are the subjects of class discussions and workshops, and students are expected to be active participants of the classroom community. Learning from each other will be a large part of the classroom experience. If you would like further information regarding the First-Year Composition Program, feel free to contact the program director, Dr. Deborah Coxwell-Teague at dteague@fsu.edu.

Our Course Goals
This course will help you to grow as a writer and a critical thinker by encouraging you to explore the ways that the expectations of college writing may differ from what you have experienced in the past. We will be discussing not only the process of writing, but also other tactics that may lead to academic success at Florida State University.

This course aims to help you improve your writing and communication skills in all areas: discovering what you have to say, organizing your thoughts for a variety of audiences, and improving fluency and rhetorical sophistication. Much of this exploration and growth will be done through personal writing as well as narrative scholarship (using a mixture of your own personal experiences in addition to what you’ve read in course materials). Please remember that you are always in control of how much you choose to share and who you share it with. Keeping this in mind will not only keep you within your safety zone as a writer, but will also encourage you to gain a better understanding of how you, as a writer, will choose to interact with different audiences. The goal of this class is not to get you to spill your guts about your deepest, darkest secrets, it’s to help you become a better writer. If you ever feel like the previous sentence is not true of the class, please come chat with me during office hours and we can figure out what adjustments may need to be made.

Required Materials

  • On Writing 4th Edition, FSU Edition (Bishop) (OW on the schedule)
  • The New McGraw-Hill Handbook (Maimon, Pertiz, Yancy) (MH on the schedule)
  • Our Own Words available at http://english3.fsu.edu/writing/oow
  • Access to a Computer (the university provides a number of computer labs)

 

Requirements of Course
All of the formal written assignments below must be turned in to me in order to pass the course. (If you have questions about what “all” means, please come see me and I can clarify.) Attendance is also a requirement. More than three absences in a 6 week course is grounds for failure. Three “tardies” will constitute an absence.

Evaluation
5 Short Essays: 25% (5% per paper)
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: 20%
Success Plan: 30%
Final Presentation: 5%
Journals: 15%
Participation: 5%
ALL FORMAL PAPERS MUST BE COMPLETED AND TURNED IN TO EARN A PASSING GRADE IN THIS COURSE (This includes any drafts I ask for as well).

Attendance
I take attendance every day and will adhere to the First-Year Writing rule that an excess of three absences in a 6 week class is grounds for failure. All absences, no matter what the reason, count toward the total number. Save your absences for when you actually need them and not just to hang out on Landis Green with your new friends, who, I’m sure, are awesome, but not awesome enough to fail a class for. Seriously, no one is worth failing a class for and if they’re really your friends they’ll understand and if they don’t, they’re jerks. (Just my opinion, maybe they’re lovely people who just don’t understand about attendance policies, who knows, the point is, no more than three absences).

If you are late to class (and/or a conference) three times, it will be counted as an absence. Not showing up for a conference counts as an absence and will make me feel like being stood up for the Homecoming dance freshman year. He said he had an asthma attack, he’d never mentioned having asthma before. This made me sad. Don’t make me sad….plus, it’ll count as an absence.

First-Year Composition Course Drop Policy
This course is NOT eligible to be dropped in accordance with the “Drop Policy” adopted by the Faculty Senate in the spring of 2004. The Undergraduate Studies Dean will not consider drop requests for a First-Year Composition course unless there are extraordinary and extenuating circumstances utterly beyond the student’s control (e.g.:death of a parent or sibling, illness requiring hospitalization, etc.). The Faculty Senate specifically eliminated First-Year Composition courses from the University Drop Policy because of the overriding requirement that First-Year Composition be completed during students’ initial enrollment at FSU.

Reading/Writing Center
The RWC offers one-on-one help for students with their writing, whether they need help with a writing problem, understanding what their teacher wants, or just want to do better on their writing assignments. Your fees have already paid for this service, so it’d be silly not to use it. The RWC has tutors available in the Williams Building, The Johnston Building, and in Strozier depending on times and availability. Find more information about how to schedule an appointment at their website: http://wr.english.fsu.edu/Reading-Writing-Center

Plagiarism
Plagiarism is grounds for suspension from the university as well as for failure in this course. It will not be tolerated. Any instance of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism which means turning in the same paper for two classes without the permission of BOTH instructors even if the classes are not happening during the same semester or even from the same school) must be reported to the Director of First-Year Composition and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Plagiarism is a counterproductive, non-writing behavior that is unacceptable in a course intended to aid the growth of individual writers.

Plagiarism is included among the violations defined in the Academic Honor Code, section b), paragraph 2, as follows: “Regarding academic assignments, violations of the Academic Honor Code shall include representing another’s work or any part thereof, be it published or unpublished, as one’s own.” Additionally, turning in work you have completed for another course without prior permission from both the past and the current instructor will be considered plagiarism. A plagiarism education assignment that further explains this issue will be administered during the second week of class.

The Civility Clause: Don’t be a jerk. In this day and age we know what that means in its many manifestations. You have the right to express your opinions and others have the right to be in a safe environment, thus we must all learn to balance these two things in our writing and in our everyday lives. Let’s start getting the hang of it now.

The Cupcake/Doughnut Clause: If your cell phone goes off or you are caught using your cell phone or laptop in class for a non-class related purpose (stupid smart phones making this more complex!), you will need to bring cupcakes or doughnuts (or something else delicious) for all of your classmates to make amends for the disruption. If you decide not to bring in the treats, you will take a 5 point deduction on your final grade for each occurrence. Easiest way around this? Turn off your phone and forget you have it while you’re in class.

On Late Papers, Revisions, and All That Jazz
This class is only six weeks long. We’re going to be running hard and fast the whole time, I don’t recommend getting behind in your work. But, that said, you’re a human being, and maybe it’ll happen. If you are unable to turn a paper in during class on the due date do NOT email me a copy. Do NOT email me a copy!!!! I understand that you’re trying to “prove” you had it done on time, but the fact is, you didn’t. Done would mean printed out and handed in during class. You can however turn your hard copy in late. Any paper in the box on my door (Williams 314) by the next time I’m on campus (which can be anywhere from one day to four days depending on when it is, not a gamble you want to take though), will receive a one letter grade deduction. The paper will go down a letter grade for each day I arrive to campus after that until the paper is turned in.

If you would like to do revisions on an essay you may do so unless it’s the last paper due, or you got an A- or A on the paper the first time OR had points deducted for the paper being late. Again though, we are jamming this course. 6 weeks to do all this writing! Do your best the first time around and with any luck you won’t need to take advantage of this, but if you do: Revisions are due the last day of class in hard copy at the start of the appointed class time (8:00 am).

Gordon Rule
Successful completion of all writings in this course and a final course grade of C- or better will allow you to satisfy the Gordon Rule requirement.

American Disability Act
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should in the FIRST WEEK OF CLASS . For accommodations, you must register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) and bring a letter to me from SDRC indicating the need for academic accommodations. This and all other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

 

Papers and Projects

5 Short Essays: 25% (5% per paper), 10-15 pages (2-3 per paper)
Due Dates: June 27, July 8 (for material covered the previous week), July 11, July 18, July 25
Each week you will be asked to write a 2-3 page paper connecting the week’s reading to the world outside the classroom. I’ll provide a topic as a guideline, but you’re not required to adhere to it strictly. Follow what you find most important to discuss about the readings and the world. What you ARE required to do is write 2-3 pages of lucid, interesting prose in 12 point font (Times New Roman), 1 inch margins, double-spaced and turn it in to me as a HARD COPY on the day it is due. You are also required to cite EACH of the week’s readings at least once in the essay. This should be done in MLA-style. Papers will be due in HARD COPY (oh, did I say that twice AND bold it? If you try to turn it in to me as a digital copy….just don’t do it. Best case scenario is that I just won’t accept the paper and will let you live. Worst case……).

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: 25%, 6-8 pages
Due Date: July 8
Who have you been as a student? What were middle school and high school like for you? What was elementary school like for you? The audience for this paper is comprised of past and future instructors, not peers. You must present yourself in a professional manner, but in a human and personable manner. This is not an easy task. This paper will have three sections The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. The first sections are self-explanatory, the third section you get to define for yourself. Each section will be approximately 2 pages long and will contain a description of an overall pattern in your education (can be a pattern during just part of your education, but must involve more than just one incident). Each section will also include a detailed description of one specific moment that exhibits this pattern as well as what meaning you draw from this pattern and this event. The paper will be evaluated on coherence and flow of thought, use of tone to convey personality and meaning, and concise yet effective use of language. Oh, and this might go without saying, but, 12 point Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, double spaced, hard copy.

Success Plan: 25%, 6-8 pages
Due Date: August 1st
Draft Due for Peer Review: July 25th
Florida State University typically has between 40,000 and 41,000 enrolled students, around 80% of which are undergraduates. That means you have between 32,000 and 33,000 “peers” here at FSU. Not to freak you out or anything, but that’s a lot of people. Forget being a big fish, it’s gonna’ take a plan just to not get eaten in this pond. This paper will ask you to make a plan for your successful career as a student at FSU. There will be three audiences for this paper: one is yourself on a good day, one is yourself on a bad day, and the other is your current instructor (me!). Although you must also keep in mind that you will be sharing this project with a peer during the peer review process. The paper will have four sections.
The first section will clearly articulate and provide a rationale for your goals while at FSU. Providing a rationale means that you will need to support your choice of these goals. If your goal is to be on the Dean’s List here at FSU, your rationale will need to be something other than “Well duh, good grades are good, everybody knows that” Why is it important (or rather, why is it important to you, because your reasons may be different from those of your peers or society at large)?
The second section will be an explanation of the resources you either have access to or will need to find access to in order to achieve your goal. Example: If part of your success goal is to travel abroad while at FSU, one of your resources might be money. How can you getappropriate access to this funding?
The third section will be an explanation of the challenges you think you may encounter in reaching your goals. These challenges may be systemic or internal or a mixture of both. Example: If your goal is the Dean’s List every semester and you know what you’re not a morning person but a class you need in the fall is only offered at 8 am, well, you’ve got yourself a challenge here. You are not required to explain how you will deal with these challenges, but you may if you’d like.
The fourth section will be written in the voice of youon August 1, 2018. It’s been five years since you wrapped up your first semester at Florida State University. Where are you? What have you accomplished? What are your new goals in life? Is this voice different from the voice of you now? Show you have an understanding of voice and tone.

Remember that throughout this piece, you are in control of how much personal information you share. Never share more than you’re comfortable sharing just because you think it’s somehow “required” by the assignment. If you’re struggling with this, come talk to me and we can figure out a way that allows you to successfully complete the project without leaving your emotional safety zone or making you feel forced to write about something you don’t want to write about. Oh, and this might go without saying, but, 12 point Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, double spaced, hard copy.

Final Presentation: 5%,
Due Date: July 30 or 31
The final presentation is mainly to give you experience getting up in front of a classroom by yourself. Depending on your major, you may have to do it two or three times a semester or you may never have to do it again. It’s good to give it a go with a small audience. You will need to present something interesting about FSU to your peers (and me and the teaching intern). You will need to have one visual (visual can include digital image). Your audience for this presentation is comprised of your peers. Wait, let me amend that, it’s “your peers in a classroom setting.” That’s a tricky audience to prepare for. You want to be engaging and cool, but there are certain lines you can’t step over. The “something interesting about FSU” can be anything from a cool resource you’ve discovered to a ghost story about one of the residence halls on campus. During the 5th week of the course I’ll ask you to share with me what your “something interesting” is going to be (you won’t have to know exactly how the presentation will go at that time), this will allow me to head off any duplicate presentations, or at least as much as possible. If you know before the 5th week what you want to present on, please let me know since if there’s a duplicate it’ll be a “first come, first served” sort of situation with topics. Presentations will be around 5 minutes. They will be graded on your ability to meet your audience’s needs, the uniqueness of the presentation and information, clarity of information presented, and accuracy of information presented.

Journals: 15%
Due Dates: Will be collected randomly in class twice during the semester.
BRING YOUR JOURNAL TO CLASS EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!
Please keep your journal in a three prong folder. Note: This is NOT a big old plastic BINDER, just a little paper folder. But the three prong part is what’s important. This will allow you to continue to write journal entries even when I have your journal for grading. Please date each entry and write the prompt at the top of the entry. Please put page numbers on each page of the journal. I will be “spot checking” these journals, which means I won’t read every single word of every single entry that you make. I will be reading a few in detail and glancing over the rest to make sure you haven’t written “Noles noles noles” over and over for an entire entry. If there is an entry you do not want me to read in detail, please fold the corner of the entry down so I will know to only glance at that one. You will need a journal entry for every single reading assigned for class in addition to other prompts I will give you. Journal entries on the readings should include the main point of the reading as well as three highlights from the reading and your reaction to the reading. These journals will help you prepare your thoughts for the weekly papers (the weekly papers will be much more formal than the journal entries). You should spend at least an hour on journal entries per weekday between entries about the readings and the other prompts. Some of you may spend more. If you’re spending less than an hour on a consistent basis, you might not be doing what you need to do in order to do well on this part of your grade.

Participation: 5%
Due Date: Every class, June 24- August 1st
I don’t expect cartwheels and constant chatter from students, however I do expect attention and engagement. Knowing that that looks different for each individual, I request that if your attentive behavior might look inattentive to me that you please let me know within the first week of class so that I understand (Just remember, no one’s “attentive behavior” looks like texting or sleeping with their head on the desk, so don’t even try it. Also, no one’s “attentive behavior” looks like making snide remarks about the teacher to the person next to you. But if you have something funny to say about what’s happening in class [that we’ll ALL find funny, including me], I encourage you to say it out loud to the whole class unless you’d interrupt someone to do it and in that case, just hold off until there’s a break in the conversation and maybe you can still say it.)

 
Class Schedule
(Take a deep breath, it’s Summer Session C so we gotta’ jam on this)

Week 1
June 24: Introduction to class and to each other
Reading due: None

June 25: Relax, but work harder, faster, stronger
Readings due: “Shitty First Drafts” pg. 279 OW
“The Writer” pg. 19 OW
“Interview Excerpt: I find out that a story isn’t working or isn’t good enough in two ways” pg. 21 OW
“1,2,3…I’m Perfect Starting Now” Blackboard

June 26: Invention strategies: The Best Way to Get Started Writing Is to Write…or Not
Readings due: “Invention Exercises: Writing for Inspiration” pg. 243 OW

June 27: Is change possible?
Readings due: “Self-Regulation and Depletion of Limited Resources” Blackboard
Assignments due: 1st short essay

Week 2
July 1: Writing publicly about the personal (with a special guest appearance by The Plagiarism Exercise!)
Readings due: “The Helpful Link” pg. 118 OW
“Drop Everything and Read” pg. 110 OW
“Is English Your First Language” pg. 113 OW
“Going Home Again” pg. 75 OW
“Dyslexia” pg. 85 OW
I will have conference times available on this day also.

July 2: No class (Conferences)
Readings due: Chapters 38-46, pg. 612 MH
Assignments due: bring draft or outline of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” to conference.

July 3: No class (Conferences)
Readings due: Chapters 47-49, pg. 678 MH
Assignments due: bring draft or outline of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” to conference.

July 4: No class (Independence Day)
Readings due: Declaration of Independence: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Week 3
July 8: Goal Setting and Writing for an Audience
Readings due: “A Brief Explanation of Classical Rhetoric” pg. 134 OW
“Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning— When Your Read” pg. 186
“To Make a Prairie” pg. 156 OW
Assignments due: 2nd Short Essay and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

July 9: MLA Day

Readings due: Chapter 23, pg. 342 MH

July 10: I’ve Never Ever……
Readings due: “False Rules and What Is True About Them” pg. 542 OW
Assignments: Bring one of your first two short essays with you.

July 11: I’m Nobody! Who Are You?
Readings due: “Do People’s Self-Views Matter?” Blackboard
“Is Allure of Self-Esteem a Mirage After All?” Blackboard
“Imposters Have Goals Too” Blackboard
“I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15392
Assignments due: 3rd short essay

Week 4
July 15: Revisions vs. Editing
Readings due: “Transfiguration” and “How I Wrote the Moth Essay— and Why” pg. 299 OW

July 16: Time Management (or Oh! NOW You Tell Us!) and Paper Planning
Readings due: None

July 17: Stress and Anxiety: A Writer’s Worst Enemy (and Best Friend)
Readings due: None

July 18: TBD (These days will depend on how you all are doing on drafts for your Success Plans)
Readings due: TBD
Assignment due: 4th short essay

Week 5
July 22: TBD
Readings due: TBD

July 23: Conferences
Readings due: None

July 24: Conferences
Readings due: None

July 25: What Is Peer Review?
Readings due: “Responding- Really Responding- to Other Students” pg. 309 OW
“Summary of Ways of Responding” pg. 318 OW
Assignment due: 5th short essay and copy of Success Plan for peer review

Week 6
July 29: Peer Review Day
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Review Sheet for Peer Review Day

July 30: Presentations
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Presentations

July 31: Presentations
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Presentations

August 1: Course Evaluation and Wrap-Up
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Success Plan

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