Kimberly K. Robeson

English 101



English 101: College Reading and Composition l    

Welcome! In English 101 you will be reading non-fiction articles, writing college-level essays, and learning to use strong critical thinking skills. We will also read the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and be part of the “One Book, One College” community that “creates intellectual continuity and shared experiences for LAVC students and faculty.” (Let’s attend some events together—I’ll keep you posted!) Finally, we will finish the semester with a research paper on a topic that you are passionate about and want to investigate further. Writing can be hard work and frustrating; much time and effort must be put forth, but the rewards you reap shall be grand. I guarantee it!

Here are some more specifics:

Course Objectives:

• Analyze college-level texts, including comparing, contrasting, and evaluating a variety of opinions on the same issue or topic;

• Compose college-level essays in response to college-level texts;

• Demonstrate logical thinking and reasoning;

• Locate and evaluate information in the library and on the internet to support a research topic;

• Analyze and synthesize information and ideas into a substantial research paper;

• Demonstrate the ability to avoid plagiarism by citing sources according to MLA style documentation;

• Assess early drafts and revise them to improve organization, coherence, support, focus, and word choices;

• Proofread to improve sentence structure, punctuation, grammar; capitalization, spelling, and usage;

• Demonstrate an understanding of multicultural values through reading culturally diverse texts.


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students will be assessed on their ability to:


  1. Write focused, coherently organized, well-developed texts, appropriate to the transfer level, that effectively integrate, synthesize, and document sources.
  2. Demonstrate critical reading, thinking, and research skills through analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of important ideas encompassing multiple points of view.


Required Texts and Materials:

1) Robert Atwan, Donald McQuade: The Writer’s Presence: A Pool of Readings, 8th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. ISBN: 978-1-4576-6446-5

2) Elaine P. Maimon, Janice H. Peritz, Kathleen Blake Yancey: Writing Intensive, Second Edition. McGraw Hill. ISBN: 978-0-07-338405-4

3) Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Broadway Books. ISBN:978-1-4000-5218-9

To stay organized, also buy

4) A portable stapler

5) A light three-ring binder

6) A thin notebook (some class notes will be so important that I will suggest you keep this notebook forever and ever) 


Course Requirements:

Essays Total 85%                                                                               

Essay 1 (processed): 15%  (Education)                                                          150 points

Essay 2 (in-class): 15%      (Millennial Generation, etc.)                                 150 points

Essay 3 (processed): 15%  (Gender Issues)                                                   150 points

Essay 4 (in-class final exam): 15% (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)    150 points

Research Paper (processed): 25% (An Innovation/Invention/Discovery)        250 points


Homework and In-class Reading Responses 10%                                                     100 points

Participation 5%                                                                                                          50 points


Grading Scale

90%     =          900+ points                 =                                  A

80%     =          800-899 points            =                                  B

70%     =          700-799 points            =                                  C

60%     =          600-699 points            =                                  D

59%     =          599 points and below =                                  F


Student Responsibilities





    1. Bring all materials to every class.

    2.      Prepare assignments in advance; participate in group activities.

    3.      Type work as required.

    4.      Attend class regularly. Students who miss the first or second day of class may be dropped. Also, as per LAVC guidelines, “Whenever absences in hours exceed the number of hours the class meets per week, the instructor will consider whether there are mitigating circumstances that may justify the absences. If the instructor determines that such circumstances do not exist, the instructor may exclude the student from the class. Three cases of tardiness may be considered equivalent to one absence. It is the student’s responsibility to consult with the instructor regarding any absences that would alter the student’s status in the class.” Keep in mind: what this means for a once a week class, like ours, is that you only have one genuine absence and then you can be excluded. Save your absence for when you are truly ill or have a situation that you can’t avoid.

    5.      To create a productive learning environment, cell phones and similar devices must be turned off and stowed away during class meetings.

    6.      It is equally important that we all respect and listen to differing viewpoints. More below.

    7.      Hand in all work on time. Unless arrangements are made with the instructor in advance, late assignments will not be accepted. If there is a genuine emergency, you can email me a final essay (in the body of the email, not as an attachment) and then bring a hard copy to class next time we meet. There will be no make-ups on quizzes or other in-class assignments that are collected for grading.

Office Hours

Please come visit me during office hours! I can give you individual attention, help you work on an essay, and/or review grammar or MLA questions that you may have. Or we can just chat about the joys of literature! And sometimes my cookie jar is full!


Class Participation

Classroom discussions allow you the chance to give and receive responses on assigned readings and topics that arise in class. Everyone has ideas, and I want to hear from all the voices in the class; thus, we will learn to respect and be comfortable with silence—not everyone processes questions (and answers) at the same time, so we need to give people the chance to think and formulate responses. I want to encourage confidence in these discussions, so they must be conducted in a respectful, supportive environment. Your responses to other’s ideas and work should be thoughtful and courteous.



I want you all to have the best learning environment possible, so if you are a student with a disability requiring classroom accommodations, and have not contacted Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), please do so in a timely manner. SSD is located in the Student Services Annex, Room 175 or call SSD at (818) 947-2681 or TTD (818) 947-2680 to meet with a SSD counselor. If SSD has already sent the memo confirming accommodations required by a student for this class, please meet with me to discuss arrangements.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is available! Call (818) 947-2412. Go to the Financial Aid Office in the Student Services Center, first floor. For more info:


Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is the use of others’ words and/or ideas without clearly acknowledging their source. When you incorporate those words and ideas into your own work, you must give credit where credit is due. Plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, is considered academic dishonesty and is not tolerated. Anyone found to be plagiarizing or cheating on assignments (e.g., copying or giving answers, using the internet for quotes, photos, or any written work, etc. without giving proper credit) will (1) receive a zero (fail) on the assignment, and (2) be referred to the Vice President of Student Services for further disciplinary action, following due process. For further information on plagiarism, go to the Writing Center website ( and refer to the “Standards of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Action” in the current Schedule of Classes and Catalog.



Communication is appreciated. If you are absent and want to send me an email to let me know that you are sick or there is something else going on, I appreciate it, but it’s not required. If you do miss a class session, please be aware you will miss vital information, and it is your responsibility to find out what was covered. Thus, I recommend you find three classmates and exchange phone numbers and email addresses to contact for questions about what you missed, copy class notes, etc. If you have other questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.


Three Classmates:

Classmate's Name:  ____________________________________________________________

        Phone Number:  __________________________________________________________

        Email Address:  __________________________________________________________


Classmate's Name:  ____________________________________________________________

        Phone Number:  __________________________________________________________

        Email Address:  __________________________________________________________


Classmate's Name:  ____________________________________________________________

        Phone Number:  __________________________________________________________

        Email Address:  __________________________________________________________





F, 9/2

Course Introduction

Index card information  

Interviews and

Diagnostic Writing: (about 30 minutes)

WRITE: One page maximum, single-spaced, crafted prose; use an introduction, a body paragraph and a short conclusion. Make it clear, creative, and grammatically polished.

Create Groups

Begin sharing

Discuss reading strategies for textbook and the importance of annotation



READ: The Writer’s Presence (WP)

1) Introduction and Personal Writing 1-7 and 25 - 33 (don’t need to annotate).

2) Sherman Alexie 34 - 37

3) Raymond Carver 81-87

 *Annotate text and be prepared for in-class reading response* (From now on, always assume you must do this; think critically when you read and be prepared to respond analytically when you write.)

Review: Writing Intensive  (WI) 1-20   



F, 9/9

Finish sharing writing

Reading Response and discussion

“Chalk Talk” What makes a good essay? (Introduce concept of The Horse.)

Briefly discuss MLA

Introduce Essay #1 (Handout)



READ: 1) The Writer’s Presence (WP) Maya Angelou 55 - 60

2) WP Michihiko Hachiya 136 – 141

3) WP David Sedaris 252 - 256

4) Review WI 154 (for format) and 100-153 for citing

WRITE: First polished  (grammatically and analytically sound, proofread, and spell-checked) version of essay due (bring two copies for peer review) (No copies = will do alternative assignment and miss out on a beneficial class session) Go over grading rubric.



F, 9/16

*Essay #1 Due for Peer Review*

Check drafts

Check annotations

“Chalk Talk” More on introduction and thesis. What makes a good thesis? (Introduce concept of Tricycle? Motorcycle? Or Airplane?)

Thesis statements worked on in class with supervision and instructor feedback (after peer review).

Discuss (the most common) Logical Fallacies



READ: 1) WP Stephen King 447 - 452

2) AWR  Review Punctuation for “quiz” 339 - 380

WRITE: Polish essay and use peer review suggestions when appropriate. Essay due Wednesday! No late work! If there’s a genuine emergency, and you can’t be in class to turn in your paper, email me your essay (NOT as an attachment, but in the body of the essay) and bring a hard copy of the same essay to the next class session, and it will not be considered late.


F, 9/23

*Essay #1 Final Essay Due*

Circle discussion

Punctuation “quiz”

Discuss Essay #2 (in-class essay exam) and Writing on Demand (WoD) strategies.



READ: 1) WP Henry Louis Gates Jr. 126 – 134 and

2) WP Malcolm Gladwell 422 – 431

3) WP Joel Stein 565 – 573



F, 9/30

Reading Response and discussion

Discuss quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, etc.




2) WP Steven Pinker 698 – 705

3) WP Barack Obama 685 – 690 and

WRITE: Prepare for in-class exam, notes, annotate articles



F, 10/7

*Essay #2 In-class Essay Exam*



READ: WP Katha Pollitt 544 - 546

2) Azar Nafisi 499 – 507

3) Amy Cunningham 369 - 375



F, 10/14

Introduce Essay #3

Go over primary and secondary sources and Works Cited page



READ:1) Camille Paglia 691- 694

READ: Articles and gather “outside” sources

WRITE: Finish first complete draft of Essay #3. Not “rough”—but “first”—bring polished copy to class (grammatically and analytically sound, proofread and spell-checked). Bring two copies for peer review.



F, 10/21

*Essay #3 Due for Peer Review*

Discuss “how” to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Every reading do a two-page handwritten (for WoD practice) analysis. Minimum two pages (max three) half objective, half subjective critique. Format explained more in detail in class. Title each: Analysis #1 and date due, etc.)



READ: TILoHL Prologue until Chapter 4 (1-33)

WRITE: 1) Finish Essay #3. Polished. Checked. Double-checked. Correct Works Cited. Polish essay and use peer review suggestions when appropriate.

2) Analysis #1



F, 10/28

*Essay #3 Due*

*Introduce Research Paper* See handout for specifics for each part of this paper.

Transcript for Interview due on day of workshop

TILoHL Initial impressions and discussion.



READ: 1) TILoHL Chapters 4 – 12 (34-86)

Review: WI 230 – 263 and 380 - 391

WRITE: 1) Analysis #2 TILoHL: Minimum two pages, half objective, half subjective critique.

2) Type: Part #1 Research Paper (RP proposal). You need to be passionate about your topic!


F, 11/4

Part #1 due. Research paper proposals. Review proposals in class with students one-on-one.

Discuss TILoHL

Share Analysis #1 and #2

*Explain Annotated Works Cited*



READ: 1) TILoHL Chapters 12 -19 (89-143)

WRITE: 1) Finish Part #2 and #3 of RP

2) Analysis #3 for TILoHL: Minimum two pages, half objective, half subjective critique.



F, 11/11

Veteran’s Day. No class.


HW (see 11/4)



F, 11/18

*Part #2 and #3 of RP due*

Bring sources to class

Tips for Research Paper

Explain how to use Interview in essay

TILoHL discussion



READ: TILoHL Chapters 19-25 (144 -198)

WRITE: Part #4 of RP Bring two complete copies for peer review with Works Cited stapled to each copy; otherwise you will not get full credit for workshop. *Interview transcript due Monday and must use interview in essay*  



F, 11/25

Thanksgiving. No class


HW (see 11/18)  





F, 12/2

*Research Paper Peer Review Workshop*

Collect Transcript for Interview

Questions and comments for research paper after peer review.

Give out handout for final exam on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks



READ: TILoHL Chapters (25 – 31) 199 -249

WRITE: 1) Analysis #4 for TILoHL: Minimum two pages, half objective, half subjective critique. 2) Finish Research Paper! Review rubric to make sure that you have met all criteria.



F, 12/9

Research Paper Due! Put rubric on top and

Update Interview status (“turned in on time” or . . . )

Mark up essay in class: “Story”; “Thesis”; highlight wherever interview is used; mark argument, counter, and rebuttal; and proposed solution.

Discussion of TILoHL

Tips for Final WoD and practice



READ: Finish TILoHL and

PREPARE: for final—organized notes, bullet points; quotes marked; no prewritten prose passages since you don’t know the question

WRITE: Analysis #5 for TILoHL: Minimum two pages, half objective, half subjective critique.


FINALS WEEK (12 -18)



F, 12/16

8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

*In-class Final Essay Exam on TILoHL*


Take care! J



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