In the past two weeks, I published one blog post featuring the playable two-letter words that begin with a and a second blog post featuring the playable two-letter words that start with f, g, h, i, j, k, and l. Learning these two-letter words, as well as the others in the alphabet, will enable you to see more options for play and increase the number of points you earn in a single turn.
fa: a tone on the diatonic scale
fe: a Hebrew letter
go: a Japanese board game
ha: used to express surprise
he: a pronoun signifying a male
hi: an expression of greeting
hm: used to express consideration
ho: used to express surprise
id: the least censored part of the three-part psyche
if: a possibility
in: to harvest (a verb, takes -s, -ed, -ing)
is: the third-person singular present form of “to be”
it: a neuter pronoun
jo: a sweetheart
ka: the spiritual self in ancient Egyptian spirituality
ki: the vital life force in Chinese spirituality (also qi)
la: a tone of the diatonic scale
li: a Chinese unit of distance
lo: an expression of surprise
At the beginning of class on Monday, January 30, I will collect the worksheets for your third Check, Please! assignment. If you were absent last Wednesday or misplaced the copy you recieved in class, you can download a copy from Blackboard.
At the beginning of today’s class you will receive your handwritten drafts with my comments, and you will have the class period to devote to revising on your laptops–or you may continue to write longhand, if you wish. Your revision is due on Blackboard and your blog next Wednesday, February 1. The hard deadline is Friday, February 3.
As you continue to revise your literacy narrative, consider visiting The Writing Center. If you do so, you will earn five bonus points.
To schedule an appointment, visit https://highpoint.mywconline.com, email the Writing Center’s director, Justin Cook, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or scan the QR code below. To earn bonus points for your literacy narrative, consult with a Writing Center tutor no later than Thursday, February 2.
As a model for your own literacy narratives, Monday in class we began to examine “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” originally published in Esquire magazine and later as the title essay in David Sedaris’s 2000 essay collection.
As you continue to work on your literacy narratives, study Sedaris’s essay as a model, and consider how he uses the following:
Shifts from summary to scene and vice versa
Look for opportunities to use one or more of those elements in your own literacy narratives.
To read more of Sedaris’s essays, see the list of links under the heading Writing and Radio on his website.
Friday marks our third Wordplay Day of the semester. Review my blog posts devoted to Scrabble and review the tips and tools on the on the Scrabble site to strengthen your word power and up your game.
Next Monday, we will continue our study of “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” and we will examine additional literacy narratives, including Helen Keller’s essay “The Day Language Came into My Life.” You can read more of Helen Keller’s autobiography, the full text in fact, here: The Story of My Life. “The Day Language Came into My Life” is Chapter Four.
Last Tuesday, January 17, I published a blog post with your pictures and a list of playable first names. At the end of the post, I offered a bonus-point opportunity in the form of questions: How many of your classmates have playable first or last names, and who are they? Three students posted their answers as comments on the post, and those three students will receive a bonus point for their literacy narratives
Here are the answers to the questions:
brock: a badger (Brock West)
charlie: a fool (Charlie Milch)
conner: one who cons or deceives (Conner Horn)
horn: hard permanent growths on the heads of cattle, sheep, goats, etc. (Conner Horn)
milch: giving milk (Charlie Milch)
nick: to cut (Nick Ewing)
rice: swamp grass cultivated as a type of food (Nicole Rice)
spencer: a short jacket worn in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (Spencer Lawe)
west: the direction to the point of the horizon where the sun sets at the equinoxes, on the left side of a person facing north, or the part of the horizon lying in that direction (Brock West)
Continue to review the January 17 blog post as a way of putting names with faces, and continue to review all of the Scrabble posts to increase your word power and up your game.
The January 12 Scrabble blog post featured the sixteen playable two-letter words beginning with “a.” Learning those two-letter words, as well as the others that follow in the alphabet, will enable you to see more options for play and increase the number of points you earn in a single turn.
Here’s a list of the playable words beginning with “b,” “d,” and “e.”
ba: the soul in ancient Egyptian spirituality
bi: a bisexual
bo: a pal
by: a side issue
de: of; from
do: a tone on a scale
ef: the letter f (also eff)
eh: used to express doubt
el: an elevated train
em: the letter m
en: the letter n
er: used to express hesitation
es: the letter s
et: a past tense of eat
ex: the letter x
At the beginning of class on Monday, I will collect your completed worksheets for Lesson Two in the Check, Please! course. If you were absent from class on Wednesday, January 18, when I distributed the worksheet, you can download and print a copy from Blackboard.
Also, in class on Monday, we will review your collaborative writing on the habits of mind and examine David Sedaris’s essay “Me Talk Pretty One Day” as a model for your literacy narrative. As we read Sedaris’s essay, consider his use of description and development and think about ways you can employ those strategies in your own narrative.
Ana: a collection of miscellany about a specific topic
Anna: a former Indian coin
Barbie: a barbecue
Belle: a pretty woman
Ben: an inner room
Benny: an amphetamine pill
Bertha: a style of wide collar
Beth: a Hebrew letter
Biff: to hit
Bill: to charge for goods
Billy: a short club
Bo: a friend
Bobby: a policeman
Bonnie: pretty (also bonny)
Brad: a small nail or tack
Brock: a badger
Carl: a peasant or manual laborer (also carle)
Carol: to sing merrily
Celeste: a percussive keyboard instrument (also celesta)
Chad: a scrap of paper
Charlie: a fool
Chevy: to chase (also chivy)
Christie: a type of turn in skiing (also christy)
Clarence: an enclosed carriage
Conner: one who cons or deceives
Dagwood: a large, stuffed sandwich (named after the comic strip character who was fond of them)
Daphne: a flowering shrub with poisonous berries
Davy: a safety lamp
Deb: a debutante
Devon: a breed of cattle
Dexter: located to the right
Dom: a title given to some monks
Don: to put on a piece of clothing
Donna: an Italian woman of repute
Erica: a shrub of the heath family
Fay: to join together closely
Florence: a former European gold coin
Franklin: a nonnoble medieval English landowner
Fritz: a nonworking or semi-functioning state
Gilbert: a unit of magneto-motive force
Gilly: to transport on a type of train car
Graham: whole-wheat flour
Hank: to secure a sail
Hansel: to gift a gift, usually to commence a new year (also handsel)
Harry: to harass
Henry: a unit of electrical inductance
Herby: full of herbs
Hunter: a person or animal that hunts
Jack: to hoist with a type of lever
Jacky: a sailor
Jake: okay, satisfactory
Jane: a girl or woman
Jay: any of various birds, known for their crests and shrill calls
Jenny: a female donkey
Jerry: a German soldier
Jess: to fasten a strap around the leg of a bird in falconry (also jesse)
Jill: a unit of measure equal to to 1/4 of a pint
Jimmy: to pry open
Joannes: a Portugese coin (also johannes)
Joe: a fellow
Joey: a young kangaroo
John: a toilet
Johnny: a hospital gown
Jones: a strong desire
Josh: to tease
Kelly: a bright shade of green
Kelvin: a unit of absolute temperature
Ken: to know
Kent: past tense of ken
Kerry: a breed of cattle
Kris: a curved dagger
Lars: plural of lar: a type of ancient Roman guardian deity (also lares)
Lassie: a lass
Laura: an aggregation of hermitages used by monks
Laurel: to crown one’s head with a wreath
Lee: to shelter from the wind
Louie: a lieutenant
Louis: a former gold coin of France worth twenty francs
Mac: a raincoat
Mamie: a tropical fruit-bearing tree (also mamey and mammee)
Marc: the pulpy residue of fruit after it is pressed for wine
Marcel: to make waves in the hair using a special iron
Marge: a margin
Mark: a line, figure, or symbol
Martin: any type of the bird also known as a swallow
Matilda (a hobo’s bundle (chiefly Australian)
Matt: to put a dull finish on (also matte)
Maxwell: a unit of magnetic flux
Merle: a blackbird
Mickey: a drugged drink
Mike: a microphone (also mic)
Milt: to fertilize with fish sperm
Minny: a minnow
Mo: a moment
Molly: a type of tropical fish
Morgan: a unit of frequency in genetics
Morris: a type of folk dance from England
Morse: describing a type of code made of long and short signals
Mort: a note sounded in hunting to announce the death of prey
Nelson: a type of wrestling hold
Newton: the unit of force required to accelerate one kilogram of mass on meter per second
Nick: to make a shallow cut
Norm: a standard
Pam: the name of the jack of clubs in some card games
Parker: one who parks a motorized vehicle
Peter: to lessen gradually
Pia: a fine membrane of the brain and spinal cord
Randy: sexually excited
Regina: a queen
Rex: a king
Rick: to stack, hay, corn, or straw
Roger: the pirate flag
Sally: to make a brief trip or a sudden start
Sawyer: one who saws wood
Shawn: past tense of show
Sheila: a girl or young woman
Sol: the fifth note on a diatonic scale (also so)
Sonny: a boy or young man
Sophy: a former Persian ruler
Spencer: a type of sail
Tad: a young boy
Tammie: a fabric used in linings (also tammy)
Ted: to spread for drying
Teddy: a woman’s one-piece undergarment
Terry: a soft, absorbent type of cloth
Tiffany: a thin, mesh fabric
Timothy: a Eurasian grass used for grazing
Toby: a drinking mug in the shape of a man or a man’s face
Tod: a British unit of weight for wool equal to twenty-eight pounds
Tom: the male of various animals
Tommy: a loaf or chunk of bread
Tony: very stylish
Victoria: a light, four-wheeled carriage
Warren: an area where rabbits live, or a crowded maze-like place
Webster: one who weaves
Will: to choose, decree, or induce to happen
Willy: to clean fibers with a certain machine
Bonus Point Opportunity!
The first student to correctly respond to the playable first names and last names question below will earn a bonus point for his/her/their first major writing assignment.
How many students in English 1103. 23 have a first or last that is a playable Scrabble word?
Directions for Finding and Submitting Your Answer
Review the list of playable first names, compare it with the students’ first and last names on the class page, and determine which of the students’ first and last names are playable in Scrabble.
Compose a response of one or more complete sentences that includes (1) the number of students with playable names, and (2) the first and last name of each student.
Post your comment as a reply to this blog post.
To post your comment, click the title of the post, “What’s in a Name. . . . ,” then scroll down to the bottom of the post. There you will see the image of an airmail envelope with a white rectangular box for your comment. Type your comment in the box and hit return. Voila! You have submitted your answer. Good luck!
In Wednesday’s class, before you begin drafting your literacy narrative, I will distribute copies of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Although I could ask you to listen to a recording of it, I ask that you to read it instead. King’s gift for oratory is well known, but for students of writing, closely examining his words on the page is a more pertinent exercise than listening to his voice.
What makes King’s letter an effective piece of writing? With that question in mind, consider these words in the eleventh paragraph: “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’” Here King is addressing his initial audience, the eight white Birmingham-area clergymen who criticized his protest as “unwise and untimely.” He suggests to those men that waiting to act isn’t difficult when you yourself aren’t the victim of injustice, when you haven’t, in King’s words, “felt the stinging darts of segregation.” The sentence is notable not only for the contrast it illustrates between King’s reality and the lives of his readers but also for the words that King uses to show that contrast.
Consider King’s sentence and the paraphrase that follows:
Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.”
Maybe it is simple for people who have not experienced segregation to say, “Wait.”
King’s sentence is stronger than the paraphrase that follows it because of the “stinging darts.” Writing that someone has not “experienced segregation” is abstract. Readers do not feel the general experience in the second sentence, but they feel King’s “stinging darts.” Sensory details strengthen sentences by appealing to readers’ senses, and figurative language invigorates writing by making the unfamiliar familiar. King’s white readers have not been the victims of segregation, but his choice of words makes them feel the sting.
While King’s “stinging darts” sentence—a relatively short one—is laudable, the long, winding sentence that follows is nothing short of staggering.
It starts with these words: “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim.” King presents those atrocities in an introductory dependent clause, one whose full meaning depends on an independent clause that follows. But rather than immediately turning to an independent clause to complete the thought, King expands the sentence with this series of dependent clauses:
when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters;
when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society;
when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people;
when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you;
when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”;
when your first name becomes “n—,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”;
when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments;
when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–
The independent clause that readers have been waiting for, the statement that completes the thought is this: “then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” Those words could have immediately followed the first dependent clause, but instead King offers nine more dependent clauses, ten darts that sting his readers.
Ten dependent clauses connected by semicolons followed by a dash and an independent clause, a total of 316 words: That is not a structure I recommend for the sentences you write in English 111, but it’s a valuable model, nevertheless.
I hope that you, as citizens, will continue to study the words of his letter. As your writing teacher, I hope that you will return to the sentence that I have examined in detail here. Along with showing his readers why his nonviolent protests could not wait, that sentence of King’s demonstrates how to develop a piece of writing through the accumulation of detail—not just the when, but the when and when and when . . . .
Parallel play increases your score through the points you earn by spelling more than one word in a single turn. In the first play of the hypothetical game pictured above, the first player or team would score sixteen points by spelling enact with the t on the center double word square. With the second turn, the other player or team could take advantage of the opportunity for parallel play. If the team knew that aa is a type of lava, they could earn twenty-four points with four words: whoa, he, on, and aa.
Aa is one of sixteen playable two-letter words beginning with a. Learning these two-letter words, as well as the others that follow in the alphabet, will enable you to see more options for play and increase the number of points you earn in a single turn.
aa: a type of stony, rough lava
ab: an abdominal muscle
ad: an advertisement
ah: an exclamation
ai: a three-toed sloth
al: a type of East Indian tree
am: the first-person singular present form of to be
an: an indefinite article
ar: the letter r
as: similar to
at: in the position of
aw: an expression of sadness or protest
ay: a vote in the affirmative (also aye)
Important Note about Challenges
The game rules inside the Scrabble box top do not specify that a player or team that challenges a playable word will lose a turn, but David Bukszpan’s book Is That a Word? notes that the player or team does lose a turn. According to Bukszpan:
“[I]f a word is challenged and found not to be legal (called a phony in Scrabble parlance), the player that set it down loses a turn. Conversely, if a challenged word is found to be playable, the challenger loses his turn” (19).
Bukszapan, David. Is That a Word?: From AA to ZZZ, the Weird and Wonderful Language of SCRABBLE. Chronicle, 2012. p.19.
At the beginning of class on Wednesday, January 18, I will collect your completed worksheet for Lesson One of the Check, Please! starter course. If you are absent tomorrow when I distribute worksheets or you misplace your copy, you can download and print one from Blackboard.
College writing offers you the opportunity to develop skills, such as supporting arguments with evidence, writing effective thesis statements, and using transitions well, but it also gives you the opportunity to develop habits. Successful college students develop certain habits of mind, a way of approaching learning that leads to success.
In 2011, the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the National Writing Project (NWP) identified eight habits of mind that successful college students adopt.
In class on Monday, we began an exercise in written reflection focusing on four of the eight habits of mind. Later in class today, we will begin writing about the four that you did not address in your writing on Monday. The paragraphs that follow include the descriptions of the habits that you examined (and the ones you will examine today), as well as the questions that you answered in writing (and the ones you will answer in writing today).
Are you the kind of person who always wants to know more? This habit of mind will serve you well in courses in which your curiosity about issues, problems, people, or policies can form the backbone of a writing project.
WRITING ACTIVITY: What are you most curious to learn about? What experiences have you had in which your curiosity has led you to an interesting discovery or to more questions?
Some people are more open than others to new ideas and experiences and new ways of thinking about the world. Being open to other perspectives and positions can help you to frame sound arguments and counterarguments and solve other college writing challenges in thoughtful ways.
WRITING ACTIVITY: In the family or the part of the world in which you grew up, did people tend to be very open, not open at all, or somewhere in the middle? Thinking about your own level of open-mindedness, reflect on how much or how little your own attitude toward a quality like openness is the result of the attitudes of the people around you.
Successful college writers are involved in their own learning process. Students who are engaged put effort into their classes, knowing that they’ll get something out of their classes—something other than a grade. They participate in their own learning by planning, seeking feedback when they need to, and communicating with peers and professors to create their own success. Write about a few of the ways you try (or plan to try) to be involved in your own learning. What does engagement look like to you?
WRITING ACTIVITY: Write about a few of the ways you try (or plan to try) to be involved in your own learning. What does engagement look like to you?
You may be thinking that you have to be an artist, poet, or musician to display creativity. Not so. Scientists use creativity every day in coming up with ways to investigate questions in their field. Engineers and technicians approach problem solving in creative ways. Retail managers use creativity in displaying merchandise and motivating their employees.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Think about the field you plan to enter. What forms might creativity take in that field?
You are probably used to juggling long-term and short-term commitments—both in school and in your everyday life. Paying attention to your commitments and being persistent enough to see them through, even when the commitments are challenging, are good indicators that you will be successful in college.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Describe a time when you faced and overcame an obstacle in an academic setting. What did you learn from that experience?
College will require you to be responsible in way you may not have had to be before. Two responsibilities you will face as an academic writer are to represent the ideas of others fairly and to give credit to writers whose ideas and language you borrow for your own purposes.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Why do you think academic responsibility is important? What kind of experience have you already had with this kind of responsibility?
Would your friends say you are the kind of person who can just “go with the flow”? Do you adapt easily to changing situations? If so, you will find college easier, especially college writing. When you find, for example, that you’ve written a draft that doesn’t address the right audience or that your peer review group doesn’t understand at all, you will be able to adapt. Being flexible enough to adapt to the demands of different writing projects is an important habit of mind.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Describe a situation in which you’ve had to make changes based on a situation you couldn’t control. Did you do so easily or with difficulty?
As a learner, you have probably been asked to think back on a learning experience and comment on what went well or not well, what you learned or what you wished you had learned, or what decisions you made or didn’t make. Writers who reflect on their own processes and decisions are better able to transfer writing skills to future assignments.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Reflect on your many experiences as a writer. What was your most satisfying experience as a writer? What made it so?
Friday marks the first Wordplay Day of the semester. To prepare for class, review the Scrabble Ground Rules posted in Blackboard, as well as the Tips and Tools pages on the Scrabble website. Also, look for a Scrabble tips posts on my blog. Most weeks of the semester, I will publish a post devoted to Scrabble strategies.
Am I the person who will teach your English 1103 class? I posed that question yesterday in class as a starting point for analysis, one of the key features of the course.
To begin the collaboration and inquiry that will figure prominently this semester—along with analysis—you worked together in groups to find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the course. Continue to review the syllabus, which is posted in the Content section of Blackboard. An additional copy of the syllabus is included at the end of this blog entry. If you have any questions about the assignments, the course policies, or the calendar, please let me know.
All of you in sections 23 and 24 of English 1103 are required to have the paperback edition of the textbook, Writing Analytically, 8th edition, by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen. Bring your copy to class on the days when the title, Writing Analytically, appears in bold on the course calendar. On those days, we will examine portions of the chapters in class and complete some of the exercises related to the reading.
Your first reading assignment in the textbook will be scheduled for mid-September, which will give you ample time to order and receive your copy before you are required to have it in class. (Unlike my copy, pictured at the top of this blog entry, your textbook will not be in a binder.) Your textbook’s cover looks like this:
Other Required Materials
Writer’s notebook/journal, bring to every class.
Loose leaf paper (for drafts and short in-class assignments), bring to every Monday and Wednesday class
Pen with dark ink, bring to every class
Pocket portfolio (for class handouts), bring to every class
As practice in developing your web literacy and writing for a broader online audience, you will maintain a free WordPress blog for the class. As soon as possible, create a free blog at wordpress.com. After you create your blog, email the address, or URL, to me, and I will link your blog to our class page, English at High Point. If you encounter technical difficulties creating your blog or publishing a post, email email@example.com or contact the HPU Help Desk: firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-841-HELP (3457).
You will post the revisions of all of your major writing assignments both to your blog and to Blackboard. The posts that you publish for class will be public. You are welcome to create additional posts on your own. If you prefer for some of those posts to be private, keep them in draft form or choose the private visibility option.
You may also be asked to post comments to your classmates’ blogs and to mine.