Friday, March 13, 2009

Last Day

Last Day

Barry Webb's story.

Indaba music.

Bonus Points.

H/I Cover Letter

H/I "Second Chance" Draft?

Essays must include my comments

Paper clips/staples

Complete Feedback.

Return of Essays, etc

First week of Spring Quarter—ask Kelley in English Department.

Grades mostly.

For more feedback from me, bring your essay in and we'll go over it.

Grades due Next Friday, posted online under schedule that day

My schedule

Spring 70 x2 and Creative Writing

Fall 101 x2 and Creative Writing

Winter 102 x3

Also, you can ask about anything anytime.

You can say hi to me on campus. Say your name and I'll say mine.

You can say hi to each other.

Andy Blevins' story.

One in there Americans in their mid-twenties attended but did not finish college.

Only 41 percent of low-income students entering a four year college managed to graduate within five years. (66% of high income did).

75 percent of students enrolling in community colleges said they hoped to transfer to a four year institution. But only 17 percent of those made the switch within five year. The rest were out working or still studying toward the two year degree.

This is not the path you are on.

This is the path you are on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Motel Homeless

Here's a piece for Nickel and Dimed folks:
Here's a slide show

As the recession has deepened, longtime workers who lost their jobs are facing the terror and stigma of homelessness for the first time, including those who have owned or rented for years. Some show up in shelters and on the streets, but others, like the Hayworths, are the hidden homeless — living doubled up in apartments, in garages or in motels, uncounted in federal homeless data and often receiving little public aid.

Broadband Gap

NYTimes story on Broadband Gap:

In Japan, broadband service running at 150 megabits per second (Mbps) costs $60 a month. The fastest service available now in the United States is 50 Mbps at a price of $90 to $150 a month.

In London, $9 a month buys 8 Mbps service. In New York, broadband starts at $20 per month, for 1 Mbps.

In Iceland, 83 percent of the households are connected to broadband. In the United States, the adoption rate is 59 percent.

There’s more than just envy at stake here. President Obama campaigned on a promise of fast broadband service for all. On the White House Web site, he writes “America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access.” And the recent stimulus bill requires the Federal Communications Commission to create a national broadband plan in order to make high-speed Internet service both more available and more affordable.

Have at it

MLA DeathMatch 2K9 trash talk here

Tent City

For those who've read The Grape of Wrath, there's a new one in Sacramento

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Language Not Safe For Work

But if you can make it through Glen Gary Glen Ross video clip, you might find this amusing.

Revision Notes

From Dartmouth:

But more important than grades is that revising your papers teaches you to be a better writer. Studies have shown again and again that the best way to learn to write is to rewrite. In the revision process, you improve your reading skills and your analytical skills. You learn to challenge your own ideas, thus deepening and strengthening your argument. You learn to find the weaknesses in your writing. You may even discover patterns of error or habits of organization that are undermining your papers.

Just discovered this trove of goodies--Free Ivy League Help!

The Great Disruption

Here's Friedman's latest editorial:
We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese ...

We can’t do this anymore.

And, for those visual learners:

Business Letter Format

Here's one.
Here's another.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Steak Knives


Friday: Final, Final Draft of One Essay Due. You MUST INCLUDE with it the draft with my comments (Draft 2) and the rubric with your score for this essay to be considered.

Also due Friday: Cover Letter

  1. Portfolio Revision Worksheet due Wednesday
  2. AW Climb essays due Thursday
  3. MLA DeathMatch 2008.
    1. Four Teams enter, one team leaves
    2. First Prize: 5 BP
    3. Second Prize: Steak Knives
    4. Third Prize: You're fired
    5. It's on…
  4. The Final Week—Special Guest Leon Lett will be here Wednesday
    1. Tuesday: Revision notes, Business letters, sample essays?
    2. Wednesday: Peer Editing, Bring two copies of Final, Final Rough Draft or Cover letter
    3. Thursday: MLA DeathMatch 2008, Round Two

Friday, March 06, 2009

Ok, One More


Cover Letter

Cover Letter Assignment—Due Friday March 13

20 prewriting points, based on quality and quantity.

Your cover letter should present an evaluation of how you have performed as a student/writer this quarter.

1-2 single spaced pages.

Your cover letter should take the standard business letter format, (See Hacker for this). Use this for my address:

Mr. Dan Peters


Yakima, Washington



and formal salutation, Dear Mr. Peters is fine, and a signature line at the end.

Ideas/Questions that might help you get started:

  • How would you describe yourself as a writer before the class? How has this changed?


  • How did you write papers before this class? How has this class changed your process?


  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses as you see them in your thinking, reading, and writing for this course. Use the rubrics to help frame this response.


  • What work do you do before you begin to write a draft of an essay? How do you develop a strong main point for your essays?


  • How would you describe the peer group work as it affected your writing? Did it help you to have other readers for your papers? What sorts of comments were the most helpful to you? Did reading a peer's paper give you any new perspectives on your own writing?


  • What have you improved on this quarter?


  • What skills do you still need to work on?


  • How about as a student overall? (Ways of Seeing the World, attendance, participation, homework etc)

Revision Worksheet

Portfolio Revision Worksheet Due Wednesday—Answer on a separate piece of paper

11 prewriting points


Which essay do you think is strongest? Explain your answer in detail, including a quote or paraphrase from the essay.


Did your peer readers agree with your assessment? What did I have to say about the essay? Paraphrase or quote from a peer and from something I wrote to support your answer.


What is your weakest essay? Explain why you think it's weak, using quotes or paraphrase.


Did your peer readers agree that it was your weakest? What did I have to say? Paraphrase or quote from a peer and from something I wrote to support your answer.


What revision would you need to make to the Nickel and Dimed assignment? List all the tasks you would need to complete.


What revision would you need to make to The World is Flat assignment?



What revision would you need to make to the Angela Whitiker assignment?



What's the most frustrating part of writing for you? What's the hardest part about writing?



What do you still need to work on?



What are your strengths as a writer?



What do you like about writing? What's the most satisfying part of writing for you?




Colbert on Copyright

Here's a guy named Lawrence Lessig that wants to do away with copyright laws.
It's all part of what Friedman calls "The Great Sorting Out"
And here's the remix.

And here's a debate about Obama's campaign poster on Colbert.
The AP took the photo, but did the artist steal it for his poster?
Or is he "sampling" it?


651000 jobs lost in February

This will blow your ever loving mind

The flat world remix.

When I stumbled on this last night, it had 2300 views.

Just so it's clear what you're looking at:
The guy splices together youtube clips, samples them. The original artists are completely unconnected from the arrangement.
There are synthesizers and then there are synthesizers.
Here he is "explaining" the project:

When I stumbled on this last night, 400 people had seen it.
Keep an eye on that over the weekend.

There's also this site, Omar and Jimmy take note:
Here's the founder on Colbert Report

So Much for That Trend

Here's a graph with voting patterns by economic attainment.

The red states are McCain/ Republican states.

The blue are Obama/Democratic states.

This is each income group voted in the last election and who the state winner would be if they counted only those above 150k and so on down to "low income" results.

Class lines that had been blurred around politics are not so blurred, it appears. Actual number of purple states would be a different map.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Brooks' Articles

Human Capital Agenda

A Critique of Pure Reason (deals with Education reform)

America's Admissions System (deals with immigration)

And another on Education Reform

Brooks' Articles

Here's Psst! Human Capital

Marshmellows and Public Policy

Of Love and Money

Investing in Human Futures

Day 42

Lesson Plan Day 42 English 102


  1. Scoring the essay
  2. MLA for Class Matters
  3. MLA for David Brooks
  4. Counter Argument Power Point

Complete Peer Editing

Counter Argument Powerpoint


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tom Friedman's Five Worst Predictions

From Vanity Fair

Day 41

Lesson Plan English 102 Day 41

  1. Counter-Argument: Two Approaches--Other ideas that might help--or--Why your ideas might not work. Either way works, but for full points, be sure to Concede, Refute, Accomodate, or Reject as irrelevant.
  2. Health Care for Poor, Minorities
  3. College not for Everyone
  4. Financial Leadership program


"How Can We Duplicate" revision is due this Friday ONLY IF you are interested in using this essay as your final, final essay. This gives me time to respond and you time to revise it.

If you KNOW you are revising a different essay, (N &D or TWIF) Revised "How Can We Duplicate" Essay is not due until THURSDAY, March 12th.

  1. Peer edit "How Can We Duplicate" in class

    1. We're looking for clear topics in each paragraph
    2. We're looking for support from Class Matters, Nickel and Dimed, The World is Flat
    3. We're looking for an awareness of Counter-Arguments from the above books as well.

      1. Here's how we'll do it

        1. Write a question or two you need answered. The more specific the better.
        2. Number paragraphs
        3. Hand to partner at your table.
        4. Peer edit without reading aloud.

          1. Stay focused.
          2. Give it your complete attention.
          3. They are counting on you.

Peer edit your own essay as homework tonight.

We Already Knew That

Seattle Times on Report: Health-care disparities shortchange minorities, poor

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Culture and Poverty

Here's an article K. Cleveringa found on the topic. Quotes from a New Republic article (which is a legit source).

And incredibly, it combines the Expert Performance Movement we talked about in child soccer and the number and type of words addressed to children in differing economic levels.

And, be sure to read the readers' comment section for some good back and forth. I'm not sure I agree with this guy's conclusions about when it all went wrong--and the numbers aren't there to back it up as far as church going is concerned.

Organization and Process

Here’s the process we’re walking (or running) through.

Tomorrow in class, we’ll look for evidence/quotes from the three books and deal with grading.

1) What are the obstacles that you think are the most important/fixable
a. Find 2-4. (For rough drafts)
i. Put in your own words
b. Find page numbers and quotes to help define these obstacles.
i. Explain the quotes (For final drafts)

2) What are the solutions to those obstacles as presented in the books
a. Find 1-2 solutions
i. Put in your own words (for rough drafts)
b. Find page numbers and quotes to help define the solutions
i. Explain the quotes (For final drafts)

3) What are the solutions you or your classmates have come up with?
a. Put 1-2 in your own words
b. Find evidence outside the books to support your ideas.

Organization options
Paragraph 1: Intro (hook, background, thesis)
Paragraph 2: Obstacle 1 (define using texts)
Solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)
Other solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)

Consider adding depth to each body paragraph—add an example of the obstacle and solution from the texts or from other source.

For ex: (obstacle) Angela Whitiker struggled to complete her degree because she lacked reliable childcare. –find quote that explains family structure from CM and/or childcare dilemma in N&D’d

(solution) She would have been able to complete her degree more quickly if she didn’t have that concern and instead could have put her children in a clean, safe, predictable environment, like the ones proposed by Ready By Five.—quote Ready by Five website.

Paragraph 3: Obstacle 2 (define using texts)
Solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)
Other solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)

Paragraph 4: Obstacle 3 (define using texts)
Solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)
Other solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)

Paragraph 5: Obstacle 4 (define using texts)
Solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)
Other solution to obstacle (define using texts, outside sources)

Paragraph 6: C-A: Some might say, others might say, I say. (Right before end or right after intro is a good place for this) Acknowledging the other ideas is a good start.
Conceding/Defeating them as top priorities will be more credible and convincing, thus putting you on the fast track to better score for C-A.

Paragraph 7: Conclusion

Counter Arguments

Here's a particulary clear explanation of how to deal with Counter Argument:

Rebuttals and Main/Faulty/Return Paths

Unlike many forms of writing, academic arguments will often include discussions of possible objections and counterarguments to the position being advanced. Academic arguments typically take place in disciplinary communities in which a variety of competing or divergent positions exist. When preparing to 'speak' to the community by writing an argument, writers are aware of the arguments against which they must build their claims, and of the counterarguments which are likely to emerge. Dealing with counterarguments and objections is thus a key part of the process of building arguments, refining them, interpreting and analyzing them. There are several main reasons for introducing counterarguments and objections.

1. It demonstrates that the author is aware of opposing views, and is not trying to 'sweep them under the table'. It thus is more likely to make the writer's argument seem 'balanced' or 'fair' to readers, and as a consequence be persuasive.

2. It shows that the writer is thinking carefully about the responses of readers, anticipating the objections that many readers may have. Introducing the reader to some of the positions opposed to your own, and showing how you can deal with possible objections can thus work to 'inoculate' the reader against counterarguments.

3. By contrasting one's position with the arguments or alternative hypotheses one is against, one clarifies the position that is being argued for.

When dealing with objections or counterarguments, authors tend to take one of 3 approaches.

Strategic concession: acknowledgment of some of the merits of a different view. In some cases, this may mean accepting or incorporating some components of an authors' argument, while rejecting other parts of it.

Refutation: this involves being able to show important weaknesses and shortcomings in an opponent's position that demonstrate that his/her argument ought to be rejected.

Demonstration of irrelevance: showing that the issue in question is to be understood such that opposing views, while perhaps valid in certain respects, do not in fact meet the criteria of relevance that you believe define the issue.

Rewards for Students

Here's an article from today about attempts to deal with the ambition gap.

(AND, if you comment on this article, you get a point. Should you?)

Is the isolation over?

Scroll down and click on the video.
Slideshows are good too.

Are you seeing more of this, and is this having an impact on how we see those in poverty?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Day 39

English 102 Lesson Plan Day 39

Bonus Points

Meet in Labs tomorrow.

Rough Drafts due end of period tomorrow (500 half-good words)

Hand back "Discovery Drafts"—a couple of examples

Grades/Essays for 1130 class

Sample Essay available

Now, for some help with the rough draft:

Pick your top three from the list

How do we help Angela Whitiker overcome these sources of economic friction?

  1. What are the solutions offered by the books?
  2. Research for some of these is in your books

What are our original solutions?

Research for these topics is encouraged.

  1. Education
    1. Parenting
    2. Collect at state level and spread equally
    3. Emphasize
      1. CQ+PQ
      2. Math/Science
      3. Right Brain
      4. Learn to Learn
      5. Collaborators
    4. Tougher tests
    5. Longer school days
    6. Longer school years
    7. Universal Preschool
      1. Head Start
    8. College Aid
    9. Increase vocational/trade programs
    10. Classes through work
  2. Health Care
    1. Expand congressional health care to 47 million w/o coverage
    2. Portable coverage

    3. Isolation

    1. Protest
      1. Social Activism
    2. Change Housing rules/styles
      1. We've tried large projects
      2. We've tried easier loans
    3. Credit Crisis
    4. Required class in teacher prep.
    5. Immigration reform
    6. Language classes
    7. News catching up with this?

  3. Family Structure
    1. Shift focus of sex ed
    2. Leadership

  4. Transportation
    1. Mass transit
  5. Information
    1. Expand broadband
    2. 211

  6. Child care
    1. Universal pre-school
    2. Expand government care
    3. Be more generous with paid leave
  7. Social Capital
    1. Parenting
    2. End "marriage penalty"
    3. Promote marriages in PSA's etc
    4. Require classes for license
    5. Allow gay marriage
    6. Leadership/Bully Pulpit
  8. Human Capital
    1. Parenting
    2. Word of the Month
    3. Gear Up
    4. Attendance rewards
    5. Grade rewards
    6. Big Brothers
    7. Peer Mentors
    8. DARE
    9. Parenting classes
      1. Tough love
    10. "Stable, predictable environment, good behavior is rewarded +practice"
    11. Universal Preschool
    12. Personal finance classes
    13. Public Speaking classes
    14. Leadership/bully pulpit
  9. Increase minimum wage to living wage
  10. Wage Insurance
  11. Other?
    1. Faith Based programs?
    2. Volunteering
    3. Reaching out/Mission work

  12. Prohibitions?
    1. Make divorce harder, for ex
    2. Smoking/Drinking
    3. Number of children
  13. Censorship?
  14. Mandates?
  15. What about drugs/alcohol?
  16. Opportunities /Pathways

Sample Essay, Duplicating AW’s Success

Brian Stump

Mr. Peters

English 102

6 March 2008

Up and Out of Poverty:

    While sitting in your apartment and studying your bullet-hole ridden dining room table, you realize this is not the life you want to live. So you go to college and try to get a degree, but you aren't able to feed your five children and yourself, pay all the bills, work, and go to college at the same time. This was Angela Whitiker's life; an example of a single, poor mother trying to raise her children and move out of poverty at the same time. There are a few things that the government can do to make it easier for the poor to work their way out of poverty, as well as a few things that society could do to change our culture. However, there are still a few things that are up to the individual for them to work their way out of poverty. Duplicating Angela's success is difficult, but there are a few ways to increase the ability of people to move out of poverty.

    Moving out of poverty is ultimately up to the individuals. They themselves have to be the ones to push themselves to work hard to improve themselves so they can move out of poverty. For some of the poor, ambition is a major problem because they don't want to spend the time to improve themselves. "[A] rising number of young Americans in recent years [have] spent their free time watching television and surfing the Internet" (Friedman 354). It would be more beneficial if these people would read and study on their own to better themselves rather than sitting in front of the TV doing nothing. But there are a few that want to move out of poverty and are willing to work towards their goal. Those people, like Angela Whitiker, find that moving out of poverty is very difficult and help from society and the government would be greatly helpful.

The government could make it easier for the poor to work their way out of poverty. According to Class Matters, 39 percent of people who are hired for a job climb their way out of poverty (Muhammad 231). So if the government increased the availability of jobs, such as by hiring poor people for a highway cleanup crew, it would greatly increase the chance of the hired people moving out of poverty. In Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich suggests that the working poor need higher wages just to survive. Today, low wage workers are earning less than they did 27 years ago (Ehrenreich 203). "In the first quarter of 2000, the poorest 10 percent of workers were earning only 91 percent of what they earned in the distant era of Watergate and disco music" (Ehrenreich 203).

However, an increase in the minimum wage is also a double edge sword. The wage increase would immediately benefit the poor and would give them the opportunity to move up in class. On the other hand, it would discourage specialization such as a college degree because the poor would not see a need for a higher education since they would be doing fine without it. Education is very valuable in order to move out of poverty and we should not discourage it by increasing minimum wages. Thirty-five percent of the poor who get at least a two year college degree move out of poverty (Muhammad 231). If more scholarships and grants were awarded to the poor, more of them would rise out of poverty and we would hear more success stories similar to Angela Whitiker's.

In addition, the government could also provide a way for the poor to get affordable child care and housing. For many minimum wage workers, paying for child care and housing is just too much. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich mentions how many other countries compensate workers lack of descent wages with benefits such as childcare and affordable housing:

Most civilized nations compensate for the inadequacy of wages by providing relatively generous public services such as health insurance, free or subsidized child care, subsidized housing, and effective public transportation. But the United States, for all its wealth, leaves its citizens to fend for themselves-facing market-based rents, for example on their wages alone. (Ehrenreich 214)

Since the poor have to fend for themselves, there is no way a single mother without any help could get out of poverty. Today, "reliable child care is just too expensive, even for middle class families" (Ehrenreich 214). It's no wonder that it took Whitiker six years to get a two year degree at a community college when she had to constantly take care of her five children. Affordable housing is another major problem of the poor, and for some "[t]he home is a car or a van" (Ehrenreich 214). With government help, the poor could live in actual houses instead of cars, in some cases, and those who want to go to college would be able to in a timely manner because they wouldn't have to constantly take care of their children.

    Another way to help the poor move out of poverty is to increase social capital. For the poor, having someone to help share costs is very beneficial. In Whitiker's case, having a husband allowed her to finish her college degree, which led to a better paying job and therefore she moved out of poverty and into the middle class of America. "[O]f poor single mothers who marry, 56 percent are lifted out of poverty" (Muhammad 231). If a poor, single mother is able to marry a supportive husband, there is a good chance that they will move up in class and out of poverty. However, this is not a very common occurrence and should not be heavily relied upon. Only 1.4 percent of poor, single mothers actually get married every year, so if you do the math, only 0.78 percent, or 78 of every 10,000 poor mothers actually get married and move out of poverty every year.

        Overall, duplicating Angela Whitiker's success is difficult, and much of the responsibility to move up in class is on themselves. Those of the poor that do desire to work their way out of poverty and chose not to live the low class life find that moving up is incredibly difficult, and the government and society should lend a helping hand to those struggling out of the hole of social disparity. With a helping hand, the poor that are willing can and will move out of poverty and we will have successfully duplicated Angela Whitiker's inspiring success.