For your last assignment, these pieces should be collected in a single document:
1) A description of an event (something newsworthy or noteworthy) in three paragraphs;
2) An analysis of the event's significance in three paragraphs;
3) An analysis of one or more of the individuals involved in the event (why they deserve to be known) in three paragraphs.
Notes on 1-3: For each section, try to focus on different expository elements. Use one as an exercise in transitions, for example, or in notable openers/closers. Use another to practice embedding your quotes efficiently and effectively.
4) You will graduate in anywhere from three to four years. Write a speech to your future self informing them of...well, whatever you like. Since you will forget what it's like to live like you currently do, to think like you currently think, etc., by the time you graduate, consider this something like a piece to throw into a time capsule. In three or four years, read it again, and see how you thought, and what you thought mattered today; you may find it interesting.
And just so you can see what happens your senior year, on the other side of this assignment:
This file contains a sequence of seven related essays from Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker. The topic, a current event that has dominated much of the public discourse lately, is the recently-completed George Zimmerman trial.
Cobb clearly has a point in mind while writing these pieces, even though he could not be certain how the trial in question would end. That in and of itself does not make his writing inappropriate for his form; in fact, you should have some idea of what you're trying to say while you write. It's become easy to dismiss targeted writing as "biased," but that criticism only works if the author's focus depends on him/her ignoring evidence they should have included. That, in fact, is why biased writing deserves criticism - because it leaves out information we deserved to know and, in doing so, intentionally misleads us - and why focused writing is worthy of praise. As a reader, you must ask yourself not whether the author is "biased," but whether they are properly informing you (and whether they're honest regarding their perspective - these essays are quite clearly commentary, not reportage). As a writer, you must ask yourself the reverse of each question - whether your perspective is evident, and whether you have provided your readers with the proper evidence.
Once you're done reading these, I want you to analyze these writings from an expository writer's perspective. What approaches and appeals does Cobb use? Does he use them effectively? What evidence does he include, and how does he include it? How does his structure work, both within each essay and across the whole seven-essay sequence? I want you, while reading these, to be able to discuss them with me from the perspective of a student, not simply a reader.
Next, here are the two Common Core rubrics we examined last Thursday: Informative and Argument. Using each rubric, assess Cobb's work. Explain how he would score in each category, and cite specific lines or passages that show why.
Finally, using a current event of your choice, I'd like you to write a series of expository pieces, similar to Cobb's sequence. This means starting at the beginning of your event and finishing by reflecting on its end, so events that span a bit of time are probably best. You are explaining what's going on to people who wouldn't know - so be informative! - but also remember that you are making a point about the event in question.
1. Choose one item from the "Specific" list and one item from the "Abstract" list. (If you have a great idea for a topic that isn't included in the list, just run it by me first!)
2. For each item, craft a step-by-step instruction manual, taking the reader from beginning to end. (Do not use personal pronouns. Start with verbs. For example, don't say "I would look at the nearest parking-garage sign and memorize the section where I parked"; say "Look at the the nearest parking-garage sign and memorize the section number.")
Now, for the tricky part...
3. Once each instruction manual is completed, choose one of your two manuals, take its information, and figure out how to share it in a speech you'd deliver to an audience. You wouldn't read the manual (that would be a very, very boring speech!), so you have to find some other way to give your information to your audience. (This is why we read that example speech!)
4. When you're done, post the instruction manuals and the speech to the blog in this thread.
+ Making breakfast for your family
+ Shooting a video
+ Beating the video-game level of your choice
+ Playing the instrument of your choice
+ Studying for a test
+ Cutting hair
+ Painting a picture
+ Building a house
+ Acting onstage
+ Visiting the mall successfully
+ Writing a book
+ Dressing well
+ Speaking in front of a large crowd
+ Getting an A in a class
+ Teaching a class well
+ Telling a successful lie
+ Making a friend
+ Recovering from losing something important - a pet, etc.
+ Making someone happy
+ Making someone cry
+ Being a fan of ____ (band, show, team of your choice)
+ Being a good believer
+ Being a good person
+ Being a good parent
+ Getting along with your parent
+ Living a successful life
+ Being yourself (i.e., you, the specific individual writing)
“You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Here’s your syllabus! Please print out a copy and bring a signed version with you to class tomorrow.
For future reference, our Turnitin.com class ID is 6582498, and the password is B2B2.
In the comments: what do you think you’ll want to write about this summer? (This serves as your introduction to your classmates!)
+ Respect each other, at all times. Be honest, but don't be cruel. Only write what you could say to someone in person with me standing by.
+ Respect the school – they’re the ones providing us with server space!
+ Follow all district guidelines regarding appropriate content – don’t post something that gets you in trouble!
+ Avoid smiley faces, shorthand/acroynyms, and other linguistic oddities from the Digital Age ("i" instead of "I," "u" instead of "you," etc.)...I wouldn’t think I’d need to put that in writing, but it’s been an issue before!
+ Be honest, present, participatory, and enthusiastic!
This is going to be fun – let’s see what the next twenty-four days have in store!