English 350/355

English 350/55:
Writing and Reading Skills
Homework due Tuesday:
  • Read “The ‘F’ Word” and answer the questions at the end of the reading.
  • Write a paragraph (following the guidelines of the lecture in class) on what it means to be an American

Instructor: Melissa Gunby CRN: 80612/80631
Phone: 530-508-6501 Tues/Thurs: 7:30-8:45

e-mail: msgunby@gmail.com Room:135 (inside the writing lab)
Website: mgunby.wikispaces.com

Office Hours: before class or by appointment

Course Description:

In this course, you will develop and improve your writing, reading and critical thinking skills, your vocabulary, and your study skills through reading, writing, discussing, working in groups and working individually. You will develop your style of writing and learn how to write clear, concise and varied sentences. You will review the process of generating, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading your work. Throughout this course you will have various informal writing assignments (freewrites, journals, response papers, etc.) which will be less formal than standard college essays and will be more focused on generating ideas and questions than on producing a polished piece of college-level writing.

In addition, you will write several formal essays. In order to succeed in this class, you will need to devote at least six hours a week outside of class and the lab to the course (so that you will have time to do the reading, thinking, and writing needed to pass) and you will commit to a growth mindset, meaning that if you are confused by or even fail an assignment (as happens to nearly everyone at one time or another) you commit to trying again and again until you gain the skill to master the difficult task.

If you commit the time and are willing to persist through difficult and challenging assignments, and you tell me (and the class, once we’ve gained each other’s trust) when you are stuck, confused or frustrated, I promise you will see significant improvement in your reading, writing and thinking skills this semester.

This is a Pass/No Pass course.

There are three requirements to pass this course:
  1. Completion of the 350/55 Lab (see below)
  2. A score of 6 or better on the CME (see below)
  3. Completion of a minimum of 70% of the course work
Required Texts and Materials:
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin. 2002. Print.
ISBN: 9780140177398

White lab folder
Three-ring binder for course materials and handouts
Loose-leaf paper or a notebook for in-class writing activities
Pens, pencils, highlighters

Recommended texts/materials:

Collegiate dictionary and thesaurus (Longman, Oxford, Merriam Webster, etc)

Floppy disk, flash drive, or some other external source to save your documents

Course Requirements

Composition Mastery Exam (CME)
In order to enroll in English 370, you must get a minimum score of 6 on the CME at the end of the term. The CME is given campus wide at the end of each semester and is graded by the English faculty. A student who does not achieve a combined score of 6 or better will not pass English 350/55 and will have to repeat the course.

English 350/55) Lab:
All students enrolled in English 350/55 must also enroll in Engl. 350/55 Lab.
English 350L is a co-requisite for English 350 and English 355L is a co-requisite for English 355. These labs offer a valuable opportunity to experience one-on-one help with skilled teachers and technicians who will guide you as you improve both your reading and writing skills. These labs do require a substantial time and work commitment (Roughly six hours a week), but the rewards can be huge. Many students claim they learn at least as much in the labs as they do in the class, and we have several students each semester who, after working diligently in the labs and class, are able to skip English 370 and move right to English 1 the next semester. However, we also have students each semester who don’t put in adequate time in the labs to meet work deadlines, and these students are dropped from their English class and are not allowed to take the CME. If you feel overwhelmed with the work in our class and the lab, talk with me or lab staff and we will work on a schedule—I and the rest of the lab staff want to help you, but you need to keep us in the loop!
Completion of a minimum of 70% of course work
We will be writing an average of an essay every other week, along with reading and other homework. In order to pass this class, you need to do the work equivalent to a “C” in a graded course. If you do not, you will not pass, even if you complete the lab and pass the CME with a 6 or better.

Course Goals:
Over the course of the semester, you will write short essays which demonstrate:
  • the principles of English grammar and punctuation;
  • knowledge of principles of paragraph construction;
  • knowledge of principles of essay construction;
  • the ability to read, analyze, and respond to short articles.

Course Overview:
This is a course in English Fundamentals, and as such, reading and writing will be at the center of the course. We will write 3 formal essays, as well as undertaking in class assignments and regular homework.

You will be required to write an original paper for each assignment. Recycling essays from other classes is considered plagiarism and will not be tolerated.


This is a Pass/No Pass class. As such, if you complete 70% or more of the course work, complete the lab, and pass the CME with a score of 6 or better, you will pass. If you do not complete a minimum of 70%, there is a high likely-hood that you will not pass.

Because this is a pass/no pass class, letter grades will not be assigned on essays. Essays will receive instructor feedback geared toward improving your writing overall.

Classroom Policies:

Respect: The main policy is to respect each other. All the writing in this class will be shared with your peers. You are welcome to your opinion, as are your classmates, and while we may disagree, it is important to separate your argument over ideas from the individual you disagree with. Attack the argument, not the person.

Food: Please try not to bring food into class. If you must, please try to limit your snacks to things that are not noisy or disruptive by being strong smelling.

Cell Phones, etc.: Please turn off all pagers, cell phones, wireless devices, iPods, etc. when entering the classroom. You and your classmates are paying (or being supported by loans, grants, and scholarships) for your education; please respect that use of money and my time in class and do not text during class time. If I catch you texting, I will call you out on it in front of your classmates. If I have to mention it several times, I may ask you to step out and not give you any participation credit for the day.

Absent/Late Policy: Attendance is mandatory. I grade on participation – if you are not present, you cannot participate. You get TWO absences, no questions asked. After your second absence, you face the possibility of being dropped from the class, or receiving a failing grade.

I will take attendance at the beginning of each class session. If you arrive late, please see me after class so I can mark you as being in class. Please make your best effort to arrive on time. If you must enter late, please come in as quietly as possible. Three tardies are equivalent to one absence.

Participation: I understand that some people are reluctant to participate in class discussions. The participation element of this course includes class discussion, but also in class writing and turning in homework. Participation also means being awake and attentive during class.

The workshop accounts for a different portion of the grade for this class. Please be prepared with drafts on your workshop days. If you are absent on a workshop day, your final grade will be lowered accordingly.

Academic Honesty: Plagiarism is the use of distinctive ideas or works belonging to another person without providing adequate acknowledgement of that person's contribution. Plagiarism is a serious offense. Essays containing plagiarism will result in lowered grades. All cases of plagiarism will be referred to the Judicial Officer of Student Affairs. For more information on Academic Honesty, please refer to page 35 of the Class Schedule available online at: http://www.solano.edu/catalog/catalog_200911/section2.pdf or the back of the syllabus for a hard copy.

Late Papers: All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned date. A paper turned in late will lose ¼ credit for each day over-due (a 10 point assignment becomes a 7.5 point assignment). If you are going to miss class, I expect you to make arrangements to see that your paper is turned in by a classmate, or left in my box before class starts.

Please note: I will not accept homework via email.

Technology failures are not an excuse for a late or missing paper. Back up your files to a floppy or flash drive, or keep alternate copies on your hard drive.

Course at a Glance

What follows is a preliminary schedule of the semester, including holidays and midterm dates.

I reserve the right to make changes to any of these dates that are not school holidays.

Class Overview:
Unit 1/Essay 1: Being American
Unit 2/Essay 2: Men and Women
Unit 3:/Essay 3: Book Review: Of Mice and Men

Final Project: Reflective Memo

A note on the midterm exams: The CME is a timed, two-hour exam. Because this class meets for less than two hours, the midterm exams will be divided over two sessions.

The CME will be held in class on the night of December 6. You should plan to be in class from 7 pm to 9pm that night to allow the full two hours of the exam.

week 10
Tuesday (10/16)

Thursday (10/18)

week 11
Tuesday (10/23)
Midterm 2 part 1: Practice CME

Thursday (10/25)
Midterm 2 Part 2: Practice CME.
week 12
Tuesday (10/30)
Essay 2 peer review/rough draft

Thursday (11/1)

week 13
Tuesday (11/6)

Thursday (11/8)
Essay 2 due/intro essay 3
week 14
Tuesday (11/13)

Thursday (11/15)
Essay 3 peer review/conferences
week 15
Tuesday (11/20)
Thanksgiving: NO CLASS

Thursday (11/22)
Thanksgiving: NO CLASS
week 16
Tuesday (11/27)

Thursday (11/29)

week 17
Tuesday (12/4)

Thursday (12/6)
CME in class. Class meets from 7-9. Essay 3 due.
week 18
Tuesday (12/11)
reflective memo due

Thursday (12/13)