English 350/55:
Writing and Reading Skills

Instructor: Melissa Gunby CRN: 10375/10376
Phone: 530-508-6501 Mon/Weds: 7:30-8:45e-mail: msgunby@gmail.com Room: 708
Website: mgunby.wikispaces.com

Office Hours: before class or by appointment

Course Description: In this class, we are going to focus on developing skills to improve your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. We will also be working vocabulary from various texts, as well as building good study habits to prepare you for future college classes.

Our writing assignments will be many and varied. We will do informal writing exercises (freewrites, journals, responses, group writing, etc), as well as 3 formal essays. All of these activities will help you build a repertoire of skills to carry with you into future classes, both in English and within your major. The early parts of the class will focus on developing sentence structures and paragraphs, and then build into essays.

You will also need to plan to spend 6 hours per week in the reading and writing lab, as well as devoting 4-6 hours per week for homework. You also need to be committed to seeing yourself grow and progress as a writer, reader, and thinker over the course of the semester. You also need to be prepared for failure; it happens to all of us, and the trick is knowing how to learn from that experience and move forward, rather than letting it sabotage your future attempts

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. A minimum grade of 70% on all course work:
    1. In-class activities (participation): 35%
    2. Homework: 10%
    3. Weekly vocabulary journals: 10%
    4. Tests and quizzes: 15%
    5. Essays and writing assignments: 30%
Required Texts and Materials:
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.

Kirszner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. Focus on Writing. 2nd ed. New York, Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. Print.

Lab text book: during your first (possibly more than one) lab session, you will take a placement test that will allow the lab staff to assign the text you will work from for the duration of the semester. You will have to purchase this book in the bookstore. It is approximately $35. DO NOT purchase a used lab textbook. You will not be allowed to work in the lab with a textbook that has had the shrink wrap removed.

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
Please note: coming to class without the appropriate materials will cause you to lose points for the day.
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
It is my requirement that students must earn a C or better to pass this class. Even if a student passes the CME and completes the lab, if a passing grade is not received in class, the student will receive a NP as will have to repeat the class.
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.

Grading:This is a Pass/No Pass class, however, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work to pass. Grades will be calculated as followed, and all students must earn a minimum of a C to pass into English 370 (along with completion of the lab and a score of 6 or higher on the CME)
  1. A minimum grade of 70% on all course work:
    1. In-class activities (participation): 35%
    2. Homework: 5%
    3. Weekly vocabulary journals: 5%
    4. Tests and quizzes: 25%
    5. Essays and writing assignments: 30%

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. Participation also means being awake and attentive during class.

I value group work; I feel that we all have something we can learn from each other. To that end, you will be sharing all of your formal writing assignments with your peers through peer workshopping. 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. Late papers will not be accepted. 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 GlanceWhat 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:
Weeks 1-10: sentences and paragraphs
Weeks 11-16: essays
Essay 1: classification
Essay 2: a book review of Night
Essay 3: argument

Final Project: Portfolio (see below)

A note on the midterm exams: the midterms will be held on one night only. You will have two hours to complete the exam. If you have child care or other issues that could be a problem in you staying late for class, you should look at those dates now and make appropriate arrangements.

A note on the schedule below: blank boxes do not mean there is no class. These boxes just mean that I haven’t pre-planned a significant assignment for that date.

The CME will be held in class on the night of Wednesday May 8. You should plan to be in class from 7 pm to 9pm that night to allow the full two hours of the exam.