Preparing for Wednesday’s in-class midterm

8:15-8:30: Re-read the “practice paraphrasing” handout under the Tips for Writers page on our blog. Then, turn to the end of chapter 13 to read the passage we’ll work on paraphrasing together on 262 to 263 (“starting with “privacy has a politics” and ending with “gaining popularity among high school and college students”)

8:30-8:45: By focusing on key words (or “anchor” words) and establishing a context for them in our own words, we’ll work toward paraphrasing the section together.

8:45-9: On your own, look over all six options, then choose ONE of the following paragraphs to paraphrase. Post your paraphrases to the blog as a comment on today’s post.

1. page 174 (“Adolescent autonomy”…)

2. page 181 (“In the Victorian era”…)

3. page 188 (“Technologies live in complex ecologies”…)

4. page 202 (“Increasingly”)

5. page 213 (“Anthropologist Victor Turner”)

6. page 226 (“In the flow state”…)

9:20: BREAK

9:30-9:50: When you return, turn to a partner–share your paragraphs. Then, imagine you are offering instructions to a student practicing paraphrasing in this course next semester. Come up with a multi-step process for paraphrasing a complex passage. Write it down. We’ll share these as a group

The steps we came up with in class can be found here: 0974 paraphrasing review, class notes

Revision tasks for paper 2 will be posted before Wednesday morning. Check My Reviewers.

Wednesday, October 22nd: Peer reviewing our early drafts of essay 2

I will place you into groups at the start of class. Keep the blog open on your screen so that you can stay on task during today’s session.

8:15: First, take out the assignment sheet and re-read the task. Then log in to My Reviewers.

Please take about 5-8 minutes to read each early draft posted by members of your group. After reading each paper, take up to 10 minutes to complete the peer review below, using the various commenting features in My Reviewers. Then move on to the next paper and repeat this process. Devote about 15 minutes to each paper total.

  • In your marginal comments: Leave a sticky note next to the place in the draft where the essay points or suggests the real “problem” (the deeper, prevalent, or pressing issue). In your note, comment on whether the overall focus of the current draft matches what the real problem seems to be. If it does not, provide a suggestion to help the writer bring the overall paper in line with the problem (e.g. describe the problem earlier, offer more context, narrow the problem, establish a motive–a tie to the audience). Community comments can also help you to offer suggestions.
  • Leave at least one relevant community comment from the “focus,” “evidence,” or “organization” categories, highlighting the place in the draft where this comment applies.
  • Offer an overall comment (in the commenting box beneath the rubric.

Re-write (quote) at least two key points in this draft that can be expanded upon. (“Dear ___, “After reading, two main claims I understand from this essay are…”) Suggest to the writer whether the essay, at this stage, seems most focused on the history, causes, effects, or solutions related to this “problem.”

You do not need to fill out a numeric grade or a letter grade on the rubric. PLEASE BE SURE TO “SAVE” AND “SUBMIT” BEFORE MOVING ON TO THE NEXT DRAFT.

9:15-9:25: We will break after the first hour. When we come back together in small groups, each writer will take about 10 minutes to review the feedback he or she has received.

9:25-9:45: As a small group:

Each writer will read back the key points his or readers cited from the writer’s essay in their overall comments. Together, draft a thesis statement for this essay.

Decide as a group… does it pass the thesis test? Go here to see:

(If your group finishes early, complete the “testing a thesis” exercise.)

9:45-10:00: As a class, I will ask each group to offer at least one thesis statement for large group discussion (preferably the one you feel is strongest); we will collect these statements on the board.

10-10:15: We are just past the midway point in the semester. On Wednesday, October 29th, you will complete an in-class midterm that will review the kinds of reading and writing work you have been doing for the last six weeks. No part of the midterm will expect you to do anything new or surprising. If you have been doing the work for the course all along, you are prepared. Here’s the format:

midterm preview

FOR NEXT CLASS (10/27): read Alone Together through the end of chapter 13 and complete a revision plan in My Reviewers based on your peer reviews. Begin revising on your own and email me if you would like an appointment next week.

Monday, October 20th, in-class composing: working up to a first draft of essay 2

Today in class we used a set of prompts to help us figure out a specific AUDIENCE that would be interested in the specific “problem” we’re analyzing; aiming our claims at a specific audience also helped us to better understand our MOTIVE (or motives) for analyzing a particular “problem.” In other words, we were asking, will our readers be most affected by this problem’s history, causes, effects, or solutions?

in class composing 10 20

Please remember to upload your a PDF of your first draft (at least two pages doubled-spaced) to My Reviewers ( no later than 1 hour BEFORE class begins this Wednesday. It is extremely important that the draft is in the system by that time so that I can assign you to peer review groups by the time class starts. We will spend the first half of Wednesday’s class independently reading each others’ work in My Reviewers and the second half talking in our small peer review groups in response to questions I will distribute at the start of class.

Both the draft and the peer review will be graded this round. You cannot make up the peer review at another time. However, the grading will be lenient as long as you turn in the required work as this stage. Just start by developing your main ideas. Do not worry too much about writing an eloquent introduction — start with the body of the essay!

Wednesday 10/15 in English 101: starting essay 2 (from “reading as a writer” to “writing as a reader”), and reflecting on essay 1

8-8:15: Attendance, Karen and Gaby’s summary of the problem of “media addiction” and the challenges of “media refusal,” assignment sheet for essay 2 will be passed out and discussed

8:15-8:25: Introduction to Gordon Harvey’s “Elements of the Academic Essay.” We’re building on what we’ve already been doing! Please read the first four categories, “Thesis,” “Motive,” “Evidence,” and “Analysis” to yourself.

The importance of clarifying motive:

8:25-9:00: We’ll review the blog posts you completed for today and brainstorm issues from Alone Together that relate to the broader “problems” suggested on the assignment sheet for essay 2

brainstorming problem analysis essay

**Hint: to narrow your focus and establish a MOTIVE, craft your argument with attention to one of the following aspects of this “problem”: history OR causes OR effects OR solutions (in some cases, it may make sense to discuss causes and effects together, but do not try to tackle all four of these aspects of the problem in 4-5 pages!)

(9-9:10 — BREAK)

9:10-9:30: Turn to a partner and begin to consider essay 2 from the perspective of a reader. If you already know the topic you want to pursue, focus on that topic–if not, choose the topic you feel most excited by at this point. Each person will fold a piece of paper down the middle so he or she has two columns. Label the left hand column, “WHAT the reader needs to know” and the right hand column “WHEN and WHY the reader needs to know.” Fill out then left-hand column first. Then talk through the right-hand column with your partner, using Harvey’s terms to explain where in the essay your individual point belongs.

Here’s an example related to topic 1:

(left) What the reader needs to know:

Robots have already begun to do jobs inside the home.

(right) When and why the reader needs to know:

Reader needs this information in a first paragraph to establish a MOTIVE and to narrow down the topic to robots in the domestic (home) sphere.

9:30-9:45: *I will come around and take pictures of a few sample column sets to post on our blog after class. Then we will discuss your overall strategy as a group.

9:45-10:15: Every essay in this course is a new challenge you have not tried before; the first essay, in particular, is a learning experience; as a result, grades on a first essay are usually not very high (there will be very few even in the B-range this round, and no A papers). Do not be discouraged by this!

For next class (Monday, October 20th):

  • Check into My Reviewers to read my feedback on your essay. Re-read your essay from start to finish, opening the sticky notes, clicking on the community comments, and watching the videos that accompany them; see the rubric with my overall comment as well. Then, open your revision plan for project 1. Scroll down to question 3 “Revision plan.” Start a new heading, “Update, October 15th.” Then respond to the following questions:
  1. Did I write a motive into this first essay? If so, at what point in my essay will my reader [Professor Zino] begin to understand my motive for writing most clearly? If not, what do I think the motive of my essay might be, in hindsight, and how might I write it in?
  2. What do I want to remember about the process of writing this first essay as I begin my second essay? (You might comment on how you used your time, how you revised between drafts, or how you used notes you took on the readings, among other things; if you are dissatisfied with your approach, describe what you plan to do differently.)
  • Read chapter 11 of Alone Together. Complete and type up the two-column plan you started in class, then copy and paste it into a comment on this blog post; bring a hard copy with you to class as well. Monday’s class will be a working session in which you use this two-column outline to begin your first draft of essay 2. Use it to keep you focused as you write and to make necessary structural changes as you think through your argument (the outline should change as you actually begin to write!).

If you would like to make an appointment with me to discuss comments on the previous paper or the upcoming draft, Monday (between 10:30 to 12 and 12:30 to 3:15 pm) would be a good time. Please contact me at for an appointment.

We’re beginning class in the Library and Media Center today (E-101)

Hong Cheng, our instructional librarian, gave us a basic introduction to the library’s resources today.

intro to library, session I

We’ll return to the library for a follow-up session in November when we begin our research papers.

During the second half of class, you’ll each open up your essays and practice reverse outlining, which we started to discuss last class. Click here for guidelines and a sample reverse outline. I will come around the everyone to meet with you one on one.

I have extended the deadline for the paper to this Friday at midnight (under “project 1, final draft”).

What’s due next class:

  • Read chapters 9 and 10. As a comment on this post, explain two “problems” Turkle raises about connectivity and media use in these chapters that you find relevant and important (do so in one brief but well structured paragraph per problem — with a topic sentence, quotation, and summary sentence)

This exercise is moving us toward the next assignment, which we will discuss in detail when we return on Wednesday, October 15th. Please read the assignment sheet before coming to class: Assignment Sheet for Essay 2: “Analyzing a problem”

**Remember that Dr. Laura Portwood-Stacer’s talk, “Meanings of Media Refusal in a Connected Culture,” is happening on Thursday, 10/9 from 3:30 to 4:30 in E500. To learn more about what she’ll be discussing, see her short article on media addiction: If you attend the event and would like extra credit, please send me a review (a 200-300 word summary along with your opinion of the relevance of Portwood-Stacer’s research subject) to by this weekend.

Today in English 101, Finishing Part I and mobing toward a final draft

8 am: Questions about submission. Reminders about three things going on later this week [library visit, essay submission, new assignment, plus extra credit opportunity on Thursday]. Attendance.

8:15-8:25: Kismet and Rich:

[On your own time, see this video of Pia Lindman’s machine/human performances:]

8:25-8:40: WRITING and POSTING– What is Turkle’s thesis in chapter 7? Transcribe it. How does the dialogue illustrate it? How does that thesis get explained in smaller pieces in this chapter? (use the subheadings to come up with a few sentence description) Post your response as a comment on our blog.

8:40-9:55: Turn to a partner, share your answers from the previous questions. Then answer the following questions together [designate a notetaker]: How would you summarize Turkle’s argument in Part I overall? Describe Turkle’s motive for writing this book thus far, as you understand it. Describe her research method. What section of Part I did you find most shocking, exciting, and/or convincing, and why? Do you have any doubts about her argument?

8:55:-9:10: Large group discussion about Part I

Mapping Part I of Alone Together

9:10-9:20: Break!

9:20-9:40: Review sample essay. Practice reverse outlining.

9:40-10:10: Open your essay and revision plan in My Reviewers. Open a new Word document and create a reverse outline of your paper, noting places where you will need to do more substantial revising.

10:10: Amend your revision plan if necessary.

What’s due next class:

  • Final essay must be submitted to My Reviewers (essay 1, final draft) by the end of the day on Wednesday, 10/8.Note: To read my comments on your paper, please log in to My Reviewers, go to “Assignments,” then go to “early draft.” You will be able to view the PDF with my comments there.
  • On Wednesday morning, we will meet in the Library and Media Center, EN-101 at 8 am (go straight there!)

Today’s peer review session, October 1st

8 am: Please sit in your peer review groups when you come in. I will hand back your rubrics. Sign into My Reviewers and read through your essay again, making any changes to your rubric you feel are necessary after reading your peers’ drafts. If it is available, read through your reviewers’ feedback. If you have not completed certain peer reviews, catch up now! Attendance.

8:15: Open up the assignment sheet before beginning your conversations. Open up your own paper in My Reviewers as well. Choose a group member to go first; each person will get 15 minutes. A writer should be prepared to take notes on his or her own essay!

First, review the assignment together. How can you help this essay to meet the basic requirements for the assignment, if it doesn’t already?

The writer should repeat back the critiques he received, asking questions about whether various pieces of feedback are related, trying to find patterns or overall reactions in the feedback.

Turn to each category of the rubric. The writer should propose one category where he or she will give attention when revising and explain why. Choose from the first four categories: focus, evidence, organization, and style. The group will offer suggestions based on the writer’s choice.

Check that all writers have notes they can refer back to at the end of the discussion.

9:30-9:40: BREAK (or finish reviews)

9:40-9:50: Discussion of overall strategies for revision

revision strategies

9:50-10:15: Begin to fill out your revision plan. I will come around and offer suggestions.

By Monday morning’s class, you should have read through the end of chapter 8. You should also be revising your essay, the final version of which will be due on October 8th. You may incorporate ideas and examples from future chapters beyond what you have read from the first draft to strengthen your definition.

What’s happening today, Monday, Sept. 29th, in class

8-8:15: attendance, questions about using My Reviewers, watch the Kismet and Cog videos:

The Kismet robot head:

The Cog interactive robot project:

8:15-8:45: Please complete questions 1 and 2 below on your own; when you are finished, reply as a comment on this post:

1. “In the case of Cog, we build a ‘thou’ through the body. In the case of Kismet, an expressive face and voice do the work. And both robots engage with the power of the gaze. A robotic face is an enabler; it encourages us to imagine that robots can put themselves in our place and that we can put ourselves in theirs” (Turkle 85).

Explain why these sentences operate as a “thesis statement” for chapter 5. To do this, refer back to any of the examples below and show how it exemplifies and extends Turkle’s central claim.

-the Kismet speaking a “foreign” language (87)

-the narrative about Neela (93-94)

-the narrative about Estelle (96-97)

-the narrative about Edward and Shawn (98-99)

Which of these examples do you find to be the most compelling illustration of Turkle’s main claim? Are you skeptical of how fully any of Turkle’s examples “prove” her thesis? Why or why not?

2. Skim chapter 5 by reviewing the subheadings for each section. What do you notice about the structure of this chapter? What commonalities do you see between the structure of this chapter and others we have already read?

8:45-9: Discussion

9:00-9:10: break (Note: may need to call IT about using printer in our room). See me if you need help with PDFs.

9:10-9:25: Take out printed papers (or view them on screen). Open the assignment sheet from two weeks ago and the model paper from last Monday’s post, which I will talk through next to the rubric. How successful was this definition essay? I’ll show you what I see on My Reviewers, and we’ll look at a few of your peer reviews for today.

9:25-9:45: Re-read your paper and fill out a rubric for your individual paper.

9:45-10: Meet your peer review group (we will continue with peer reviews on Wednesday). Go around the group and explain why you filled out your rubric as you did. Direct your readers, if they have not already reviewed your paper, to help you focus on at least one specific challenge when they review your essay.

10-10:10: In a large group, we’ll share back impressions we had reading our essays a week after writing them. What was your experience as a reader of other essays and how did it influence your approach as a writer?

10:10: I will collect your rubrics before you leave and give them back to you on Wednesday. We will return to peer review groups during the second half of class.

HW: Re-read your classmates’ short posts on today’s blog from the first half of class. Like TWO of the comments posted today about chapter 5, then comment on ONE that you felt was especially clear and insightful–tell the writer why you selected his or her comment. Read chapter 7 (through the end of Part I) and be prepared to answer a similar set of questions about that chapter during the first half of class on Wednesday. Finally, please complete the peer review on My Reviewers if you have not already. We will discuss these reviews in person in small groups during the second half of class on Wednesday. You will be able to view your comments on screen and talk with your group — when we come in on Wednesday morning, please sit with your peer review group!

Today, Monday, Sept. 22nd, in Eng 101

Aim: Now that you’ve turned in the first draft of your formal assignment to me (via email), we are going to continue practicing reading as writers, observing Turkle’s stylistic choices as we take note of her argument.

8:00-8:15: questions on paper submission, reminding of grading, attendance

8:15: Focusing in on chapter 4

What’s a thesis statement?

8:30-9: Please take about 30 minutes to do the following, which you’ll post just before the break as a comment on this post,

  • Isolate a “thesis” statement for the chapter 4. Type it out, with a proper citation, noting what type of thesis statement it is (analytic, expository, argumentative, or some combination of these).

Here are the notes we took in class on developing a thesis statement: finding the thesis

  • Write out and cite three summary sentences from anywhere in the chapter that refer back to this thesis. What is a summary sentence? The last sentence of the paragraph–imagine the story or argument is a liquid you’re pouring into a funnel to condense it to a main stream or flow of an idea; the small opening of the funnel is the summary sentence; it focuses the paragraph.
  • What kind(s) of “enchantment” is Turkle describing in this chapter? Describe it in a few sentences.
  • Which example in her argument in this chapter do you find most compelling? Why?
  • Of which example are you most skeptical? Why?

Please post before the break.

9:05-9:15: BREAK

9:15-9:25: Review the responses and “like” any you found especially clear and well thought out. LIKE 2, COMMENT on 1.

9:25-10:15: Large group discussion

What are your impressions of Turkle’s use of examples so far? Whom do you think she is trying to convince with these examples? Whom might she not convince?

For next time…

We will not meet this Wednesday (all of CUNY is closed Wed. to Fri. for the Rosh Hashanah holiday). Before we meet again on Monday 9/29, please read chapters 5 and 6 of Alone Together. In the next couple of days, you will also receive a few things from me. First, I will send you an email assigning you a peer review group and giving you directions about how to read your group members drafts before next class. I will also post those groups on the blog. Secondly, you will receive feedback from me modeling the types of comments I would like you to make on your classmates papers in anticipation of the peer review session.

*Update as of 9/23–please read!

My Reviewers is the name of the website we’ll be using this semester to conduct peer reviews of your formal writing assignments. The site will allow us to record and organize both my comments on your work and all your peers’ comments in one easy-to-access space that we’ll keep returning to all semester. To register for MyReviewers, please follow these instructions:

Register as a “new user” and use this class registration code: LEADING123 

Once you have created a new account, log in to My Reviewers to upload your draft. The draft must be uploaded as a PDF. To save a Word document as a PDF in Microsoft Word, go to “save as”–under the file title, you’ll see a line for “type of file”–from the drop down menu, choose “PDF,” and save the document in a folder you can find again. If you are working in Google docs, you can go to “File” and “download as PDF.” If you’re work in pages, export the file as a PDF.

Once you are logged into MyReviewers and have a PDF ready to upload, follow these directions:  Select “Project 1” and “early draft”

By Wednesday afternoon (9/24), you will be placed into peer review teams of four people each. Outside of class, I will review your draft and offer comments; you will also provide feedback to the members of your group. Your comments should include 1 note per page and at least 3 “community comments”: To use a “community comment,” follow these instructions:

In a nutshell… here’s what you should do between now and Sunday night:

  • as soon as possible, create your MyReviewers account and upload a PDF of your first draft!
  • review your group members’ first drafts by logging into and opening the papers of the people in your assigned peer review group, following the commenting instructions above.
  • For Monday, September 29th, please bring in a hard copy of any comments you received on your paper so that you can discuss them in person with your group, get clarification, and work toward your revision.
  • finally, for next class, please read chapters 5 and 6 in Alone Together. 

I recommend that you review this sample definition essay and read the comments composed by a classmate on this draft before you begin commenting: sample draft of definition with peer comments

Today, Sept. 17th, in Eng 101

8:00-8:15: attendance; anyone bring in “sociable robots” to share? If so, what is/was satisfying about your relationship with the “intelligent machine”? See new links page on blog, especially “Weird Sony”

8:15-8:30: reviewing comments for today: our aims are to connect various sections of our reading through the work of defining and to smooth out our summary paragraphs.

Same routine as last time–LIKE 2, COMMENT on 1. Does the paragraph smoothly integrate quotation, summary, and paraphrase? Does it successfully ground the definition in examples? Does it provide the information you need to begin to understand the importance of this term to Turkle’s larger argument in the section/chapter/book?

8:30-8:45: Discussion of comments

8:45-8:55: BREAK [start to review definition handout if you’re back early]

9:00: Introduction to definition essay: definition essay assignment sheet (0974)

9:10-9:30: read around of sample definition essay, discussion of strategies and shape of the piece

Remember that we might use Winokur’s structure as a model for our own essays, beginning by showing how this term might be misinterpreted, then proceeding to define it by dividing it into subcategories or types (in other words, types of intimacy discussed in Turkle’s book, types of companionship, types of “sociable” robots, or individual features of what Turkle calls “the robotic moment”):

starting the definition essay 9 17

9:30-10:15: Begin working on your draft. I will come around to offer help as you work.

To get started….

  • Review the assignment sheet for the first formal essay (embedded a few lines above in this post) and decide which term you’ll write about. As you make a decision, weigh all the options, consider the writing you’ve already done for the course, and evaluate the term you’re most interested in expanding upon through an example from your own experience.
  • Once you have a term, please review the entire book to the end of chapter 3 (you might even peak ahead to the end of chapter 4) and select five foundational quotations, from at least TWO different chapters, that include or directly allude to the term you’re defining.
  • Start listing these five foundational quotations in a Word document that you will save and EMAIL to yourself at the end of class.

For Monday, September 22nd, you will read Alone Together through the end of chapter 4 and finish composing your 900 word/3-page draft (you may write more than that, but not less!). Please email me the draft as an attachment before class begins (

Advice for writing: When writing an essay based on a definition, imagine yourself explaining to someone else what’s unique about how Turkle uses and defines the term you’ve chosen. How does Turkle encourage us to think beyond our normal assumptions about this term or idea (i.e. companionship, intimacy)? How does she use a term to identify and explain a trend or large-scale change that the average person might not otherwise notice (“sociable” robots, “the robotic moment”)?