A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays - DOC

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					UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN OSHKOSH                    FALL 2010
ENGLISH 38-100—Sections 001 & 002

Instructor:         Maureen Mertens
Office:             Radford 309
E-mail:             mertensm@uwosh.edu
Eng. Dept.:      www.english.uwosh.edu
Telephone:          Office: 424-7290 Home: (414) 536-1364                                     Office Hours:
          Tues/Thurs: 6:30 – 7:45 a.m., 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. by appointment and conference to be announced.
Arlov, Pamela WORDSMITH A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays
Hacker, Diana       A Pocket Style Manual
English Department‘s Academic Guidelines for Writing-Based Inquiry Seminars Booklet on line at
Foundations of College English is a pass/fail course. Remember that a passing grade does not affect your
GPA but a failing grade does.
OBJECTIVES: This course is to prepare students for English 188/101. The goals are to improve overall
writing and reading skills and to improve grammatical skills. To pass this course students must meet the
following requirements:
     1.         Complete all writing and reading assignments on time.
     2.         Rewrite all essays until papers earn a passing grade.
     3.         Pass all quizzes and tests and complete all in-class work.
     4.         Meet English Department attendance requirements.
ATTENDANCE: It is imperative that students attend class. If students are unable to attend class, they are
required to let the instructor know and complete all assignments missed in class. NOTE: More than four
classes missed will almost certainly cause the student to fail the course.
PLAGERISM: A serious academic offense and unacceptable. It will be discussed in class and students can
also find definitions and examples in both the WBIS booklet and the writer‘s resource.
The following information is an overview of English 100 as developed by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
English Department:
Writing as a Process
By the time students leave English 100 and enter WBIS, students should have the ability
to read instructors’ assignments to discern the written task to be addressed in the
assignment; have the ability to use journals, free writing, mapping and other strategies to
create and test ideas; recognize the need for revision and create two or more drafts of a
formal, academic essay.
Academic Writing
By the time students leave English 100 and enter WBIS, students should have the ability
to compose summaries of a variety of outside sources (such as films, WebPages,
published essays); create an academic thesis; incorporate examples from personal
experience and external sources to support a thesis; use varying organizational strategies
for essays (compare / contrast, cause and effect, classification / division); employ
rhetorical modes (persuasive, informative, narrative, descriptive) to write for different
audiences and purposes.
Writing Conventions
By the time students leave English 100 and enter WBIS, students should have the ability
to proofread and edit their own work for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, sentence
boundaries (run-ons and comma splices), and other areas of grammar and usage;
recognize that the audience for academic writing requires a more formal language than
social writing situations such as email and text messaging; understand paragraphing and
paragraph unity (topic sentences, support, transitions; functions of introductory and
concluding paragraphs); compose simple compound and complex sentences.
Ethical use of Print and Electronic Information
By the time students leave English 100 and enter WBIS, students should be familiar with
discerning the authority of electronic information (such as the differences between
websites and peer reviewed documents); integrating and citing source material
appropriately and ethically to avoid plagiarism; documenting sources in either MLA or
APA format.
I have read this syllabus and understand what is expected of me. I realize this class is pass/fail and I
understand I must attend class regularly in order to pass. I also understand
that to pass the course, my writing must meet the requirements set by the English Dept.

SIGNATURE_________________________________________ DATE ___________

WHAT IS AN ESSAY? “An essay is a short analytical, descriptive or interpretive
writing assignment covering a specific TOPIC.” It consists of a thesis statement and
examples to explain or prove that thesis statement. The MAIN POINT of your essay is
the idea you want to get across about your TOPIC.
THESIS STATEMENT: one of two sentences, or a short scenario, that tells the reader what the essay is
about – it prepares readers, anchors readers, and alerts them to what they can expect to be reading. A
thesis statement must be proven or explained and presents the main point of the essay in specific and
precise language.
USED: If you tell people you‘ve had an accident and want to make sure they understand it wasn‘t your fault,
you use examples and details to prove or explain this point of view. The more vivid and interesting these
examples are, the better your proof. That would be the same theory you use in writing an essay. Each
paragraph should give one specific example or point to prove and/or explain the thesis statement. Each
paragraph should also have an acceptable topic sentence.
TOPIC SENTENCE: Topic sentences, for this course, should start each paragraph giving an overview of
what is in that paragraph – the topic of that paragraph which is an example or detail to prove or explain your
THESIS STATEMENT. To double check your essay‘s content, write out your thesis and each topic
sentence to see if they work together. This is, of course, an outline.
ORGANIZATION OF AN ESSAY: Writers must decide the best way to present their examples and details.
If you are writing about an event, it‘s obvious to present that information chronologically. If you are giving
directions on how to perform a task or find a specific building, you would present the information in order of it
happening. But what if you want to write an opinion essay on abortion or the war in Iraq? How would you
present your argument? You have ―feelings‖ and ideas about these topics but to prove those ―feelings‖ you
need examples. How do you present them -- in what order? Where do you start? What examples do you
present first, second and so forth?
REVISION AND EDITING: The only way to improve as a writer is to understand how to make your writing
better and that includes revision and editing. Revision is changing the ideas, adding or deleting information
to make your essay better, clearer, stronger, more convincing and more interesting. Editing is finding and
correcting grammar, punctuation, etc.
PURPOSE OF WRITING: In general, the purpose of writing is to inform, entertain, persuade or all three.
Another way of looking at ―purpose‖ is to say that writing is to show, explain and/or describe something to
create a convincing argument all using specific details and examples.
AUDIENCE: Essays must be directed toward an ―audience‖ the people the writer is ―talking‖ to. For
example, how you speak to a teacher is different than how you speak to your friends. So all essays should
be focused on the people you are ―speaking to.‖ These people are your audience, the people students want
to inform or persuade to educate. How you write, what you say, depends on who that audience is.
PAPER FORMAT/GUIDELINES: Papers written for this course and for many English courses follow specific
MLA guidelines. Papers must be double-spaced, have a title and a heading in upper left hand corner of first
page as follows. A sample college essay is in writer‘s handbook. The heading should be double-spaced and
include what follows:
Student name
Course and Section Number
Title of paper assignment
Number of words
Date Assignment is due
         (The essay will be double spaced with indentations for each paragraph.)

WRITING TERMS: (These terms will be discussed throughout the semester.) Transitions, metaphors,
similes, colored words, colorful words, connotation, denotation, euphemisms, focus, style, time
compression/extension, steam of consciousness, active verbs, descriptive adjectives.
THEME: Theme is broadly defined as what artists, including writers, painters, musicians tell us about the
world we live in and who we are: the human condition. All true art wants to reveal that truth about whom we
are and the world we live in.
TOPICS or SUBJECTS: When selecting a topic ask yourself the following: Does it interest me? Do I know
something about it? Is it specific? Reporters do research before writing their articles. They ask the ―Who?
What? Where? When? Why? How?‖ questions. When interviewing someone, remember these questions.
WRITING ASSIGNMENTS include the following: PROCESS ANALYSIS: Paper explains how to do
something or explains how something works or gives directions from one place to another. DESCRIPTIVE:
Paper describes an event or an object. Here we use metaphors, similes, colorful adjectives, etc.
NARRATION: Paper tells a story about a person or event. EDITORIAL PAPER: This paper presents an
argument and a point of view to persuade the reader to that point of view. This paper takes a position on an
issue and offers reasons and evidence to prove to the reader that the writer‘s point of view is the correct
one. RESEARCH PAPER: By definition, research papers require students to find source material to write
the paper. In this class, we use MLA format which will be discussed in class and is also available in the
writer‘s handbook.
There are only two ways to become a better writer. One is by reading, the other by writing. As in any
activity, including sports, to improve, you need to practice. For most people, writing is hard work and takes
effort and concentration and direction. Most people need help to get better. That‘s where your teachers
come in. Writing has two facets, two components, two realities. One is creative, the other technical.
Sometimes these components are described as Art and Craft. When writing one must be aware of both and
one must work to make both work together.
The creative part of your writing is the heart of your writing. It might be the idea behind the essay or the
examples used to prove your thesis or the way ideas are presented.
This is the structure and the overall organization of the essay including, of course, each paragraph. The
technical part of writing also includes grammar, punctuation, spelling, a strong thesis statement, strong
paragraphs, strong open and conclusion.
REVISION & PROOFING: In order to proof your paper accurately, you must read it aloud. I can not
emphasis this enough. You must always turn in the best paper you can write: never turn in a first or second
draft unless specifically requested by the instructor.
PLAGIARISM: As stated earlier, plagiarism is a serious academic offense. When using other people‘s
ideas or exact words, they must be given credit. If not, that is considered plagiarism. When quoting exactly
from the source or from a person, the information must be in quotation marks. Any ideas that are not the
students must be attributed to the sources. If not, this is plagiarism.

ASSIGNMENTS FOR ENGLISH 100                                              FALL 2010
Students have reading assignments and after reading those assignments will submit a short paper that is a
synopsis (a brief summary) of what they learned from those readings. In other words, students are
paraphrasing, telling in their own words, what is contained in the reading. Students will also keep a journal
about college, course assignments and their concerns. They will write in that journal at least twice a week.
This Journal is to help you understand what college means to you and the challenges you face in college.
These writings will be submitted to the instructor when assigned. The title for these writings will be Journal
with a corresponding number. Most importantly, you are to be prepared to discuss your Journal which
should include information about the following:
1. How you spend your time – hour by hour, day by day, week by week.
2. As stated, your concerns about your writing and college in general.
3. What are your frustrations about college and the work you must do in college.
4. How have you changed the way you think about college.

WEEK 1            Sept. 9
THURS CLASS: Go over syllabus, freshman booklet, and assignments. Discuss thesis, paragraphs, paper
format, etc. Review Text Book. Read Essay, page 492, ―Don‘t Blame Me! The New ‗Culture of
Victimization.‖ Discuss Student Journals including the concerns students have regarding college and writing.
Discuss the types of writing you would most like to do.
ASSIGN DUE TUES: Read Chapters 1 and 10 ―The Writing Process‖ and ―Writing an Essay‖ and write a
synopsis of each chapter with the title ―Text 1‖. Also type up the answers for questions on pages 10 and 12.
WEEK 2         Sept. 14, 16
TUES CLASS: Turn in Text Reading 1. Write prompt. Discuss reading. Hand out questions for interviews
and add questions. Pair up students for interviews. Students will interview another student and write an
essay about that student.
THURS ASSIGN: Read ―Older and Wiser – or Just Older?‖ page 466. This is ―Text 2‖ Type an outline of
the story. There must be one line for each paragraph.
THURS CLASS: Meet in Radford Computer Lab in Radford Hall. Enter main entrance of Radford Hall, go
downstairs and then through the double doors. Turn right; the teaching lab is in a room to the right. Write an
outline of your prompt and then rewrite it and print two copies of each: one for you and one for instructor. To
write an outline, follow these guidelines: Point 1 is thesis statement and Points 2 through (the number of
your paragraphs except for conclusion) would be your topic sentences and the last point would be what is in
your conclusion.
ASSIGNMENT DUE TUES SEPT. 21: Correct your rewritten prompt with a pen – you are making
corrections on your paper as a teacher would. Next type some comments about your essay, what you feel is
good about it and what could be better, that is what you found needs improvement. Read Chapter 2
―Preparing to Write‖ and Chapter 3 ―Writing Paragraph: Topic Sentences‖ Assignment: ―Text 3‖ and ―Journal

WEEK 3             SEPT. 21, 23
TUES CLASS: Meet in Radford Computer Lab. Turn in papers. Sit with the person you are interviewing and
ask questions and type the answers.
Instructor meets with students regarding the Prompt Essay.
ASSIGN DUE THURS: Assignment ―Interview‖: Write an essay, 450 to 650 words, about the person you
interviewed. Use direct quotes and paraphrasing. This is a relatively short essay and should have at least
six paragraphs. Bring two copies to class. Assignment Read Chapter 4 ―Writing Paragraphs: Support‖ and
Chapter 5 ―Paragraphs: Unity and Coherence‖ ―Text 4‖.
THURS CLASS: . Lecture: Students take notes for paper titled: ―Lecture Paper 1 Language‖ due Sept. 28
on the definitions and use of metaphors, similes, euphemisms, connotation, and denotation of words
including the b-word. Read two essays: ―Star Burst‖ and ―Crain Collapse‖ and discuss ―Conversational
Ballgames‖ page 507. These are descriptive essays Next, students will go outside and find an object or
event to describe. They will take notes describing an object or event using only one or two metaphors or
similes. Students should imagine that they are describing this object to someone who can‘t see it.
ASSIGN DUE TUES: Lecture Paper 1 and Descriptive Essay. You can complete your class writing or write
about another object or event again using one or two metaphors and/or similes. Bring two copies to class.
―Journal Entry 2. Bring to class on Tuesday Sept. 28 Hacker‘s A Pocket Style Manual

WEEK 4          SEPT. 28, 30
TUES: Students read their interviews to the class. Turn in descriptive essays. Discuss Career Paper. Hand
out outlines. MLA Lecture. Sample MLA research paper page 151. Work Cited page and In-Text Sourcing
and how they work together. Page 119 ―Directory to MLA In-Text samples Page 127 ―Directory to MLA
Works Cited page.‖ Discuss paraphrasing and direct quoting.
ASSIGN DUE THURS: ―Lecture Paper 2 M.L.A.‖ You will write an essay covering the lecture regarding
M.L.A. format. You will select a career and type a list of eight to ten questions you have about that career,
things you want to know more about. These are the questions you will find answers for doing research and
interviewing a person in that career. Write an opening scenario. It‘s is ten years from now. The year is 2020
and you are in your career. You will write a story about one day in that career. You will not write about
setting your alarm and making coffee. You will be at your place of work and working as shown in the
handout. This story should be about 150 words.
THURS: Students read their stories. More discussion regarding Career papers.
ASSIGN FOR TUES: Decide whom you will interview for this paper and make contact with that person and
set a time and date to interview him/her. You must select someone who is either in that career or a college
professor who teaches a course in that career. It should be a face-to-face interview if at all possible. ―Text 5
‖: Chapter 6: ―Revising etc.‖ and Chapter 7 ―Showing and Telling.‖

WEEK 5            OCT. 5, 7
TUES CLASS: Meet in lobby of Library for class.
ASSIGN DUE THURS: Research source material for career paper and create a work cited page which will
include the person you are interviewing.
THURS CLASS: Meet in Radford Computer Lab. Work on Career Paper due Oct. 14.
Bring two copies to class on work completed including a typed copy of interview.
ASSIGN DUE OCT. 14 Career Paper due

WEEK 6 OCT 12, 14
TUES CLASS: Continued work on Career Paper. Meet with instructor.
THURS CLASS: Go over papers. Do Grammar.
ASSIGNMENT DUE TUES OCT. 19 ―Text 6‖: Read Chapter 8 ―Limiting etc.‖ and Chapter 9 ―Examining etc.‖
plus pages 207-211 & Journal Entry 2.
WEEK 7 OCT 19, 21
TUES CLASS Discuss Process paper, Directions on How To Do Something paper, Rules of a Sport paper
and How to Get from Here to There paper. Examples: Steps to buying a new car; buying an outfit for a
special event; rules of a sport – football, baseball, track; looking for a job, from my house to campus. In
class, create two outlines for two of these papers. Grammar work.
ASSIGN DUE THURS: Type of the outlines for two process papers and bring two copies of each to class
THURS CLASS: Read outlines to class. Also play Blurt, do Grammar.
ASSIGN DUE TUES: Bring 10 vocabulary words with definitions to class. Make two copies. Text Reading 7
Read Chapter 11 ―Writing Summary‖

WEEK 8              OCT 26, 28
TUES CLASS Meet in Radford Computer Lab. Write your ―Process Paper‖ following your outline. Each
point in your outline should be in its own paragraph.
ASSIGN DUE THURS: Process paper. Bring two copies to class.
THURS CLASS: Read Process papers to class. Watch Paine Art Center film.
ASSIGN DUE TUES Nov. 2: Rewrite Process Paper if necessary. Text Reading 8: Read stories 487 and
498. Type outlines for each story. Journal Entry 6

WEEK 9 NOV. 2, 4
TUES CLASS         : No Formal Class today. Students will visit the Paine Art Center, 1410 Algoma Blvd.
sometime this week. For further information go to www.thepaine.com.
ASSIGNMENT DUE TUES NOV. 9: Write an essay on your trip to The Paine Art Center.
THURS CLASS: ―Salvation‖ by Langston Hughes and ―Civil Rites‖. Discussion of stories, theme, characters,
etc. You will create an outline for a story about an event in your life. You will also write a thesis statement
for that story.
ASSIGN DUE TUES NOV. 9 Paine Art Center Essay. Outline for Narration paper.

WEEK 10           NOV. 9, 11
TUES CLASS: Turn in Paine Art Center Essay and outline. Discuss both. Later in the course, you will write
a narration paper. Next assignment is an Editorial paper: Purpose -- to persuade the reader to the writer‘s
point of view. Read essays: Groups outline the two editorials. How did these writers persuade the reader?
What devices did they use to do so? Hand out guidelines. Make a list of three possible subjects, topics you
care about. Next write a working thesis for each topic and three point to prove each working thesis. These
would be examples to persuade others to care as you do. Also interview a student in class about your topic
and get his/her opinion.
ASSIGN DUE. An outline for three Op-Ed Essays. Bring three copies to class.
THURS CLASS: Go over outlines. Read to class.

WEEK 11     NOV. 16, 18
TUES CLASS: Meet in Radford Computer Lab. Write an editorial paper – 500 to 700 words.
ASSIGN DUE THURS: Editorial Paper: 500 to 700 words. Bring three copies to class.
THURS CLASS: Peer editing of Editorial essay. Grammar.

WEEK NOV. 23, 25

WEEK 12            NOV. 30, DEC. 2
TUES CLASS: ―Lecture 3‖ Discuss advertising. Show Commercials, magazine ads, etc. Discuss
stereotypes and advertising, target audience, image of ad vs. customer for ad. Main message, positioning of
product, selling points.
ASSIGN FOR THURS DEC. 2: Type lecture notes. Also select an advertisement from a magazine or
newspaper and write a report about the ad using the information discussed in class. Address the following:
Who is the target audience? How do you know that? What is the main message? What style does the ad
use to sell the product? What theme or fears are used to sell the product? How are stereotypes used to sell
the product? Do you think it will reach its target market: that is will it sell the product to the people its
THURS CLASS: Present advertising papers to class. Watch ―Flood‖ also ―Dersu.‖ Read poem. Discuss
―Forest for the Trees‖ ―Flat Land.‖ Discuss poetry. Plot, characters, metaphors, similes, and theme.
Discuss narration outlines
ASSIGN DUE DEC. 7. Write a draft of a narration paper.
WEEK 13             DEC. 7, 9
TUES CLASS: Meet in Radford Computer Lab. Complete narration paper.
THURS CLASS: Students will work on analysis of one song lyric. First decide what the plot of the lyric is. A
plot is what happens in the ―story‖ of the lyric. Second describe the characters in the lyric. What happens to
them? Third, point out symbols used, metaphors, similes, etc. Next discuss the theme. What is the writer
trying to tell us about life, the human condition? What have we learned about life, ourselves from the lyrics?
Also select a product and write a TV commercial.
ASSIGNMENT DUE THURS: Commercials and lyrics.

WEEK 14    DEC. 14, 16
TUES CLASS: Present lyrics and commercials.
THURS Finish lyrics and commercials.

SEPT 14          ―Text 1‖ Chapters 1 and 10 Questions on page 10 and 12
SEPT 16        ―Text 2‖ Outline story page 466: ―Older and Wiser – or Just Older‖
SEPT 21        Prompt corrections and comments
                 ―Text 3‖ Chapters 2 and 3
                 Journal 1
SEPT 23          Interview Essay
                 ―Text 4‖ Chapters 4 and 5
SEPT 28        Lecture Paper ―Language‖
                 Descriptive Paper
                 Journal 2
SEPT 30       Lecture Paper ―M.L.A.‖
                 Career Questions
                 Scenario on Career
OCT. 5 ―Text 5‖ Chapters 6 and 7
                 Name and date of person you are interviewing
OCT. 7 Interview notes and source material
OCT. 14 Career Paper
OCT. 19 ―Text 6‖ Chapters 8 and 9, pages 207-211
                 Journal 3
OCT. 21 Outlines for two processes
OCT. 26          ―Text 7‖ Chapter 11
                 ―Blurt‖ 10 vocabulary words
OCT 28 Process paper
NOV 2            Correction of Process Paper
NOV 9            Descriptive Paper of visit to Paine Art Center
                 Narration Paper Outline
NOV 11 Opinion/Editorial paper – two outlines with working thesis
NOV 18 Opinion/ Editorial paper
DEC. 2 Lecture Paper ―Advertising‖
              Advertising Paper
DEC. 7 Rewrite you outline of Narration Paper
DEC. 9 Narration Paper

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