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Writing Across the Curriculum

FALL 2005 WORKSHOPS

Come As You Are

English 64
Prof. B. Schweizer
schweizerb@yahoo.com

 

MEMO TO STUDENTS

Re: the format of “What I found most interesting..”

Based on the number of students in this class, every regular class meeting I will be calling on five to six randomly selected students to produce a brief comment on the text that is currently being discussed. You may recall a scene or topic from memory or, preferably, refer to a specific passage or scene in the text to base your comment on.

Expect to be called upon 3 times during the semester. Your name will be selected at random, and I will announce the “lucky winners” each time before class starts, no earlier. So every class session, come prepared with at least one statement that relates to the currently assigned text. In addition, you should feel free to volunteer a statement any time during class, even if you are not specifically called upon. Your voluntary statements, if substantial, can be graded and count toward the final score as well if you turn in a written summary.

The way I tabulate your scores is as follows: for every one of the statements that you are called upon to make, you can earn up to 33 points (corresponding to an A). For the statements you volunteer, you will receive a maximum of 20 points for an A. If you are not in class when I call your name and you don't excuse yourself ahead of time, you will simply be logged for 0 points that day. If you are in class but unable to comment, you will also be logged for 0 points. To receive an A for this segment of your course grade (which counts for 20% overall), you need to accumulate at least 91 points. The highest number of points you can reach in this segment toward the calculation of your final grade is 105.

It is essential that you turn in a written version of your comment with your name on it, either right after class or during the following class session. Your comment need not be long or fancy. For instance, with regard to “Hands” you may find it interesting that the cause of the woman's discolored hands is not revealed until much later in the story; or you may wonder why Wang Yaming is such a bad student and whether her expulsion is justified; as for “The Merchant's Wife,” it is certainly interesting to note the many cultural differences that are subtly interwoven in this tale from Southeast Asia. Or you may ask yourself what the Merchant's Wife means when she says “Those who kill and burn wear money belts; those who repair bridges and fix roads turn into lepers” (29). These are just a few examples of what form your comment could take. So, when you read, always have a pen at the ready and mark any passage that seems particularly fascinating, provocative, or unclear, and then prepare in your mind a brief statement about that passage and a reason or two why you chose it.

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