Core 110: Effective Writing

Fall 2000

Ms. J. Yonkoski

3 credits


Class Meets:

    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 50 minutes

  To Reach Me:

    King's   826-5900 ext. 5487   (HM405)

    home   675-9041   (please not before 9:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.)


  Required Texts:

   The Student Writer: Editor and Critic, 5th edition, Clouse

   The Craft of Revision, 3rd edition, Murray

    *** additional readings will be photocopied and handed out (keep them in a folder or binder until the end of the semester) ***

  Catalog Description:

A course in college level composition with emphasis on writing clearly, effectively, and interestingly for a variety of purposes and audiences.  Individual conferences, writing workshops, journal writing, and regular writing assignments encourage practice in each step of the writing process.  A library unit introduces the student to the use of sources in informational writing.


Crucial to any education is the ability to discover ideas and learn how to express those ideas clearly and effectively.  This course recognizes the student's own role in shaping his/her own education.  Although there will be a few brief lectures during the semester, the bulk of our time will be spent on writing exercises and peer editing.  This is your class; I expect you to lend your voice to discussions.  We will read the finished works of published authors as well as the work of students as a springboard to discuss the process of writing.  Critical to this process is revision.  No first draft should ever be considered a final product.  This class will stress writing and rewriting.


1.      Use idea-generating strategies such as brainstorming, freewriting, and clustering to discover subjects for writing.

2.      Narrow a general topic into a specific topic.

3.      Translate a specific topic into a thesis statement.

4.      Outline or plan a unified, coherent, and rhetorically effective development of the thesis.

5.      Support that thesis by using specific evidence and concrete detail.

6.      Recognize and use such methods of development as definition, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, process analysis, and argumentation.

7.      Use the strategies of drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading to produce clear, effective, and interesting writing.

8.      Be able to use the major facilities, services, and research tools of the college library.

9.      Use word processing software as an aid in the writing process.



  2.      LIBRARY RESEARCH -- Some essays will require research, but every essay can benefit from the use of outside sources.

  3.      JOURNAL ASSIGNMENTS -- Each week you will be required to write a one page, typed journal entry.  Anything less than a full single-spaced page of text is unacceptable and will receive only partial credit.  The entries will be assigned on a weekly basis.  However, you may decide that there is something else you would prefer to write about for the week and you may disregard the prompt. For example, you might really want to respond to an essay you've read or discuss an on-campus issue.  You might explore an essay that you are writing.  Is an essay particularly troublesome?  Why?  Consider your writing process.  What is it?  Is it changing?  Or, use this entry as a place to make observations about the world.  DO NOT USE THIS JOURNAL AS YOU WOULD USE A DIARY.  Don't summarize your day.  Some of the journal entries will ask you to explore your memory or to record dreams and wishes.  This is fine.  Push yourself to think carefully and deeply in these responses.  This is a place for mental excavation--GO DEEP!  I will be collecting journals each Friday.  I will not accept late journals; you simply won't receive credit for the collected entry.  If you have to miss class on a Friday, send your entry to class with a reliable classmate or bring it by my office yourself.

  4.      ESSAYS -- You will write four formal essays, one collaborative essay, and one informal reflective essay.  Each essay is to be three to five pages long.  All must be completed in order to pass the course, but this does not guarantee you will pass the course.  Final drafts of papers will be graded according to the norms described in the "Grading Pyramid."


The bulk of the learning in this class happens though in-class exercises and conversations with your peers.  Therefore, it is vital that you attend class and participate in group activities.  (Failure to bring a draft of an essay to class on a peer-editing day will be counted as an unexcused absence for that day).  The attendance policy is as follows:

              3 absences - not encouraged, but acceptable, will lower your participation grade                                    

            4 absences - your final letter grade will be dropped one full letter grade

            5 absences - final letter grade dropped two full letters

            6 or more absences - automatic failure for the term

  These absences include missed class due to minor illnesses.

Late arrivals are rude and distracting.  Three late arrivals will be considered equal to one absence.

In the event that you must miss a class, excused or otherwise, I expect you to be prepared for our next class meeting.  Absence is not an acceptable reason for not being prepared.  I suggest that you find a reliable classmate to share notes and assignments with you or contact me at least one full day before our next class meeting.


Your final grade will be computed as follows:

            essays 1,2, and 3 (15% each)            45%

            essay 4                                               20%

            collaborative essay                               10%

            process essay                                        5%

            journal                                                10%

            class participation                                5%      

            grammar worksheets                            5%

  Grading Scale:

            4.0            A            97-100

            n/a            A-            94-96

            3.5            B+            90-93

            3.0            B            86-89

            n/a            B-            83-85

            2.5            C+            80-82

            2.0            C            76-79

            n/a            C-            73-75

            1.5            D            69-72

            0.0            F            0-68


All assigned essays are due in class on the assigned due date.  No late essays will be accepted.  Printers break down and disks get erased.  Plan ahead.  Don't wait until an hour before class to print your essay.  If an extension is needed, arrangements must be made prior to the essay due date.  Extensions are granted only for serious reasons.  Late essays will automatically be dropped one letter grade for each day the essay is late.

All papers and drafts of papers for workshops should be word-processed and double-spaced.  The margins should be set at one inch all around (you must set your computer to do this; it automatically sets up a 1.25 inch margin).  Font may not exceed twelve point.  Each essay should have a carefully chosen title, must be page numbered (your name 2, for example), and must be stapled in the top left corner once before coming into class.  Remember to keep a copy of your essay until the semester is over in case the essay is lost, stolen, or destroyed.  When you hand in your final essay, staple or paperclip all previous drafts beneath the final clean copy.

Before the final due date of each essay, we will meet in peer-editing groups to discuss first drafts.  You must come to class with TWO copies of your COMPLETE first draft.  I will collect one copy and you will read one copy to the members of your peer-editing group.  I will read and return the draft before the essay due date.  The returned draft will not be graded, but I will offer suggestions for revision.  I will not correct the paper and by no means will this initial review serve as a complete review of your paper.  I will not touch on everything that is wrong with your paper.  It is your job to go over the essay carefully before handing in a final draft.

Final Portfolio:

Each student must compile his or her writing at the end of the semester into a final portfolio.  Save all your work throughout the semester (teacher-read drafts as well as teacher-graded final copies) and keep it organized.  Your work in compiling this portfolio will be factored into your participation grade.

Office Hours:

My office is in Hafey-Marian Hall, room 405.  My office hours will be posted.  Should these times present a scheduling conflict, we can work out an alternate time.

Due Dates:

            essay 1             narration                                        Friday, Sept. 15

            essay 2             comparison/contrast                       Wednesday, Oct. 11

            essay 3             illustration (collaborative)                Monday, Nov. 6

            essay 4             cause and effect                            Friday, Oct. 27

            essay 5             persuasion/argumentation                Monday, Nov. 27

            essay 6            process paper                                Friday, Dec. 8

Schedule: (This is subject to change at my discretion).

  Mon, Aug 28 - introductions, syllabus discussed

            assignment: read intro in Clouse text, journal "I come from..."

  Wed, Aug 30 - writing as a process, description/narration exercise

            assignment: read Clouse 158-179

  Fri, Sept 1 - discuss narration

            assignment: draft narration essay, read ch 1 Murray, ch 1 Clouse


  Mon, Sept 4   Labor Day, no class meeting

  Wed, Sept 6 brainstorming, guidelines for peer-editing

            assignment: draft/revise narration essay

  Fri, Sept 8 -- narration draft due, peer-editing session

            assignment: read ch 2 Murray


  Mon, Sept 11 - thesis, structuring the essay, developing paragraphs

            assignment: revise narration, read Lamott handout

  Wed, Sept 13 - discuss Lamott and ch 2 Murray

            assignment: read ch 3 Murray

  Fri, Sept 15 - final draft narration due, begin research discussion

assignment: read handout "On Food and Happiness" and Clouse 185-204


  Mon, Sept 18 - illustration discussion, collaborative groups assigned

            assignment: pick a topic to research and read Clouse ch. 14

  Wed, Sept 20 - library session

            assignment: complete works cited sheet #1, read internet handout

  Fri, Sept 22 - internet discussion: reliability

            assignment: complete works cited sheet #2, read Clouse 235-255 ___________________________________________________________

  Mon, Sept 25 comparison/contrast discussion

            assignment: review ch. 14 Clouse, brainstorm for a paper topic

  Wed, Sept 27 - MLA format, integrating quotes smoothly

            assignment: read chs 4 and 5 Murray

  Fri, Sept 29 collaborative group time


  Mon, Oct 2 collaborative group time

  Wed, Oct 4 comparison/contrast draft due

            assignment: read ch 6 Murray

  Fri, Oct 6 -- outlining

            assignment: read ch 7 Murray, read ch. 3 Clouse


  Mon, Oct 9 - voice, audience, and purpose

            assignment: read Clouse 261-281

  Wed, Oct 11 final comparison/contrast due, cause and effect discussion

            assignment: read Fulwiler handout

  Fri, Oct 13 Fall Break, no class meeting


  Mon, Oct 16 collaborative group work session

            assignment: prepare for conference, write mid-semester evaluation

  Wed, Oct 18 (mid-semester grades turned in) collaborative draft due, mid-semester evaluation due, no class meeting, individual conferences

            assignment: draft cause and effect paper

  Fri, Oct 20 - draft cause and effect due

            assignment: read ch 8 Murray, review Fulwiler handout


  Mon, Oct 23 revision discussion, group exercise

            assignment: review Clouse ch. 3, read ch. 15 Clouse

  Wed, Oct 25 - editing, working sentences

            assignment: read handout, bring clean copy of collaborative essay, revise cause and effect

  Fri, Oct 27 final cause and effect due, openings, closings, titles workshop

            assignment: read Clouse 332-358


  Mon, Oct 30 - argumentation discussion

            assignment: read Clouse 358-364

  Wed, Nov 1 - argumentation discussion

            assignment: read chs. 16 and 17 Clouse

  Fri, Nov 3 grammar discussion: fragments and run-ons

            assignment: revise collaborative essay, read ch. 21 Clouse


  Mon, Nov 6 - final collaborative draft due, grammar discussion: commas

            assignment: review ch. 21 Clouse

  Wed, Nov 8 - grammar discussion: semicolons, colons, dashes, and quotation marks

            assignment: draft argumentation essay

  Fri, Nov 10 - draft argumentation due

            assignment: revise persuasion/argumentation essay


  Mon, Nov 13 - argumentation/persuasion individual conferences, no regular class meeting

            assignment: complete second full revision persuasive essay

  Wed, Nov 15 - large group peer-editing session

            assignment: read and respond to student essays

  Fri, Nov 17 - large group peer-editing session

            assignment: read and respond to student essays


  Mon, Nov 20 - large group peer-editing session

            assignment: read and respond to student essays

  Tues, Nov 21 (follows Friday schedule) large group peer-editing session

            assignment: pick at least 5 journal entries to share with the class

  Wed, Nov 22 to Fri, Nov 24 Thanksgiving Break, no classes


  Mon, Nov 27 - final persuasive due, process paper assigned, day of journal sharing

  Wed, Nov 29 catch up day

            assignment: read ch 10 Murray, handouts

  Fri, Dec 1 process paper draft due (1 copy), simplicity, letting go

            assignment: prepare for reading, revise essay


  Mon, Dec 4 -  catch up day

Wed, Dec 6 - readings (10 minutes each)

Fri, Dec 8 - final process paper and portfolio due, readings (10 minutes each)