Friday, January 28, 2011

My Blank Is Better Than Your Blank

Your first assignment for this class is to write a 3 paragraph argumentative essay about why something you like is better than something else. Use the chart we made in class about choral groups as a guide to make a chart about your topic. We will be using this chart in class on Tuesday to make an outline. In order to prepare, read the following guides about the writing process:
After you have looked through this material, post the most useful thing you learned from it as a comment below. How will these ideas help you become a better writer? Also mention what was not helpful to you.
Remember, the chart will be due in class on Tuesday, the outline will be done in class on Tuesday, and the draft will be due on Thursday. The draft must be double-spaced, in Times New Roman font pt 12, with your name, the date, your course and section, and my name in the upper left hand corner single-spaced.
The Assignment
Think of something that you like and compare it to something that you think that it is superior to. Use facts about your topic, such as statistics, awards, or evidence of popularity to back up your argument that one thing is better than the other. Make sure that you take into account what is good about the other thing without taking away from your argument. Be passionate, but fair. In other words, I don't want an argument structured like My D*ck. (Warning: this link may be offensive to some/all students. Do not click if you are concerned about this, it's not on a test or anything.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My School's Chorus Is Better Than Your School's Chorus

Your first essay assignment in class is to write an essay arguing that something you like is better than something else. As we discussed in class, college level writing is about supporting your arguments with FACTS and not opinions. We'll use this comparison of two award-winning school chorus classes to start thinking about how to do this. This is the Oxon Hill High School Chorus from Maryland. Check them out.

This chorus recorded an album at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN, which won them the Stellar Award for Children's Musical Performance in 2010. The choir performs in several languages, including Latin, English, and Swahili. They have performed across the country in cities such as Orlando and Los Angeles. They get calls to perform from as far away as Japan and Africa. You can check out their website.

Now, check out the PS 22 Elementary School Chorus from New York City, NY.

This chorus is scheduled to perform at the 2010 Academy Awards on January 25th. They also performed at the 2010 Webby Awards, at the 2009 White House Tree Lighting Ceremony with Common, and at the window unveiling at Saks Fifth Avenue. They have sung in front of and with numerous other celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Stevie Nicks, Matt Damon, and Queen Latifah. You can check out their blog here.

As a comment, write about which chorus you are more impressed by and why. MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE YOUR NAME AS IT IS LISTED ON THE CLASS ROSTER. For class, begin thinking about what FACTS you would use to support an argument that one chorus is better than another. You can use your own interpretations of their talent, so long as they are critically expressed and not "I just like this one better". You can also use awards and accolades as proof of superiority. Come to class with a ready opinion.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Poke around Found Magazine. Find a letter or photograph that interests you, and copy it down or print it and bring it to class. Start imagining the person who wrote it, who it was written to, or what's going on in the picture. You will use this as a starting point for your first writing assignment. DO NOT FORGET TO BRING 3X5 CARDS TO CLASS.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Tracey Duncan                                                                       
2027 Harris Hall
Office hours: T/TR 2-330pm
You are expected to come to class. Students who do not come to class will not be successful. You can miss 3 classes, excused or unexcused, with no grade penalty. Upon your 4th absence, your grade will be dropped one letter. On your 5th absence, it will be dropped another letter, and so forth. Students who miss 7 or more classes will receive an F.
If you miss class, you will need to get the assignments from a classmate. No late work will be accepted.
Class Blog
We will be using a blog for collaborative assignments. This is not optional. The url is based on your course and section number. It will be one of the following:

If you are in my Wednesday class, you will need to check the blog every Tuesday by noon for any assignments or announcements. If you are in my Tuesday/Thursday class, you will need to check the blog every Monday and Wednesday by noon for any announcements. You are responsible for anything announced or assigned on the blog.
Daily Quizzes
There will be a short quiz at the beginning of every class based on readings and previously discussed material. If you are late, you will not be allowed to make up the quiz.
Major Assignments
There will be an essay due the first week of every month, beginning in February.
Grade Breakdown
Daily Quizzes      20%
Participation       10%
HW, etc.               10%
Essay 1                  10%
Essay 2                  15%
Essay 3                  15%
Essay 4                  20%
The standard Southern grading scale will be used.
For each class, you will be expected to have paper, a pen or pencil, The Longman Writer, and a 3X5 index card.