During Connections, you read and discussed two articles: "Liberal
Education and Global Citizenship" by Martha Nussbaum and "A
University of a Particularly Kind" by Richard John Neuhaus.
Your diagnostic question will involve those two readings. If you do
not have a copy of the readings anymore, please follow the links and
print them out. The Nussbaum address will open in Acrobat as a PDF and
the Neuhaus link will take you to a separate webpage.
Essay & Speech Assignment for Personal Narrative
Self-narrative is one of the most popular forms of discourse, probably
because many people, particularly writers, tend to be narcissists. However,
good personal writing is not self-indulgent. The best works in this
genre not only illuminate something about the writer but about the human
You may be required to write various forms of personal narrative in
your life, such as cover letters or graduate school applications. Prospective
employers and admissions boards are interested in your experiences as
demonstrative of personal growth, not self-love. As memoirist Tobias
Wolff writes, “the real possibility of the personal essay, which
is to catch oneself in the act of being human . . . means a willingness
to surrender for a time our pose of unshakable rectitude, and to admit
that we are, despite our best intentions, subject to all manner of doubt
and weakness and foolish wanting.”
For this assignment you will write an autobiographical narrative based
on your literary experiences that communicates some insight about learning
and/or teaching to the rest of the class. A literacy narrative tells
a story about your personal engagement with reading and/or writing.
In conjunction with this assignment, we will study several published
and student-written literacy narratives.
Please note that you do not have to pick either reading or writing.
Often, our interactions with reading and writing are intertwined. Also,
this essay does not have to be a rousing exposition about why writing
and reading are the joy of your life if they are really the bane of
your existence. Be honest. Tell a story, your story.
Write an autobiographical speech in which you discuss the role that
reading or writing played during some time in your life, i.e. a literacy
narrative. That conflict is often some type of challenge encountered
in learning to read or write, perhaps beyond first learning to read
or write and rather reading or writing for a specific purpose or goal.
Your personal narrative essay will explore the same content as the speech,
but will be modified for print. We will cover speech basics in class.
A Concise Public Speaking Handbook is an invaluable resource.
You will have the opportunity to practice delivery in class.
You may use note cards or an outline, but you may not read or recite
the speech verbatim. Your speech should be 3-5 minutes in length.
Your speech may be videotaped and you will be expected to view the
videotape (which will be on reserve in the library) and critique your
own performance (noting positive as well as negative aspects of the
speech). Your critique will be graded as part of your quizzes/activities
Evaluation criteria for Personal Narrative speech
1. The speaker successfully conveys the significance of the narrative.
2. The speaker reveals character by showing how people act and react
rather than telling the reader what is important.
3. The speaker makes use of quotes, dialogue, and/or descriptive detail
to make the speech more interesting.
4. The listener gains a sense of the speaker’s personality.
5. The speaker demonstrates effective oral style by adapting the content
from the essay for the classroom, listening audience.
6. The speaker demonstrates effective delivery.
General Speech Rubric (will open
The Writing Assignment
In your writing, you must gain the reader’s trust, something George
Orwell says happens only when the autobiographer reveals weakness. As
The Field Guide to Writing points out in Chapter 6, literacy
narratives often set up conflict through a situation which needs to
be resolved; this would be true of any kind of personal narrative. In
choosing your exact topic, think about an event or situation in your
life that will interest your audience (your classmates in CA 101) and
that you will be comfortable sharing with your peers.No matter what
you choose, be vivid and concrete. The essay should incorporate all
the elements of good descriptive writing, such as figurative language
and dialogue. Your essay should be 3-4 pages long.
The Peer Review Assignment
When taken seriously, the peer review process affords an opportunity
to improve your essays and to develop critical thinking skills that
will assist you throughout your college career.
Read the paper quickly and write a two-sentence response. Mark places
where you have questions. Then write a more thorough review, consider
the following questions regarding style, structure, and mechanics as
a guide in writing your review:
• Is the essay clearly developed around a strong, dominant impression?
Is the description well organized?
• Does it contain any unnecessary or confusing elements which
detract from the dominant impression?
• Consider the paper’s style. What are the best points of
• Consider the author’s use of dialogue. Does it work in
that place? Does it seem real?
• Where could the writer have further strengthened the piece by
using details, examples, illustrations, etc?
• Overall, is the description concrete and credible? Has there
been careful attention paid to all the senses – sight, sound taste,
• Is the piece structured effectively? Comment on the introduction.
Does it draw you in? Consider the resolution. Is it overtly moralizing?
• Can the reader easily follow the narrative?
• Does the text transition well?
• Mark questions regarding grammar, word usage, sentence structure,
Evaluation criteria for Personal Narrative paper
1. The writer successfully conveys the autobiographical significance.
2. The writer reveals character by showing how people act and react
rather than telling the reader what is important.
3. The writer has made use of dialogue and/or descriptive detail to
make the essay more interesting.
4. The reader gains a sense of the writer’s personality (i.e.,
what makes this person different from other people).
5. The writer addresses the designated audience.
6. The writer uses lively and appropriate style.
7. The essay follows the conventions of Standard Written English.
Annotated Bibliography and Source Evaluation Assignment
The Research and Writing Assignment: Annotated Bibliography
Selecting, evaluating, and documenting sources is a critical research
skill. Evaluative annotations are paragraph summaries and evaluations
of source materials. For an example of an evaluative annotation, refer
to page 115 in The Norton Field Guide. Remember that your purpose
is to isolate and evaluate the most important ideas from your source
material. This is not only an exercise in summarizing, but also evaluating.
The format for the bibliographic entries in an annotated bibliography
is the same as that for a Works Cited page at the end of a research
paper. Consult your Little Brown Handbook for correct MLA form
and the Works Cited page format. Use “Annotated Bibliography”
(without quotation marks) as the title instead of “Works Cited.”
Each of you is required to provide an annotated bibliographic entry
for at least five academic sources that you have read on your topic.
One source needs to be a book, one source needs to be a journal,
and only one source can be a website. The annotation
paragraphs should be 60-100 words each. Entries in the annotated
bibliography must be your own work.
1. The bibliographic entry is correctly given in MLA form.
2. The annotation not only evaluates but is precise and concise pointing
out the main point and the most important part(s) of the source.
3. Annotations follow the conventions of Standard American written English.
After completing your annotated bibliography, choose one source from
your five which piques your interest the most. Write a 2-page evaluative
analysis of the one source which goes far beyond the one paragraph you
wrote for the annotated bibliography. In addition to isolating the most
important ideas from the source, you should discuss how it fits against
the other four sources, why it is of special interest to you, and how
you might use it in our next assignment, which will be to argue a position.
1. The introduction provides an overview of your analysis and conclusions.
2. The thesis is clear.
3. The writer describes or summarizes the text being analyzed.
4. The analysis is well organized and logical.
5. All quotations are accurate and clearly documented.
6. The analysis clearly leads to the evaluation.
7. The essay follows the conventions of Standard American written English.
The Annotated Bibliography and Source Evaluation that you turn
in will have the following parts all in one document:
-MLA heading in upper left hand corner and a centered title
-brief introduction paragraph to your topic and scope (see Norton 112-113
-at least five evaluative annotated bibliographies in correct MLA format
-a two page evaluative analysis of one of those five sources (see Norton
325 for questions to help you get started and Norton 126 for a general
organizational outline to follow).
The Speaking Assignment: Status Briefing for Annotated Bibliography
and Source Evaluation
You will give a status briefing during your process of compiling the
annotated bibliography and writing the evaluative analysis of one of
your sources. Status briefings should be 2 -3 minutes in length,
prepared and rehearsed in advance. Typically, status briefings
do not make use of structured introductions and conclusions, though
you will need to announce your topic before moving into the annotations
of your sources. You should adapt your written work for your listening
audience. Vocal and physical delivery does count. Show yourself to be
knowledgeable (i.e., names of sources, dates, etc.) You may use a note
1. Content is adapted from a written format to an oral one.
2. Time limit is used well to annotate and evaluate sources.
3. Effective vocal and physical delivery is exhibited.
Status Briefing Rubric
Essay Assignment - Arguing a Position
Background: This is a position essay using research and argumentation
to establish a point of view on a debatable issue. In this essay you
will address an issue of scholarly importance related to a particular
broad topic. Chapter 9 in Norton’s Field Guide to Writing
deals with “Arguing a Position.” In this paper you will
analyze the issue and come to a firm judgment concerning it, either
as it impacts individuals, the local community, the country, or the
world as a whole. Your aim is to convince readers of your opinion and
persuade them to agree with you. You will find Part 7 in The Little
Brown Handbook and the section on MLA helpful for research, use
of sources, avoiding plagiarism and documentation.
Assignment: Write a 4-6 page essay that analyzes and judges
the specific topic you have chosen. You should use a minimum of 3 scholarly
sources that support and/or argue against the analysis and judgment
predicted by your thesis. You can draw from the sources you located
and studied for your Annotated Bibliography. Remember, your aim is to
convince readers of your opinion.
Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to present your position
in a clear and logical manner and to persuade your audience - those
who disagree with your position and those who are undecided about the
issue - to consider your argument seriously. In doing this, remember
that you must not only give evidence that underlines your analysis and
judgment, but you must also give opposing views and either refute or
Audience: Your audience will be your fellow students.
Research & Writing Steps:
Step One: Based on your annotated bibliography research, you have already
selected an issue/topic. You have already chosen an area that you are
interested in. You have narrowed the discussion topic down, and have
researched the topic to find a particular idea that interests you.
Step Two: Continuing to research your topic: You have sources from
your Annotated Bibliography, but don't stop there. Continue to look
for additional scholarly and/or credible sources that relate more specifically
to your topic as you narrow it down. You should have a pretty good idea
of the position you want to take at this point. We will also discuss
these positions for their argumentative treatment and feasibility. Conferences
will help everyone with his/her choices.
Step Three: Compose counter arguments to all your positions. You may
decide to ignore, refute, or concede these arguments, depending on their
importance to your position, but omitting them could cause major flaws
in your argument.
Step Four: Prepare a final thesis and outline for your essay. Write
your rough draft. At this point we will have individual conferences
to discuss your progress and any problems you are encountering.
Step Five: On Peer Review Day, bring two copies of your rough draft
to class to be read and reviewed by your peers.
Step Six: Email your final essay to email@example.com before the
class it is due.
Step Seven: Submit your final paper with drafts, peer reviews, and
sources (highlight any areas from the sources that you quote or paraphrase
and reference them with the page number from your essay on which they
appear) at the beginning of class on the due date.
1. Have a clearly stated thesis.
2. Provide relevant evidence in support of the thesis.
3. Have a clear, logical method of organization that includes both analysis
4. Refute or concede legitimate objections.
5. Avoid logical fallacies.
6. Follow documentation guidelines (MLA).
7. Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
This is the oral presentation that accompanies your Argumentative Essay.
You should use the same information that you used for the Source Evaluation
and for the Position Essay. You may choose to swap sides of the argument,
augment your presentation with visual aids that show your argument more
graphically, or even come down more heavily on the emotional aspects
of the issue – that is work more on getting your audience involved
with the issue.
Please read Mike Janas' Speech
Giving Guide, which will open as a PDF in Acrobat.
This is a formal presentation. Treat it as if you were speaking
before the student body in a forum about your issue.
• Dress – business attire
• Notes – one page outline
• References – make sure to give credit to any information
you take from sources (and you should refer to at least two sources
• Time – 4-6 minutes
• Audience – Samford student body and faculty
• Purpose – to educate, argue, and persuade
Due before speech:
• An outline of your speech
• Copies of any visual aids you are using if you use any
• Shows evidence of thorough and reasonable audience analysis.
• Identifies a clear problem, gives a specific judgment on the
issue, and attempts to persuade listeners to accept that judgment.
• Employs well-chosen arguments that are free from logical fallacies.
• Supports points of analysis with accurate, relevant, objective
and sufficient evidence.
• Organizes the speech according to a strategy appropriate for
• Includes an effective introduction and conclusion, with proficient
use of transitions in the body of the speech.
• Cites and documents referenced sources.
• Adapts language use to listeners and to the constraints of the
oral context, while conforming to the conventions of standard spoken
• Delivers the speech in an extemporaneous, fluent, and articulate
manner, exemplifying the controlled use of face, body, gesture, and
• Conforms to the time limit of approximately 4-6 minutes.
• Submits the following to the instructor PRIOR to the speech:
- an outline specifically for the speech
- a works cited of references used in the speech in MLA format
Revision and Reflection Assignment
For this final assignment, you will demonstrate your ability to engage
in a rhetorically complex composing process as well as to reflect critically
on the process. Specifically, this assignment addresses the following
1. Distinguish between oral and written styles and adapt both oral and
written messages for specific audiences and purposes.
2. Prepare written and oral communication assignments via a process
approach through rhetorical invention, drafting or delivering, and revision.
3. Develop a clear focus in assignments, organize and support ideas
effectively, use vivid language, and demonstrate clarity and correctness.
4. Select, evaluate, and document sources through primary and secondary
5. Interpret and analyze ideas through critical reading and listening.
6. Demonstrate social responsibility through engagement with critical
This assignment has two main parts: (1) revising your persuasive essay
and (2) reflecting on that process. You will turn in the significantly
revised essay, all drafts, peer and instructor reviews (including the
originally graded paper), and a cover letter, addressed to your instructor,
in which you reflect on the revision process.
Revising your persuasive essay: Since writing your persuasive
essay, you have shaped the information for an oral presentation and
received a grade and comments on the paper and the speech. You may have
found additional resources that affect your thoughts on the original
topic. You will now “re-envision” your paper, perhaps write
to a different audience, write for a different purpose, or reframe the
argument in some other way. In other words, you must address the comments
from the graded persuasion paper and do so by substantially reframing/re-writing
the paper. NOTE: THIS IS NOT JUST A “FIXED” PAPER.
In other words, you must demonstrate the difference between REVISION
(a true reconsideration of the writing in a global sense) and EDITING
(correcting surface errors and mistakes, a focus on mechanical aspects
You have two choices. 1. You may follow the Guided Revision Worksheet
(webpage or Word
document) to help revise your paper. Also view the check list on
page 429 of the LBHandbook for a final review of your essay once you
have competed the guided revision worksheet. 2. Or, you may rewrite
your essay from an alternative/opposing perspective from your original
The revised paper should be 5-7 pages and include proper documentation
of sources as well as demonstrate effective organization and support
of ideas and use standard edited English.
Writing a reflection letter: Chapter 27, pp. 229-233, may
be helpful to you in preparing your reflective letter. To get started
writing your reflection letter, you should consider the following:
- What were the strengths and weaknesses of your original persuasive
- How have you addressed the weaknesses in your revision?
- How have you re-framed your essay?
- What rhetorical choices did you make in terms of word choice, organization,
- Why did you make some changes, and why did you retain other paragraphs,
sentences, or phrases?
After thinking about the above questions and others points that come
to mind, jot down notes to yourself. What recurrent ideas, motifs, or
themes are present in your notes? This will help provide the first part
of the reflection letter.
The second part of the reflection letter is a reflection on the semester
as a whole. The third part of the reflection letter is advise to my
future students. Use this Word template
to help you craft your reflection letter and for more detail regarding
the three parts to the letter.
The finished letter should be approximately 2-3 pages double spaced
or 1-2 pages single spaced in business letter format and demonstrate
excellence in organization, purpose, and control of language.
You will turn in the following components on the last day of
class in a pocket folder if you choose to do the guided revision:
1. original, graded essay
2. marked up draft and guided revision worksheets filled in
3. drafts from peer review (both reflection letter and essay)
4. final essay
5. final reflection letter
You will turn in the following components on the last day of
class in a pocket folder if you choose to do rewrite your essay from
an alternative perspective:
1. original, graded essay
2. drafts from peer review (both reflection letter and essay)
3. final essay arguing for a different thesis than your original essay
4. final reflection letter