Eng 306   Writing for Teachers  




Section 001: M, 5:30-8:15, Wimberly 210

Spring 2008


Instructor: Dr. Virginia Crank   

Office: 431B Wimberly Hall         Office phone: 785-6933

Office hours: MW 2:15-3:15, TTh 11:30-12:30, or by appointment

E-mail: crank.virg@uwlax.edu  or  dengin3@charter.net

Website: http://www.uwlax.edu/faculty/crank




Course Description: This is an advanced writing course designed especially for students majoring in education. The course has several goals:

            -to give you further practice in critical reading and writing;

            -to give you a clearer understanding of writing as a process;

            -to give you a clearer understanding of writing-to-learn;

            -to guide you in exploring the goals and values of education;

            -to help you improve your writing style;

            -to expose you to writing within and for your profession as a teacher;

            -to give you practice in writing and grading writing assignments.

Prerequisite: Eng 110 and sophomore standing.


Course Overview: The semester will be divided into three units: 1) Exploring the Myths and Structures of Education, or Education as a Machine; 2) Exploding the Myths and Structures of Education, or Education as a Process; and 3) Using Writing to Teach and Learn. Within each unit, you’ll read a variety of texts and complete a variety of written assignments. Lessons in prose style will be interspersed within these three overall units.


Required Texts: There is no required text for this course. You will access some reading materials online, and I’ll give you a packet of readings for each unit. These reading packets ARE your textbook, and I expect you to engage deeply with each article, highlighting, annotating, and preparing to discuss the materials.


Course Requirements:

Project Folders (50%): For each of the three units, you’ll submit a project folder containing both the shorter, more informal writing assignments in that unit and the more formal essay these shorter assignments led to. You’ll receive individual grades on the “major” assignments and an overall folder grade. See the individual unit handouts for the specific contents of each folder.

Journal Responses (20%): You’ll be writing informal responses to some of the assigned essays. A journal response is a “safe” writing space, a chance for you to reflect and explore your ideas about the text without the constraints of graded writing. Don’t concern yourself with things like thesis, focus, development, form, and correctness; concern yourself with reflection, thought, connection, and response. Use the journal to ponder questions, dilemmas, disagreements, or revelations prompted by the reading. These journals should be at least one single-spaced, typed page. Our course schedule will indicate when responses to the assigned readings are due. Please post the journals to D2L AND bring a hard copy to class with you.

Short Written Assignments (15%): Within each unit, there will be some shorter writing assignments leading up to the major essay. These will be evaluated individually as they are due, and then you’ll include them in your project folder. You are encouraged to revise these shorter assignments before submitting them in the project folder, as the revisions may make the entire folder better.

Revised Folder (15%): Toward the end of the semester, you’ll choose one of your three project folders to revise. You’ll work on improving each of the texts within that project folder, considering the audience and purpose for each text and evaluating how to make each text better suit the rhetorical situation.


Your final grade, then, will be figured according to the following point system:

            Project Folder 1                         100

            Project Folder 2                         150

            Project Folder 3                         250

            Revised Folder                          150

            Short Written Assignments         150

            Journals                                    200


The total of 1000 points will then be converted to a percentage, to which your grade will be assigned according to the following scale:


A          100-94

A/B      93-90

B          89-84

B/C      83-80

C          79-70

D         69-62

F          61-0



Attendance: Because a writing class is a community and because this is a discussion-based class which meets only once per week, I expect you to attend every class meeting. I will take attendance each day, and I will penalize repeated absences. To be more specific, your second absence from the class will reduce your final grade in the course by one letter grade, your third by two letter grades; your fourth absence will earn you an F in the course.


The Learning Community: As future teachers, I’m sure you’ve already begun to hear that phrase, “learning communities.” For me, it means that we are working together, talking and thinking and writing and reading, to foster personal intellectual growth. You probably already sense that this growth is fostered more by a discussion-centered classroom than lecture-centered classroom. Therefore, I expect that you’ll come to class each week ready to discuss, ready to engage with the readings and assignments, ready to be an active participant in making cognitive changes. If you aren’t prepared to do this, please reconsider your decision to take my course.


Desire2Learn: As a way of maintaining more sense of community while meeting only once per week, I’ve set up a D2L site for our course. I’ll be requiring you to post certain assignments there, to read and respond to each others’ work there, and to join in a few asynchronous discussions. The so-called “extra” work on D2L will not be extra, as it will be offset by the times when we end our weekly class meeting early. Any assignments on D2L are required and scored, just as homework or in-class work would be. PLEASE see this weekly interaction on D2L as an extension of our face-to-face class time.


Late Policy: I will take assignments up to two days (two 24-hour periods) late, but for each day (24-hour period) that the assignment is late, I will reduce the final grade on the assignment by 10%. I will not accept work that is more than 48 hours late. So, for example, if an assignment is due at class time on Monday, I will accept it only up until class time on Wednesday. 


FYI: Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, or hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and Disability Resource Services, 165 Murphy Library at the beginning of the semester. Students currently using Disability Resource Services will have a copy of a contract that verifies they are qualified students with disabilities who have documentation on file in the Disability Resource Service office.



GENERAL Schedule


For each unit, I’ll give you a more detailed schedule of reading and writing assignments. What follows is a general overview of the semester (assignments to be graded are italicized):


Week One: Introductions. Diagnostic essay.

Week Two: Readings. Summary and synthesis

Week Three: Education Week journal due. Readings. Turn in summaries. Work on synthesis.

Week Four: Conferences. Project Folder 1 due.

Week Five: Readings. Discussion of “real learning.”

Week Six: Education Week journal due. Readings. Exploratory essay due.

Week Seven: Conferences on course proposal. Prospectus due.

Week Eight: Spring Break

Week Nine: Working with rough drafts of course proposal.

Week Ten: Project Folder 2 due. Education Week journal due. Readings.

Week Eleven: Readings. Group analysis of writing assignments.

Week Twelve: Readings. Creating a grading rubric. Assignment project due.

Week Thirteen: Readings. Evaluation of assignment due. Education Week journal due.

Week Fourteen: Readings. Grading a writing assignment. Project Folder 3 due.

Week Fifteen: Revision. Conferences.

Final: Revised Folder due.