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Essay I Assignment Sequence
Date Homework Due In-Class Work
Day 1
  Essay validation test.  Introductions to each other and to the course.
Day 2
     Read Goldberg handout. Use it to remind you of aspects of
yourself as a writer and reader. Write notes in the margins or
write on a second sheet of paper, first identifying the passage
you’re responding to.
     E-mail me about the course syllabus with concerns,
questions, and expressions of pleasant surprise. (This will
demonstrate that you know how to e-mail and it will give me
your e-mail address. Make sure you give me your off-campus
e-mail address, if you will be using it during the course.)
Reading comprehension
validation test. Collecting
and reading to discover
Day 3
     Read through materials for Essay I (your past writings or
your memories about writing) and see what you can discover
about yourself as a writer. After this, do a focused freewrite.
     E-mail all this work by 9:00 Friday morning, Sept. 3. Bring a
hard copy to class.
     Bring laptop with ethernet cable and power cord.
What are ideas? What
categories are there for
talking about writers? Two
major ways of discovering
ideas: Moving from detail
to abstraction and from
category to detail.
Day 4
     Do two more focused freewrites on other aspects of yourself as a writer (1-2 pages).  One might be on what you notice in the writings you examine.  Read through ALL the writing you've done so far.   Do you notice any patterns?  Does a question come to you?  Is a theme emerging about who you are as a writer?  Using a highlighter, mark all the sections that might in some way be connected to this theme.  Then do a focused freewrite on what you're discovering about yourself (1-2 pages), freely drawing upon the material you've highlighted.
     E-mail all this work (you can even use the color feature when you click on "Text" if you want to) by 9:00 Wednesday morning, Sept. 8. Bring a hard copy to class.
     Bring laptop with ethernet cable and power cord.
Organizing based upon
idea. Creating a plan for
your essay.
Day 5
Write first draft of Essay I, including metatext.   E-mail me by 9:00 a.m. before class.  Follow MLA format (see pp. 120-121 in The Bedford Handbook).  See essay requirements at the bottom of this screen. Workshop drafts during class and revision exercise.
Day 6
Copy duPlessy Gray essay into Word from website (see below) and highlight parts you like or connect with in one color and parts you dislike or can't connect to with in another color.  Identify four of the highlighted parts you like and discuss what, in particular, you like about each part and why you like it (or dislike it).  Then take one part and say how you think it contributes to your understanding of who duPlessy Gray is as a writer.  Add to your metatext on Essay I by identifying one or two of the things that duPlessy does that you might try doing in your own essay. Workshop drafts in pairs.  Introduction of double-entry notebook concept.
Day 7
Final draft of Essay I, printed, with previous draft and new metatext.  E-mail me a version, too.  Begin Essay II by placing it in the context of the gender theme.

One key to a good memoir is lots of interesting details.  Of course, you're all relatively young writers, but you've nevertheless had years of experience writing, either in school, in journals, or over the internet.  So you should be able to come up with lots of material to write a brief memoir of yourself as a writer, even if you don't write something as extensive as Francine duPlessy Gray's piece.

During this first essay, you'll start articulating what process you go through to write.  Although each of us finds a somewhat different process there are many aspects of the writing process that we all go through, in one way or another.

For Essay I, you'll be focusing especially on the following:  collecting evidence, freewriting, brainstorming, idea as an act of discovery, clustering, organizing evidence to communicate an idea, drafting, revising, metatext, title.   Each highlighted concept links you to a student example.

+   Tell the story of yourself as a writer.
+   Use the evidence of your memory and previous writings.
+    Pull the reader into your memoir.
+   Leave the reader with some idea of your identity as a writer through the details in your evidence.
+   2-3 pages, double-spaced, with metatext, following MLA style (see p. 120 in The Bedford Handbook)