Monday, October 31, 2011

The Interview

Hello All,

Post three questions you could ask the subject of your interview.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Main Ideas for Synthesis Essay

Hello All,

Post at least four ideas you will develop in your synthesis essay.  These will form the basis of your topic sentences (and body paragraphs).

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Synthesis Essay

Hello All,

Post the idea on which your synthesis essay will focus.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Hello All,

Choose one thing to critique this weekend (an event, a film, a meal).  Be sure to clarify your criteria, and specify how well your subject met (or failed to meet) each criterium.

Take care,

m woodman

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Wrong Stuff

Hello All,

Choose the interview you will use for your annotated bibliography (due 9/30) from The Wrong Stuff, and explain why you have chosen this particular interview.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Post for Friday, September 23

Hello All,

As we discussed in class on Wednesday, the thesis for the in-class essays must make your position clear, and it should carry with it implied (or explicit) reasons for support.

For this post, craft a thesis statement you could use if you were writing an essay in response to the following quote:

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

--Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Post for Friday, September 16

Explain the argument Miles Davis is making in the following quote:

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

In-Class 9/14

Hello All,

For this post, find passages where Schulz uses the rhetorical modes of description, definition, and exemplification.  Be specific as to the page and what it is she is describing, defining, and exemplifying.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Hello All,

For this first post, briefly introduce yourself (your major, career plans, dog's name, etc.), and list your greatest writing strength and weakness.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Interview

For this post, list four people you could interview for your research paper, and list ten questions you could ask these individuals.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Sweet Hereafter & Being Wrong

Hello All,

For Monday, find two quotes from the last two chapters of Being Wrong that would apply to the theme of The Sweet Hereafter or the motivation/psychology of one of its characters.

Chapter 14:
Chapter 15:

Enjoy your weekend!

The Sweet Hereafter

1. Why does Banks choose to use the first-person perspective for this novel?

2. Why does Banks choose to use these specific characters for his narrators? Why not focus on one? Why not have an additional character narrate the story?

Monday, April 25, 2011

In-class post for April 25

Hello All,

For this blog, post the introduction to your critique!

Friday, April 22, 2011

King Lear: What's the Point?

Like all great works of literature, King Lear exists not to provide answers, but rather to ask questions . . .

Respect: How should we show it? What happens if we don't have it? How far should we go to get it?
Loyalty: To whom should we be loyal? How should we show it? What should be its limits?
Power: What are the best means of achieving/keeping/demonstrating it?
Justice: What is a "just" outcome? How can we best reach that ideal? When should we settle for something less? When does justice become revenge?
Death: Does death negate life's achievements?
Truth: What is truth? How can we know it? When is deception justified?

Your homework for Monday is to write two body paragraphs:

1st paragraph: critique one character as representative of a specific position or persona. (For example, critique Lear as king, as father, as friend, and so on).
2nd paragraph: critique on mistake that character makes. Explain why that decision is a mistake, and explain why he or she makes that mistake.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

What kind of a King was Lear?
Why does Lear choose to retire? Why doesn't he just remain king until death?
Why does Lear choose to divide his kingdom instead of keeping it intact/coherent?
Why does Lear stage his test to prove his daughter's worthiness for that kingdom?
Why does he get so angry with Cordelia's response/answer?
Why does he not see through Kent's disguise?
Why does he maintain his kingly tone of superiority even after he retires?
Why does he feel the need to maintain his entourage of knights?
Why is he so stubborn? Why does he get so angry when people question his choices?
Why doesn't he try to take back his kingdom?
Why does he "go crazy"?
Why does he like to have the fool around so much?

Why doesn't she give a "good" answer to Lear's test?
Why does she feel the need to be so blunt? so honest?
How has she treated Lear in the past? Has she always been so honest?
Why isn't she already married?
Why does she accept exile so readily?
How does she feel about her sisters? Why isn't she as close to them as they are to each other?
Why is/was she Lear's favorite?
Why doesn't she try to seize power immediately with France?
Why does she go to war instead of just taking Lear with her to France?

Goneril & Regan
Why are they so close to each other (at first)?
Why do they play along with Lear's test/game?
Why are they distant from Cordelia?
Why do they refuse Lear's entourage?
Why aren't they more understanding of Lear's antics (his entourage and his attitude)?
Why do they evict him from their homes?
Why do they refuse others from offering him sanctuary/shelter?
Why are they so ambitious?
Why are they so violent? Why are they so good at killing?
Why are they so dominant and aggressive?
Why are they so attracted to Edmund?

Why does he feel the need to speak up? Why doesn't he just keep quiet?
Why does he come back? Why doesn't he just leave?
How did he become this close to Lear?
Why does he stay true to Cordelia?
Why doesn't he try to overthrow Goneril and Regan?

Why does he plot against his brother and father?
Why does he choose this method (the forged letter) for his deception?
Why is he so sensitive to the "bastard" label?
Why does he deceive? Why is he so good at it?
Why does he want power so much?

Why does he trust his brother?
Why doesn't he try to stay in contact with others?
Why does he hide? Why does he choose his specific disguise?
What is his plan?
Why does he maintain his disguise for so long?
Why does he seem active at the end and not the beginning?
Why does he help his father "kill himself"?

Why is he so loyal to Lear?
Why does he risk his life to give Lear shelter?
Why does he treat Edumund so poorly?
Why does he believe Edmund's deception so quickly?
Why does he try to kill himself?

Lear Question and Answer

For this blog, post the answers to the questions about the behavior/motivation/psychology of Lear, Cordelia, Goneril & Regain, Kent, Edmund, Edgar, and Gloucester.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Homework for April 20

For this entry, post two quotes from Being Wrong (one from chapter 12 and one from 13) that apply to the error or mistake your character (or another character) made in King Lear.

King Lear (Rashomon Style!)

Hello All,

For today's in-class blog, retell King Lear through the eyes of one character. Describe the actions and plot as this character sees it, with commentary.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell

Hello All,
As we discussed in class, the annotated bibliography for the Malcolm Gladwell article is due April 22.
Here are the articles from which to choose:
1. Open Secrets: Enron, Intelligence, and the Perils of too Much Information
2. Million-Dollar Murray: Why Problems like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve Than to Manage
3. The Picture Problem: Mammography, Air Power, and the Limits of Looking
4. Connecting the Dots: The Paradoxes of Intelligence Reform
5. The Art of Failure: Why Some People Choke and Others Panic
6. Blowup: Who Can Be Blamed for a Disaster like the Challenger Explosion? No One, and We'd Better Get Used to It
7. Blowing Up: How Nassim Taleb Turned the Inevitability of Disaster into an Investment Strategy
8. How David Beats Goliath: When Underdogs Break the Rules

Post for Monday, April 18

Hello All,

As we discussed in class, we can discuss these characters according to their different personas or positions. For example, we can evaluate Lear as a king, father, leader, friend, judge, or person. Each of these positions requires separate (but sometimes overlapping) qualities: for example, a king should be wise and perceptive.

Choose a character, and list the various positions he or she holds. Divide and classify the various qualities each position requires. Then, write a short paragraph in which you . . .

1. Name that quality.
2. Define that quality.
3. Explain the significance/importance of that quality.
4. Describe/evaluate how well your character meets that standard.
5. Find a quote (from King Lear) that illustrates or exemplifies how well your character possesses or lacks that trait.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In-Class Post for April 13

Hello All,

For this post, write a short paragraph in which you analyze the errors in the first act of King Lear:
What types of errors do the characters commit?
What causes them to be wrong? What has led them to make these errors?
What effect do these mistakes have on others?
What effect do these mistakes have on the person making them?

Your analysis must use three quotes from chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, or 11 of Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong:

one quote should be introduced with a simple introductory phrase;
one quote should be introduced with an independent clause and colon;
one quote should have pieces integrated into your own sentence.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Post for Wednesday, April 13

Hello All,

This blog should be easy:
1. Name the interview you plan on using from Kathryn Schulz's The Wrong Stuff.

2. Name the independently required text you plan on reading and using for the research paper:

Tugend, Alina. Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong

Burton, Robert Alan. On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not

Shore, Zachary. Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions

Tavris, Carol. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Gilovich, Thomas. How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life

Kida, Thomas. Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking

Van Hecke, Madeleine L. Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

Ariely, Dan. The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

Brafman, Ori. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

Freedman, David. Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us--and How to Know When not to Trust Them

Sandage, Scott. Born Losers: A History of Failure in America

Hallinan, Joseph. Why We Make Mistakes

Heffernan, Margaret. Willfull Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

Friday, April 8, 2011

Post for Monday, April 11

Hello All,

For this entry, post quotes, pages, or sections from Being Wrong that relate to your specific field or discipline (or fields/disciplines).

Enjoy your weekend!

Syntax (April 8)

For this in-class assignment, post a quote (with page number) of an example from Being Wrong of each type of sentence:


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Being Wrong 111-180

Once again, choose a quote that you find meaningful: give the quote and your explanation of its significance.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Being Wrong 47-110

Hello All,

For this post, again choose a quote you found intriguing, and then briefly explain why that quote interests you. Be sure to cite the page number, and be sure to give your name!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In-Class Post for March 30

For this post, get in groups of two or three and describe three rhetorical modes Kathryn Schulz uses in the first 43 pages.

Being Wrong (1-43)

Hello All,

Choose one quote from the first 43 pages of Being Wrong; write the quote (with page number), and provide a brief explanation as to why you find that quote meaningful or significant.

Do not repeat a quote a previous student has posted! (Post early!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Post 1: Spring 2011

Hello All,

For this post, describe one mistake you have made in your life. The mistake could be significant or minor; it's up to you.

For example, I failed my first driving test: on the three-point turn, I backed into the curb, and the DMV evaluator said, "That's it. You've just failed the test; you might as well turn around and go back now." In retrospect, it's true that I wasn't a very good driver, but the three-point turns were the least of my driving deficiencies . . . Hopefully, I'm better now.