Posted in English 1103, Scrabble, Teaching

ENG 1103: Let the Games Begin

Ordinarily Wordplay Days are days when we all turn away from our screens, but yesterday I took the opportunity to photograph you as a way of helping us continue to put names with faces. In between the photographs of you and your classmates, I’ve included lists of some first names that are playable in Scrabble (because they are common nouns as well as proper ones). Continue to review these pictures and their captions to learn the names of your classmates, and study the lists of names in between to build your vocabulary.

9:15-10:25 a.m. (L-R): Bella Scricco, Sam Peterson, Kylie Ciammaichella, Jolie Zavaglia
  • Al: a type of East Indian tree
  • Alan: a breed of hunting dog (also aland, alant)
  • Alec: a herring
  • Ana: a collection of miscellany about a specific topic
  • Anna: A former Indian coin
9:15-10:25 a.m. 1103.18 (L-R): Charlie Godin, Charlotte Sullivan, Audrey Duclos, Cameron Silver
  • Barbie: a barbecue
  • Belle: a pretty woman
  • Ben: an inner room
  • Benny: an amphetamine pill
  • Bertha: a type of wide collar
9:15-10:25 a.m. (L-R): Tanner Rothenberger, Meghan Reilley, Andrew Amato, Kenzie Hagens
  • Beth: a Hebrew Letter
  • Biff: to hit
  • Bill: a charge for goods or services
  • Billy: a short club
  • Bo: a friend
9:15-10:25 a.m. (L-R): Erin Infantino, Logan Kennedy
  • Bobby: a policeman
  • Bonnie: pretty (also bonny)
  • Brad: a small nail or tack
  • Carl: a peasant or manual laborer (also carle)
  • Carol: to sing merrily
9:15-10:25 a.m. (L-R): Jillian Pandiscia, James Hope, Arnav Gupta, Zack Chadwell
  • Celeste: a percussive instrument (also celesta)
  • Chad: a scrap of paper
  • Chevy: to chase (also chivy)
  • Christie: a type of turn in skiing (also christy)
  • Clarence: an enclosed carriage
10:40-11:50 a.m. (L-R): Nate Alleman, Gabbie Sewade, Gabby, Znutas, Ani Markin
  • 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
10:40-11:50 a.m. (L-R): Christian Coletta, Austin Donaldson, Aaron Jackson, Tyler Hudson
  • 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
10:40-11:50 a.m. (L-R): Christina Muniz, Madeleine Bee, Audrey Giles
  • 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
10:40-11:50 a.m. (L-R): Braeden Thompson, Ryan Benjamin, Anderson Tracy, Kendall Krasinski
  • Gilly: to transport on a type of train car
  • Graham: whole wheat flour
  • Hank: to secure a sail
  • Hansel: to give a gift to, usually to commence a new year (also handsel)
  • Harry: to harrass
10:40-11:50 a.m. (L-R): Emma Steadman, Maddie Pierre, Julia Patti, Kiley McTamney
  • Henry: a unit of electric inductance
  • Herby: full of herbs
  • Jack: to hoist with a type of lever
  • Jacky: a sailor
  • Jake: okay, satisfactory

To learn whether a name is playable in Scrabble, type it in the box on the Scrabble Dictionary page, and click “GO!”

Next Up

For class on Monday, August 30, read “Skim Reading is the New Normal.” Afterward, compose brief reading notes in your journal. Include (1) the title and author, (2) the main points, and (3) any questions or observations you would like to address in class. If you are unfamiliar with any of the terms in the article, look up their meanings and jot those in your journal as well.

Posted in English 1103, Teaching

ENG 1103: A Starting Point for Analysis

Introducing Sources with Signal Phrases

Today in class, you identified one of the ideas expressed by three of the education experts featured in Matt Richtel’s article “Blogs vs. Term Papers”: Douglas B. Reeves, William H. Fitzhugh, and Andrea A. Lunsford. Collaboratively, you paraphrased each idea in a sentence that began with the person’s name and credential. As a model, I offered the example below.

Example: Professor Cathy N. Davidson of the City University of New York maintains that blogging offers students a more relevant alternative to the traditional term paper (ctd. in Richtel).

The abbreviation “ctd.” lets readers know that the idea is cited, or mentioned, in Matt Richtel’s article.

Indirect Quotations

If I had quoted Davidson, rather than paraphrasing her, the abbreviation “qtd.,” for “quoted,” would appear in parentheses to indicate that I quoted Davidson. Both a paraphrase of Davidson’s words drawn from Richtel’s article, and a direct quotation of her words drawn from Richtel’s article are referred to as indirect quotations because Davidson is a source who is cited or quoted in another source (Richtel).

In our discussion of Richtel’s article, I noted that Davidson was a professor at Duke at the time the article was published in The New York Times. One student asked how a writer should address such a change. One option is an explanatory endnote; you can also include it in the sentence itself, as I do in the example that follows.

Example: As a professor at Duke, Cathy N. Davidson turned to blogs to offer students a more relevant alternative to the traditional term paper (ctd. in Richtel). Now at the City University of New York, she continues to embrace new technologies.

When to Paraphrase, When to Quote

I could have asked you to quote Reeves, Fitzhugh, and Lunsford, but putting their ideas into your own words requires more thought, and more specifically moves you closer to analysis. As the authors of your textbook note: “You will almost invariably begin to interpret a source once you start paraphrasing its key language” (Rosenwasser and Stephen 221).

Summary and Analysis

A summary objectively presents key points; it answers the question, what is it? An analysis answers the questions, what does it mean, and how is its meaning constructed?

Here is the summary that I wrote in my notebook after I read Matt Richtel’s article.

In “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” Matt Richtel reports on the debate in higher education on how best to teach writing in the digital age. While some professors have followed the lead of City University of New York’s Cathy Davidson, replacing the traditional term paper with shorter, more frequent blog assignments, their detractors—including Douglas B. Reeves, columnist for The American School Board Journal and William H. Fitzhugh, editor of The Concord Review—argue that blog writing lacks the academic rigor that fosters critical thinking. For Andrea Lunsford, professor of writing at Stanford University, pitting blogs against term papers creates a false opposition. Rather than replacing term papers with blog posts, Lunsford requires students to produce multi-modal assignments: term papers that evolve into blogs, websites, and video presentations.

Summarizing the key points of the article led me to think about the article’s structure, how Richtel presents Davidson’s ideas followed by Reeves’ and Fitzhugh’s, returns to Davidson’s, introduces Lunsford’s, and ends by returning again to Davidson’s. In the 9:15 class we considered this possible interpretation of Richtel’s choices:

  • By devoting more of his article to Davidson’s and Lunsford’s practices–and ultimately giving Davidson the last word–Matt Richtel reveals that he favors their approaches to teaching writing over the ideas advocated by Reeves and Fitzhugh.

In the 10:40 class, we considered that interpretation as well as a second one:

  • Matt Richtel devotes more of his article to Davidson’s and Lunsford’s practices–and ultimately gives Davidson the last word–because she and Lundsford are innovators. Richtel doesn’t need to detail ideas that are already familiar to his readers.

Both are valid claims; the success of either depends on how effectively the writer presents evidence as support.

Logical Fallacies

Richtel’s article “Blogs vs. Term Papers” mentions two common types of logical fallacies to avoid:

  • Reductio ad absurdum is a form of the straw man argument. It involves oversimplifying an opponent’s argument by reducing it to an absurdity.
  • False opposition or false dichotomy implies that two possibilities are mutually exclusive. Richtel’s headline–in all likelihood written by a copy editor rather than himself–indicates a false dichotomy. (A term paper can be presented as a blog post.) False opposition is one form of hasty generalization.

For more on logical fallacies, see Writing Analytically, 93-97.

Next Up

This Friday, August 27, will mark the first of our weekly Wordplay Days. To prepare for class, read the Scrabble Rules and review the Ground Rules for Wordplay posted on Blackboard (and below). To up your game, browse the Scrabble site’s Tips and Tools.

Posted in English 1103, Teaching

ENG 1103: Notes on the First Day of Class

Required materials for English 1103, sections 18 and 19. (L-R): Mask, Writing Analytically by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen, class notebook/journal, pocket portfolio, and loose leaf paper

Am I the person who will teach your English 1103 class? I posed that question yesterday 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 Information 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 18 and 19 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 “Try This” exercises.

Your first reading assignment in the textbook is scheduled for September 1, which will give you 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.)

Other Required Materials

  • Class notebook/journal—bring it to every class. 
  • Loose leaf paper (for drafts and short in-class assignments)—bring to every Monday and Wednesday class
  • Pocket portfolio (for class handouts)—bring to every class
  • Mask–wear in every class

These required materials are listed on page 2 of the syllabus with the exception of the mask. The mask policy is included on page 5.

WordPress Blog

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 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.

You will post to your blog (1) an introduction to yourself (see Blackboard later this week for assignment details), (2) your creative project, and (3) revisions of the essays and the portfolio that you will produce for the course. 

You may also be asked to post comments to your classmates’ blogs and to mine. The posts that you publish for class will be public. 

If you would like to create additional posts that are not public, keep them in draft form or choose the private visibility option. 

If you encounter technical difficulties creating your blog or publishing a post, email or contact the HPU Help Desk:, 336-841-HELP (3457).

Next Up

For class on Wednesday, August 25, read “Blogs vs. Term Papers.” Afterward, compose brief reading notes in your journal. Include (1) the title and author, (2) the main points, and (3) any questions or observations you would like to address in class. If you are unfamiliar with any of the terms in the article, look up their meanings and jot those in your journal as well.


The syllabus is also posted in the Information section of Blackboard.

Posted in Teaching, Writing

Writing after English 111

I hope that you will maintain your blog after the semester’s end and continue to seek other ways for your writing to have a life outside of the classroom. 

Submitting your work to contests and publications offers you an opportunity to build your résumé. A list of prizes and bylines will increase your chances of landing the internships and jobs you seek.

Your literacy narrative and your textual analysis are both eligible for the annual Norton Writers prizes awarded for undergraduate writing. If you would like for one of your essays to be considered, please email me as soon as possible. A faculty member can nominate only one essay per year. The deadline is June 15. 

Explore the possibility of writing articles for GTTC’s newspaper, Titan Shout, and consider submitting your literacy narrative to GTCC’s literary magazine,the Titan Review. For more information on Titan Shout and Titan Review, contact Zac Goldstein, Assistant Professor of English:

Many college literary journals accept submissions only from students at their own institution, but UNC-Wilmington’s Atlantis accepts submissions from undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at any college in the state of North Carolina (public, private, and community colleges). Check the Atlantis web page for their fall and spring submission periods

Posted in Teaching, Writing

ENG 111: End-of-Semester Checklist

To help you through the process of completing your end-of-semester requirements, I have compiled the checklist that follows.

  1. Make sure that (1) your introductory post, (2) your revised literacy narrative, (3) your revised analysis of Maus, and (4) your revised reflection remain published on your blog until final grades are posted in WebAdvisor on Monday, May 10. Also make sure that you have deleted all placeholders/sample posts from your blog.
  2. Complete the ENG 111 Post-Assessment no later than Friday, May 7. Scroll down your Moodle site to the course labeled ENG 111 Assessment (Spring 2021) to locate the post-assessment.
  3. If you have worked one on one with our embedded tutor, Catherine Titus, please respond to the embedded tutor survey no later than May 12. I have not included a link to course evaluations here because the evaluation site closed on May 2. I hope that you evaluated ENG 111 as well as your other courses.
  4. Register for summer and/or fall courses at GTCC.

Tech Support

  • If you have issues editing your blog, visit the support page, If you cannot find a solution there, email
  • Also look to the Titan Hub,, as a resource. Located on the third floor of the Learning Resource Center on campus, the Titan Hub is open 9-4 Monday-Friday. The Hub can help you with all technical matters related to your course work at GTCC. In addition to visiting Titan Hub on the third floor of the LRC, you can contact the hub by phone or email: 336-334-4822, ext. 50318,

Posted in Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 111: Writing and Renewal

Spiegelman, Art. Maus I. Pantheon, 1986. p. 83.

In the first days of January, as I prepared to teach Maus again, protestors stormed the Capitol and called for the hanging of the Vice President. As the semester progressed, the sound of the protestors’ chants and the image of a neo-Nazi T-shirt in the crowd lingered in my mind, leading me back repeatedly to Art Spiegelman’s depiction of the hanged merchants in Modrzejowska Street. Turning again and again to the same page of Maus solidified my decision to devote my analysis—the one I would write as a model for my students—to the panels that depicted the hangings, but I did not know how I would write about them. The prospect daunted me not only because of the painful nature of the images but also because I had written a sample analysis of Maus only a few months earlier as a model for my fall semester students. Perhaps I’ve already written all I can write about Maus, I told myself. But returning to the pages of Spiegelman’s memoir revealed that I did, after all, have more to write. Studying Spiegelman’s depiction of the hangings in Modrzejowska Street and finding the words to express my interpretation of those panels deepened my understanding of both Maus and the writing process.

The central image of the four hanged merchants, the one that evoked images of January 6, remained the panel that drew me back to the page. But as I continued to study it, I found myself drawn less to that panel in isolation than to its relationship to the ones that framed it. My observation that the bordering panels both linked the hanged men to their mourners and disconnected them from their persecutors, the Nazis, led me to my thesis: “His [Spiegelman’s] rendering of the panels of the living in conjunction with the fragmented panels of the hanged merchants simultaneously conveys connection and separation: both the grieving survivors’ ties to the dead and the hanged men’s objectification at the hands of the Nazis.”

That statement served not only as my thesis but also as an example to my students of how to develop an idea with a common form of appositive, a noun phrase that offers additional information. As we examined my analysis in class, I pointed to the abstract concept of “connection and separation” and showed how the appositive, the noun phrase that followed the colon, shows readers the specific “connection and separation,” namely “both the grieving survivors’ ties to the dead and the hanged men’s objectification at the hands of the Nazis.”

That learning opportunity grew from an essay that I had doubted would ever find its way to the page. The fact that it did take form illustrates the surprising rewards that the writing process yields.

This school year, perhaps more than any other, has demonstrated the value of writing as a mechanism for making sense of the world. Studying a Holocaust narrative is never easy. But writing to make meaning of Maus now—as we continue to don our own masks—honors the path that Spiegelman himself followed in his struggle to make meaning of his father’s life, a story that we sense, in the words of journalist Adam Gopnik, “is too horrible to be presented unmasked” (qtd. in Wilner 109).

Though I doubted that I could write a second analysis of Maus, facing the challenge expanded my understanding of Spiegelman’s achievement and strengthened my writing and teaching, providing me with another model essay for my students. As we continue to reckon with racial injustice and cultural and political division in our own country, Vladek Spiegelman’s story serves as a sobering reminder that the atrocities his son depicts in Maus are not relics of another place and time—or, as I wrote in the conclusion of my analysis, that “[t]he strange fruit of our past, both distant and recent, should seem far stranger.” As I began to put these words on paper, Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd; but as I progressed from draft to revision, Andrew Brown, Jr., was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Elizabeth City. As we continue to pick up the pieces of our broken world, I return to the page with the hope that putting pen to paper will also help my students—not only develop their writing but also make sense of it all—as we move toward renewal.

Works Cited

Lucas, Jane. “ENG 111: The Strange Fruit of Sosnowiec.” Jane Lucas, 2 Apr. 2021,

Spiegelman, Art. Maus I. Pantheon, 1986.

Wilner, Arlene Fish. “‘Happy, Happy Ever After’: Story and History in Art Spiegelman’s Maus.” Considering Maus: Approaches to Art Spiegelman’s “Survivor’s Tale” of the Holocaust, edited by Deborah R. Geis, U of Alabama P, 2003, pp. 105-21.

Posted in Teaching, Writing

Editing Your Reflection

Edditing Editing

Earlier this week, I asked you to focus on the big picture, on the “clarity and effectiveness” (Hacker and Sommers 29) of your reflection. Continue to focus on those elements, and determine which two sources you will integrate into your analysis. Links to recommended sources are included in the sample works cited list in the class notes for April 19.

Later this week, as the assignment deadline nears, shift your focus to finding and correcting errors. 


A Writer’s Reference presents excellent advice on proofreading, which I am including verbatim below.

“Proofreading is a special kind of reading: a slow methodical search for misspellings, typographical mistakes, and missing words or word endings. Such errors can be difficult to spot in your own work because you may read what you intended to write, not what is actually on the page. To fight this tendency, try one or more of the following tips.

Proofreading Tips

  • Remove distractions and allow yourself ten to fifteen minutes of pure concentration–without your cell phone.
  • Proofread out loud, articulating each word as it is actually written.
  • Proofread your sentences in reverse order.
  • Proofread hard copy pages; mistakes can be difficult to catch on-screen.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on spell checkers and grammar checkers. Before automatically accepting their changes, consider accuracy and appropriateness.
  • Ask a volunteer (a friend, roommate, or co-worker) to proofread after you. A second reader may catch something that you didn’t.” (31)

Grammar, Punctuation and Mechanics, and Word Choice

The items listed below are the ones that I noted most often in the drafts of your reflections and in your previous assignments. Review the ones that are trouble spots for you. 

  • active verbs/voice, 153
  • apostrophes, 275-78
  • capitalization, 293-96
  • colons and semicolons, 271-73
  • commas, 259-71
  • empty or inflated phrases, 151
  • end punctuation, 283-84
  • hyphens, 291-92
  • italics for titles, 301
  • lay, lie, 182-83
  • like, as, 146
  • numbers expressed as words, 299
  • paragraph focus
  • paragraph length, 53-54
  • pronoun case, 196-97
  • reason why, 148
  • Redundancies, 150
  • reflexive pronouns, 306
  • sentence fragments, 207-13
  • standard idioms, 166
  • subject-verb agreement, 171-79
  • than, then, 149
  • that, which, 149
  • there, their, they’re, 149
  • to, too, two, 149
  • who’s, whose, 150
  • who, which, that, 150

Concluding Your Reflection

In addition to returning to your thesis, consider developing your final paragraph in one of these ways:

  • Include a quotation from or reference to one of your sources, a line that emphasizes the essay’s main point or puts it in a different perspective.
  • Place the reflection in a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end by linking your reflection to the pandemic or the current social or political climate.
  • Consider the implications of the reflection. What does it imply, or involve, or suggest about the learning process in general or about the process of reading, writing, or critical thinking in particular?

In conclusion, To conclude

Avoid the phrases “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” “in summary,” and “to sum up.” These can be useful, even welcome, in oral presentations. But readers can see, on the page or the screen, when a short essay is about to end.

Since conclusions can be particularly challenging, I have included a link here to Harvard’s excellent guide on closing paragraphs, “Ending the Essay.”

More Writing Help

If you would like for someone to review your reflection before you submit it, look to the Center for Academic Engagement, which offers a variety of options:

Work Cited

Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference, GTCC 9th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018.

Posted in Teaching, Writing

Revising (or Reenvisioning) Your Reflection

The authors of A Writer’s Reference note that “[r]evising is rarely a one-step process” (Hacker and Somers 19). Editing for surface-level correctness is essential, but it is not the only step, and it should not be the first. Begin instead by re-seeing (or re-visioning) your reflection and considering its focus and organization. Ask these questions:

  • Is it a focused reflection rather than an overview of your work in English 111?
  • Does it present a clear thesis, one that is not simply a statement of fact about one or more aspects of the course?
  • Would it benefit from a different organization? If the strongest piece of textual evidence appears in the first body paragraph, try moving it to the last one.

After you have addressed those questions, examine each paragraph one by one, from first to last.


  • Does the opening paragraph provide a hook for the reader? If not, consider using one of the strategies on page 14.
  • Does the introduction end with a clear thesis? Can the thesis be a point of disagreement among reasonable people? (If the answer to both questions is not yes, revise accordingly.) For more on writing a thesis, see page 69.

Body Paragraphs

  • Does each body paragraph present evidence that supports your thesis? Evidence may take the form of examples from your own writing (quotations or paraphrases), descriptions of your work in the course, or citations from relevant secondary sources.
  • Are the paragraphs patterned in suitable ways? In reflective essays, the most common patterns are examples and illustrations, description, process, comparison and contrast, and analogy. For more on paragraph patterns, see 44-49.
  • In the body of the reflection, do you integrate at least two relevant secondary sources? For recommended sources (in addition to your own essays written for English 111), see the list of sample sources in the April 19 blog post:
  • Are the sources introduced with signal phrases and followed by parenthetical citations where needed? For more integrating sources, see 37292.


  • Is the conclusion a well-developed paragraph? Does it reiterate the thesis without repeating it verbatim? For more on writing conclusions, see page 18.

After you have revised the paragraphs one by one, review the MLA section of A Writer’s Reference to ensure your document complies with style guidelines.

Writing Help

If you would like for someone to review your reflection before you submit it, look to the Center for Academic Engagement, which offers a variety of options:

Posted in Teaching, Writing

ENG 111: A Second Look at First Person

Class notes (not mine) left on the white board in AT 337

Early Monday morning when I walked into the classroom, the whiteboard was covered with notes. I started to erase them, then stopped myself, realizing what another instructor had left behind offered an opportunity to return to a topic that we addressed last week: writing in first person.

Under the heading “Tips for formal writing,” the instructor wrote, “(1) No first person.” It’s important to consider that a tip is a piece of advice, not a requirement. Item one in the instructor’s notes does not state that first person cannot be used in formal writing but rather that it is advisable not to use it.

As a response to that piece of advice–and as a supplement to my notes to you last week–I present this second look at first person in formal writing.

While any writing assignment for a college course may be labeled formal, the level of formality will be determined primarily by the genre, or type of writing, required. A literacy narrative, a subgenre of memoir, is an account of a learning experience that is almost always written in first person. Similarly, a semester’s reflection–what you are drafting now–which looks back at your accomplishments and explores their significance, is another type of writing that is almost always written in first person. 

In contrast, the second essay you wrote for English 111, the textual analysis, does not need first person. I gave you the option of using it–and I used “our” twice in the concluding paragraph of the sample analysis that I wrote for you–but moving away from “I” and other forms of first person is a good habit to cultivate, especially in writing that does not focus on you. As I wrote in my notes on April 12:

One way to make your writing sound more professional is to limit your use of first person. That doesn’t mean that “I” shouldn’t appear in your prose, but be mindful that if you repeatedly refer to yourself, you may come across as young and self-absorbed. Moving away from “I” shows readers that you understand that your ideas have broader implications.

The authors of A Writer’s Reference offer some of the best advice on choosing the point of view for a college assignment: “Using the I point of view is not grammatically incorrect for college writing. As you review your options, think about your purpose and audience, as well as the genre (type of writing) expected. When in doubt, ask your instructor” (Hacker and Sommers 124).

Consider the three sentences listed below. The first two are variations on one of the sentences in “The Strange Fruit of Sosnowiec,” the sample analysis of Maus that I wrote for you. The third is the sentence as it appears in the introductory paragraph.

  • In my opinion, that haunting panel and the smaller ones that frame it illustrate the complexity of Spiegelman’s seemingly simple composition.
  • To me, that haunting panel and the smaller ones that frame it illustrate the complexity of Spiegelman’s seemingly simple composition.
  • That haunting panel and the smaller ones that frame it illustrate the complexity of Spiegelman’s seemingly simple composition.

The third sentence is not only more succinct, it also demonstrates my understanding of the genre. 

An analysis presents a writer’s informed opinion. The appearance of the phrase “in my opinion” in an analysis or any other written argument is a redundancy that weakens the writer’s authority. Redundancies signal to readers that a writer cannot distinguish between what needs to be on the page and what can be omitted without any loss of meaning. 

Works Cited

Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Somers. A Writer’s Reference, GTCC 9th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018. 

Lucas, Jane. “ENG 111: Once More, You’ve Got to . . . .” Jane Lucas, 12 Apr. 2021,

—. “ENG 111: The Strange Fruit of Sosnowiec.” Jane Lucas, 2 Apr. 2021,

Posted in Reading, Teaching, Writing

ENG 111: Beginning Your Reflection

For your final essay assignment in English 111, you will compose a reflection that documents your work over the course of the semester focusing on what you consider your most significant work and the feature or features of the course that have contributed most to your development as a writer, a reader, and/or a critical thinker. Features to consider include the following:

  • Reading Maus
  • Keeping a journal
  • Writing for an online audience beyond the classroom/creating and maintaining a WordPress blog
  • Planning, drafting, and revising your literacy narrative
  • Planning, drafting, and revising your analysis of Maus
  • Consulting A Writer’s Reference/Revising with A Writer’s Reference
  • Writing longhand
  • Limiting screen time

You are welcome to focus on more than one feature but no more than three.

Include in your reflective essay the following elements:

  • An opening paragraph that introduces your focus and presents your thesis
  • Body paragraphs that offer concrete details from your work to support your thesis
  • Quotations or paraphrases from two relevant and credible sources, introduced with signal phrases and followed by parenthetical citations where needed. One of the two sources may be one of your pieces of writing. Recommended sources include Maus, A Writer’s Reference, and the articles linked to your class notes.
  • A conclusion that reiterates the thesis without restating it verbatim

If you quote or paraphrase your literacy narrative or your analysis of Maus, cite it as you would any other blog post. See the entries for my blog posts in the sample works cited list below.

Sample Reflective Essay

“Finding a Way Forward,” the reflective essay that I wrote as a model for my students last semester, is posted below and in Moodle.

Sample Works Cited*

Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Somers. “How to Write a Literacy Narrative.” A Writer’s Reference, GTCC 9th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018. pp. 34-35.

—. “How to Write an Analytical Essay.” A Writer’s Reference, GTCC 9th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018. pp. 69-70.

Harvard Health Publishing. “Blue Light Has a Dark Side,” May 2012,

James, Karin. “What are the Effects of Handwriting on Cognitive Development.” The Cognition and Action Neuroimaging Library, University of Indiana, 2016,

Klass, Perri. “Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age.” The New York Times, 20 June 2016,

Lucas, Jane. “ENG 111: A Clara-fying Lesson.” Jane Lucas, 23 Feb. 2021,

—. “ENG 111: The Strange Fruit of Sosnowiec.” Jane Lucas, 2 Apr. 2021,

Myer, Robinson. “To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand.” The Atlantic, 1 May 2014,

Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs. Term Papers,” The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2012,

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*In the Microsoft Word file or PDF that you post to Moodle, the second line and any subsequent lines of your work cited entries should be indented five spaces or one-half inch.