WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image

NYT Book Review/Joyce Carol Oates

The book’s theme, “a young woman’s desire for a substantial, rewarding, meaningful life,” was “certainly one with which Eliot had been long preoccupied. . . . And it’s a theme that has made many young women, myself included, feel that ‘Middlemarch’ is speaking directly to us.

How on earth might one contain one’s intolerable, overpowering, private yearnings? Where is a woman to put her energies? How is she to express her longings? What can she do to exercise her potential and affect the lives of others? What, in the end, is a young woman to do with herself?”

NYT Book Review/Joyce Carol Oates: “Deep Reader: Rebecca Mead’s ‘My Life in Middlemarch’”

June 7, 2014

Norbert (1:00 section) & DJ Spooky

Norbert’s Organ Suite — his NYT remix — reminded me of DJ Spooky’s (Paul Miller): “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica”

Norbert’s piece via SoundCloud.

Notes on reflective writing

Notice how each entry here — any of which you can use to prompt authentic reflection in your portfolio — addresses the claim that “good writing” is not just error-free prose, but the result of good, recursive, honest, critical and reflective thinking

  • Be honest. All good portfolios are notably honest.
  • Take and show some ownership over your portfolio. Yours need not look exactly like the examples I’ve shown you. You’ve seen the conventions; once you get the conventions, you can break them.
  •  Where did you stretch yourself—genuinely challenge yourself? Tell your readers what that experience was like and how you handled it. Readers will be looking for this; it’s the allowing-for-perplexity angle from our course goals.
  •  Have you reflected on your habits of mind? What do you notice?
  • Is there a gap between what was supposed to happen and what actually happened? Can you describe it?
  • — From a previous portfolio: “I wasn’t only editing my papers, I was editing myself.”
  • — From an Op-Ed reflection: “I don’t know what right I have to make this appeal.”
  • — From a reading journal: “I always had a completely different perspective than the class discussions, or where they headed, especially with the immigrant family article, but was never sure how to say that in class.”
  • Use the critical language of the course in your reflections, like the three bolded examples, above.
  • Do you have any before & after paragraph revisions to showcase?
  • Can you describe the feeling of exploring, challenging, probing your own assumptions? Or having someone do it for you?
  • “It’s good for students to see that writers can think critically about their own work and go back and revise what they meant.”
  • Check your quiver & your self-editing toolkit.
  • Reading I: Arthur Miller — “A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” Thoughts?
  • Reading II: Are you a slow, deep, contextual, rhetorical reader? What kind of reader are you?
  • Be honest.

Remix project specific reflections, revised after class Thursday (more…)

June 4, 2014

Habits of mind

Habits of mind refers to ways of approaching learning that are both intellectual and practical and that will support your success in a variety of fields and disciplines. The framework identifies eight habits of mind essential for success in college writing:

  • Curiosity – the desire to know more about the world.
  • Openness – the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world.
  • Engagement – a sense of investment and involvement in learning.
  • Creativity – the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas.
  • Persistence – the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short- and long-term projects.
  • Responsibility – the ability to take ownership of one’s actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others.
  • Flexibility – the ability to adapt to situations, expectations, or demands.
  • Metacognition – the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge.

Via Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing

June 3, 2014

Critical Thinking in Action

June 2, 2014

“Biography of an Idea”

“Well, sometimes I use my inexperience or lack of knowledge as the drama of the essay. The essay becomes a kind of a biography of an idea — how it reveals itself and comes to a fullness. The essay can begin with inexperience, and as it teaches the reader, so also it teaches the writer. There’s something very exciting about that kind of progress.”

— From an interview with Richard Rodriquez.  

— From Twists of Faith: ‘Darling,’ by Richard Rodriguez

Class memes

From previous classes.


June 1, 2014

Shock of the News

NYT review.
Via the National Gallery.

May 31, 2014

“…a nation talking to itself”

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.”
— Arthur Miller, 1961

Words matter

NYT: Americans More Worried About ‘Warming’ Than ‘Climate Change’

But Republican politicians clearly grasp the difference. In 2002, Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist, wrote a memorandum urging fellow Republicans to use the term “climate change.” He wrote that “while global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

For pollsters, there is no perfect solution. We strive to design questions using wording that is technically accurate, politically neutral, and perhaps most important, easy for average people to comprehend. In the end, we’re attempting to measure public opinion based on what the public knows and understands.


May 29, 2014

Stasis proposed

Studying & thinking



May 27, 2014


I already sent some articles and social media tags regarding the UCSB situation, and then I heard about this:


May 25, 2014

Book of Bad Arguments

This will be helpful this week and next as we compose our persuasive essays: An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.

As will, from your St. Martin’s Handbook:

  • 8e: Identifying elements of an argument
  • 9: Constructing Arguments
  • 9a: Arguing for a purpose
  • 9b: Determining whether a statement can be argued
  • 9c: Formulating a working thesis
  • 9d: Finding good reasons
  • 9e: Making ethical appeals
  • 9f: Making logical appeals
  • 9g: Making emotional appeals
  • 9h: Using sources in an argument
  • 9i: Organizing an argument
  • 9j: Designing an argument

Where Every Day is Memorial Day

On Friday, the New York Times ran this photo and caption on A1, just below the fold — the was no story or article or further references:

Note the austerity of the presentation. There will be additional Memorial Day articles over the weekend, but until then:

May 24, 2014

Too late for your Contextual Analyses, but …

Via The Onion: Who are Millennials?

May 23, 2014

Writing is Revision

NYT: Author Changes His Mind on ’70s Manifesto: Eduardo Galeano Disavows His Book ‘The Open Veins’

For more than 40 years, Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America” has been the canonical anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist and anti-American text in that region. Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s populist president, even put a copy of the book, which he had called “a monument in our Latin American history,” in President Obama’s hands the first time they met. But now Mr. Galeano, a 73-year-old Uruguayan writer, has disavowed the book, saying that he was not qualified to tackle the subject and that it was badly written.

[…] “It’s good for students to see that writers can think critically about their own work and go back and revise what they meant.”

Toward perfection

May 21, 2014

Critical Thinking

A Well Cultivated Critical Thinker:

  • Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it, effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • Thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, ideologies, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. – Adapted from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008

“A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” Edward M. Glaser.An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. 1941.



Is this David Brooks’s “Wolf” sentence?

“We all slip into the general patterns of psychology and sociology sometimes, but we aren’t captured by them. People live and get pregnant one by one, and each life and each pregnancy has its own unlikely story.”

“A pregnancy, for example, isn’t just a piece of data in a set. It came about after a unique blend of longings and experiences. Maybe a young woman just wanted to feel like an adult; maybe she had some desire for arduous love, maybe she was just absent-minded, or loved danger, or couldn’t resist her boyfriend, or saw no possible upside for her future anyway.”

NYT: Stairway to Wisdom

May 18, 2014

Your NYT Bucket List

NYT Sunday Review: A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’

Who Gets to Graduate?

Sunday NYT Magazine: Who Gets to Graduate?

We might review some of the comments to view how people negotiate — or don’t negotiate the conditions of stasis (click the image for a larger version):

To understand …

The three concluding paragraphs from “Young Minds in Critical Condition”:

Liberal learning depends on absorption in compelling work. It is a way to open ourselves to the various forms of life in which we might actively participate. When we learn to read or look or listen intensively, we are, at least temporarily, overcoming our own blindness by trying to understand an experience from another’s point of view. We are not just developing techniques of problem solving; we are learning to activate potential, and often to instigate new possibilities.

Yes, hard-nosed critical thinking is a useful tool, but it also may become a defense against the risky insight that absorption can offer. As students and as teachers we sometimes crave that protection; without it we risk changing who we are. We risk seeing a different way of living not as something alien, but as a possibility we might be able to explore, and even embrace.

Liberal education must not limit itself to critical thinking and problem solving; it must also foster openness, participation and opportunity. It should be designed to take us beyond the campus to a life of ongoing, pragmatic learning that finds inspiration in unexpected sources, and increases our capacity to understand and contribute to the world — and reshape it, and ourselves, in the process.

Update: two Letters to the Editor in response to this piece:

May 15, 2014

Highlighted sentences

Selected sentences — 9:40 section — “Fight Against Sexual Assaults Holds Colleges to Account”:

  • Five highlighted “… Just as a man might get too sexually aggressive when drunk,” he said, a woman could also get more aggressive and a man might misinterpret that as meaning that she wanted to have sex. “The lines get really blurred,” he said.
  • Five highlighted “Has anything ever happened to you that was just so bad that you felt like you became a shell of a human being?”
  • Three highlighted “And it has exposed what many administrators and experts now say is all too clear, that while the world has been changing, higher education has done a poor job of understanding the shifts and responding to them.”
  • Two highlighted “We’ve hit them where it hurts: their reputations.”
  • One highlighted “It’s just another issue on their desks that they’re hoping doesn’t cause a loss of students or bad media attention.”


May 13, 2014

A school of “social criticism”

From an interview with Steven Pinker:

Having once been a young person myself, I remember the vilification that was hurled at us baby boomers by the older generation. This reminds me that it is a failing of human nature to detest anything that young people do just because older people are not used to it or have trouble learning it. So I am wary of the “young people suck” school of social criticism. I have no patience for the idea that because texting and tweeting force one to be brief, we’re going to lose the ability to express ourselves in full sentences and paragraphs. This simply misunderstands the way that human language works.

All of us command a variety of registers and speech styles, which we narrowcast to different forums. We speak differently to our loved ones than we do when we are lecturing, and still differently when we are approaching a stranger. And so, too, we have a style that is appropriate for texting and instant messaging that does not necessarily infect the way we communicate in other forums. In the heyday of telegraphy, when people paid by the word, they left out the prepositions and articles. It didn’t mean that the English language lost its prepositions and articles; it just meant that people used them in some media and not in others. And likewise, the prevalence of texting and tweeting does not mean that people magically lose the ability to communicate in every other conceivable way.

It’s a good thing we looked up “confidence” in the OED

“In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality.” From The Atlantic: “The Confidence Gap.”

David Brooks: “The Problem With Confidence”

Nobody Need Worry

New York Times, November 10, 1919

“The Status of Women in the U. S. Media” and at the NYT

From the NYT Public Editor’s column:

Does it really matter who writes the stories, and who makes the decisions about deploying resources and presenting news? Yes, I think it does.

Here’s one small example of why: Women who write are more likely, according to the study, to quote at least some women in their articles. That diversity of outlook and that range of voices are worth pursuing because it better reflects the world. Or how about the number of women in Times obituaries? The poet and feminist Lynn Melnick complained on Twitter last week that only seven of the past 66 obituaries were on women. (My count yielded similar numbers.) Obituaries are chosen on the basis of the newsworthiness of their subjects; but that is subjective. It’s not outrageous to wonder what might change if more women were involved in all aspects of their selection and presentation.

She links to this recent study: “The Status of Women in the U. S. Media 2014,” in which these charts appear:


May 12, 2014

Paragraph development: PIE

[P] Every wolf in Yellowstone therefore is more than just a wolf. Imbued with profound symbolic meaning, each wolf embodies the divergent goals of competing social movements involved in the reintroduction debate. Framed by environmentalists and their wise use opponents as another line in the sand in their ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the West, wolf reintroduction is a high-stakes political conflict. [I] Wolf recovery is often portrayed by environmentalists as being symptomatic of a culture in transition–an inevitable change (Askins, 1995). It is an image that plays especially well with the media: “[T]he wolf issue pits the New West against the Old West” (Johnson, 1994, p. 12), a milestone in the “transformation of power” from the Old West (Brandon, 1995, p.8). [E] Wolf restoration clearly represents change, but sound bites that reduce the social struggle over wolves to an “inevitable” transition from the old to the new are inadequate. They do not explain the underlying social issues driving the transformation. They do not capture the essence of social negotiation, the give-and-take of political exchange between social movements struggling to define the western landscape. Nor do they acknowledge that these social issues will remain after the wolf controversy has exited the center stage of public policy discourse.

Wilson, Matthew. “The Wolf in Yellowstone: Science, Symbol, or Politics? Deconstructing the Conflict between Environmentalism and Wise Use.” Society & Natural Resources. 10(1997): 453-468.


May 11, 2014

Week 7 Revising & Editing notes toward a self-editing toolkit

Not everyone will need to address every entry, but you should be able to identify 4-5 items to remember, to practice, and to be self-aware of in your writing. Note how every one of these items is directly related to critical thinking, thus helping to confirm that “good writing” is not just good mechanics; good writing is always a reflection of good, clear critical thinking.

 Integrating sources, cherry picking, and confirmation biasreview & reflection

 Integrating sources and rhetoric: why to 

 Integrating sources and mechanics: how to

 Reviewing opening sentences and paragraphs with our BS lens

 Don’t bullshit

 What is “society”? Writing with precision.

 Recall your language from your Rhetorical Précis Method: “Brooks claims that … Wortham implies that … Hawkings argues that …” — and apply that to your sources. 

 Ask some context-type questions: why do people write and argue about your issue? How do they tend to write about it? Can you tell what people who write and argue about your issue seem to value?

 Review the first-person pronoun problem: is your use of it necessary and crucial to your analysis? (See Andra’s)

 Map your paragraph development for visual and logistical coherence: PIE

 Map your paragraph transitions for visual and logistical coherence

 Thinking ahead to your conclusion: so what?

 “Every wolf, therefore, is more than just a wolf.”

Peer reviews at different stages of composing & development

From your St. Martin’s Handbook:

Responding to late-stage drafts

Writers of late-stage drafts need help with first and last impressions, sentence construction, word choice, tone, and format. Their next step is proofreading (4l), and your job as a peer reviewer is to call attention to the sorts of problems writers need to solve before submitting their final work. Your comments and markings should identify the overall strengths of the draft as well as one or two weaknesses that the writer can reasonably improve in a short amount of time.

Responding to intermediate-stage drafts

Writers of intermediate-stage drafts need to know where their claims lack sufficient evidence, what ideas confuse readers, and how their approach misses its target audience. They also need to know which parts of their drafts are clear and well written.

Approach commenting on and marking up an intermediate draft with these types of questions in mind:

Topic sentences and transitions. Topic sentences introduce the idea of a paragraph, and transitions move the writing smoothly from one paragraph or section or idea to the next (5b, d, and e). How well does the draft prepare readers for the next set of ideas by explaining how they relate to the overall claim? Look for ideas or details that don’t seem to fit into the overall structure. Is the idea or detail out of place because it is not well integrated into this paragraph? If so, recommend a revision or a new transition. Is it out of place because it doesn’t support the overall claim? If so, recommend deletion.

Supporting details. Well-developed paragraphs and arguments depend on supporting details (5c). Does the writer include an appropriate number and variety of details? Could the paragraph be improved by adding another example, a definition, a comparison or contrast, a cause-effect relationship, an analogy, a solution to a problem, or a personal narrative?


May 8, 2014

Integrating the OED

One of Katie’s sources (1:00 section) — Silence, Music, Silent Music — uses the OED on page 1 to help define “silence.” We can’t get away with a footnote in our essays, however, and need to integrate the OED right in our essays, in context: “The OED, for example, defines silence as the absence of sound … the avoiding of mentioning or discussing something.” This is still an interesting example of how a writer uses the OED to support a point, or to put something into context, and note how she paraphrases the OED at the beginning of her 3rd paragraph. 

Critical Tools Inventory

What’s in our quivers so far?

  • Rhetorical, critical & reflective ways of thinking and being in the world
  • Bullshit vs. truth-seeking behavior
  • Writing that makes something happen in the world
  • Disinterested analysis vs. opinion
  • Writing with precision
  • Reading slowly, deeply, contextually
  • Stasis
  • Curiosity
  • Analysis vs. opinon vs. informed opinion
  • Being your own filter for information & knowledge
  • Identifying your own writing process and creating your own self-editing toolkit:
    • Brainstorming
    • Researching
    • Drafting
    • More researching
    • Revising
    • More researching
    • Editing
    • Proofreading
  • Problem solving: identifying resources and using them
  • Haters gonna hate
  • Active & empathetic listening
  • Time management
May 7, 2014

A timely note on being your own filter for knowledge & information

Letter to the Editor:


image title

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his [or her] share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, or attracted much sustained inquiry. In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.” (p1)

” … she is not concerned with the truth-value of what she says. That is why she cannot be regarded as lying; for she does not presume that she knows the truth, and therefore she cannot be deliberately promulgating a proposition that she presumes to be false: Her statement is grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth — this indifference to how things really are — that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.” (p10)


May 6, 2014

“… probe the underlying cluster of mostly undefended beliefs …”

NYT: “Do Our Kids Get Off Too Easy?”

May 4, 2014

A Sampling of Print & Digital Reading Literacy Practices Entries

Our goals: to describe our reading processes across a range of print & digital technological platforms and to self-assess our slow, deep, contextual reading practices.

  • Renee (9:40 section) via Digication — reflective reading process
  • Julia (9:40 section) via Digication — note use of links
  • Andrew (9:40) via Digication — description of physical environment
  • Janki (9:40) via Tumblr — process description
  • Katie (1:00) via Digication — process description & class discussion
  • Andra (1:00) via Tumblr — process description
  • Karianna (1:00) via Digication — process description & physical environment


Planning your summer?

I’m aware that this might not be the kind of opportunity that will make everyone’s heart leap up with joy and anticipation. It’s okay. Maybe it will interest some of you.

From the NYT:

Every Friday from June 13 through Aug. 15 we’ll pose the same question: What interested you most in The Times this week?

Anyone 13 to 19 years old from anywhere in the world can post an answer, and contestants can choose from any Times article, essay, video, interactive or photograph published in 2014, on any topic they like — whether Ukraine, the universe or ugly selfies.

Every Tuesday we’ll choose winners, and publish them on the blog.

Are you already over 19 and thus excluded?
Get used to it.
Maybe we can write Letters to the Editor or something.

May 3, 2014

An example of conflicting claims

We don’t always get so lucky and see them in such close visual proximity:

From “The Future of Reading: Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” New York Times, July 27, 2008.

Privilege Is: (a) Commonplace, (b) Misunderstood or (c) Frowned Upon

Further reading:

From a book review in an academic journal, Teaching Sociology:
There are numerous academic readers available for sociology classes that deal with issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. As textbook prices continue to rise in proportion to student complaints about costs, I worry about requiring lengthy and expensive readers where I assign only half of the articles or fewer. This second edition of Privilege: A Reader has been pared down by more than 100 pages and its price has been reduced to $35, making it less than half the cost of some popular readers from larger publishing companies.

The text Privilege stands out from many other anthologies in another way. Most of its articles consist of personal narratives of authors from one or more privileged social statuses deconstructing their own privilege and discussing it within a larger social context of systems of privilege and domination. Rather than focusing, like many texts do, on the various ways that different subordinate social groups and individuals are oppressed, this reader focuses on how individuals from superordinate groups are privileged.


Mcintosh’s “White Privilege and Male Privilege” is widely used in college classrooms because it concretely and personally reveals the invisible knapsack of unearned advantages and conferred dominance that members of privileged groups carry around with them. This reading, like many others in this strong collection, helps students to go beyond an individualistic analysis

  • NYT: “privilege” keyword — you have to do some weeding
  • Privilege via Tumblr
  • Privilege via the OED — sense #2 seems to apply, but etymological echoes abound
  • Privilege: Know your meme
  • The way we talked about it in class: the privilege concept — especially its check-your-privilege meme context — asks us to be aware that some of us have unearned advantages based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or socio-economic status — but is not designed to inspire guilt, shame, etc. Awareness seems to be the goal, which can be a good thing, but note how quickly it can become polarizing. If there’s consensus on that meaning, then it is possible to do more focused inquires, such as into social-justice contexts, where some activists ask us to move from awareness to action.
  • Your entry here: send me one if you can find a credible source that attempts to put “privilege” into some explanatory or truth-seeking context. It’s easy to find advocacy positions; we should try to find contextual and analytic pieces. Send me a link!

“Did I Miss Anything?”

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours.

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent.

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning.
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose.

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter.
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder.
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

but it was one place

And you weren’t here.

From Wayman, Tom. Selected Poems 1973-1993.  Harbour Publishing, 1993.

April 28, 2014

How do we approach text?

“… how do we approach text? Do we read linearly (from start to finish), or do we seek out snippets (using a table of contents, an index, or the “Find” function for searching an online text)? Do we skim or engage in “deep” reading? Do we read quickly or slowly? Answers to these questions are often shaped by the character of the text. Is the material familiar or new to the reader? How complex are the words, the syntax, and the concepts? Functionality is also a consideration in defining reading (reading for information, for conceptual understanding, for enjoyment, or to kill time), as is the physical medium (a scroll, a paperback, an iPhone).”

— Naomi Baron, “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.”

April 26, 2014

Compassion, empathy, and reading

This is interesting, in light of our discussion last week on compassion, empathy, and reading:
“In that sense, literature is Eucharistic. You take somebody else’s suffering into your body and you’re changed by it, you’re made larger by their pain. You come to understand pain in a way that maybe otherwise you wouldn’t.” – Mary Karr (via pegsix)

A 12-Year-Old’s Trek of Despair Ends in a Noose at the Border

If you are looking for an article to read across multiple platforms for your Print & Digital Reading Literacy Practices process entry, here is an article from today’s page A1 via nytimes.com, “A 12-Year-Old’s Trek of Despair Ends in a Noose at the Border.”


Check your privilege

Click here to check your privilege:  

“Check Your Privilege” is an online expression used mainly by social justice bloggers to remind others that the body and life they are born into comes with specific privileges that do not apply to all arguments or situations. The phrase also suggests that when considering another person’s plight, one must acknowledge one’s own inherent privileges and put them aside in order to gain a better understanding of his or her situation. [Know your meme.]

April 25, 2014

Preparing for our Research & Contextual Analyses

“I tell college students that by the time they sit down at the keyboard to write their essays, they should be at least 80 percent done. That’s because “writing” is mostly gathering and structuring ideas.”
David Brooks

Writing to change yourself
Sometimes you will find yourself arguing primarily with yourself, and those arguments often take the form of intense meditations on a theme, or even of prayer. In such cases, you may be hoping to transform something in yourself or to reach peace of mind on a troubling subject.
Andrea Lunsford, in your St. Martin’s Handbook (9a — page 186)


April 23, 2014

Habits of Mind

Habits of mind refers to ways of approaching learning that are both intellectual and practical and that will support your success in a variety of fields and disciplines. The Framework identifies eight habits of mind essential for success in college writing:

  • Curiosity – the desire to know more about the world.
  • Openness – the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world.
  • Engagement – a sense of investment and involvement in learning.
  • Creativity – the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas.
  • Persistence – the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short- and long-term projects.
  • Responsibility – the ability to take ownership of one’s actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others.
  • Flexibility – the ability to adapt to situations, expectations, or demands.
  • Metacognition – the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge.

Source: Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing

April 21, 2014

Reading via the NYT Skimmer

If you have visited the NYT Skimmer version, you might have noticed under “Layout” on the right-hand side, that you can change the view in which you read. If you are still reviewing platforms for your print & digital reading process entry, this might be a good possibility.

Using today’s paper — Sunday 4/20 — I have included screen captures of four different views, focusing on Thomas Friedman’s “How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2.” Click more — 


April 20, 2014