Instructor: Michael Buckhoff
Office Phone: 785-2257 (Leave message)
Classroom: LSH 307 Office Hours: by appointment
Class Period: MWTR 7:30-8:20 PM
Course Overview and Policy
A Writer's Workbook by Trudy Smoke
blank 3.5 inch floppy disk
notebook with loose leaf paper for class notes/ Journal
folder for writing assignments
American Heritage or Webster’s Collegiate dictionary
Course Description and Objectives
This class is an introduction to composition, designed to help you become a
competent writer. Writing affects the way we think and learn, as well as for our
chances of success, our personal development, and our relations with other
people. The emphasis in this class is on learning by doing, so expect to write
often. We will have four out of class essays, three in-class essays, and three
in-class final exit essays. To make your revision easier, I strongly recommend
that you type all your papers on a computer or word processor.
As a student of ESL Composition, you will
1. analyze the rhetorical situation by making strategic choices as to
content, style, and form depending on the purpose, audience, and the genre in
which you write.
2. use writing as a tool to improve your critical thinking skills.
3. use writing to improve your creative imagination skills.
4. learn how to gather writing knowledge from a community of writers.
5. understand and practice the writing process (prewriting, writing, self
editing, peer editing, and revision).
Writing Assignments: Each essay has a minimum of four stages and all
stages must be included when the final draft is turned in. If you do the
optional fifth stage of writing, be sure to turn in all previous work associated
with that "re-revised" essay. A brief description of the invention,
planning and drafting, middle draft peer review, final draft, and revised final
draft stages will be explained.
1. Invention writing : Each student will be expected to participate. It
is at this stage that you find a topic, discover what you know about it,
consider your purpose, and audience, and further develop your ideas by
listing, grouping, and naming related words about the selected topic.
2. Planning and drafting: Once the initial period of invention is
completed, you should review what you have learned about the topic and start
to plan your essay. Planning requires you to put your ideas into a coherent,
purposeful order appropriate to your readers; drafting challenges you to
find the words that will be understandable and interesting to those readers.
Invention continues as you draft, for you will continue to make further
discoveries about your topic as you work. But drafting requires you to shift
your focus from generating new ideas and gathering further information to
forging new and meaningful relations among your ideas and information. Your
objective at this stage of the process is to construct a point statement
which will serve as the introduction to the essay. After the point
statement, you will make a tree diagram showing the organization of your
essay. Your goal is to have three coherent layers of content at the point,
support, and sub-support layers of meaning.
3. Middle draft peer review: After you have finished drafting your essay,
you will show it to someone else for comments and advice on how to improve
it. Most experienced writers often seek advice from others. Be both positive
and skeptical-positive in that you are trying to identify what is workable
and promising in the draft, skeptical in that you need to question the
writer’s assumptions and decisions. Offer advice, but do not rewrite the
paper. Your role is to read carefully, to point out what you think is or is
not working, to make suggestions and ask questions. Leave the revising to
the writer. I suggest that you do the following things to make the middle
draft peer review as productive as possible:
Have someone in the learning center read your essay.
Have a native speaker read your essay.
Have an advanced ESL student (i.e. TOEFL 550) read your essay
4. Final Draft: Even productive invention and smooth drafting rarely result
in the essay a writer has imagined. Experienced writers are not surprised or
disappointed when this happens, however. They expect to revise a draft and
revising will help move them closer to the essay they really want to write.
Read your middle draft critically and thoughtfully. Reflect on the critical
reading by others and see if you can find opportunities for improvement. You
may notice misspelled words or garbled sentences; most important, however, you
may discover ways to delete, move, rephrase, and add material in order to
express your ideas more clearly. It is at this point that the instructor gets
an opportunity to evaluate your writing in its first four stages: namely the
invention, planning and drafting, middle draft peer review, and final draft
5. Revised final draft (optional): I will write comments and suggestions on
your final draft and you may choose to keep the grade I give you or you may
revise and resubmit it for reassessment. If you choose to revise, you will
have one week from the time that I hand back the graded final draft essay.
To write is to rewrite!
Here are the papers that you will be expected to write this quarter:
Write an Autobiography
Write about a Process
Write a Formal Essay
Write a Narrative Essay
I will only accept papers that are double-spaced, typed and at least 2-3
pages in length.
Tests: Students are expected to complete all of the in class essays
which will be used for assessment purposes. There will also be three in-class
final exit essays. If I feel it is necessary, you might also be tested on the
The number letter grading scale is set as follows:
NC 69& below
Your final grade will be broken down as follows:
Attendance and participation 20%
Write an Autobiography 10%
Write about a Process: Learning English 10%
Write a Formal Essay 10%
Write a Narrative Essay 10%
Three in class essays 30%
Three Final In-class essays 10%
To receive a passing grade, students must satisfactorily complete all four of
the out of class writing assignments.
Assessment of Written Work
I will use the Scoring Guide for the English Placement Test when I evaluate
your papers for a grade. A copy of that guide is attached. Use the following
scale to find the letter grade equivalent to the holistic numbers on your
Assignments submitted after the due date will not be accepted. In other
words, you will receive no points at all for that essay. I will only allow you
to make up missed work if you have a written documented excuse from someone
stating the urgency of the situation (e.g. Doctor’s note, CHP accident report,
Your attendance is required at all class meetings. Only written
documented excuses for an absence may result in your making up an assignment or
graded daily work. Absences endanger your grade simply because of the amount of
writing done in class. Four absences will result in an overall reduction of one
full letter grade and six absences will result in a failing grade for this
You are required to go to the learning center before you turn in the
final draft of your essay. Make sure that you make an appointment in advance!
There are many knowledgeable, interested and friendly tutors in the center who
are ready to help you according to your needs. You must bring signed slips from
the tutors in order to get the credit. I expect you to go to the learning center
at least four times during the quarter.
Superior 6 demonstrates superior writing, but may have minor flaws. An essay
in this category:
addresses the topic clearly and
responds effectively to all aspects of the task;
explores the issues thoughtfully
and in depth;
is coherently and logically
organized, with ideas supported by apt reasons and well-chosen examples;
is generally free from errors in
mechanics, usage, and sentence structure.
Strong 5 demonstrates clear competence in writing. It may have some errors,
but they are not serious to distract or confuse the reader. An essay in this
clearly addresses the topic, but
may respond to some aspects of the task more effectively than others;
shows some depth and complexity of
is well organized and developed
with appropriate reasons and examples;
displays some syntactic variety and
facility in the use of language;
may have a few errors in mechanics,
usage, and sentence structure.
Adequate 4 demonstrates adequate writing. It may have some errors that
distract the reader, but they do not significantly obscure meaning. An essay in
addresses the topic, but may slight
some aspects of the task;
may treat the topic simplistically
is adequately organized and
developed, generally supporting ideas with reasons and examples;
demonstrates adequate facility with
syntax and language;
may have some errors, but generally
demonstrates control of mechanics, usage, and sentence structure.
Marginal 3 demonstrates developing competence, but is flawed in some
significant way(s). An essay in this category reveals one or more
of the following weaknesses:
distorts or neglects aspects of the
lacks focus, or demonstrates
confused or simplistic thinking;
is poorly organized or developed;
does not provide adequate or
appropriate details to support generalizations, or provides details without
has problems with or avoids
has an accumulation of errors in
mechanics, usage, and sentence structure.
Inadequate 2 is seriously flawed. An essay in this category reveals one or
more of the following weaknesses:
indicates confusion about the topic
or neglects important aspects of the task;
lacks focus and coherence, or often
fails to communicate its ideas;
has very weak organization, too
provides simplistic generalizations
has inadequate sentence control and
a limited vocabulary;
is marred by numerous errors in
mechanics, usage, and sentence structure.
Incompetent 1 demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in writing skills. An
essay in this category reveals one or more of the following weaknesses:
suggests an inability to comprehend
the question or to respond meaningfully to the topic;
is unfocused, illogical,
incoherent, or disorganized;
provides little or no relevant
has serious and persistent errors
in word choice, mechanics, usage, and sentence structure.
(This schedule may be subject to change
throughout the quarter).
Tentative Course Outline
Week one: Chapter One: Succeeding in School
Introduction to composition
2 Prereading and vocabulary activities pp. 3-6
Homework: Read "The Education of Berenice Belizaire" on pp. 4-6
3 Class Discussion "The Education of Berenice Belizaire"
Journal Writing p. 7
Week Two Succeeding in School cont.
7 Interview another student; class debate p. 7
8 Writing assignment #1: Write about self p. 13
Due on April 10
9 Writing an essay strategies pp. 8-13 (in class writing)
10 Peer exchange of essays; verb forms
Writing assignment # 1 due
Week three Chapter Two: Learning a Language
14 Question form using the past tense p. 20
15 In-class essay #1: See handout
16 Prereading and vocabulary activities p. 23
Homework: Read "How to Be a Successful Language Learner"
17 Class Discussion "How to Be a Successful Language Learner"
Journal Writing p. 29; Writing assignment #2: Learning English on pp.
34-35; Due on April 23
Week four Learning a Language cont.
21 Writing a process essay pp. 32-35; editing strategies and practice pp.
22 In-class writing
23 Peer exchange of essays; the present tense pp. 40-41
Writing assignment #2 due
24 Question form using the present tense; adverbs of frequency pp. 41-46
Week five Chapter Five: Contrasting College Systems
28 In-class essay #2: See handout
29 Pre-reading and vocabulary activities p. 95
Homework: Read "American Ways: Education" pp. 95-98
30 Class Discussion "American Ways: Education" pp. 99-100
Journal Writing p. 100; Writing assignment #3: Higher Education on pp.
104-105; Due on May 12
May 1 Writing the formal essay pp.100-104
Week six Contrasting College Systems cont.
5 Revising and editing strategies pp. 105-113
6 Revising and editing strategies cont.
7 Understanding determiners pp. 113-116; Moving from the general to the
more specific pp. 116-118
8 In-class writing
Week seven Chapter Six: Learning from One Another
12 Peer exchange of essays
Writing assignment #2 due
13 In class essay #3: See handout
14 Prereading and vocabulary activities p. 119
Homework: Read "The All American Slurp" pp. 120-126
Writing assignment #4: Writing a Narrative p. 131
Due on May 28
15 Class Discussion "The All American Slurp"
Journal Writing p. 128
Week eight Learning from One Another cont.
19 Writing strategies: Telling a Story pp. 128-133
20 Revising and editing strategies pp. 133-138
21 Simple, compound, and complex sentence varieties pp. 138-142
22 Simple, compound, and complex sentence varieties cont.