Craft of Language                                                            Professor Tenaya Darlington
ENG 101-SL3, St. Joseph’s University                          Office: MH 113
Fall 2011                                                                           610.660.3271
MR 1-2:15                                                              
Classroom:  BE 213                                                        Office Hours: Tues. 1-4                       
Arriving at college is not so different from landing in a foreign country. In your first semester, you’ll be observing customs, meeting other inhabitants, and figuring out your new roles on campus. Part of this class will be focused on your discoveries and also the questions that arise as you explore your new surroundings.

o   What kind of a person do you want to be?
o   What role do you want to play on campus?
o   What role do you want to play in shaping your community? The world?

This class is unique in two ways: it meets for a full year, and it has a service learning component. In addition to attending class, you’ll also serve the community as a literacy tutor in West Philadelphia. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the city and the people who live here. After all, you’re now one of them.  

This will be an intense class, but it’s also likely to be one of the most rewarding experiences you have on campus. You’ll have the chance to write about your observations and really think about who you are and how you want to shape the world. Our class blog, 20 Notebooks (, is where it all begins.


·      Students will integrate their service-learning experiences and academic course work through class discussions, writing assignments, or both.
·      Students will reflect on their service experiences through classroom discussions, reflection activities, writing assignments, or some combination of the above.
·      Students will explore concepts of systemic injustice through analysis of their service experiences.
·      Students will develop critical reading skills.
·      Students will develop a writing process through revision and peer editing.

For education majors: This class This Course fulfills the Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements in the following areas: Foundations in Research, Text Level Comprehension, Reading-Writing Connection, Word-Level Instruction.

Required Books

            Acting Out Culture: Reading & Writing, James S. Miller
            Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America, Leon Dash
            Easy Writer (3rd edition), Andrea Lunsford


            2 major essays worth 15% each                                   30%
            Online Notebook/Blog                                                 30%
            Participation (quizzes, presentations, etc.)                    20%
            Final Paper                                                                   20%

Your Blog at 20 Notebooks (

During the second week of class, each of you will design and launch a blog to record your impressions of life at college and at service. I’ve set up a master blog called “20 Notebooks” ( which will house links to all of them. You can find other information at 20 Notebooks, too – like announcements, the syllabus, and links to our service site.

What is it? Your personal blog will be a year-long project for this class. You’ll receive a topic every week or so to post about, and you’ll be able to upload photos and write about your experiences. At the end of the year, you’ll have a written record of your first year.   

Who will read it? Your posts will be read by your classmates, our two service scholars (Megan and Shannon), and me. You’re welcome to share it with friends and family, too.

How will it be graded? Your blog is worth 30% of your grade, the same as two papers. The way I figure, it’s a chance to write about you, so it should be full of personality, by all means. But it’s also sort of public, so you’ll want to think about your audience. Imagine that you are writing a column for a magazine or online site. You’ll want to strike a balance between fun and professional. You’ll receive a midterm and final grade for the blog – I’ll leave comments along the way, too.

How long should each post be? There is no set length requirement since each week’s question will vary. Try to be thoughtful and creative in your responses. Remember that, unless you delete your blog at the end of the year, it will exist online indefinitely. When you look back at it years from now, it will be like opening a time capsule, so the more detail you include in your posts, the more you’ll be able to remember.

                                                            CLASS POLICIES

Attendance & promptness
Because our classes are discussion-driven and much of the work is collaborative, your attendance is mandatory.  Please respect your peers by arriving to class promptly, and please take care of bathroom needs before class since we meet for a scant 50 minutes.  I count THREE TARDIES as one absence.  My policy on absences: 3 excused absences (no questions asked), then your grade goes down one full letter for each additional absence.  This is a strict policy.  Please plan accordingly.
Students with perfect attendance records will be rewarded.

Late work
Late work is any work that comes in after the beginning of the class period.  Late work will drop one-third of a letter grade for each day it is late. If you arrive 5 minutes late to class with your paper, it will still be considered late. 
            If you must be absent on the day an assignment is due, please make arrangements for a fellow student to turn in your work for you, or make arrangements with me in advance.  I do not accept work via email, so please drop your work into the box on my office door, MH 113.

All work submitted to this class must be original, new work.  If you submit work written by someone else or invent material that you promise to be true, you are in violation of St. Joseph’s Academic Honesty Policy.  Such violations will result in an F for the class. 

Accommodation on the basis of disability
In accordance with state and federal laws, the University will make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  For those who have or think that you may have a disability requiring an accommodation (learning, physical, psychological) should contact Services for Students with Disabilities, Room G10, Bellarmine, 610-660-1774 (voice) or 610-660-1620 (TTY) as early as possible in the semester for additional information and so that an accommodation, if appropriate, can be made in a timely manner.  You will be required to provide current (within 3 years) documentation of the disability.

For a more detailed explanation of the University’s accommodation process, as well as the programs and services offered to students with disabilities, please go to  If you have any difficulty accessing the information on-line, please contact Services for Students with Disabilities at the telephone numbers above.

Weekly Schedule (Subject to Change)

            Sept. 1 (R): Starting the Journey (*Service Scholar visit)
In class: We’ll begin by talking about Jesuit ideals, then troop through Merion Hall to visit my office, the Writing Center, and Saint Ignatius himself. We’ll also view the class blog and try a prompt about service. Note the Meet & Greet next week.
Bring to class: 3 objects that represent who you are and where you are going.

            Sept. 5 (M): No class, Labor Day

            Sept. 8 (R): Service Learning Meet & Greet
In class: Today, we’ll be talking about the kind of writing you’ve done in high school and forecasting ahead to the kind of writing you’ll do in college and beyond. This conversation will carry us into your first major assignment: to launch your blog along with your first post. We’ll brainstorm ideas in class.
Note: Please email me ( a link to your blog by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
            *Also today, don’t forget to attend the mandatory Service Meet & Greet in Campion Hall (the student center) at 11:30 a.m.

            Sept. 12 (M): Blog Launch Party
DUE TODAY: Blog Post #1: Your blog should be live. Once it’s up, send it to me at and I’ll post it on 20notebooks ( Please make sure you’ve got a header, a bio, and an introductory post.  Here is the topic for your first post: “SJU: 12 First Impressions.” Consider writing an introductory paragraph, then list 20 things you’ve noticed so far – about your classes, the campus itself, your fellow students.

In class: Everyone will present their blogs in class. We’ll discuss how to approach future posts and readings for this class.

            Sept. 15 (R): New Lenses for School (Bring your camera)
Due today: Please be prepared to discuss the following readings in class:
            “Against School,” John Taylor Gatto (pp. 300-307)
             “Blue-Collar Brilliance,” Mike Rose (pp. 309-315)
As you do the readings for today, think about your own school history. How do these essays challenge you? Does boredom define the experience of being a student? What should the purpose of school be? Does anything about Mike Rose’s essay surprise or shock you? Please bring a camera or camera phone to class.

In class: We’ll discuss the readings and then set out on a class project to capture some images from around campus through the lens of a camera or camera phone. I’ll be asking each of you to capture an image that corresponds to a word.

            *Sept. 19 (M): Blog Post #2 Due
Read for today:
            “Learning in the Shadow of Race and Class,” Bell Hooks (316-323)
            “Preparing Minds for Markets,” Johnathan Kozol (331-343)

Due today, Blog Post #2, “An Image of Campus”: Post an image that you took on campus last week, then write about it. Aim for 3-4 paragraphs. Describe why you took the picture. Explain what you think it says.

In class: we’ll look at the images you captured last week around campus and talk about today’s readings.

*NOTE: This week Mark Edmunds will come to campus for two mandatory training sessions, Sept. 20 & 22 –Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30-7:30p.m.

            Sept. 22 (R): No class/Mark Edmunds Training

            Sept. 26 (M): Service Begins (*Service scholar visit)
Due today, Blog Post #3, “Imagining Service”: Write about what you expect to see, hear, feel, and think when you go to service for the first time. Be as specific as you can. Write at least three paragraphs.

In class: we will reflect on your training and spend time talking about your service expectations. Our service scholars will be in class today to talk with you.

            Sept. 29 (R): First Paper Assigned
Due today: Read the following three essays – they’re short.
            “Introduction: How We Read and Write about Culture” (1-13)                                        
            “From Grading to De-Grading,” Alfie Kohn (286-297)  
            “I Do. Not. Why I Won’t Marry,” Catherine Newman (61-66)

Reading questions to consider: What roles do you play in society – in your family? Among your friends? What roles are you expected to play in the future? Do you agree or disagree with the essay on grading?

In class: You’ll be given your first major written assignment. We’ll spend time in class brainstorming and drafting. 

            Oct. 3 (M): “I Am a Promise”
In class: we’ll watch a film about a local elementary school in North Philadelphia. Nothing is due, but you should be working on your paper.

            Oct. 6 (R): Draft due
In class: we’ll finish the film, and I’ll collect drafts. We’ll also reflect on the film and your first experiences at service. What connections can you make? Heads up: over the weekend, you’ll need to write a post about those impressions.
            Oct. 10 (M): Blog Post #4 Due (Solidarity discussion w/scholars)
Blog Post 4 due “My First Impressions of Service”: Write 5-6 paragraphs describing your first experiences at service so far. Try to recreate what has happened so far: What did you feel on your first trip to service? What did you notice about the neighborhood? Who did you meet? How do you feel on the ride home?
In class: you’ll receive your draft back so you can revise your paper. I’ll select several drafts for the whole class to view and discuss.

In class: Our service scholars will lead the discussion today.

            Oct. 13 (R): Paper Due
Due today: Your paper is due at the beginning of class. After that, we’ll prepare for our next reading, Leon Dash’s book Rosa Lee. We’ll break into 3-person groups to plan presentations about each section. Below is a note describing the presentation.
YOUR PRESENTATION: For each class period devoted to this book, one group will lead a discussion (presenting reactions and further questions), the other group will plan an activity that ties into the reading (a reflective exercise, a role-playing game, a series of related short films or songs, an all-class silent walk, etc.)

            Oct. 17 (M): Fall Break/ No Service for Monday only

            Oct. 20 (R): Rosa Lee
Read for today: Please read the first chunk of Leon Dash’s novel, Rosa Lee (1-35) for today. There will be a quiz.
            Presenters: 2 groups (3 people each)
            Group 1__________, ___________,___________ --question/reaction group
            Group 2_________, ___________,___________   --activity group

            Oct. 24 (M): Rosa Lee+Blog Post #5
Read for today:Please read Rosa Lee, pp. 36-172.
Presenters: 2 groups (3 people each)
            Group 1__________, ___________,___________ --question/reaction group
            Group 2_________, ___________,___________   --activity group
Please choose today’s reading or Thursday’s and write a response to the reading. Write about what surprises you. Include a quote from the book that really stands out to you, and explain why. Can you make any connections to service?

            Oct. 27 (R): Rosa Lee+Blog Post #5
Read for today:Please read Rosa Lee, pp. 172-248.
Presenters: 2 groups (3 people each)
            Group 1__________, ___________,___________ --question/reaction group
            Group 2_________, ___________,___________   --activity group


            Oct. 31 (M): Midterm Blog Post #6 due (Midterm Service check-in)
Due today, Blog Post #6, “Midterm Reflection”: You’ve been at college for 3 months now. How are you different from the day you arrived or from the person you were last year at this time? What’s changed in terms of your priorities, interests, habits, outlook? 

            Nov. 3 (R): Dumpsters and Consumption           
Read for today:
            “My Adventures in Urban Foraging,” Tara Lohan (250-257)
            “Two Cheers for Materialism,” James Twitchell (43-51)

In class: We’ll have a debate about the issues raised in today’s reading.
            Nov. 7 (M): Second Paper Assigned – The Argument
Read for today:
            “I Am Here: One Man’s Experiment with the Location-Aware Lifestyle,”                         by Matthew Honan (106-111)
            “Introduction, from Bright-Sided,” Barbara Ehrenreich (22-30)

In class: we will discuss these arguments and also their counter-arguments. For Paper #2, you will be constructing an argument based on one of the issues raised in class or something you have observed on campus.

            Nov. 10 (R): Blog Post #7 due
Blog Post #7 assignment, “The Object”: Write about an object at service, one that stands out to you when you go. Describe it in detail. Then consider it metaphorically: what does this object represent? For you? For your learner?

            Nov. 14 (M): Paper 2 Draft Due
Due today: Bring a rough draft of your paper to class for peer editing. You must bring in a hard copy (that someone else can mark up) in order to get credit for today’s class. Your paper can be rough, but it should be as close to finished as possible.

            Nov. 17 (R): Paper 2 Final Draft Due

            Nov. 21 (M) Service Scholar Discussion (TBA)

            Nov. 24 (R) No Class/Thanksgiving Break
            Nov. 28 (M) Blog Post #8 due
            Blog Post #8 assignment TBA.

            Dec. 1 (R) Final PaperPrep

            Dec. 5 (M) TBA

            Dec. 8 (R) TBA
The Rest=TBA

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