Assignment 1

Submit one page of writing from another class that you would like analyzed. This writing will not be graded. I will analyze it to get a sense of your writing strengths and weakness.

Assignment 2

Find an Op-Ed piece that interests you and analyze it using the sheet we worked with in class: How to analyze an argument? (PDF)


Assignment 3

Critical reading exercise assignment: Read the David Brooks article "The Organization Kid" handed out in class. Dissect this article by answering the following questions.

  • What is the thesis of the article?
  • What types of evidence does Brooks use to support his thesis?
  • Can you categorize the evidence used?
  • What research does he do for this project?
  • What research does he rely on others for in order to make his points?
  • What are the conclusions?
  • How well are his conclusions supported by the evidence he presents?
  • Can you find holes in logic?
  • Can you take issue with some of the evidence he relies on?

Write a one-page critique of this article. Be prepared to discuss your critique in class.


Assignment 4

Find two real-life memos and analyze each using the focus sheet provided in class.


Assignment 5

Read the following articles:

  • Pollan, Michael. "Playing God in the Garden." The New Yorker, 2002.
  • Borlaug, Norman. "We Need Biotech to Feed the World." The Wall Street Journal. (December 6, 2000).
  • Hopkin, Karen. "The Risks on the Table." Scientific American. (April 2001).
  • Jordan, Carl F. "Genetic Engineering, the Farm Crisis and World Hunger." Bioscience. (June 2002).

Summarize and evaluate the case of genetically modified food.

Read the literature provided on genetically modified foods. What holes can you find? What questions remain unanswered for you? What do you agree with or disagree with in the literature?

How to do this assignment: In your first paragraph, provide an opening topic sentence. Define the overall issue in the first paragraph. Tell your reader what the crux of the argument is. In other words, as you did before, can you boil down the overarching argument that encompasses all the readings into a few short sentences?

Next, decide how to structure the rest of the essay. Usually, presenting the various issues in order of importance is a useful strategy. Present the authors' views as if they could talk to each other. This will allow the reader to understand how the debate unfolds. Attribute all facts and opinions to the authors as you write. Using the last name in parenthesis for example (EPA) is sufficient documentation.

Finally, work on a conclusion that synthesizes the information presented in the debate and tell the reader what next steps are necessary/likely. Also, here you can tell your reader what you think should be the next steps. What is missing or not addressed in the literature? What questions remain unanswered and what needs further investigation?

A note on your role in this writing:
As mentioned above, this time feel free to weave your own questions into the summary as you write. Your own voice should be very much present in the final paragraph. Listen to how your written voice changes as you add your own ideas. Remember to attribute all facts and opinions to their proper sources.


Assignment 6

Revise the essay based on the comments provided in class.


Assignment 7

Create a five-minute oral presentation on any subject that interests you.


Assignment 8

Prepare a critique of one presentation you heard today in class. Also, bring in three parts of papers for which you need help.


Assignment 9

Submit a draft of an introduction and/or conclusion that you have to write for another class.


Assignment 10

Submit a draft of an introduction and/or conclusion that you have to write for another class.

10 Last Class — Wrap-up