Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Writing Studio Calendar: Past and current assignments

In this post, I am displaying two event descriptions from the Writing Studio Calendar. You should have received invitations to both event[s] via gmail, the latest, today (2009.05.27):
  • Essay_1.02a: Univ. Life essays due on blogs (2009.06.01), and
  • Essay_1-01b: Revised letters of intro. due (2009.04.20).
The content of these representations (with permission of their owner, me;-) is essentially the same as that in the descriptions on the calendar. The main reason that I am posting them here is only one of over forty invitees accepted the first event invitation from Google Calendar. I hope [a] few more of you pick up on the latest one. Though I've spiffed them up a bit with formatting and hyperlinks, I'm counting only the words in this preface for this blog post.
[130 words, + 1 {2009.06.05}]

Essay_1.02a: Univ. Life essays due on blogs (2009.06.01)
Completed essays, approximately 300 words in length:
  • Published on individual blogs;
  • Reflecting on university life from personal, inter-personal, and extra-personal perspectives:
  • Consisting of five (5) or more paragraphs (¶¶), each five (5) or more sentences in length;
  • Including an overview of main points in the first ¶ (introduction), and a summary of main points in the final ¶ (conclusion);
  • Developing main points separately in three (3) or more body ¶¶ reflecting main topics we brainstormed individually, and mapped together in class: MindMaps: Main Branches, §§1a and 1c (Writing Studio Blog, 2009.05.27).
If you have concerns or questions about this assignment [University Life essays], please share them via comments on the MindMaps post....

Essay_1-01b: Revised letters of intro. due (2009.04.20)
Revised and extended versions of draft letters of introduction to host families are due in new posts on your blogs. They should include extra information that you've already posted in response to comments and questions from your classmates on your blogs. These revised versions should consist of at least five separate paragraphs, and be approximately 300 words in length.

Your revised essay posts should have catchy and descriptive titles, and appear with:
  • accurate word counts in their lower left corners ("[n words]"), and
  • at least these two labels (also shown in sidebar widgets):
  1. essays
  2. revisions
Earlier versions of those letters, typed up from hand-written placement essays (March 25, 2009), were due on your blogs April 8, 2009, and _must_ also include the first label, "essays," in order for you to get credit for this assignment.

If you have concerns or questions about this assignment, please spell them out in comments on the following post: Reminders of classwork and homework (Writing Studio Blog, April 15, 2009).

MindMaps: Main Branches, §§1a and 1c

The images below represent products of individual brainstorming and collective mind-mapping around the current essay topic, university life, in classes that met this morning (2009.05.27). This post includes one image from each section meeting: §§1a and 1c, respectively. Your decisions regarding what main points to include in your essays should reflect foci from the main branches of these mind maps.

[61 words]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Course Link: Letter Writing

There is a new resource listing in the Writing Studio Blog sidebar (Course Links), a new section of the LTD Project Wiki focusing on letter writing, and friendly letters:

[29 words]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Missed classes recently? (2009.05.13)

What did you miss? Perhaps some or all of this:

-1. Recordings of first essays (2009.04.22)
  • Audacity files, converted to MP3s, saved with accurate filenames; and
  • Dropped into individual Recordings folders (on campus).
0. File-renaming

I've standardized the names of files accessible for embedding in your blogs to:
  • VWXYZessay1.mp3,
where VWXYZ represents the last five digits of your student number. I also created a new directory for each class. If you already embedded your recording in a blog post, you will need to revise the HTML code in it. Please ask your instructor in class for details.

1. Free-writing: What I learned in Writing I and II

Reflect on previous courses; answer the following questions in a post on your blog:
  • What did you learn about writing;
  • What did you learn to do; and
  • How did you learn to do it?

2. Best essays: Self-introductions

Browse all of your classmates’ blogs (Writing Studio Wiki, §2.3); decide which of their self-intro. essays is the best.

3. Free-writing: Qualities of good writing

Reflect on the essay that you thought was best; answer the following questions in a post on your blog:
  • Why did you think the essay that you chose was good?
  • What characteristics do good English essays share?
  • What about other types and styles of writing: In general what makes writing good – in any language?

Continue routine blog posts (3-5 per week), including
  • Brief, original book reviews, and
  • Products of typing speed trials.
Begin thinking about the next essay topic: University Life.

[264 words]

PS: If you have questions or concerns about anything in this post, please spell them out ASAP in comments on this post.
[+ 22 words]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Listen to English - learn English: the podcast website ...

... for people learning English" (title and tagline). This website presents prepared texts accompanied by audio recordings (MP3s) about three times a month on various topics of interest. Colloquial expressions, cultural notes, customs and traditions, ...; you name it, and you may be able to find it!

Can you imagine 40 to 50 thousand people all listening to Peter Carter, of Birmingham, England (Author and Copyright, 2005.12.25), at the same time? Recent recordings show download histories numbering in the tens of thousands. Apparently plenty of English learners and teachers around the world are making this one of their favorite sites. The visitor map in the sidebar indicates that there have nearly 17,000 visitors already this month, and over a million site visitors since 2006 (Visitors [ClusterMaps], Listen to English sidebar, 2009.05.12).

The quality of the recordings that I've sampled is impeccable, and the delivery, deliberate. However, the sophisticated language Carter uses might challenge intermediate level learners, especially those who give the MP3s a go without pre-reading his scripts or reading along while listening.
[172 words]
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