Dr. Kristi Siegel

  • College Composition 102, Section 1
  • Fall 1999, Tuesdays-Thursdays: 1:00-2:50pm
  • Fidelis Hall, Room 223
  • Office hours: T-Th: 10:00-11:30am and 3:00-4:00pm
  • 258-4810, ext. 461
  • siegelkr@mtmary.edu or kristisiegel@hotmail.com

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Writers are not so much people who have something to say as they are people who have found a process that will bring about new things they would not have thought of if they had not started to say them.

--William Stafford                                                

Course Description:
  • College Composition equips students with essential writing skills.  The course focuses on careful consideration of audience, style, and voice as well as a wide variety of writing tasks, e.g., personal essays, objective reports, research papers, cultural critiques, literary analysis, and a formal profile (developed from a personal interview).  Although the course presumes a basic knowledge of grammar, mechanical principles are reviewed throughout the course.  
Required Texts and Materials:
  • Effective Writing, 2nd Edition.  Mount Mary College.
  • Modern Major Essayists, 2nd Edition.
  • Spiral notebook
  • Diskette (for use in the computer lab)
  • A good dictionary 

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Course Objectives:
  • to generate different types of writing (persuasive, analytical, objective, etc.);
  • to learn new narrative strategies (comparison/contrast, description, definition,
  • classification, etc.);
  • to improve your writing style;
  • to learn how to effectively edit and revise your writing;
  • to review the basic mechanics of good writing;
  • to develop a writing "voice"
Class Policies and Grade Breakdown:

Grading and evaluation: Your short papers, as they will not be revised, will be given one grade. The four longer papers will receive grade for the first draft and the final paper. A revision means a major overhaul, not just cleaning up a few mechanical errors. Literally, a revision means to "re-see"; you are given the opportunity to completely re-focus your paper in terms of style, organization, diction, argumentation, etc. When you turn in your final draft, the first draft along with my initial comment sheet must be included for reference.

All papers, with the exception of in-class impromptu, must be typed. Late papers will not be accepted without prior arrangements and may be subject to a lower grade.

The grade breakdown for the course will be as follows:

    • 5%........................Journals
    • 5%........................Workshops and participation
    • 15%......................Grades on first drafts
    • 10%......................Grades on short papers
    • 25%......................Grades on revisions
    • 5%........................Post-test
    • 5%........................Midterm
    • 5%........................Final essay exam
    • 25%......................Portfolio





Aug 24 -
  • Introduction to course; introduction to each other. Background information.
  • Language skills pre-test.
  • Read MME: Annie Dillard, "An American Childhood," pp. 353-359
  • Journal assignment: Think about how Dillard shapes her essay about her
  • mother and write a journal entry about a character familiar to you.
  • Aug 26

  • Discussion of language skills tests; strategies for improving language skills.
  • Discussion of Dillard essay.
  • Paper no. 1: Write 2 or 3 pages (typed) on a childhood memory or do a character
  • sketch on a family member or another significant figure. Paper no. 1 due on
  • Sept. 22; rough draft due next class.
  • Impromptu essay (writing sample, will not be graded).
  • Read MME: Doris Lessing, "Father," pp. 417-424.
  • Aug 31

  • Discussion on quotes from Thursday’s impromptu essays.
  • Read Ken Macrorie’s, "The Poison Fish" (in-class handout).
  • Discussion of "Engfish"
  • Writing groups assigned.
  • Work in groups on rough drafts.
  • Journal assign: Describe your writing group dynamics (what you did, how it
  • worked, what could be improved, etc.)
  • Read: George Orwell, "A Hanging," pp. 57-61.
  • Sep 2

  • Discuss techniques of narrative event and Orwell essay.
  • Pre-writing handout and "Kippi" cluster.
  • Writing groups on organizing narrative structure (e.g., spatial, climactic,
  • chronological).
  • Journal assign.: Explain the narrative method you considered and how you believe
  • the new organization improved/did not improve your paper.
  • Read: Cynthia Ozick, "The Seam of a Snail," pp. 163-167.
  • Sep 7

  • Discuss use of description in Dillard’s essay.
  • Groupwork on writing with all five senses (writing exercises and class discussion).
  • Read: Annie Dillard, "Living Like Weasels," pp. 360-363.
  • Journal assign.: Entry discussing Dillard’s use of description
  • Sep 9

  • Paper no. 2 - Objective Report ; due Sept. __. Handout on features of an
  • objective report.
  • "Lifeboat" class exercise (basis for Objective Report).
  • Journal assign.: Entry on lifeboat exercise
  • Read: Stephen Jay Gould, "Women’s Brains," pp. 277-282.
  • Sep 14

  • Collect Paper no. 1
  • Discussion of fact vs. opinion in Gould’s essay.
  • In-class writing on objective report paper.
  • Read: Lewis Thomas, "Notes on Punctuation," pp. 108-110.
  • Journal assign.: Entry in response to any questions on pp. 110 - 111.
  • Sep 16

  • Paper no. 2 collected; revised Objective reports due Oct. 1.
  • Paper no. 3 - Synthesis Shaped by Thesis - due Oct. __. Handout and discussion.
  • Read: Women’s Issues
  • Virginia Woolf, "Professions for Women," pp. 4-8
    Maxine Hong Kingston, "No-Name Woman," pp. 255-265.
    Margaret Atwood, "Great Unexpectations," pp. 242-246.
  • Journal assign,: Free-writing on any/all assigned essays; consider working on
  • possible idea for synthesis/thesis paper.
  • Sep 21

  • Report papers returned.
  • Stylistics workshop - handout on sentence combining and varying sentence lengths.
  • Journal assign.: Entry using stylistic revision on ten sentences from rough drafts.
  • Writing groups.
  • Read: Issues in Multiculturalism:
  • George Orwell, "Antisemitism in Britain," pp. 81-89
    Richard Rodriguez, "Complexion," pp. 301-305
    Alice Walker, "Am I Blue?" pp. 338-343

    Sep 23

  • Revised paper no. 2 (Objective report) collected
  • Discussion of Sept. 16 & 21 assigned essays.
  • Work on Paper no. 3
  • Sep 28

  • Paper no. 3 collected; revised paper due Oct __.
  • Impromptu essays samples. Writing groups evaluate and grade essay samples.
  • Journal assign.: Entry on essay evaluations (what did you learn?)
  • Sep 30

  • Paper no. 4 (Interview on the writing process). Due Oct. __. Handout on writing
  • interviews.
  • Writing groups on Paper no. 3 revision.
  • Language Skills Workshop
  • Oct 5

  • Language Skills MIDTERM.
  • Paper no. 5 assigned (Research Paper); due Oct. __.
  • In-class review of Chapter 5 in EW.
  • Groupwork on writing effective in-class essays.
  • Oct 7

  • Paper no. 4 collected (Interview).
  • MIDTERM Impromptu Essay.
  • Journal assign.: Entry on theses being considered for Paper no. 5.
  • Read: EW, Chapter 2 & 3. Study MLA documentation and write down any
  • questions you have.
  • Oct 12

  • Quarter Break

  • Oct 14

  • Individual Conferences. Times will be scheduled.
  • Work in library on research paper.
  • Read: George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," pp. 69-80.
  • Oct 19

  • Individual Conferences. Work in library. Times will be scheduled.

  • Oct 21 - Paper no. 5 (Research) collected.

  • Stylistics workshop - Diction
  • Read: Annie Dillard, "Push It," pp. 375-380. What kind of diction does Dillard
  • use in her essay; is it effective?
  • Oct 26

  • Meet in Computer Lab.
  • Writing Groups on Paper no. 5 (Research) revision.
  • Paper no. 6 (Writing About Literature) assigned; papers due on Nov __.
  • Short story and/or poetry packets distributed.
  • Free-writing on reading from packets.
  • Oct 28

  • In-class writing and/or writing groups on Paper no. 6.

  • Nov 2

  • Revised Paper no. 5 collected.
  • Analyzing literature: In-class reading of Andrew Marvell’s, "To His Coy
  • Mistress," and brief discussion. Break into writing groups to formulate thesis
  • and write brief essay analyzing Marvell’s poem. Each group presents thesis and
  • writings in class. Discussion of each group’s thesis and writing effectiveness.
  • Nov 4

  • Samples of student themes (literary evaluation). Groups evaluate and grade
  • student themes. Group presentations on results.
  • Nov 9

  • Workshop on Eliminating the Passive Voice.
  • Writing Groups on Paper no. 6
  • Read: Stephen Jay Gould, "Counters and Cable Cars," pp. 283-290.
  • Journal assign.: Consider Gould’s use of active verbs; list at least 10 active
  • verbs Gould uses.
  • Nov 11

  • Values Auction
  • Presentation of results.
  • Handout on PORTFOLIO.
  • Journal assign.: Entry on results of Auction exercise. How do you feel our
  • culture/media influenced your decisions?
  • Bring in editorials and/or opinion papers from magazines and/or newspapers for
  • next class.
  • Nov 16

  • Paper no. 6 (Literary Analysis) collected; revision due Dec __.
  • Paper no. 7 (Cultural Critique) assigned; due Dec __.
  • Topic building on cultural critique theses.
  • Nov 18

  • Topic building and discussion of ads for short paper no. 7.
  • Writing on Paper no. 6 (revision) and Paper no. 7
  • Nov 23

  • Paper no. 6 (Revision) collected.
  • Writing groups on Paper no. 7 Nov 25 - Thanksgiving Holiday
  • Nov 30

  • Short paper no. 7 collected.
  • Portfolio workshop; FINAL PORTFOLIOS DUE DEC. 9.
  • Mini-conferences.
  • Dec 2

  • In-class work on impromptu

  • Dec 7

  • Grammar Review

  • Dec 9

  • Evaluations.
  • Collect portfolios.
  • Final essay exam.
  • Week of Dec. 13

    Language Skills Post-test.