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4th Quarter, Language Arts 09

0.0 Start Here (LA 9)

Course Description

Course Skills

Students will:

Engage in attentive reading, writing, and listening through complex works of literature.

Perform critical reading of digital and printed material.

Build knowledge and demonstrate strong reasoning abilities.

These skills, in reading; writing; speaking; and listening, are the foundation for any purposeful expression in language

Class Overview

This is a one quarter (.25 credit) class in Utah State High School Language Arts. 

WHAT THIS CLASS IS: This class is an open-entry, open-exit class. You can enroll at any time of the year, and finish the class as fast as you can get all the work done. 

WHAT THIS CLASS IS NOT: This class is NOT an easy way to get your English credit without doing real work. You will be required to work and learn.

PREREQUISITES

At least 8th grade level reading and writing skills.

A computer with internet access.

A working e-mail address which you check regularly.

Word processing software to type your assignments. Microsoft Word is best.

Acrobat Reader, QuickTime reader, and a PowerPoint reader (all available free online).

How You Will Be Graded

You earn points for doing assignments in this class. Each assignment has a maximum number of points you can earn if you do an excellent job on that assignment. You must do all assignments. You can also submit a revised, improved version of an assignment to get more points for it. Your final grade is determined by your average on assignments, and how you do on the final test. The assignments and quizzes count 75%, and the final test counts 25%.

GRADING SCALE

A 90-100

B 80-89

C 70-79

D 60-69

No credit - below 60

As with all EHS classes, you must also pass a proctored final test at the end of the class. If you score below 60% on the final, you will fail the class and not earn credit.  If you score at least 60% on the final test, your score on the final will be averaged with your scores for class assignments and quizzes to determine your grade in the class. 
 

Final Test

When you have finished all the assignments you need for your credit, you will take the final test under the supervision of a proctor approved by the EHS. You must pass the final with at least 60% to pass the class. 

About Homework

Writing Assignments

Grading rubrics will specify how you will be graded on each assignment submission. 

Class plagiarism policy

Plagiarism is copying someone else's work, in any way, and failing to give credit to the original author. Plagiarism is unlawful and unethical, and against the EHS Honor Code. 

How to turn in homework

IMPORTANT: always save a copy of all your homework on your own computer. Send in each assignment when it is requested in the course module section. 

About Me assignment:

 

Getting to know you! Copy and paste the following questions between the rows of asterisks below into a word document and answer them accordingly.

*******************************************************************

In a numbered LIST, provide the following information:

1. What is your first and last name, parent(s) name(s), and contact information for both you and your parent(s)? 

2. Where do you go to school? 

3. What is your counselor's full name and email address/contact information? 

4. What year will you graduate and have you read the EHS Honor Code and understand that this class needs to be finished within the 10 week limit?

In a few sentences, tell me about yourself being sure to answer the following questions in the process:

          a. Tell me something about yourself. 

          b. Why are you taking this class and what do you expect to get out of it? 

          c. What is one word that best describes you?

By the way, here is the EHS honor code: "As a student of the Electronic High School, I agree to turn in my assignments in a timely manner, do my own work, not share my work with others, and treat all students, teachers, and staff with respect."

00.00 *Student-supplied Items for English 9 (LA 9)

Most readings and viewings for this class are available free online or at your school or public library. You can also find digital copies of these texts in the URLs found in this module section.

  • First quarter: The Odyssey
  • Second quarter: To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Third quarter: Romeo and Juliet, and one book chosen from the list in the class
  • Fourth quarter: one book chosen from the list in the class

00.00 Start Here (LA 9)

Helpful information: Avoiding plagiarism  

00.01.01 Student Software Needs

 

Students need access to a robust internet connection and a modern web browser.

This class may also require the Apple QuickTime plug-in to view media.

For students using a school-issued Chromebook, ask your technical support folks to download the QuickTime plug-in and enable the plug-in for your Chromebook.

$0.00

19.00 Unit 19: Good Writing Techniques (LA 9)

President Jimmy Carter and his daughter Amy working on a speed reading course.: NARA, Carter White House Photographs CollectionPresident Jimmy Carter and his daughter Amy working on a speed reading course.: NARA, Carter White House Photographs Collection

Unit 19: Getting Started

In this introductory unit you will work primarily on language skills, as outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum for ninth grade English/Language Arts. You will review or familiarize yourself with rubrics, the six-trait model of evaluating writing, and the writing process. Topics in this unit include techniques that will help you improve your writing, sentence structure, clauses and phrases.  There will be several short assignments and quizzes. You should expect this unit to take you anywhere from about three to twelve hours, depending on how much you already know, and how much you need to review.

The "big idea" behind most of the assignments in this class:  Writers choose details, events and characters' words and actions to develop main ideas or themes; readers use details, examples and evidence to understand and infer main ideas or themes.

Class plagiarism policy:

Plagiarism is copying someone else's writing, either copying the exact words or copying the general organization, and paraphrasing some of the ideas. Copying someone else's sentences, phrases or ideas, and failing to give credit to the original author, is plagiarism. In some papers it is appropriate to quote someone else's exact words, but when you do, that section needs to be set off in quotation marks or otherwise set apart, and the author identified either in a sentence, or in a parenthetical note.  Then you need to supply a "works cited" list of sources at the bottom of your paper. This also applies when you use facts that are not common knowledge.  If you have not already done so, please review the information about plagiarism on the Start Here page and its links. Plagiarism is unlawful and unethical, and against the EHS Honor Code. If you turn in a plagiarized assignment, you will receive ONE warning. If the problem recurs, you may be dropped from the class with no credit.

19.01 Getting started (LA 9)

Wikimedia Commons, Tulane Public Relations, CC Attribution 2.0 GenericWikimedia Commons, Tulane Public Relations, CC Attribution 2.0 GenericTo get started on this class, complete the "About Me" assignment. Then read through the "Start Here" information, and take the quiz on class policies.

19.01.01 Class policies quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 12 points possible 15 minutes

Read the information on the Start Here page and the Required Resources page first.
Then, go to your main class page and into Topic 3 to take this quiz. You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 90%. I want to make sure you understand how the class works!

If you haven't already, also click the link for the About Me assignment, and introduce yourself to me!

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


19.02 How papers are scored, rubrics and the writing process (LA 9)

Clarify how papers will be graded, and review terms used to discuss and evaluate writing:

"Writing is thinking on paper.": by Filosofias filosoficas, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via WIkimedia Commons"Writing is thinking on paper.": by Filosofias filosoficas, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via WIkimedia Commons

Here is a brief summary of the "writing process". View the PowerPoint presentation or PDF for more information and click the link below this lesson to listen.

The WRITING PROCESS

begins with prewriting. This can include brainstorming, researching, outlining, and any other way of getting ideas and planning what you want to write.
The next step is often called drafting or composing. This is the part where you are actually writing, whether it is with pencil and paper, or on a computer.
Once you have gotten your writing 'on paper' (or on screen), it is time for revising. This is the step most people are tempted to skip, but the one on which many professional writers spend the most time. You should try different ways of organizing and improving your ideas: changing the order, adding details, cutting out what doesn't belong and improving word choice and sentence fluency--all to make your writing as powerful, clear and effective as possible.
After you are happy with the content of your writing and how you have put it together, the next step is editing. This is when you proofread and fix any conventions errors.
The next step is publishing, or sharing your writing so others can read it.

Rubrics

A rubric helps to define how the teacher will score your assignment, and what the expectations or benchmarks are for certain scores.
If you check the rubric as you revise an assignment, before you turn it in, you can improve your grade by making sure to include everything that is expected.
The rubric can also help the teacher score your paper more objectively, and help you understand why you received your score.

Utah Core standards

Most of the rubrics used in this class are based on the Utah Core guidelines for improving argumentative, expository and narrative writing. Along with the terms below from the Six-Trait system, make sure you understand the following:

  • significant
  • relevant
  • credible sources
  • cohesion
  • syntax
  • transitions
  • formal style
  • objective tone
  • domain-specific vocabulary
  • closure
  • resolution
  • implications
  • claim
  • counterclaim
  • reason
  • evidence
  • reflection

It may help you to look at sample standards that use Utah Core terminology. Here are examples of standards that use many of the terms above:

Category  
Introduction & organization Introduces precise, knowledgeable claim, establishes significance, distinguishes from opposing or alternate claims, and sets up logical organization of claims, counterclaims, reasons and evidence
Development of ideas and content Develops claims and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplies most relevant data and evidence, points out strength and limitations in discipline-appropriate form, anticipating audience knowledge, concerns, biases and values, using credible sources
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Uses words, clauses and phrases, as well as varied syntax, to link major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims and reasons, claims and counterclaims, reasons and evidence.
Word choice, style and tone Establish and maintain a smooth, formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms, vocabulary and conventions of the discipline for which they are writing
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented, while providing a sense of confident closure or resolution, beyond just repetition of earlier statements
Conventions and language skills Has few or no errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses parallel structure and variety in sentences, phrases and clauses

 

Below is a very brief review of the SIX TRAITS system, which helps define some terms we will use in scoring and discussing your writing. For more information, see the PowerPoint or PDF about the six traits, and go to the Six Trait Writing web page.

1. Ideas & content - Are the ideas well-developed, with supporting details that are specific and concrete? [Instead of "Our kitchen is a wonderful place", which is general and abstract, write something like: - "The stained linoleum is curling up at the edges, and the cupboards need to be re-finished where my brother and I carved our initials the year I was ten, but the old stove always has a pot of chili simmering on top, or a sheet of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven." or - "When I get home from school, I can pop a frozen cheese pizza into the oven. I'd better remember to wipe up any crumbs, because my mom is really proud of the shiny new black granite countertop."]

2. Organization - Are the ideas in some kind of logical order? Does the order help you to understand the ideas, or does it just seem random? Check out the beginning--does the introduction help set up your expectations for the rest of the piece, and/or grab your attention? How about the end--does it just stop, or is there a sense of conclusion?

3. Voice - Does the writer's personality come through? Writing without voice seems generic as if any stereotypical teenager could have written it. It can also seem flat as if it might have been generated by a committee or a machine (or a textbook company!).

4. Sentence fluency - do the sentences flow smoothly if you read it out loud? Are they easy to follow and understand? Good writing includes sentences of varying length and construction. Common faults include short, choppy sentences; sentences that are so long and convoluted they are hard to understand; and non-sentences (fragments or run-ons).

5. Word choice - This is related to both voice and ideas. Are the words and vocabulary the best ones for the job? Nouns should be specific and concrete; verbs should be active and vivid. Generally, it's better to say "poodle" or "German shorthair" than "dog"; better to say "Honda Civic" or "Porsche" than "car" and better to say "waddled" or "leaped" or "slithered" than "went". Words should also be used accurately and precisely.

6. Conventions - Correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, etc.

Symbols I use to mark writing problems:Wikimedia Commons, Mosborne01 image, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedWikimedia Commons, Mosborne01 image, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Generally, I will send you at least one or two comments along with your scores in the rubric for an assignment.  If you want more detailed comments and corrections, let me know and I will go through your work line by line, using these symbols.

(There are traditional proofreading symbols, but they were invented to be written in by hand. I have adapted some for the computer keyboard, and created ways to use the keyboard symbols in proofreading.)

*/* Marks where a run-on sentence needs to be either divided into two separate sentences with a period (or question mark), or properly connected with a comma and/or conjunction.

{ } I use the curly brackets around an incomplete sentence (fragment). It either needs to be connected to a neighboring sentence, or revised so that it can stand on its own as a complete sentence.

/P New paragraph should start here.

^ ^ The “carrots” are around something you left out--often, a missing comma.

< > The pointy brackets are around something you SHOULD have left out--often, an extra comma or word.

Boldface If bold is an option, I try to boldface misspelled words. If I can’t use bold, I will underline or highlight.

Underlining: I underline or highlight words, parts of words, or sentences to draw your attention to them, for either positive or negative reasons. Often, I use underlining to mark awkward sentence structure, capitalization, grammar, or word-choice problems. I will sometimes put an explanatory comment in parentheses right after the underlined part.

NOTE: If I see the same mistake repeated over and over, I may not mark all of them. When I have marked several of the same kind of error, I expect you to take the initiative to check for more of that kind.
If you keep sending more papers with the same kinds of mistakes all quarter, I may begin taking off more points as the quarter goes on. The idea is supposed to be that you learn to do better by reading my comments and suggestions and making extra effort not to repeat past mistakes.

19.02.01 Rubrics, the writing process and how papers are scored quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 15 minutes

Read the information in lesson 19.02.

Then, go to your main class page and into Topic 3 to take this quiz. You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


19.03 Good writing techniques: figurative language (LA 9)

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

 Figurative Language

Figurative languageFigurative language

Non-literal comparisons – such as similes, metaphors and personification – add 'spice' to writing and can help paint a more vivid picture for the reader.
Note that some people define similes and personification as sub-categories of metaphor, but in this lesson, when we talk about "metaphor", we're not including simile or personification.

A simile uses "like," "as," or "than" to make a comparison between two things not normally considered alike. For example:

"...occasionally someone would lean forward and softly rearrange the logs on the fire so that the flames flapped upward more brightly, and the remains of the steaks sizzled briefly, like a nest of sleepy wasps." - Gerald Durrell

A metaphor implies a comparison by suggesting that one thing IS something else that is not normally considered to be similar.
Sometimes this is a direct statement like "my dad is a bear if you wake him up from a nap." Sometimes the comparison is more implied, as in "The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges," which implies that revolt is (like) a whirlwind, our nation is (like) a building with foundations, and justice is (like) a bright day.

An analogy is an extended metaphor or simile that implies a connection between two sets of things/actions, often as a way of trying to explain or clarify a difficult concept. In some standardized tests, simple analogies are presented with one of four parts missing, and you are supposed to guess the missing part - for example, "Hand is to arm as _____ is to leg" (the obvious answer is "foot": a foot is at the end of your leg, like a hand is at the end of your arm). Here is another example of analogy in less formal structure (this one is from dressage judge/instructor Bill Woods): "A well-trained horse should be like one of those vending machines where you put in your money and then push the number and letter to select what you want. You can choose any option - the machine doesn't decide to give you peanut butter cups if you selected potato chips."

Personification attributes a characteristic normally associated with humans (or at least with animals) to a non-living entity - for instance, "the thunder growled." Thunder is not a living thing, but this sentence credits it with the ability to growl like an animal.

Hyperbole is deliberate exaggeration to make a point - for instance, "I'm hungry enough to eat rocks if I could chew them."

An oxymoron seems to be a contradiction in terms, like "lazy energy" or "jumbo shrimp".

(There are many other forms of figurative language, but these are some of the most common.)

More examples:
It seemed like we were moving through traffic as slowly as a California tourist driving through a herd of sheep. Meanwhile, the minutes galloped away from us like race horses being chased by a swarm of hornets. I could just imagine the coach, an angry tiger on the sidelines, roaring at the other players about what he would do to me when I finally got there. [simile, personification, simile, metaphor]

 

19.03.01 Good writing techniques - figurative language quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz will cover the information in lesson 19.03.

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73% to pass.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


19.04 Good writing techniques - magnify the moment (LA 9)

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. Use parallel structure.

Close-up of the head of a female dragonfly: Andr&eacute; Karwath, 2005, WC, CC-BY-SA-2.5Close-up of the head of a female dragonfly: André Karwath, 2005, WC, CC-BY-SA-2.5

 Magnified Moment

 

Instead of 'speeding past' a moment, zoom in on it. Emphasize it by slowing down and looking carefully at each action, expanding it so that readers can make a movie of what is happening in their mind. Of course you don't want to focus in on EVERY moment and every detail--that would be boring, and it would take far too long--but a common problem in writing is failing to go beyond summarizing what happened.

This is a technique used primarily in narrative writing (though there may be a section of narrative in expository or argument, so it might appear there, too).  It's about telling a story in an interesting way rather than just summarizing it.

Think of a radio sportscaster. If the announcer just said, "In the first inning, the home team had two hits and one run," not only would there have been a half hour of silence while all those things happened, but the audience wouldn't be able to picture the action. Choose the most important parts of your topic (if someone is stealing a base, the announcer isn't going to describe the advertising banners on the back fence), and give play-by-play detail.

To build a magnified moment, think of a time you remember vividly - something that seemed to happen in slow motion - and the details that go along with that memory. It's hard to say why we remember some things like this, as if they just happened the other day, while other things fade out of our memories altogether, or we barely remember the basic event. When you write, try to imagine the experience unfolding in time, split second by split second. Where is it happening? What was the character doing and thinking about? Include the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, motion, and textures as they give context to the event, and the character's emotional and physical feelings as well as thoughts and spoken words. You should be able to develop a paragraph or page of writing based on a brief event.

 

Examples: (notice that each of these scenes probably only covers a couple minutes in time)

 

I dropped onto the hard wooden chair outside Mr. Mautz’s office, contemplating the conversation we were about to have. The chair creaked desperately under the pressure of my considerable bulk, the seat all but eclipsed by my beefy thighs. My mission, once that office door opened, was to not lie. I didn’t want to tell the truth, exactly, I just wanted not to lie. There is a difference, I told myself. Ms. Barker smiled from behind her secretary’s desk, and I thought I detected a hint of compassion. Her phone beeped and she spoke quietly into the handset, looked up and said, “You can go in now, Eric.” I grimaced, slowly lifting my carcass from the chair. Ms. Barker smiled again. “Remember, it’s against the law for him to do what he wants to do to you.” (Crutcher, Chris - from Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes)

The frigate approached noiselessly, stopped at two cables' lengths from the animal, and following its track. No one breathed; a deep silence reigned on the bridge. We were not a hundred feet from the burning focus, the light of which increased and dazzled our eyes. At this moment, leaning on the forecastle bulwark, I saw below me Ned Land grappling the martingale in one hand, brandishing his terrible harpoon in the other, scarcely twenty feet from the motionless animal. Suddenly his arm straightened, and the harpoon was thrown; I heard the sonorous stroke of the weapon, which seemed to have struck a hard body. The electric light went out suddenly, and two enormous waterspouts broke over the bridge of the frigate, rushing like a torrent from stem to stern, overthrowing men, and breaking the lashings of the spars. A fearful shock followed, and, thrown over the rail without having time to stop myself, I fell into the sea. (Jules Verne, from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

 

"I say a horse at a gallop, Tom," returned the guard, leaving his hold of the door, and mounting nimbly to his place. "Gentlemen! In the king's name, all of you!" With this hurried adjuration, he cocked his blunderbuss, and stood on the offensive. The passenger booked by this history, was on the coach-step, getting in; the two other passengers were close behind him, and about to follow. He remained on the step, half in the coach and half out of; they remained in the road below him. They all looked from the coachman to the guard, and from the guard to the coachman, and listened. The coachman looked back and the guard looked back, and even the emphatic leader pricked up his ears and looked back, without contradicting. The stillness consequent on the cessation of the rumbling and labouring of the coach, added to the stillness of the night, made it very quiet indeed. The panting of the horses communicated a tremulous motion to the coach, as if it were in a state of agitation. The hearts of the passengers beat loud enough perhaps to be heard; but at any rate, the quiet pause was audibly expressive of people out of breath, and holding the breath, and having the pulses quickened by expectation. The sound of a horse at a gallop came fast and furiously up the hill. (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

19.04.01 Good writing techniques - magnified moment quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz will cover the information in lesson 19.04.

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73% to pass.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


19.05 Write an essay (LA 9)

See the detailed instructions in the following assignment to write the first draft of your essay. After I have commented on your first draft, then work on the revision and editing of the essay.

19.05.01 Short essay: pre-writing and first draft (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 35 minutes

Write a short expository or narrative personal essay (at least 300 words) about the role food and eating play in your life. Remember that expository writing explains and describes; narrative writing tells a story.  I'm not looking for a technical piece about nutrition - this should be a personal piece, specific to you or your family.  Focus in on a food-related topic - maybe foods that are traditional in your family, or your favorites (or least favorites), meal-time traditions, holiday foods, camping foods, a cooking experience, a special meal you remember...  You eat every day - you are an expert on this!  Magnify the moment: "zoom in" and give the reader the scrumptious or gory details. Include one picture, chart or graph to help illustrate your point.

This is an expository (descriptive, explanatory) and/or narrative essay, not an argumentative essay. This is not intended to be a full-fledged research paper. However, if you do use quotations, facts or statistics that aren't general knowledge, be sure to cite your sources.

***********************************

Prewriting:

1. Take three minutes and brainstorm ideas about food and eating.  List everything that pops into your head.  These do not need to be complete sentences, or in any kind of order.  Just write down words and ideas.

2.  Now come up with three possible themes or main ideas for your essay.  Write each of the three ideas as a complete sentence:

a.

b.

c.

3. Choose one of these topic sentences to use in your essay, and write a first draft.  

Submit the answers to the questions, and the first draft (at least 250 words) together.

**********************************

This draft will be scored primarily on ideas, organization, and voice/tone.  The teacher will make comments to help you revise. 

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


19.05.02 Short essay: revision and editing (LA 9)

teacher-scored 24 points possible 25 minutes

Revise your essay after reading my comments on your first draft, and asking someone else to read it and comment.  Do you have an effective introduction that helps the reader focus on your main ideas? Can you add more important, specific details? Do you have at least one sentence using parallel structure?

Add an example of figurative language (if you didn't already have one). Star that sentence.

Choose a section for which to magnify the moment; add more specific details to focus in more on that section. Put two stars each at the beginning and end of that section.

Finally, edit for conventions: spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, paragraphing, etc.

*****************************

Also answer these three questions about writing your essay:

1.  What was most difficult for you about this assignment? How did you deal with that?

2.  What do you like best about your essay?

3.  What could have helped make this an easier or better assignment?

****************************

 Your essay will be scored according to the following rubric. I suggest you consult the left-hand columns of the rubric (category and "4") as you begin to revise, so you will know what to do to try for a high score:

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction, organization, format & media Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information; order may seem random or confusing; may not make effective use of format, graphics and/or multimedia
Development of ideas and content Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and personal examples, figurative language and specific details. Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and personal examples Develop the topic with facts, other information or examples; details may not be sufficient, relevant, specific or important.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use some transitions; may not adequately clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise language and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use precise language to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use mostly abstract, general words and phrases; establish a formal style but may not be consistent
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic), while providing a sense of confident closure, beyond just repetition of earlier statements Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). Writing just stops without a concluding statement or section
Conventions and language skills Has few or no errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses parallel structure and variety in sentences, phrases and clauses Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses variety in sentence length and structure Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


20.00 Unit 20: Reading skills (LA 9)

Thanksgiving Day -- The dinner: Winslow Homer, Harper&#39;s Weekly, 1858; public domainThanksgiving Day -- The dinner: Winslow Homer, Harper's Weekly, 1858; public domain

Unit 20: Reading skills

In this unit you will work primarily on reading skills, as outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum for ninth grade English/Language Arts.  Topics in this unit will help you practice and improve your reading comprehension.  There will be several short assignments and quizzes, and one major reading assignment. You should expect this unit to take you anywhere from about two to twelve hours, depending on how much you already know, how fast you read, and how much you need to review.

"To read is to fly:
it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view
over  wide terrains of history,
human variety, ideas, shared experience and the
fruits of many inquiries."

– A. C. Grayling

20.01 Becoming Good Readers (LA 9)

By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, and literary nonfiction, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Young readers: US government image, public domainYoung readers: US government image, public domain

"There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once upon a time (and I hope this was quite a long time ago, relative to your age), you were a beginner reader. You had to learn the very basics of how letters of our alphabet stand for sounds, and groups of letters stand for words. [Even before that, when you were so young you can't remember it, you were a beginner listener and talker, learning that the patterns in sounds you hear--or the signs you see, if you are not hearing--mean things.] As a beginner reader, you had to memorize or sound out each single word, and you often had a hard time making sense out of a sentence. Before long, though, you could read and understand most sentences, and most likely reading has now become an automatic skill--you do it without thinking about HOW you do it.

"At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book–that string of confused, alien ciphers–shivered into meaning.
Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader."
– Alberto Manguel

We're going to take a few minutes now to think about how we read, and identify some skills that really good readers use. If you already have these skills, great! Whether or not you have been doing these things all along, being aware of how to use these strategies can improve your reading.

 

Before You Read Note: of course, this means before the first time you begin reading at the beginning of a new piece, but it can also apply to intermediate points in your reading - before you read the next paragraph, chapter, stanza, etc.

Before you begin reading, you can already begin preparing to read well! I don't mean by choosing a quiet, well-lit, and/or comfortable spot to read in, although those factors certainly can help. I mean prepare yourself mentally:

  • Know the purpose for your reading. Finishing a novel to find out how it ends is different from reading a chapter in a science book to prepare for a test or reading a poem your best friend wants to hear your reaction to.
  • Look over the title, author, and any pictures or subtitles for clues about the subject matter.
  • Activate your prior knowledge. What do you already know about the subject matter or related topics?

While You're Reading

  • Read quickly enough that you don't lose the train of meaning. Don't get so stuck on some difficult point that you forget the main point. Don't move your lips or sub-vocalize ("say" each word to yourself) as you read silently--it will slow you down.
  • "See" what you're reading about. Make a mental movie of what you are reading. Imagine what things in the reading look, sound, smell, taste or feel like.
  • Draw connections and make comparisons between what you are reading and past experiences:
    • text to self: relate what you are reading to personal experiences and memories
    • text to text: relate what you are reading to other things you've already read, or to movies or TV shows you've seen
    • text to world: relate what you are reading to things you know about the world even if you haven't personally experienced them
  • Make predictions about what you expect to happen next, or what point you think the author is trying to make. As you read on, notice whether what you are reading supports your predictions, and if not, modify them.
  • Check your understanding. Try to keep a mental running summary of what you read. If you're not sure you understand, try one or more of these strategies to help:
    • Re-read the sentence or paragraph to see whether you just missed or misread something
    • Continue to read just a little longer to see whether the next paragraph or page clears up the problem.
    • If there is a word you don't know, try to figure it out using context, word structure or grammatical clues. If you still can't understand the word, either look it up, or make a note to look it up later.
  • Notice your questions about what is going on in the reading, and why the author wrote what or how s/he did.
  • Evaluate what you read. Does it make sense? Does it fit with what you already know or believe? If not, why not?

After You Read Again, this may be after you have completely finished reading, or it may be when you have finished reading a section or chapter.

  • Review, mentally, what you read. If you will be tested over the material, take this a step further, and write down what you remember, looking back over the reading as needed for details you forgot.
  • Discuss what you read with someone else, or write in a blog or journal about it.
  • Evaluate, again. Did you like it? Was it well-written? Was it convincing? Why or why not? How does it compare to other things you've read? What did the author do well, and what could have been better?

Choosing What You Read

Different types of writing require slightly different reading skills.  If you always read the same kinds of things (maybe all magazines about motocross, or all vampire novels), you will get better at reading within that genre.  In order to get better at the kinds of reading required in college, you need to also read about history, science, and other academic fields.

Reading poetry makes you think a little differently than when you read a math textbook, which is different from reading a love story or a scientific article.  As you get more accustomed to certain structures or ways of organizing information, it becomes easier to read similar things.

Reading about many different subjects will help you in all your school classes, and expand your general knowledge base.  The more you know, the easier it is to learn more!  New information will "stick" in your brain better if it can be related to older information.

Improving your reading: speed and comprehension

The more you read, the better you will read.  Practice helps!

  • The best way to improve your reading SPEED is to re-read something you've read before.  There is nothing wrong with re-reading old favorites!  You will develop your skills at faster reading by reading familiar material.
  • An important way to improve your reading COMPREHENSION is to read short sections of difficult material - something that challenges and pushes you beyond your comfort zone, but isn't so long that you can't continue to concentrate.

Two special kinds of "speed-reading":

Skimming is reading with 'the pedal to the metal'. It is useful when you need to review something you've read a while back, or when you want to get the main ideas out of a piece that you might want to read more carefully later - or when you are reading a suspense novel and you are dying to find out how it ends.

Scanning, on the other hand, is reading to look for something particular.  You read quickly, looking for particular key words.  Maybe you are trying to find out whether an article includes information relevant to your research topic, or trying to spot a quotation that you remember from having read the material before, but you aren't sure where that particular quotation was.  If you are reading down a list just to see whether your name is on it, you're scanning.

 

20.02 Evidence and theme (LA 9)

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details:

Themes, Literary and Otherwise Reynold Brown poster, copyright expired, WMCReynold Brown poster, copyright expired, WMC

The word "theme" has many uses and meanings. In music, the theme is the main, basic melody, which is often repeated with slight variations throughout a song or longer piece of music. When your grandparents or great-grandparents went to school, the word "theme" meant what we would now usually call an essay: a written composition. In general use, 'theme' means the main subject or focus of an event, book, or movie; or a repeated idea: a 'motif'. For example, we might say that we are having a party with a pirate theme, a dance with a Halloween theme, or a conference on the theme of preventing child abuse.

However, in studying literature (and throughout this class), we will be using the literary definition of 'theme': a repeated, unifying idea that underlies a work of literature, stated in a complete sentence. [I hope you either groaned or rolled your eyes when you read that because if not, you probably weren't really paying attention. That definition is abstract and general, about as useful to most of us as a spare tire with no lug wrench or jack--but we're about to make it more concrete and specific.]

In Search of the Literary Theme: Guidelines

  • The theme is usually implied rather than stated. For most works of literature, you will need to use inference to determine themes. [Inference - 'reading between the lines'; using information in the text to figure out things the author didn't come right out and tell you] There are some exceptions. Aesop's fables end with a 'moral' that tells you the theme of the story. The poet John Keats was kind enough to put the theme of his poem "Endymion" in the first line. Mostly, though, you will have to work to figure out a theme.
  • A work of literature may have more than one, correct theme. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that just any theme you come up with is a correct one. You must be able to find evidence in the text to support the idea you think is the theme.
  • A theme is usually implied by multiple events, images or symbols in the text. That is, as in music, a theme and variations on the theme are repeated in a work of literature. You should be able to find several examples of evidence for the theme in your reading.
  • A literary theme is stated in a complete sentence. "Love" might be the theme for your prom, but it can't be a theme for a work of literature because it is just a word, not a complete sentence. "True love conquers all" could be a theme. "Love can be fatal," "Love is stronger than hate," "True love wants what is best for the loved one," or "Falling in love makes fools out of everyone" could be themes.
  • A theme is a generalized idea, not specific to a particular story or situation. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (King James Bible, John 15:13) could be a theme (certainly, it is a theme in the book of John) because it is a general, universal principle. "Harry Potter values his friends more than his life" is not a theme because it is specific to the Harry Potter books/movies.
  • A theme is what the author has to say about the topic of the story, essay, poem or article.

 

Finding Evidence for a Theme

Let's look at a short excerpt from a book (The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells):

'You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness nil, has no real existence. They taught you that? Neither has a mathematical plane. These things are mere abstractions.'

'That is all right,' said the Psychologist.

'Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence.'

'There I object,' said Filby. 'Of course a solid body may exist. All real things—'

'So most people think. But wait a moment. Can an instantaneous cube exist?'

'Don't follow you,' said Filby.

'Can a cube that does not last for any time at all, have a real existence?'

Filby became pensive. 'Clearly,' the Time Traveller proceeded, 'any real body must have extension in four directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and—Duration. But through a natural infirmity of the flesh, which I will explain to you in a moment, we incline to overlook this fact. There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time. There is, however, a tendency to draw an unreal distinction between the former three dimensions and the latter, because it happens that our consciousness moves intermittently in one direction along the latter from the beginning to the end of our lives.'

'That,' said a very young man, making spasmodic efforts to relight his cigar over the lamp; 'that … very clear indeed.'

'Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked,' continued the Time Traveller, with a slight accession of cheerfulness. 'Really this is what is meant by the Fourth Dimension, though some people who talk about the Fourth Dimension do not know they mean it. It is only another way of looking at Time. There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it. But some foolish people have got hold of the wrong side of that idea. You have all heard what they have to say about this Fourth Dimension?'

'I have not,' said the Provincial Mayor.

'It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it, is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others. But some philosophical people have been asking why three dimensions particularly—why not another direction at right angles to the other three?—and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by models of three dimensions they could represent one of four—if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?'

'I think so,' murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows, he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving as one who repeats mystic words. 'Yes, I think I see it now,' he said after some time, brightening in a quite transitory manner.

'Well, I do not mind telling you I have been at work upon this geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results are curious. For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years old, another at fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-three, and so on. All these are evidently sections, as it were, Three-Dimensional representations of his Four-Dimensioned being, which is a fixed and unalterable thing.

'Scientific people,' proceeded the Time Traveller, after the pause required for the proper assimilation of this, 'know very well that Time is only a kind of Space. Here is a popular scientific diagram, a weather record. This line I trace with my finger shows the movement of the barometer. Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it fell, then this morning it rose again, and so gently upward to here. Surely the mercury did not trace this line in any of the dimensions of Space generally recognized? But certainly it traced such a line, and that line, therefore, we must conclude was along the Time-Dimension.'

'But,' said the Medical Man, staring hard at a coal in the fire, 'if Time is really only a fourth dimension of Space, why is it, and why has it always been, regarded as something different? And why cannot we move in Time as we move about in the other dimensions of Space?'

The Time Traveller smiled. 'Are you sure we can move freely in Space? Right and left we can go, backward and forward freely enough, and men always have done so. I admit we move freely in two dimensions. But how about up and down? Gravitation limits us there.'

'Not exactly,' said the Medical Man. 'There are balloons.'

'But before the balloons, save for spasmodic jumping and the inequalities of the surface, man had no freedom of vertical movement.'

'Still they could move a little up and down,' said the Medical Man.

'Easier, far easier down than up.'

'And you cannot move at all in Time, you cannot get away from the present moment.'

'My dear sir, that is just where you are wrong. That is just where the whole world has gone wrong. We are always getting away from the present moment. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave. Just as we should travel down if we began our existence fifty miles above the earth's surface.'

'But the great difficulty is this,' interrupted the Psychologist. 'You can move about in all directions of Space, but you cannot move about in Time.'

'That is the germ of my great discovery. But you are wrong to say that we cannot move about in Time. For instance, if I am recalling an incident very vividly I go back to the instant of its occurrence: I become absent-minded, as you say. I jump back for a moment. Of course we have no means of staying back for any length of Time, any more than a savage or an animal has of staying six feet above the ground. But a civilized man is better off than the savage in this respect. He can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?' - H. G. Wells

OK--what is the theme? To figure that out, I look for main ideas and repeated details while I read. The first time I read through it, I noticed the overall sense of wonder, and the contrast between the Time Traveller and his skeptical guests. However, "wonder", "mystery" or "skepticism" can't be the theme because none of these are a complete sentence.

I read back through it again. "Time" is repeated many times, but again, that can't be the theme because it is just a single word. There are also other contrasts-- the difference between time and space, between two dimensions and three, between abstractions and "reality".

A main idea from the excerpt is "The Time Traveller claims that he will be able to travel through time as well as through space." However, that can't be a theme because it is specific to this particular story, not a generalized statement. How about this? "Theoretically, it should be possible to travel through time." It's a complete sentence; it is a generalized statement. Can I support it with evidence from the text? Yes, there are multiple quotes I could use from the excerpt to support this statement.

Is it the only theme I could draw from this excerpt? No. I could find plenty of evidence in the text for "People are skeptical of new ideas" as well as "People are always pushing the boundaries of what we think we know." We could also support "People find time travel an exciting idea" with the reactions of the men.

Throughout this English 9 class, you will be reading for themes and main ideas, and looking for textual evidence to support your conclusions. In your writing, you will work on including evidence, in the form of specific details and examples, to create a theme or support a main idea.

Read the following selections (available online at the links below, or attached as a PDF; note that the PDF versions of Dickens and Thoreau are shorter than the online versions). Look for clues to the themes of these works.

"Pot Roast" by Mark Strand

from stave 3 of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens

from Walden, chapter 7 "The Bean Field", by Henry David Thoreau

The following quiz and assignments will refer to these readings.

Note: for the excerpt from A Christmas Carol, you don't need to read the entire stave 3 (chapter) if you are using the online version.  Read starting from the third paragraph down to "Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially on Tiny Tim, until the last."  The attached PDF includes only the section you need to read.

20.02.01 Questions on readings (LA 9)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 30 minutes

The Second of the Three Spirits: by John Leech, public domain (copyright expired)The Second of the Three Spirits: by John Leech, public domain (copyright expired)

 

Answer the following questions about the three readings. Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work using the assignment submission window for this assignment.

*******************************************************************************

A. "Pot Roast" by Mark Strand

  1. Prior knowledge: What did you already know about pot roast (the food, not the poem)?
  2. Making connections: What personal experiences or other books/movies did this poem remind you of, and why?  [Note:  I will not accept "none" as an answer.  If you don't immediately see an obvious connection, think about the themes and how they might apply to your life or other stories.]
  3. Seeing images: Describe the way you pictured one scene from the poem.
  4. Motifs: What actions, symbols or ideas were repeated in the poem?
  5. Theme: What theme can you find in the poem (remember it should be a general statement about life, in a complete sentence)? What evidence supports this theme? (use direct quotes)

B. from stave 3 of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  1. Prior knowledge: What did you already know about Christmas celebrations in the "old days", or about Scrooge?
  2. Making connections: What personal experiences or other books/movies did this story remind you of, and why? [Note:  I will not accept "none" as an answer.]
  3. Seeing images: Describe the way you pictured one scene from the story.
  4. Motifs: What actions, symbols or ideas were repeated in the story?
  5. Theme: What theme can you find in the story (remember it should be a general statement about life, in a complete sentence)? What evidence supports this theme? (use direct quotes)

C. from Walden, chapter 7 "The Bean Field", by Henry David Thoreau

  1. Prior knowledge: What did you already know about Thoreau, or about gardening?
  2. Making connections: What personal experiences or other books/movies did this narrative remind you of, and why?  [Note:  I will not accept "none" as an answer.]
  3. Seeing images: Describe the way you pictured one scene from the narrative.
  4. Motifs: What actions, symbols or ideas were repeated in the narrative?
  5. Theme: What theme can you find in the narrative (remember it should be a general statement about life, in a complete sentence)? What evidence supports this theme? (use direct quotes)

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Note that the estimated time for this assignment includes the time you spend reading the selections.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


20.02.02 Quiz on theme, evidence and readings (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

Click this quiz link on your main class page to take the quiz. You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 70%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


20.03 Choose a book to read (LA 9)

by Julia Spranger, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commonsby Julia Spranger, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commons

You will need to read ONE book, of your choice (if you can find an unabridged version of the book on audiotape, or talk someone into reading it out loud to you, you may listen to it instead of reading). Yes, you really do need to read the whole book. Be sure to check the related reading response activity, below, before you begin reading.

You do NOT need to finish reading this book before you go on to other assignments or units. I have put it here in the list of assignments so you will get started on it, and not wait till the last minute. Begin reading it soon, and get finished by the middle of unit 22.

(NOTE: You will also need your book for additional writing assignments.) There is nothing wrong with choosing to re-read a book that you have read before, if you liked it, but for heaven's sake, don't re-read a book if you didn't like it to begin with. Let me know if you need help choosing which book to read.

20.03 Reading response (LA 9)

teacher-scored 40 points possible 200 minutes

Continue to work on other unit 20 and 21 assignments while you read and respond to your book.

You may want to do this assignment as you are reading the book you chose from my list, or you may want to just read the book straight through, and then go back and scan through the book again. You may go on to complete other assignments before you complete this one. I put it at this point in the quarter so you wouldn't get nearly done with the quarter and then realize you also had to read a book.

NOTE: You will also need your book for other assignments.

Create this document in your word processor; save it to your computer; and then copy and paste it into the assignment submission window.

Part A. Reading Log

While you are reading, keep a piece of paper & pen or pencil handy.

As you read,

  • A-1: write down at least one sentence or phrase that you feel shows really good use of words - maybe because it made you laugh, or helped you vividly picture what was happening, or surprised you, or illuminated a new idea. Keep the sentences in the order they occurred in the book, note down the page number, and briefly tell why you chose each. (if your book doesn't have at least 10 chapters, then for each 15-20 pages, so you have at least ten sentences, covering the whole book - more than ten if you are going for an A), and...

  • A-2: write a two or three-sentence personal response to the events of the chapter - include what it may remind you of (personal experiences, other books, movies, etc); any questions you had; predictions about what may happen next; opinions about the characters or events; and/or unfamiliar or unusual words. You should have at least twelve of these responses, covering the whole book.

Part B. Writing Techniques

Find at least one sentence/section each from the book for at least three of these techniques, and identify which technique is being used in each example:

  • parallel structure (or Magic 3)
  • specific details for effect
  • magnifiy the moment
  • humor
  • figurative language

Part C. Characterization

Finally, consider an issue or event in the book that three different characters had different opinions about. Explain what three of the characters in the book thought or felt about that issue or event, why they didn't agree, and what this demonstrates about their personalities. Use evidence and examples from the book to show the characters' opinions and motivation (three to four paragraphs).

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


21.00 Unit 21: Language skills (LA 9)

Copy readers in NY Times newspaper newsroom, 1942: WMC, US govt image, public domainCopy readers in NY Times newspaper newsroom, 1942: WMC, US govt image, public domain

 

Unit 3: Language skills and conventions

In this unit you will work primarily on language skills and conventions, as outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum for ninth grade English.  Topics in this unit include punctuation (especially commas, semicolons and colons), frequently misspelled words, parts of speech, sentence structure, clauses and phrases. You should expect the work in this unit to take you roughly two to four hours of concentrated effort. There will be several short assignments and quizzes. 

NOTE: Please begin working on this unit even if you haven't finished reading The Odyssey. Keep reading The Odyssey while you work on this unit.

 

21.01 Common Misspelled Words (LA 9)

Language Standard 2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

The following words, which are often misspelled or confused, may appear on the spelling quiz:

There (a place)/their (possessive)/they’re (contraction for "they are") - They're going to hang their coats there.
Your (possessive)/you’re (contraction for "you are") - If you want your diploma, you're going to have to work for it.
Were (verb - past tense of 'are')/we’re (contraction for "we are")/where (question about place) - We're about to pass the place where you were born.
We’ll (contraction for "we will") /will (verb - future tense of "is") - We'll wait for you if you will hurry.
Write (to put words on paper)/right (correct; or the opposite of left)/ wright (one who makes - for instance, a wheelwright)/ rite (ritual - for instance, the rite of baptism) - Write down the right answer.
Through (finished; or moving in one side and out the other)/threw (past tense of throw) - The players threw the ball through the net.
Until (notice there is only one "L")
Piece (part)/peace (opposite of war) - Just give me a piece of cake, and I won't disturb the peace.
Definitely (certainly) /defiantly (in a rebellious way) - Defiantly, the prisoner told his guards he would definitely escape.
A lot (this is always two separate words; 'alot' is always wrong)
Its (possessive)/it’s (contraction for "it is") - It's about time the car got its safety inspection.
Here (this place)/hear (what you can do with your ears) - My mom told me to wait here, but I didn't hear her.
Accept (verb: receive willingly)/except (not including)/ acceptable (good enough) - All of us except Jenny will accept your invitation. Will jeans be acceptable attire for the party?
Argument (Notice there is no "e" after the "u")
Believe (Notice the "i" before "e")
Advise (verb - give advice to)/advice (noun - the good suggestion you may not want to follow) - I asked my dad to advise me, but I didn't like his advice.
Receive (notice the "e" before the "i")
Principal (most important; or the leader of a school)/principle (a basic truth, rule, or generalization) - The principal reason I decided to stay was to support the principle of freedom to assemble.
Affect (usually a verb - to act upon)/effect (usually a noun - the result of an act) - The new rule will affect all of us, and its effect will be to encourage us to work longer hours.
All ready (completely prepared)/already (adverb - prior to) - We thought we were all ready on time, but the concert had already started.
All right (always two words) - I told my parents I would be all right while they were gone.
Desert (a dry place; or, verb, to leave alone)/dessert (noun - something sweet to eat after dinner) - The wicked stepmother wanted to desert the children in the desert with nothing to drink just because they had asked for more dessert.
Loose (not tight), lose (opposite of win; or, to allow to go missing), loss (noun - something that was lost, or the act of losing) - If you leave the lug nuts loose, your car may lose a tire, and that loss could cause a wreck.
Quiet (not making noise), quite (to a degree), quit (verb - give up) - It was quite quiet in the room after Peter announced he was going to quit the team.
Set (to put something in place), sit (to move to a sitting position) - Please set the plates on the table, and then sit down.
Then (at that time), than (introducing the second element in a comparison) - If you would rather have a clarinet than a flute, then let your father know.
Cite (to quote or refer to)/site (place)/sight (what is seen) - You may cite the book as an authority on sites to visit if you want to see some awesome sights.
Sole (only; or bottom of a shoe), soul (the immortal, non-physical part of the self) - God may be the sole being familiar with our souls.
Stationary (not moving)/stationery (fancy writing paper) - Since the train was stationary, Sara got out some stationery and began writing a letter to her aunt.
Wear (to put on your body)/where (question about place)/ware (manufactured articles of a certain type; or goods that are for sale) - I was still trying to decide what to wear when my brother asked me where I had put the clean silverware.by Massimo Catarinella, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commonsby Massimo Catarinella, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commons
Weather (meteorological conditions) /whether (which of two; in case) - Wear a jacket whether or not the weather seems warm when you leave.
Who’s (contraction for "who is"/whose (possessive) - Do you know who's coming for dinner, or whose coat that is?
Pore (to look at closely; or a very small opening)/pour (flow, or cause to run)/poor (lacking money) Take an hour to pore over your notes the night before the test. At the free banquet for poor families, Jordan's job was to pour gravy over the potatoes.

Study these words and make sure you know when to use them correctly. You can find more definitions and examples of correct use in Writer's Inc, or in dictionaries.

21.01.01 Spelling quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

To take this quiz, go to Module 3 on the main class page and click the quiz link for 13.01.

You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73% to pass.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


21.02 Verbal phrases and parallel structure (LA 9)

Verbals

A verbal is a word which we normally consider a verb, but which is functioning as a noun, adjective or adverb.

NOTE: A sentence which contains a verbal or verbal phrase will always ALSO contain a verb. A verb is NOT the same thing as a verbal. A verb phrase is NOT the same thing as a verbal phrase. [See also the attached PDF, link above, for help telling the difference between a verb and a verbal.]

There are three types of verbals:

by dbking, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic, via Wikimedia Commonsby dbking, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Gerunds end in "ing" and act as nouns.
    For instance, in Skiing is my favorite sport, "skiing" is the subject, and in I love skiing"skiing" is the direct object--both positions normally occupied by nouns.
  • Infinitives are verb forms introduced by "to" (to ride, to love, to run), and acting as nouns, adjectives or adverbs.
    For instance, in To win is my goal, "to win" is functioning as a subject (noun). In They went to pick up more pop, "to pick up" is functioning as an adverb, telling where or why they went. In Her desire to leave grew with each passing minute, "to leave" is functioning as an adjective modifying "desire."
  • Participles usually end in "ing" or "ed", and function as adjectives.
    For instance, in The cowboy stayed on the whirling bull, "whirling" modifies "bull". In The frightened crowd was silent, "frightened" modifies "crowd".

Verbal phrases

A verbal phrase is an extension of a verbal, so it also may be of three types:

  • Gerund phrase, which functions as a noun, includes a gerund and its object and/or modifiers:
    She escaped by hiding in the bushes. (The gerund phrase "hiding in the bushes" is the object of the prepostion "by".) Causing trouble for other people seems to be Leslie's main occupation. (The gerund phrase "causing trouble for other people" is the subject of the sentence, so it is used as a noun.)
  • Infinitive phrase, which may function as a noun, adjective or adverb, includes an infinitive and its object and/or modifiers:
    To reach the top of Mt. Everest is the goal of many mountain climbers. (The infinitive phrase "To reach the top of Mt. Everest" is functioning as a noun, the subject of the sentence.) The candidate's ability to win over the opposition was legendary. (The infinitive phrase "to win over the opposition" is functioning as an adjective, modifying "ability".) When dinner is over, help to clean up the kitchen. (The infinitive phrase "to clean up the kitchen" is modifying "help", so it is functioning as an adverb.)
  • Participial phrase, which functions as an adjective, includes a participle and its object and/or modifiers:
    The pot, lifted from the fire, was too hot to touch. (The participial phrase "lifted from the fire" modifies "pot," so it is functioning as an adjective.) The wind blowing sand in my eyes was an annoyance. (The participial phrase "blowing sand in my eyes" modifies wind, so it is acting as an adjective telling WHICH wind.)

A note about a tricky kind of infinitive: Sometimes when there is more than one infinitive in a sentence, the first one will be easy to spot, but any that follow will be "camouflaged" because they SHARE the same introductory 'to' with the first one. For example:

"Loren was hoping to go home and eat dinner." See the first infinitive? "to go" is fairly obvious. There is another one! "Eat" is also an infinitive. The sentence could have been written like this: Loren was hoping to go home and to eat dinner. Now it is easy to see that "to go" and "to eat" are both infinitives--but we wouldn't usually say (or write) it that way. We leave out the second "to," and understand that we mean he is hoping to do TWO things: go home and eat dinner. The first "to" really belongs to both "go" and "eat."

The following sentence has three infinitives:

"In the next few years, I am going to finish high school, go to college, and get a job." Can you pick them out? ... to finish, (to) go, (to) get

Watch out for "have to" and "had to"

Here is an example of an unusual "helping verb" that may fool you into thinking you see an infinitive. Consider the sentence "I have to go home now." It looks like "to go" is an infinitive here, but wait - is "to go" something you can have? No. This sentence is equivalent to "I must go home now". "Must" or "have to" are helping verbs in these sentences. The whole verb phrases are "have to go" and "must go".

Another way of saying this: The "to" belongs to the "have", not to the "go". If you are identifying or writing an infinitive, check to be sure you don't have a "have to" or "had to" instead.

Don't confuse prepositional phrases starting with "to" with infinitives

The word "to" is not only used in infinitives.  It can also be a preposition (to school, to the bank, to my house).  These phrases tell WHERE something is, and are not infinitives.  Notice that what follows the "to" in the prepositional phrases is not a verb.

Parallel structure and verbal phrases

 

Recall that in writing, parallel structure refers to the use of two or more similarly-structured phrases or clauses in a sequence.

A common problem students have with sentence structure is mixing gerund or participle and infinitive phrases in the same sequence:

I like to go to the pool, riding my bike, and playing soccer.   Having a sleepover or to go to a movie are Isabel's choices for Saturday night. [incorrect - both examples mix infinitives and gerunds]

For correct parallel structure (which makes your writing easier to read and understand), revise sentences like those above to use the same kind of verbal phrases within the sequence:

I like going to the pool, riding my bike, and playing soccer. OR I like to go to the pool, ride my bike and play soccer.

Having a sleepover or going to a movie are Isabel's choices for Saturday night. OR To have a sleepover or go to a movie are Isabel's choices for Saturday night. (Remember that in a series of infinitives, you can drop the "to" from succeeding infinitives.)

 

teacher-scored 15 points possible 20 minutes

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

*********************************************by Cpl. Megan L. Stiner, public domain via Wikimedia Commonsby Cpl. Megan L. Stiner, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Re-write these sentences, using correct, parallel structure:

1. When he signed up for football camp, Davin expected to learn new skills, get stronger, and practicing defensive moves.
2. Julia's coach taught the team the value of giving their all and to do their best every day.
3. The things I want to get done today include finishing my project, to start my blog, and beating my brother at Starcraft.
4. Being kind is as important as to be smart.
5. Driving a fancy car and to wear furs are traditional perks of being rich.
 

Combine each group of sentences, using verbal phrases and parallel structure:

6. I want to hang-glide. I want to try indoor skydiving. I want to learn to surf.
7. Following her parents' advice, Amber tried out. Disregarding her friends' comments, Amber tried out.
8. Anna's summer goals include hiking to the top of Mt. Nebo. Her summer goals include volunteering at the library. Her summer goals include to read at least one book every week.
9. The salmon swam upstream, following his instincts. He swam upstream, fighting the current. He swam upstream to look for the place he was spawned.
10. Michael tracked the lion. He lost the trail. He marked the spot on his GPS. Then he had to stop for the night. [*Hint: This is NOT a correct answer: "Michael tracked the lion, lost the trail, marked the spot on his GPS, and then had to stop for the night." Why not? It DOES have parallel structure... but it DOESN'T use verbal phrases; those are verb phrases, the only verbs in the sentence. You need to create a sentence that means the same thing, but uses VERBAL phrases. One way I can think of starts with the word "After tracking..."]

Expand each of these sentences (ie, add to them), using verbal phrases and parallel structure: (there are many possible correct ways to do these)    
An example: If the initial sentence was "Worrying about her grades, Lisa started on her homework," you could add to it like this: "Worrying about her grades and wishing for a miracle, Lisa started on her homework."     
In the first two, I have put the verbal phrase in all capital letters - create another phrase parallel to the capitalized one.  
For the last three, you will need to first identify the verbal phrase (in 13 and 15, there are two verbal phrases each, but you just need to pick one of them), and then create another to go with it.

11. HOPING FOR THE BEST, Adam kept walking due north.
12. My little sister's main purpose in life is TO DRIVE ME CRAZY.
13. Without learning algebra, Veronica could never hope to become a doctor.
14. The dogs tried jumping the fence.
15 After winning regional championships in debate, Marta's goal was to place in the top five at state.

 

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


21.02.01 Verbal phrases and parallel structure quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 15 points possible 15 minutes

Use the link in Module 3 of your main class page to take the quiz.  You may take it multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


21.03 Pronoun problems (LA 9)

Pronoun Review

German shepherd puppies: Dario Sgroi, WMC, CC-BY-SA-3.0German shepherd puppies: Dario Sgroi, WMC, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Remember that a pronoun is a (less-specific) word that replaces a noun. 

The most common pronouns are called subject and object pronouns.

Subject pronouns include I, he, she, they, we, who, whoever, it, and a few others.  Subject pronouns replace nouns that were acting as the subjects of sentences.  For example, consider how repetitive this paragraph gets:  George was driving home. George saw the car begin to weave in and out of traffic, and George slowed down, but too late: when the car just ahead was sideswiped by the reckless driver, George became part of the chain-reaction accident.

Here's the same paragraph using subject pronouns (in bold) to replace "George" most of the time: George was driving home. He saw the car begin to weave in and out of traffic, and he slowed down, but too late: when the car just ahead was sideswiped by the reckless driver, George became part of the chain-reaction accident.

You should also use subject pronouns to re-name a subject after a linking verb:  It was I who called.  It was they who planned the party.

Object pronouns (such as him, her, me, them, us, himself, themselves...) are used to replace nouns that were acting as objects in the sentence (basically, whenever the noun wasn't the subject or renaming the subject).  For instance, again consider a paragraph where the specific name is used all the time:  Mark has a big female German Shepherd named Tiny. Mark has shown Tiny to several championships and worked Tiny as a search and rescue dog, so when Mark advertised Tiny's puppies, many people wanted to buy Tiny's puppies.

Here's the better version, with the object pronouns in bold:  Mark has a big female German Shepherd named Tiny. He has shown her to several championships and worked her as a search and rescue dog, so when he advertised her puppies, many people wanted to buy them.

Note that many pronouns (it, what, that, everyone, anybody, nobody, someone, each, either, and neither, for example) can work either as subjects or as objects in a sentence.

There are also possessive pronouns (his, her, their, my), indefinite pronouns (everyone, either, nobody), interrogative pronouns (whose, who, what), relative pronouns (who, which, that), demonstrative pronouns (that, this) and reflexive pronouns (herself, myself, himself, themselves). [You will NOT be tested on the names for these types of pronouns.]

Three Kinds of Pronoun Problems

1: Mixing or Confusing Subject and Object Pronouns

Correct: David and I are planning a concert. -OR- He and I are planning a concert.

 

Incorrect: David and me are planning a concert. OR-Him and me are planning a concert. (Ask yourself - would you say "Me is planning a concert"?  Of course not!)

 

Correct: Send the packages to Susan and me. -OR- Send the packages to her and me.

 

Incorrect: Send the packages to Susan and I-OR- Send the packages to she and I. (You wouldn't say "Send them to I", so don't say "Send them to Susan and I.")

 

2: Mixing or Confusing Singular and Plural

Most of the time, you will get this right without even thinking about it:  

Samantha is handing in her test. Geraldo is handing in his test.  They are handing in their tests.

The most common problems are when people use indefinite pronouns like someone, everyone, everybody, anybody, everything, either and nobody. All of these are considered singular (even though at least everything, everyone and everybody would logically seem to indicate multiple things/people, they are being named by the pronoun as a - single - group).  

Therefore, it is correct to say "Everybody (anybody, nobody, someone, everyone) is going to the museum."

 This has been complicated by gender issues. Once upon a time, say in the 1960's and before, it was considered correct to use the singular male pronoun (him or his) to refer back to one of the indefinite pronouns, like this: Everyone should bring his jacket on the bus.  

Now that is considered sexist.  In common usage, you may see one of these solutions:

Everyone should bring his or her jacket on the bus.  OR - Everyone should bring his/her jacket on the bus.  Either of those is OK, if slightly cumbersome.  

NOT correct is "Everyone should bring their jacket on the bus."   If in doubt, get around the whole issue by slightly re-wording the sentence: "All students (participants, travelers, contestants) should bring their jackets on the bus."

Sentences with compound subjects

If the parts of the compound subject are joined by "and", use the plural pronoun to refer back to them:  Molly and Jack will be performing their skits.

If the parts of the compound subject are joined by "or", use the pronoun that matches the last-named subject: Molly or the boys will be performing their skit. Yuki's boys or Molly will be performing her skit.

3: More Pronoun Reference Problems

A pronoun generally refers back to a previously-named noun (person, place or thing) - officially called the "antecedent". Generally, a pronoun should refer back to the most recently-named noun.

Be careful that you don't use pronouns where they can cause confusion: Cesar, Joe and David went to pick up his girlfriend.  (Whose girlfriend is she? Probably David's because he was the last person named, but it isn't clear. One way to clarify - let's say she is Joe's girlfriend - would be like this: Cesar and David went with Joe to pick up his girlfriend.)

Another example: Emma and Mackenzi met at her mother's house when she was visiting for summer vacation. (Did the house belong to Emma's mother or Mackenzi's? Was it Emma, Mackenzi, or the mother of one of them who was visiting?  If we go by the "most recently-named" rule, it seems that Emma and Mckenzi met at Mckenzi's mother's house, and it was the mother who was visiting... but if it's her house, why is she the visitor?)

21.03.01 Pronoun problems quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 15 points possible 15 minutes

Use the link in Module 3 of your main class page to take the quiz.  You may take it multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


21.04 Vocabulary: scientific and medical terms from Latin (LA 9)

Many words used in science and medicine are based on Greek or Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes. Study the table below for some common terms you should know.

Prefix Meaning Modern example
a- or dis- or non- not;negative abiotic: not living; discomfort: the opposite of comfort; nonconformist: one who doesn't conform
ambi- both ambidextrous: able to use both hands well
anti- against anti-inflammatory: working against inflammation
bi- double; twice bipedal: walking on two feet/legs
leucos- (leuk) white leukemia: disease of white blood cells
counter- against counteract: to act against
ortho- straight orthodontist: one who straightens teeth
hemi- (or semi-) half hemisphere: half the sphere
hygro-, hydro-, humidi- wet humidity: the water vapor in the air; hydro-electric: using water power to generate electricity
hyper- (or super-, supra-) above, over (big) hyperactive: very active
hypo- (or sub-) under, below (small) hypodermic: the needle used to get medicine under the skin
auto- self autoimmune- when the immune system attacks its own body
inter- between interstitial: in the spaces between (cells, tissues, rocks…)
intra- or intro- within intravenous: within a vein
mega-, magni-, grandi-, macro- big Megalencephaly: a condition of having an abnormally large head
poly- or multi- many polygon: a shape with many sides; multi-colored: many colored
post- after, behind postmortem: after death
sur- over surplus: extra, the amount over what is needed
Roots
-carn- flesh, meat carnivorous: eating meat
-bio- living biology: the study of life
-clud- to close occlusion: blockage
-fract- break fracture: break; fraction: a part less than the whole
-astro- (or astero) star astronaut: one who travels to the stars
-arthro- joint arthropod: jointed foot; arthritis: inflammation of the joints
-pel- to drive, push repel: to drive away; propel: to drive forward
-pend- to hang append: to add on; pendant: hanging down, or a thing that hangs down
-phil- to love hydrophilic: loving water
-rupt- break disrupt: to break up or disturb; rupture: a break in something like a blood vessel, balloon or pipe
-sect- cut bisect: to cut in half; dissect: to cut apart
ornith bird ornithology: the study of birds
ot, oti, oto ear otoscope: device for looking into ear
-tort- twist distort: to twist out of shape; torsion: a twisting force
-uni- one uniform: all the same; unicorn: mythical animal with one horn; unicellular - one-celled
-vid- or -vis- or -spec- to see television: a device that sees pictures from far away; speculum: a device that helps doctors to see inside the body through an orifice
Suffixes
-logy the study of (noun) philology: the study of words; astrology: the study of stars to forecast the future
-meter, -metry measurement or measuring device (noun) perimeter: the measurement around the edge of a figure
-phobe, -phobia fear (noun) claustrophobia: fear of small or tight places
Medical terms
cardio heart cardiopulmonary: having to do with heart and lungs
derm skin dermatologist: doctor who specializes in skin problems
gastro stomach gastric ulcers: sores in the stomach
hepat liver hepatitis: inflamation of the liver
myo muscle myocardial: heart muscle
nephro kidney nephrosis: abnormality of the kidneys
neuro nerves neurosurgeon: a doctor who specializes in surgery on the brain, spine or nerves
odont, or dent teeth orthodontist: specialist in straightening teeth
osteo bone osteochondrosis: abnormal development in and around the bone
-algia pain (noun) neuralgia: pain in the nerves
-ectomy the surgical removal of (noun) appendectomy: the removal of the appendix
-itis inflamation (noun) arthritis: inflamation of the joints
-ology the study of (noun) physiology: study of human body functions
-osis diseased or abnormal (noun) halitosis: bad breath

21.04.01 Vocabulary quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 15 points possible 15 minutes

IJN Surgeon Performing Cardiothoracic Surgery: IJNMis01, WMC, Released under the GNU Free Documentation LicenseIJN Surgeon Performing Cardiothoracic Surgery: IJNMis01, WMC, Released under the GNU Free Documentation License

Use the link in Module 3 of your main class page to take the quiz.  You may take it multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

Remember you may print out the lesson page and refer to it while you work on the quiz.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


22.00 Unit 22: Narrative (LA 9)

Detail from &quot;Grandfather Tells a Story&quot;: Albert Anker, 1884, Wikimedia Commons, public domainDetail from "Grandfather Tells a Story": Albert Anker, 1884, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

 

Basically, the purpose of narrative is to tell a story. A narrative may tell a true (nonfiction) story, or an invented (fiction) story, but the focus is on what happens.

As far as we know, story-telling is a uniquely human pursuit. No other animals seem to have enough language to tell stories, but we, as humans, all do it. When you talk to a friend, you tell them what you've been doing, or what has happened in your life since the last time you talked to them. That's an example of narrative.

Novels, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and some essays and poetry are narrative. Most plays, movies and TV shows are narrative in structure, also.

Here are a few terms to review:

Plot - what happens in the story; how events unfold

Characters - the people (or aliens, animals, gods, etc) who do things in the story

Protagonist - the main character or "hero" of the story

Antagonist - a character who opposes the protagonist

Setting - where and in what time period the story happens

Theme - remember from unit 20? A theme is like an underlying message or lesson about life you can infer from the story.

You should be finished reading the book you chose from the list in unit 20, and now you will read some shorter pieces.

The major writing assignment is a story that uses parallel plots. You should expect the lessons and assignments in this unit to take you about 5-8 hours of concentrated work.

Again, remember our 'big idea': Writers choose details, events and characters' words and actions to develop main ideas or themes; readers use details, examples and evidence to infer main ideas or themes.

22.01 Short readings (LA 9)

Sherlock Holmes: by Sidney Paget, copyright expired via Wikimedia CommonsSherlock Holmes: by Sidney Paget, copyright expired via Wikimedia Commons

Read the stories at the "required" links below. Consider what they have in common.

The next quiz will include questions on these stories.

22.02 Narrative techniques (LA 9)

Quick review of common narrative techniques (used mainly in fiction, but may also apply in some narrative nonfiction)

by Alex Proimos, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commonsby Alex Proimos, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons

  • dialogue: conversation between two or more characters. Remember that the characters' actual words are enclosed by quotation marks.
  • exposition: just telling what happens, often in summary form
  • description: creating sensory "images" of places, people or things
  • reflection: the character's thoughts, often looking back at events
  • point of view: who is telling the story? Is it in first person or third person? Is the narrator a character in the story, limited to knowing what that character knows, or an "omniscient" narrator who knows more than a real person in the story could?
  • setting: where and when is the story happening? How does this affect events or characters?
  • character development: do the characters seem like real people, with both good and bad qualities? How are the characters changed by events, and how do the characters' changes affect later events?
  • parallel plots: does the action shift back and forth between two (or more) different characters or places to show events happening at the same time? (These events may seem unrelated at first.)
  • subplots: additional conflicts or stories that are somehow connected to the main plot and characters, but not as important
  • pacing: how the author handles time and sequence - does the story skip over weeks or months? Are there flashbacks? or does everything unfold in the same, steady, chronological manner?
  • suspense: Is there foreshadowing of future events? Does the author switch back and forth between parallel plots at critical points in the story? Are you kept in doubt about the outcome of events?

SEE ALSO information at the required link below.

22.02 Narrative techniques links (LA 9)

22.02.01 Narrative techniques (LA 9)

teacher-scored 35 points possible 45 minutes

This assignment refers to the book you chose to read from the list in lesson 20.03. By now, you should have finished reading the book (if not, skip this assignment until you HAVE finished.) Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

********************************************* 

  1. Quote an example of dialogue from the book that helps you infer what the characters are like. (At the least, you need the words of one character, and the response of another character.)  Explain what you can infer from this example.
  2. Quote an example of exposition from the book.
  3. Quote an example of description from the book.
  4. Quote an example of reflection from the book.
  5. Explain the point of view in this book. Who is the narrator? Is the story told in first person, third person limited, or third person omniscient?
  6. What and when is the setting of the story? How does this affect events or characters?
  7. Identify two of the main characters. Give examples of how they seem like real people, with both good and bad qualities. How are the characters changed by events, and how do the characters' changes affect later events?
  8. Does this story use parallel plots? Explain your answer.
  9. Explain at least one subplot in this story.
  10. How does this author handle time? How much time passes between the first and last events? Give an example of a flashback from the story.
  11. Give an example of foreshadowing and at least one other technique the author uses to create suspense.
  12. Give at least one example of symbolism in the book.
  13. Identify two themes from the book, and explain the evidence for each.

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


22.02.02 Quiz on readings and narrative techniques (LA 9)

computer-scored 20 points possible 10 minutes

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 65%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


22.03 Using narrative techniques (LA 9)

Horseshoe Canyon rock art: photo by John Fowler, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia CommonsHorseshoe Canyon rock art: photo by John Fowler, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to learn a skill--say, snowboarding, ballet, motocross, painting, riding a bike, knitting, or keyboarding--it is useful to watch someone else who is really good at it.

However, no matter how long you watch, until you try doing it yourself, you won't learn most of what you need to know.

You've read a book by an accomplished author and studied the techniques used to create the story. Now it's your turn to try.

You are going to write a story and try to put those techniques to work.

Here are some guidelines you must follow:

  • Your story must be fiction (it can't be simply a re-telling of an experience), but it may include elements of experiences you've had and/or real events you have heard about.
  • It must be set in a familiar place (a place you have lived or visited), but it may be set in the past or future.
  • It must include at least two main human characters (and I suggest you limit the main characters to no more than about four).
  • At the beginning of the story, the two main characters must be in different places--you are going to construct parallel plots, so you will be switching back and forth between these two characters, as they live through the events separately, until something in the story causes them to meet.
  • One of the main characters must discover something specific and concrete that s/he did not know about before, but that doesn't have to be the focus of the story.

22.03 Using narrative techniques: pre-writing (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 60 minutes

Do some planning for your story, using these questions to help you get started. Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

************************************************* 

  1. Where will your story take place? Describe the place(s).
  2. In what time period will your story take place? How may this affect the story?
  3. Name one of the main characters. Briefly describe his/her physical appearance, age, likes, dislikes, personality traits (strengths and weaknesses), abilities, education, and life situation.
  4. Name the second main character. Briefly describe his/her physical appearance, age, likes, dislikes, personality traits (strengths and weaknesses), abilities, education, and life situation.
  5. What is the main conflict or problem in the story?
  6. What separates the two main characters?
  7. How will the events of the story cause the two characters to meet or get together?
  8. How can you use a flashback to help explain something that happened before the story begins? Summarize what the event was.
  9. What will one of the characters discover, in the end, that s/he didn't know before?
  10. How can you create foreshadowing in the first part of the story, without giving away too much?
  11. How can you create suspense and doubt about the final outcome for the reader?
  12. What will be the tone of the story--humorous, serious, mysterious, tragic, frightening...? How can you create that tone?
  13. How will this story be similar to some real-life event (either in your life, or something you've heard about)?

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


22.03.01 Using narrative techniques: story first draft (LA 9)

teacher-scored 15 points possible 90 minutes

Write the first draft of your story (at least 900 words, and at least five "chapters").

Do NOT start with a bunch of background information--jump right into the action, with one of the two main characters. Remember to alternate between the two main characters' points of view--start with one, then switch to the other, switch back to the first, etc.

Each time you change from one character's point of view to the other, start a new chapter (I know these won't be very long chapters--aim for about 200 words or so per chapter). The two characters can meet (or get back together) any time after the middle of chapter four.

Remember, when writing dialogue, to start a new paragraph each time a different person speaks.

Incorrect:

 "You can't expect the prince to care about you," said the wicked stepsister. "Wait," said the prince.  "Where have I seen you before?"

Correct:

 "You can't expect the prince to care about you," said the wicked stepsister.

"Wait," said the prince.  "Where have I seen you before?"

 

This draft will be scored primarily on ideas and organization, but I may make comments on other elements to help you with your revision.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


22.03.02 Using narrative techniques: story revision and editing (LA 9)

teacher-scored 32 points possible 45 minutes

After you have read my comments on the first draft, revise your story (at least 900 words). Make sure you have included all the elements in the original instructions.

Refer to the rubric below, and also consider these possibilities:

  • Can you use foreshadowing in the first page of your story to create some suspense for readers?
  • Make sure you haven't included anything that the character from whose point of view the story is being told wouldn't know or see.
  • Make sure you create parallel plots by alternating between the two main characters.
  • Check that you have included a flashback somewhere to bring in information from before the story started.  Mark your flashback by putting a star at the begining of that section.
  • Choose at least one, important section of the story, and "magnify the moment" to bring the reader into the action.  Mark this section by putting two stars at the beginning of it.
  • Include at least two examples of figurative language.  Mark each with three stars.
  • Can you add specific details to help create the illusion of reality?
  • Make sure you include dialogue, description, reflection and exposition.
  • Does the conflict seem important and realistic?
  • Is it clear what the character has discovered or figured out in the course of the story?
  • In the ending, can you bring back in something from the beginning of the story to help create closure?
Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction & organization Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing parallel plots with two points of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth, natural progression of experiences or events. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing parallel plots with two points of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events. Establish a context and introduce a narrator and/or characters; event sequence may be confusing or seem contrived
Development of ideas and content Use the most effective narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, "magnify the moment", a flashback and parallel plots, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, "magnify the moment", a flashback and parallel plots, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Use only one narrative technique, such as dialogue or description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution). Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole. Use some transitions; may not adequately signal sequence, setting shifts, or relationships.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise words and phrases, telling details, figurative language, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters. Includes at least two examples of figurative language. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.  Includes at least one example of figurative language. Use abstract, general words and phrases, and/or inadequate details and language, not clearly conveying experiences and events.
Conclusion Provide a satisfying conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative. Ending/conclusion may be missing or seem abrupt, contrived or incomplete.
Improvements Significant improvements over first draft Moderate improvements over first draft Minimal changes from first draft

 

Edit your story (at least 900 words).

Check for conventions like spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, and parallelism.

Your draft will be scored according to this rubric. Use the rubric for additional guidance on editing your work.

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Sentence structure Effectively use well-constructed phrases and clauses; use parallel structure and variety in sentences, phrases and clauses Use well-constructed phrases, clauses and some variation in sentence length or style, with at least one example of parallel structure Many errors in sentence structure
Conventions and language skills Has few or no errors in conventions, grammar or usage; Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage; Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


23.00 Unit 23: Exposition (LA 9)

A prehistoric hunter attacking a brown bear: Margaret A. McIntyre, WMC, public domain (copyright expired)A prehistoric hunter attacking a brown bear: Margaret A. McIntyre, WMC, public domain (copyright expired)

 

Exposition is writing that describes something, explains, or informs. Expository writing should examine, explain, and communicate ideas, processes, concepts and information clearly and accurately.

Expository writing includes

  • technical writing like the manuals that come with games or software
  • 'how-to' writing like magazine articles about how to fly-fish, build a greenhouse, or make artisan bread
  • descriptive writing like a travel book, an article about the latest fashions, or information about a house for sale on a real estate website
  • scientific journal articles describing an experiment or study, and reporting the results
  • news reports about a current event
  • ...and many other forms

By now you may have noticed that the three types of writing (argument, narrative and exposition) sometimes overlap, and that many pieces of writing include aspects of two (or all three). When you aren't sure how to classify a particular writing, ask yourself what the main purpose is--to argue, to tell a story, or to inform?

Novels, short stories, and biographies are usually narrative though they are likely to include sections of exposition. Arguments are also likely to contain some exposition, and sometimes some narrative. In the same way, expository writing may include some elements of narration or argument, but its main purpose is to inform.

23.01 Exposition: writing that informs (LA 9)

Information

Aspen growing in lava rock, Dixie National Forest, Utah: Steve Robertson, WMC, USDA image, public domainAspen growing in lava rock, Dixie National Forest, Utah: Steve Robertson, WMC, USDA image, public domain

Information is not so much a technique as a building block of exposition.  Facts, statistics, and general knowledge are important in all expository (and argument) writing. Information is basic to all the techniquess listed below.  However, not all information and details are equally important.  Good expository writing focuses on the details that are significant and relevant, rather than burying the reader in all possible facts.

Quick review of common expository techniques (used extensively in nonfiction, but also apply to fiction):

Description

Description is an organized discussion of characteristics of the thing/place/person/event being described.  It focuses mainly on observable, concrete, specific traits - qualities you could see, hear, smell, taste and/or touch - and actions or events.  By description, the writer tries to share his/her observations with the reader.

Explanation

"How-to" articles (like how to avoid frostbite, how to bake a pie, how to coach youth soccer, or how to choose a computer) and analysis pieces that look at how and why an event or issue is important use extensive explanation.

Compare/contrast

Comparison is the process of identifying and explaining how two or more things/people/events are alike.  Contrast is the process of identifying and explaining significant differences between two or more things/people/events.

Cause and effect

One type of analysis tries to determine the causes and effects of problems or events.  Why did something happen?  What new events are likely to occur as a result?

Problem and solution

This type of analysis examines a problem and considers pro's and con's of possible solutions.

Read/view the examples at the links below.

23.01 Expository readings (LA 9)

23.01 Using Easybib to create citations (LA 9)

How to use the easybib.com website to create a citation:

Suppose I am citing information from the website at http://indians.org/articles/cherokee-indians.html -

  • I go to the website www.easybib.com and enter the url for the web page with this article, and then click Continue.
  • Since we can't find an author, we skip the Contributors section. (If there was an author/authors listed, I would fill that in.)
  • I notice that part of the website title was cut off, so I type in the "Cherokee Indians", which was missing.
  • To find the publisher/sponsor, I click the "About Us" link on the source page, and I find out that American Indian Heritage Foundation sponsors this web page, so I copy and paste that into the Publisher/sponsor box.
  • Since I don't see a date on the source page, I right-click the page and choose "view page info". That tells me the date the page was last modified, and I put that date into the "Electronically published" boxes.
  • Then I click "create citation". That gives me this correct citation: "Cherokee Indians." The History of the Cherokee Indians. American Indian Heritage Foundation, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

23.01.01 Expository readings quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 70%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


23.02 Using expository techniques (LA 9)

teacher-scored 25 points possible 60 minutes

Magnus Fr&ouml;derberg, WMC, CC-BY-2.5-DKMagnus Fröderberg, WMC, CC-BY-2.5-DK

What are some of the most important or most common problems facing young people today as they grow up?  Think about this in terms of your own life, and the lives of your friends and family.  Ask your friends (either face to face or on social media) what they think are problems.  (I'm not looking for some "right answer" here; I want you to analyze what are problems in real life.)

Answer the questions below.  Submit the questions and answers either by copy and paste, or as an attached document.

************************************

1. Just on your own, brainstorm five to ten problems of young people in your area.  Include at least one that is particular to where you live. List those here:

2.  Now talk to friends or family members.  List at least five MORE problems they suggested:

In the next set of questions, you are going to choose three of those issues that seem most interesting, important or relevant to you (you should feel some personal connection or interest in the issue), and for each of those three issues, identify two or three causes that contribute to the problem, and two or three possible solutions or possible improvements.

3a. One issue that seems interesting/important to you (focus in and be specific):

3b. Two or three causes of this problem:

3c. Two or three possible solutions or improvements:

 

4a.  A second issue that seems interesting/important to you (focus in and be specific):

4b. Two or three causes of this problem:

4c. Two or three possible solutions or improvements:

 

5a.  A third issue that seems interesting/important to you (focus in and be specific):

5b. Two or three causes of this problem:

5c. Two or three possible solutions or improvements:

 

For the next set of questions, you are going to choose two of the three problems to compare and contrast.

6.  Which two problems are you going to compare?

7.  List at least four significant things these two problems have in common.  How are they alike?

8.  List at least four significant differences between these two problems.

 

9: What was most difficult for you about this assignment?

10:  How did/could you deal with those difficulties?

******************************************

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


23.02.01 Research for expository essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 15 points possible 45 minutes

For this assignment (and the next one), choose one of the three issues you focused on in the previous assignment.

Research to find at least four sources of information about this issue, following the instructions below.  Copy and paste the questions and answers, or upload a document, to submit your assignment.

How to use Utah's Online Library for your research:

Go to onlinelibrary.uen.org and log in.
 The username and password are listed on your main EHS page - or check the reply to your About Me assignment, or message your teacher.
Choose Gale Reference Collection Grades 9-12 (in the left column)
Click PowerSearch.
From there, you can type your subject or keywords into the search box.

*****************************

1. Identify the problem/issue you are choosing.  Be specific!  Define the issue:

2.  Ask two people you know for their opinions or experiences regarding this problem.  Record their names and answers here:

a.

b.

  Use Utah's Online Library to find at least one source for information on this issue.

3.  List the article title, author, publication title, and date of publication for the source you found through Utah's Online Library.

4.  Copy a quotation relevant to the issue from this source:

Use Google to find another source.  Start by bringing up a Google search page, typing in a key word, and hitting return/enter.  Look to the upper right of the page, and click the options "cogwheel" icon and select Advanced Search.  Put keywords about your topic in the "all these words" box.  Then scroll down to the "site or domain" line and put in .gov . Choose a source from those results (if you don't find anything, try putting in .edu instead).

5. List the article title, author, publication title, and date of publication for the .gov or .edu source you found through Google advanced search.

6.  Copy a quotation relevant to the issue from this source:

Use Google to find another source.  Start by bringing up a Google search page, typing in a key word, and hitting return/enter.  Look to the upper right of the page, and click the options "cogwheel" icon and select Advanced Search..  Put keywords about your topic in the "all these words" box.  Then scroll down to the "site or domain" line and put in .org . Choose a source from those results.

7.   List the article title, author, publication title, and date of publication for the .org source you found through Google advanced search.

8.   Copy a quotation relevant to the issue from this source:

Find one additional source, using any method you choose.

9.  List author, title and other relevant information for this source.

10. Copy a quotation relevant to the issue from this source:

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


23.02.02 First draft of your expository essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 45 minutes

Now you are going to expand on some of your ideas from the last two assignments to write an analytical essay.  You may choose to make this primarily either a problem/solution or a cause/effect essay.  Your topic will be the one you chose to research.  Remember this is an expository (informative) essay, not a persuasive or argument essay, so think in terms of explaining the issues objectively, not so much "taking a side".

Use information from a minimum of three sources (five if you want an A).

Structure your first draft like this:

First paragraph (introduction)

  If you're not sure how to start out, use this as the first sentence:  Young adults today face many challenges. You can follow that by listing some of the problems you identified earlier, and then end the paragraph by identifying the problem you have chosen, and making a statement about why it is important or relevant.

Second paragraph (describe the problem)

  Expand on why this problem is important.  Give examples from your own experience, or experiences of friends or family.

Additional body paragraphs

The next two or three paragraphs will depend on your main focus, but will to some degree deal with causes of the problem, effects of the problem, and/or possible solutions to the problem.  Include some information from your research.

Last paragraph (conclusion)

Don't repeat too much information from earlier paragraphs, but tie things up.  One effective way to end your last paragraph is to repeat or paraphrase a key sentence from your introduction; that's fine, but don't make the whole paragraph a repeat.  Using a quotation or statistic that reinforces your main point, but that you didn't yet use earlier in the essay, can strengthen the conclusion.  Looking into the future and predicting how this issue may affect people is another technique for conclusions.

Rubric for Expository Essay First Draft
  Exceeds standards Meets standards Does not meet standards
Ideas and content 10:  Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic, using & citing at least five credible sources (including some from research and from personal experience) 8:  Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic, using & citing at least three credible sources (including some from research and from personal experience). 2:  Details may not be sufficient, relevant, specific or important. May not include information from other sources.
Organization and flow 10:  Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings) or graphics (e.g., map, tables) when useful to aiding comprehension; strong conclusion 8:  Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings) or graphics (e.g., map, tables), when useful to aiding comprehension; has a conclusion 2:  May be missing introduction or conclusion;order may seem random or confusing 

 

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


23.02.03 Revised/edited expository essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 36 points possible 45 minutes

Revise your essay

Steps for revision:

  • Read the comments I sent you in the rubric (on your first draft) and make the suggested changes, additions or corrections.
  • Review the instructions from the first draft/lesson to make sure you have included all the required information.
  • Add two more examples or quotations from your research to clarify your explanations (unless I already told you that you have enough information from your research).
  • Make sure everything is in the best order and has transitions to help the reader understand your ideas.
  • Any place where you used an idea, fact, example or quotation from one of your sources, add the author's last name in parenthesis right after your use of the information (unless the author was already identified in the sentence/paragraph).
  • At the end of your essay, add a "works cited" list (in alphabetical order by author's last name) with at least the author's name, article title, and publication date.  For full points, use MLA style citations.

Edit your essay

I will comment on editing issues when you submit this assignment.  Remember you can make corrections and resubmit if you need to.

Steps for editing:

  • Make sure your sentence structure is correct - double-check for fragments and run-on sentences.  Usually, sentences that start with and, or, but, or so need to be connected to the previous sentence.
  • Use your spell checker!  After doing that, still read through (and ask someone else to read through) and look for remaining spelling mistakes to fix.
  • Check for correct punctuation.  Use a comma after an introductory phrase or clause, between the clauses of a compound sentence (BEFORE the and, but, or, so - not after), and around parenthetical phrases.
  • Check other conventions: capitalization, grammar, usage, paragraphing, etc.
  • Make needed changes or corrections to your MLA-style citations and works cited list

How to use the easybib.com website to create a citation:

Suppose I am citing information from the website at http://indians.org/articles/cherokee-indians.html -

  • I go to the website www.easybib.com and enter the url for the web page with this article, and then click Continue.
  • Since we can't find an author, we skip the Contributors section. (If there was an author/authors listed, I would fill that in.)
  • I notice that part of the website title was cut off, so I type in the "Cherokee Indians", which was missing.
  • To find the publisher/sponsor, I click the "About Us" link on the source page, and I find out that American Indian Heritage Foundation sponsors this web page, so I copy and paste that into the Publisher/sponsor box.
  • Since I don't see a date on the source page, I right-click the page and choose "view page info". That tells me the date the page was last modified, and I put that date into the "Electronically published" boxes.
  • Then I click "create citation". That gives me this correct citation: "Cherokee Indians." The History of the Cherokee Indians. American Indian Heritage Foundation, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

Rubrics for this assignment:

REVISION 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction, organization, format & media Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., map, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., map, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information; order may seem random or confusing; may not make effective use of format, graphics and/or multimedia
Development of ideas and content Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic, using & citing credible sources (including some from the readings and from personal experience) Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic, using & citing credible sources (including some from the readings and from personal experience). Develop the topic with facts, other information or examples; details may not be sufficient, relevant, specific or important.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Tie in personal experience with information from outside sources. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use some transitions; may not adequately clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use mostly abstract, general words and phrases; establish a formal style but may not be consistent
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic), while providing a sense of confident closure, beyond just repetition of earlier statements Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). Writing just stops without a concluding statement or section
Improvements over first draft Significant improvements in organization, ideas and analysis, including an added paragraph of analysis Noticeable improvements in organization and/or ideas, including an added paragraph Negligible changes

 

 

EDITING 6(exceeds standards) 4 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Sentence structure and conventions Demonstrates skillful use of parallelism and a variety of clauses and phrases, with correct sentence structure; Has few or no errors in conventions (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, paragraphing, grammar or usage) Demonstrates use of parallelism, clauses and/or phrases; few or no fragments or run-on sentences; Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage Many errors in sentence structure; Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas
Citations  Works cited list with at least four sources and at least four in-text citations, in correct MLA style  Works cited list with at least three sources and at least three in-text citations, mostly in MLA style Minimal information about sources

 

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


23.03 Performance Assessment (LA 9)

Queen Elizabeth I of England: Federico Zuccari, WMC, public domain (copyright expired)Queen Elizabeth I of England: Federico Zuccari, WMC, public domain (copyright expired)

I encourage you to read/view the material at the links below, and discuss them with someone else who has also read or viewed it, before you work on quiz 23.03.

23.03 Performance Assessment readings (LA 9)

23.03.01 Performance assessment (LA 9)

teacher-scored 21 points possible 45 minutes

Use the quiz link on the main class page to take this quiz. I encourage you to have someone else read and discuss the selections with you.

Note that this quiz is different from other quizzes in the class.  It is longer and requires detailed, essay answers.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.00 Unit 24: Argumentation (LA 9)

Thompson-Baldwin debate, 2012: WisPolitics.com, WMC, CC-BY-SA-2.0Thompson-Baldwin debate, 2012: WisPolitics.com, WMC, CC-BY-SA-2.0

An important 'big idea' we focus on in English 9: Writers choose details, evidence, events and characters' words and actions to develop main ideas or themes; readers use details, examples and evidence to infer main ideas or themes.

In unit 24, you will consider important components of "argument," both in reading/listening and in writing/speaking. You should expect the lessons and assignments in this unit to take you about nine to eleven hours of concentrated work.

The purpose of argument is to set forth claims, counterclaims, reasons, and relevant evidence in such a way as to determine and clarify the accuracy or truth of the matter. 

"Argument?" you say. "I'm good at that - just ask my parents!"

In current usage, 'argument' means a discussion (often angry) between two or more people who disagree on something. However, that is not the way we will be using 'argument' in this class.

The classical meaning of 'argument' (remember that 'classical' refers to the Greek and Roman period, about 2000+ years ago) had to do with persuasion. The words 'rhetoric' and 'discourse' have related meanings. Many of our ideas about rhetoric are based on the work of the Greek philosophers/teachers/writers Plato and Aristotle.

Aristotle classified the techniques of rhetoric/argument into three categories. Their Greek names are ethos, pathos and logos.

  • Ethos has to do with changing how you perceive the speaker/writer himself (or herself) and his/her credibility or authority.
    Do you trust the speaker? Do you like him/her? Does s/he have a reputation for being honest and accurate? If you answer "yes" to those questions, you are more likely to be persuaded to agree with the speaker. An attractive, charismatic speaker who seems to have a strong belief in his/her message will persuade or motivate more listeners.  If the speaker deliberately tries to use and improve his/her credibility as a way of persuading you, that is ethos.  A person's style of writing or speaking can have a major effect on whether you believe what s/he is saying.  In recent decades, many politicians running for president or other major offices have made a deliberate effort to seem more "folksy" or "down to earth" (think "Duck Dynasty") rather than more educated or sophisticated. Note that ethos is not about ethics (except in the limited sense that a speaker/writer might try to persuade you based on his/her ethical character).  Ethos is about the speaker/writer trying to manipulate the audience to trust and agree, based on his/her character, expertise, or position of authority.
  • Pathos has to do with emotional reactions. Appealing to listeners' concerns or hopes, the speaker tries to arouse fear, anger, shame, sorrow, happiness or sympathy, often using "loaded language" - words calculated to "push your buttons". (If you're thinking of political speeches or commercial advertising, you're on the right track.) References to patriotism or loyalty to one's group; examples of wounded veterans, dying children, abused animals, or unemployed people losing their homes; or images of sexy models, happy families, beautiful scenery, or the trappings of wealth are all often used to manipulate viewers' and listeners' emotions. It is human nature to be easily swayed by emotion. 
  • Logos has to do with logic, knowledge and facts. The use of statistics, scientific studies, cause-and-effect relationships, and parallels from history are all examples of logos. Note, however, that logos (like any of the techniques) can be used to mislead as well as to impart accurate information. A speaker who is working from false premises will arrive at false conclusions, even using logic. Logos should be the most important basis for persuasion, but generally, people are more easily persuaded by personal appeal and emotion. Why do you believe the things you do? Probably, in most cases, because your family members or friends believe those things.

In this class, we will use 'argumentation' to mean logos - the use of logic and evidence in communication. Just as a poet or fiction writer uses carefully-chosen specific details to shape and clarify a poem or story, a writer of argument uses facts, examples and evidence to shape and clarify the meaning.

 How is argument different from persuasion?

     The purpose of persuasion is to convince others of something. The purpose of argument is to determine the truth about something. That said, argument may sometimes be used as part of persuasion.

How is an argument different from an opinion?

    All of us have opinions. We may like school, or we may not like school. We may oppose abortion, or war, or higher taxes, or discrimination. We may think fried chicken is better than pizza or vice versa. Those are our views, or opinions. Sometimes your opinion may differ from someone else's opinion, and the two of you disagree. That is still not an argument. 

When we begin using logical reasons or evidence to determine whether a certain view is correct, then we are using argument.

24.01 More about logic (LA 9)

Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

The readings and activities for this lesson will extend your understanding of argument.

“An argument is a set of reasons or evidence (premises) in support of a conclusion. An argument is not merely a statement of views, nor is an argument simply a dispute. Arguments are attempts to support certain views with reasons.” - Weston, Anthony. (1992) A Rulebook for Arguments

Notice, from this definition, that you could structure a simple argument something like this:

The reasons I believe that ____________ is best include ______________, ______________ and __________________. (if you had three reasons for your view) OR ______________________ is good (or bad) because _____________________.

A few basics of logic EHS imageEHS image

Inductive logic works from specific cases, patterns, or examples to reach a general rule. The more specific cases you observe to support the general rule, the more likely it is that the rule is correct. However, with inductive logic there is a chance that the rule might not always be true. You probably haven't checked all the possibilities. Consider this example:

Back before there were long-distance communications or quick transportation, people who lived in the middle of Utah would have observed that in the cold part of the winter, water freezes. Puddles freeze, bowls of water left outside freeze, lakes freeze, even streams and rivers eventually freeze. This happens year after year, and people (using inductive logic) conclude that this is a universal rule: water freezes in cold winter weather. You and I know that this rule is generally true. However, one winter, someone travels north to the edge of the Great Salt Lake. What's this? A whole lake of water that isn't frozen in the dead of winter? Turns out our 'rule' needs to be revised: "Fresh water freezes in cold winter weather."

Deductive logic starts with a general rule (the premise) and applies it to a specific case.

A premise is a statement that has previously been determined to be true--often, something 'taken for granted.' In formal logic, the premise(s) must be explicitly stated, but in general use, in many discussions of politics, religion or other issues, the speaker/writer may leave some premises unspoken, assumed. In that case, you (as the reader, or listener) may need to question or infer the unspoken assumptions before you can evaluate the conclusions based on this logic. When you evaluate a claim based on deduction, there are two separate issues you must consider: whether the premises are true, and whether the logic is valid.

  • Are the premises true?

    Consider this example: Premises: All water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below. The Great Salt Lake is water. Today the temperature is 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Conclusion: Today there will be ice on the Great Salt Lake. The logic is valid, BUT one of the premises is not true--salt water has a lower freezing point than fresh water. The conclusion is false.

  • Is the logic valid?

    Consider these examples:
    1. Premises: All girls are human. John is human. Conclusion: John must be a girl. The premises are true, BUT the logic is not valid. The premise didn't say "all humans are girls" or "only girls are humans"; it said "all girls are humans" The conclusion is false because it says John MUST be a girl, and we don't have enough information to know that.
    2. Premises: Cats hate baths. Emma hates baths. Conclusion: Emma must be a cat. Even if we say the premises are true, this logic is not valid. The premise doesn't say "ONLY cats hate baths." The conclusion is false. Emma MIGHT be a cat, but we don't have enough information to say she MUST be a cat.

    Correlation and causation

Human beings all seem to be interested in finding out WHY things happen - looking for causes. When two things happen about the same time, we wonder whether one caused the other. We also have a natural tendency to look for patterns, to remember things that fit a pattern we've noticed, and forget things that don't fit the pattern. In creating and evaluating arguments, it is very important to understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Causation:

When one thing CAUSES another, we say that there is a causal relationship (not to be confused with a 'casual relationship'!), or that we have causation. Consider these examples:

1. When the temperature in the winter drops below freezing, the water in my dogs' outside water bowls freezes. These two things tend to happen about the same time. Is there a causal relationship? If so, what is it? (Yes, I know you're thinking "DUH!" but bear with me.) Presuming that there IS a causal relationship, it could be one of two: The water freezing in the dog bowls causes the cold weather.... OR... The cold weather causes the water in the dog bowls to freeze. Of course, we know which is the correct relationship, but what if we didn't? Generally, a cause precedes an effect. If we observe carefully, we see that the weather gets cold before the water in the dish freezes, so probably cold weather causes the water to freeze, not the other way around.

2. For two days in a row, after you shower you leave your dirty clothes and wet towels on the floor of the bathroom you share with your sister. Your sister is annoyed with you those two days. Is there a causal relationship? Well, if your sister is anything like my sister, yes! The reason (cause) that she is annoyed with you is that you left stuff all over the bathroom floor. [Possibly this relationship goes both ways, if you leave your stuff on the floor deliberately to annoy your sister!]

Correlation: when two things tend to happen together, whether or not there is a causal relationship, we say they are correlated. Consider these examples:

1. Every year, there are about equal amounts of daylight and darkness. Also every year, there are about equal numbers of boy babies and girl babies born. Is there a causal relationship? No. The relative numbers of boy and girl babies are not affected by the hours of light and darkness. This is correlation only.
2. For at least 50 years, research has noted that people who smoke are more likely to get lung cancer. There is a correlation between smoking and getting lung cancer. Is there a causal relationship? Yes. Additional research has determined that lung cancer is often caused by exposure to cigarette smoke.
3. We might also note that nearly all people who die of cancer slept in beds most of their lives. There is a correlation between sleeping in a bed and dying of cancer. Is there a causal relationship? No. People who don't die of cancer also sleep in beds most of their lives.

Important: Correlation does NOT imply causation. When you notice a correlation between two things, that is a reason to ask whether there is a causal relationship, and how that might work; it is NOT a reason to ASSUME causation. You may be thinking, "Those were all stupid examples. How is this important in the real world?" Here are just a couple examples of important real-life issues where we need to figure out whether causation or just correlation are at work:

1. Climate change/global warming: It has now been established beyond a reasonable doubt that the average temperature on Earth has gone up slightly over the past 300 years. Over the same time period, human populations and the burning of fossil fuels have increased dramatically. There is definitely a correlation between global temperatures and human-caused burning of fossil fuels. A huge debate going on internationally is over this question: Is there a causal relationship between human activities and global climate change? The question is important because if we figure out the causes of climate change, we might reasonably try to take action against climate change. Without knowing causal relationships, any action we take is like a shot in the dark.

2. Economic problems: Over the years 2005 to 2011, various economic problems existed in the US (and to greater or lesser degrees, in many other countries); unemployment was up, the housing market crashed, national debt was up, the stock market was mostly down, health care costs were up. We can find correlations between these problems and other data: who was President, whether the Congress was controlled by Democrats or Republicans, the price of gold, money spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, total snow depth at Alta ski resort, illegal immigrants, global warming, UFO sightings, Super Bowl scores, the wolf population, the discovery of other Earth-like planets, the amount of government regulation, tax rates.... we could go on and on. Clearly, many of the correlated events have no causal relationship with economic problems. Yet some of the correlated events must have causal relationships with the economic problems. Again, if we can sort out causes from effects and simple correlations, we can attempt to make changes that will bring improvement.

When you evaluate arguments, or when you develop arguments, you need to carefully consider issues of logic and causation.

Read the lesson at the link below:

24.02 Logical fallacies (LA 9)

San Rafael Reef, Utah: G. Thomas, WMC, author released into public domainSan Rafael Reef, Utah: G. Thomas, WMC, author released into public domain

Writing a good argument depends upon having good information (data, evidence, examples) and upon using good logic.  If you haven't already, review the links on argument found in the unit overview.

Unfortunately, much of what you read or hear is based on bad logic - logical fallacies.  Mostly, these mistakes in logic are accidental - the result of careless thinking - but there are people who deliberately use logical fallacies to try to persuade or confuse others.

Download and print the attachment to have a nice summary of this information.  Most of the information in this lesson is copied or adapted from the website at the url below; it is published under a Creative Commons noncommercial license, so it is OK for you or me to use it as long as we give credit to the authors (Jesse Richardson, Andy Smith and Som Meaden) and don't use it to make money.

Here are a few of the most common logical fallacies:

False cause (correlation vs. causation): presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.  For example, you were wearing your striped underwear when you scored two soccer goals, so wearing your striped underwear will ensure that you can make a goal in tomorrow's game.

Ad hominem: attacking your opponent's character or personal traits instead of engaging with their argument.  We see this a lot in politics.  "Why should we listen to Senator X's ideas about the economy? He never ran a business - he just leaches off the taxpayers' money."

Begging the question (circular reasoning): an argument in which the conclusion is included in the premise, ie "We don't have much water in Utah because it is such a dry state".  Notice that you could also have said "Utah is such a dry state because we don't have much water."  Either way, it really doesn't explain anything.

Bandwagon (everybody's doing it): using popularity as validation of accuracy or quality.  "It must be a great movie.  It was sold out all weekend."

Appeal to nature: the premise that anything natural must be good (and vice-versa).  "Test-tube babies aren't natural, so we should make in-vitro fertilization illegal."

Burden of proof: saying that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove it. "If you can't prove I'm wrong, then I must be right."

Black-or-white (all or nothing): where two alternative states are presented as the only possibilities, when in fact more possibilities exist.  "If you don't get a college degree, you'll be on welfare all your life."

Slippery slope: asserting that if we allow A to happen, that will cause Z to happen, so we shouldn't allow A.  When I was in high school, an adult told the school board that if (male) students were allowed to have long hair or mustaches, next thing we knew, there would be riots and the Kent State massacre would be repeated at our school.

Use the link below to read more about logical fallacies.

24.02.01 Logic quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

Go to the quiz link in Module 3 on the main class page to take this quiz.  You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

This quiz covers the unit overview, lesson 24.01 and lesson 24.02, but not the readings for 24.02.02, which are covered in the next quiz.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.02.02 Arguing the sciences (LA 9)

Remember our definition of "argument"? (I hope so--it was in the unit overview you should have read very recently!)

The purpose of argument is to set forth claims, counterclaims, reasons, and relevant evidence in such a way as to determine and clarify the accuracy or truth of the matter.

I go back to that because it might almost be a definition of science as well. Of course, science also involves observation and experimentation, analysis, and then more experimentation.Diving saucer explores ocean: By Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy (Manned Submarines, by R. Frank Busby, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain)Diving saucer explores ocean: By Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy (Manned Submarines, by R. Frank Busby, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain) At any rate, argument is a major part of science, so lots of science writing is also argumentation. When you read books or articles about science, remember your critical reading skills--be asking yourself how this squares with what you already know, whether it makes sense, and whether the writer might have some personal stake in the issue giving him/her a motive to present an incomplete or inaccurate story. Read and view the material in the links below.

Material from all of the above links will be covered in quiz 24.04.02.

24.03 Question what you read (LA 9)

In our everyday life, we tend to associate being questioned with situations where people don't trust us or don't respect us. [Where have you been? Why didn't you call? What did you think you were doing? What do you know about it?]

We are also often taught not to question authority--just do what the teacher, parent, boss or church leader tells us.

In science, however, questioning is the very basis of knowledge. Scientists question each other, everyone, and everything, routinely. This questioning is not generally hostile or negative--it is part and parcel of the network of science, absolutely necessary to new discoveries and progress. [How do we know that? How could we be sure? How can we tell? Why does that happen? Will it always work? What if we changed something? Is this actually causing that, or do they just happen together?]

This kind of critical thinking (or critical reading or listening) isn't trying to put anybody down; it is trying to deepen our understanding and extend our knowledge. In this spirit, note that the readings for this lesson and assignment weren't chosen because there is necessarily anything wrong with them. That is, I didn't try to find "bad examples."

As you read, you don't need to decide whether the conclusions are right or wrong; do come up with more questions that could be used to investigate further.

Want an example of what I mean? Below I will list questions I came up with when I read the article "Got War? Blame the Weather" (link in the previous lesson). It is likely that at least some of these questions could be answered if we had access to the entire original study, instead of just this article summarizing it.

What were the other ten variables they considered?
Why were the four time periods different lengths?
Paragraph two refers to fourteen variables; paragraph four seems to imply there were fifteen (climate shifts and "the other 14"). Which is correct?
Does "a falling supply of crops" always drive up the price of gold? Why, exactly?
What effects did population size, or changes in population size or location, have?
What other factors (like education, printing press, technology, changes in culture, etc) affected the Enlightenment?
How many of those factors were somehow climate-influenced?
What was the "crisis threshold" they found? Was it a percent increase in food prices?
Were the problems only caused by unusually cold periods? What about unusually warm periods?
What would happen if we extended the study into more recent times? or back into previous time periods?
Was the impact of Old World diseases on native Americans significantly affected by the hundred-year cold spell, or would the lack of immunity have been equally devastating in any climate?
Did they take into account rainfall (the Wagner comments implies not), soil fertility, types of crops, or changes in imports/exports?
Does the article's title/headline accurately reflect the researchers' claim?

Rachel Carson and Bob Hines conducting marine biology research, 1952: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain via Wikimedia CommonsRachel Carson and Bob Hines conducting marine biology research, 1952: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Two of the above articles you have already read for the previous lesson; two are new.

24.03.01 Question what you read: practice (LA 9)

teacher-scored 25 points possible 40 minutes

Read (or re-read) the four articles (links above).  Yes, two of them are from the previous lesson, so you can probably just skim them this time.

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment. 

For each of the four articles, do the following:

*********************************

A.

  1. Identify the article by title:
  2. Summarize the main claim(s) made in the article
  3. Propose at least six substantive questions we could ask to find out more about the specifics in the article.
  4. Identify an example of either inductive or deductive reasoning in this article; explain the example and whether it is inductive or deductive.

B.

  1. Identify the article by title:
  2. Summarize the main claim(s) made in the article
  3. Propose at least six substantive questions we could ask to find out more about the specifics in the article.
  4. Identify an example of either inductive or deductive reasoning in this article; explain the example and whether it is inductive or deductive.

C.

  1. Identify the article by title:
  2. Summarize the main claim(s) made in the article
  3. Propose at least six substantive questions we could ask to find out more about the specifics in the article.
  4. Identify an example of either inductive or deductive reasoning in this article; explain the example and whether it is inductive or deductive.

D.

  1. Identify the article by title:
  2. Summarize the main claim(s) made in the article
  3. Propose at least six substantive questions we could ask to find out more about the specifics in the article.
  4. Identify an example of either inductive or deductive reasoning in this article; explain the example and whether it is inductive or deductive.

********************************

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.04 Argument writing (LA 9)

Recall that a primary goal of argument writing is to figure out and clarify what is real, accurate, and true.

Trends in adult overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity, 1960-2012: CDC.gov, public domainTrends in adult overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity, 1960-2012: CDC.gov, public domain

In this process, it is nearly always necessary to consider multiple sources and points of view. One of the challenges of writing argument is that you may find the same information at multiple sources, but that is no guarantee of accuracy. Especially in the day of the internet, people may copy and re-publish incorrect information just as easily as correct information. One common example of this is to paraphrase or create a partial quote, out of context, from a politician's speech, and then post it as being the politician's words. Generally, with a little research you can find a transcript or recording of the original speech and find out what was actually said.

There is a popular saying that "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." The converse is also a good thing to bear in mind: If it sounds too bad to be true, there is also a good chance it was invented or misrepresented.

Another challenge is that you may find conflicting information. Then you need to try to determine which is correct.

Statistics in argument

You are likely to see statistics in two main forms:

  • raw data: these are the actual numbers. For example, in 2010, there were 235 traffic fatalities in Utah. That same year, there were 52,164 births and 14,647 total deaths in the state.
  • percentages: these are ratios. For example, if we take the 235 traffic deaths and compare them to the 14,647 total deaths (by dividing 235/14647 and then multiplying the result by 100 and rounding off), we find out that that less than 2% of Utah deaths in 2010 were traffic fatalities. That is, out of every 100 people who died, one or two of them died in traffic accidents.

Both raw data and percentages give you good information, but it is important to know which you are looking at, and what it means for the issue you are considering. Numbers can be very useful in analyzing issues. Unfortunately, they can also be used to mislead. Let's consider an example. This is extreme, but will help you understand how people can use accurate information to support opposing views.

Let's say doctors have identified a new, fatal disease they are calling "virus X." Naturally, this is alarming. You read an article that says that last year, the number of fatalities from virus X in Utah tripled. WHAT? you say. This sounds really bad! We need to do something!
Then you read another article that says there were only three deaths in Utah from virus X last year. Wait a minute! you say. That doesn't sound like much of a threat--but which of the articles is correct?
Quite possibly, they are both correct. If, in the previous year, Utah had only one fatality from virus X, three deaths this year would be triple that. Another way to say it is "the number of fatalities increased by 200%." Both articles are correct: the incidence of fatalities from the disease tripled, and the total number of victims of the virus was three.

Now, if both versions are correct, what does it matter which one is used? It makes a huge difference in perception!

If you were trying to persuade someone to fund research into a cure for the disease, you would be a lot more likely to get interest if you said the incidence of the disease was increasing by 200% a year, or that it tripled in a year.

If you were trying to persuade someone to spend that funding on something else (say, preventing traffic fatalities), you would be more likely to succeed if you specified that virus X only killed three people last year. Generally speaking, in a good argumentative essay, you should look at both raw numbers AND percentages to get a more accurate picture of the importance of a factor.

Looking at the chart above, we could downplay the problem by saying that the percent of "overweight" adults hasn't changed that much over the past 50 years.  On the other hand, we could highlight the problem by saying that by 2012, there were roughly three to four times as many (a 300% increase!) in the percent of extremely obese adults.  Either statement is true.  The chart doesn't provide information about how many people that is, but given that the population has increased quite a bit since 1960, if we had raw numbers, they would probably be even more impressive.

Expert testimonial in argument

Quoting someone who is an expert in the field seems good information for an argumentative essay, and it can be.

However, what constitutes an expert? Is it anyone with a PhD in the field? Anyone who has worked in the field for a few years? Anyone who has read a lot about it?

How do you know a person is an expert? Because they told you so? because they have a website? because they have a piece of paper framed in their office? because they are president of a company?

Even if you narrow it down to people with legitimate education and work experience, on any given issue, you will find experts who disagree. They may simply have different perspectives, experiences or values; their egos may be involved; they may be motivated by personal gain, financial or otherwise.

Many issues are extremely complex, and reasonable people may disagree. Often, the people with the strongest opinions are those who have simplified an issue down to one dimension, or those for whom one particular value overrides all other considerations.

Be careful not to stereotype people based on common divisions. Scientists, as a group, are likely to be more knowledgeable about their field than the rest of us. Religious leaders, as a group, are likely to be more knowledgeable about their religion than the rest of us. Fishermen are likely to know more about fishing; politicians are likely to know more about politics. However, no amount of education, or lack of it, is a guarantee of wisdom or ethics.

When you are writing argument, you should not either accept or reject a person's opinion based on stereotypes of the group with which you associate them. Always look for facts, as nearly as you can find them, to use in your argument. Present opposing viewpoints whenever they seem reasonable, and explain why their reasons aren't strong enough to refute your main claim. Try to find original sources when possible. Avoid sensational, emotional generalities, and use common sense and logic.

by Alex Proimos, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikipediaby Alex Proimos, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikipedia

Essay assignments

In the following assignments, you will be writing about some aspect of food (for our purposes, "food" can also include water or drinks) and health. That is your general TOPIC.  However, you must decide on a specific MAIN CLAIM (theme, thesis statement) related to that topic.  As you consider narrowing down your topic, remember that "health" can include a variety of areas, which food interacts with in a variety of ways, including but not limited to -

  • physical fitness
  • disease prevention or treatment
  • mental health
  • spiritual health
  • environmental health
  • communty health
  • food-borne diseases
  • agriculture
  • the food industry

You MUST include claims and evidence for opposing views, though you will support one claim as being the best conclusion, based on the evidence you find. Before you get too far into the process, make sure you can find enough information on the topic you have in mind.

Some of the readings from earlier in this quarter may be useful resources, but you will also need to do additional research.  See the following assignments for more specific directions.

24.04.01 Pre-writing and research: argument essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 50 points possible 90 minutes

Kitchen garden: Jean-no&euml;l Lafargue, WMC, Free Art LicenseKitchen garden: Jean-noël Lafargue, WMC, Free Art License

Be sure to choose an arguable issue - one that people disagree about.  If everyone is in agreement about the topic, you will end up with another expository essay.  Hint: if you can't find counterclaims, your issue may not be arguable.

Narrow down your issue - limit it to a focused area, group or circumstance.

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

***********************************************

Pre-Writing

STOP! Before you complete this assignment, e-mail me with a paragraph describing your prospective topic, and wait for me to respond, so I can advise you about whether you have chosen a specific, arguable issue.

A. Develop a list of at least 25 questions about your particular topic (refer to the lesson above - pick something specific related to both food and health, preferably something that you have a personal interest in). What will you need to know in order to decide what is important, and how people may be affected, now and in the future?

If you are having trouble coming up with questions, try thinking in terms of "who, what, when, where, why, how, and so what?" You may not be able to find answers to all your questions, but they will help you in your research.

1. 
2.
3.
4.
5....

B. 26. Focus in: Explain your specific topic in a short paragraph. Why is it important to you and to others?  Define the problem.

C. Find at least two people over the age of 30. Ask them how things have changed, in regards to your topic, in their memory, and how they have been affected. Record their responses here. (Make sure you get their names so you can credit them in your essay.)

27.  First person:
28.  Second person:

D. Ask at least two young people (in the 14 to 25-year-old age group) how important they think your issue is, and why. Also ask them who has influenced their ideas on this topic. Record their responses here. (Make sure you get their names so you can credit them in your essay.)

29.  First person:
30.  Second person:

E. Research and find 10 facts (including at least three statistics, and at least two examples of expert testimonial), from at least three sources, about your exact topic. Use at least one of the readings from this quarter as a source, and do additional searching as needed. Record the facts AND the source information here.

31.
32.
33.
34.
35...

F. Write two possible claims about your topic.  For each claim, list two pieces of evidence supporting that claim (these may be from your answers to part E), and the source information.  Be very specific!

41.  First claim:
Evidence:
Evidence:

42.  Second claim:
Evidence:
Evidence:

G. Write two possible opposing claims for which you could also find evidence.  For each claim, list evidence supporting it and the source information. These two should oppose the claims you wrote for 41 and 42.

43.  First counterclaim:
Evidence:

44.  Second counterclaim:
Evidence:

H.  Examine your evidence (all of these may be taken from your answers to "E", if you already have evidence that fits the criteria)

45.  Logos: List here two examples of statistics that could support your claim.

46. Logos: List here an example of inductive logic that supports your claim (hint: most research studies involve gathering many specific examples to come up with a general "rule" - that is inductive reasoning.)

47: Logos: List here an example of deductive logic that supports your claim (hint: applying a general rule to predict what will happen is a common use of deduction).

48: Pathos: list here an example of the use of loaded language or graphic/emotional statements that either support or oppose your claim.

49: Expert testimonial:  list here two examples of expert testimonial that support your claim.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.04.02 Argument and readings quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 20 points possible 30 minutes

Go to the quiz link in Module 3 on the main class page to take this quiz.  You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 70%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.05 Writing your argument essay (LA 9)

You've done your research, and decided on a main claim.  Now it's time to start constructing your essay.

As you work on the body paragraphs in your essay, consider using either inductive or deductive structures to help you organize your evidence:

To use inductive reasoning, begin your paragraph with several examples of evidence that lead up to the general conclusion at the end of the paragraph.

To use deductive reasoning, begin your paragraph with a general rule or claim, and follow that with examples demonstrating the claim.

Use at least three sources (five if you are going for an A).

24.05.01 First draft: argument essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 45 minutes

Healthy foods: NIH, public domain, WCHealthy foods: NIH, public domain, WC

Composing the first draft

Write an initial draft of your essay (at least 350 words). Remember, it doesn't need to be perfect!

Your first paragraph should briefly introduce the topic, why it's important, your claim, and (very briefly and in general terms) the kinds of evidence and counterclaim(s).  Stating and defining a specific claim is extremely important to the success of your essay.  Focus in on a claim that is limited enough to be addressed in this, relatively short, essay.

Next, you need two to four paragraphs going into detail about your claim, reasons, statistics, and evidence supporting it, and a paragraph for the counterclaim(s) with associated reasons and evidence.  Include evidence from the readings and from your interviews - a minimum of three sources (five if you want a high grade). 

 End with a concluding paragraph that reinforces your claim. You might want to include some prediction about the future significance of this issue, or use a good quotation.

This draft will be scored primarily on ideas and organization, but I may comment on other components to help you with your revision.

 

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.05.02 Revision and editing of argument essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 36 points possible 40 minutes

Revise your argument essay (at least 500 words). Use the rubric and these suggestions to help you revise.

  • Review the instructions--have you included everything necessary?  Have you focused on a relationship between food and some aspect of health? Is your main claim clearly stated in the introduction?
  • Review my comments on the first draft - make the recommended changes or additions.
  • Look back over your research. Make sure you have included the best, most relevant evidence, from at least three sources (five if you want a high grade).
  • Consider doing a little more research to find better or additional evidence.
  • Look critically at your sentence and paragraph structure. Add/change words, phrases or clauses as necessary to clarify transitions, relationships or cause and effect.
  • Make sure you have credited your sources properly, and created a Works Cited page. Refer to the links below for examples and instructions about citing sources with MLA style.
  • Add another paragraph, just before the conclusion, that evaluates the evidence you used, and suggests ideas for future research questions that could help develop better evidence or answers.

How to use the easybib.com website to create a citation:

Suppose I am citing information from the website at http://indians.org/articles/cherokee-indians.html -

  • I go to the website www.easybib.com and enter the url for the web page with this article, and then click Continue.
  • Since we can't find an author, we skip the Contributors section. (If there was an author/authors listed, I would fill that in.)
  • I notice that part of the website title was cut off, so I type in the "Cherokee Indians", which was missing.
  • To find the publisher/sponsor, I click the "About Us" link on the source page, and I find out that American Indian Heritage Foundation sponsors this web page, so I copy and paste that into the Publisher/sponsor box.
  • Since I don't see a date on the source page, I right-click the page and choose "view page info". That tells me the date the page was last modified, and I put that date into the "Electronically published" boxes.
  • Then I click "create citation". That gives me this correct citation: "Cherokee Indians." The History of the Cherokee Indians. American Indian Heritage Foundation, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

This draft will be scored according to the rubric below.

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction & organization Introduces precise, knowledgeable claim, establishes significance, distinguishes from opposing or alternate claims, and sets up logical organization of claims, counterclaims, reasons and evidence.  Main claim is clearly stated and applies to the assigned topic area. Introduces claim and main reasons; distinguishes claim from counterclaims; sets up basic organization of claims, counter claims, reasons, evidence. Main claim is clearly stated and applies to the assigned topic area. Introduces topic, but may not make a clear claim or distinguish between claim and counterclaim
Development of ideas and content Develops claims and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplies most relevant data, statistics, expert testimonial, and logic, points out strength and limitations in discipline-appropriate form, anticipating audience knowledge, concerns, biases and values, using at least five credible sources Develops claims and counter claims fairly, supplies data, statistics, and evidence, pointing out strengths and limitations, in discipline-appropriate form, anticipating audience questions and knowledge, using at least three credible sources may not clearly support claim, or may not supply specific evidence
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Uses words, clauses and phrases, as well as varied syntax, to link major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims and reasons, claims and counterclaims, reasons and evidence. Uses words, clauses and phrases to link major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims and reasons, claims and counterclaims, reasons and evidence. may not adequately signal sequence or relationships.
Word choice, style and tone Establish and maintain a smooth, formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms, vocabulary and conventions of science writing Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of science writing Use mostly abstract, general words and phrases; may not establish a formal tone
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented, while providing a sense of confident closure, beyond just repetition of earlier statements Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented Writing just stops without a concluding statement or section
Revisions Significant improvements in organization, ideas and evidence Noticeable improvements in organization and/or ideas Negligible changes

Edit your argument essay (at least 500 words). Use the rubric and these suggestions to help you revise.

  • Review MLA style, and make sure your citations and Works Cited list are in correct form.
  • Check and correct conventions like spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar
  • Check sentence structure. Correct fragments, run-ons, and awkward or non-parallel constructions

This draft will be scored according to the rubric below.

  4 3 1
Sentence structure Demonstrates skillful use of parallelism and a variety of clauses and phrases, with correct sentence structure; Demonstrates use of parallelism, clauses and/or phrases; few or no fragments or run-on sentences; Many errors in sentence structure
Other conventions Has few or no errors in conventions (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, paragraphing, grammar or usage) Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas
Citations  Works cited list with at least five sources and at least five in-text citations, in correct MLA style  Works cited list with at least three sources and at least three in-text citations, mostly in MLA style Lacks works cited list and/or in-text citations

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 8 of your enrollment date for this class.


24.06 Preparing for your final test (LA 9)

computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

Go to the quiz link in Module 3 on the main class page to take this quiz.  You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 65%.

This quiz covers all units in the class.  It is sort of like a "mini final test" except that it doesn't have essay questions (your final will include three major essay questions as well as the multiple choice/matching type questions).

Be sure to submit your "Ready" assignment at least 24 hours before you need to take your final test.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 9 of your enrollment date for this class.