Weekly Reminders

All of this week’s readings are available on our Resources page. Be sure to check out the essays by Rushin, King, Trump, and Browne. All of them are forms of cultural analysis, and you might gain further insight into your own projects. Post a response to at least one of them by Wednesday.

Wednesday, we’ll hear speeches from Francesca, Joel, George, and Heather. Then next Monday we’ll hear from Mimi, Jaron, Carly, Caleb, and Taylor. Be ready to roll (and form a receptive audience).


We’ll talk more this week about the expectations for your cultural analysis essay. Once you’ve narrowed down a topic, don’t forget that you should include some analytical aspect rather than simply sharing factual information.

In other words, you’ll want your essay to do more than just state WHAT SOMETHING IS; you’ll want to communicate some ideas about WHAT IT MEANS. A good way to explore this angle is to consider why your topic is of interest or why it is increasing in popularity. Why, for instance, does our culture have an obsession with zombies? [See photo.] Why is there increased interest in local level renewable energies? Are certain video games popular because they satisfy our violent urges rather than inspire them? Hopefully, everyone will continue to narrow their focus, and we’ll share our ideas more fully on Wednesday. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Good luck.


Getting Started – Topics and Research

First of all, remember that we’ll be meeting on Monday in the Hatcher computer lab. Come to class prepared to explore some potential topics for your cultural analysis. Bring the “Exploring a Topic” handout that you received last Wednesday, and demonstrate that you’ve put some thought into the process by filling out at least part of it. Also come with questions. Monday will be a good opportunity to get yourself pointed in the right direction.

I’ve attached here that “Exploring a Topic” handout, as well as an example of how one might make use of this form. Check it out.

Brainstorming Worksheet

Brainstorming Worksheet – Example

To further help you get started, here is a link to a library guide on selecting a topic and narrowing your research focus. This may be useful for this assignment as well as other coursework in a variety of disciplines.

Also don’t forget to post a new response to one of the readings from this week or last (Chabon, Posnanski, Klosterman). The goal continues to be developing your critical reading skills as they related to rhetorical analysis. How are these writers making and advancing an argument? Essentially, they’re doing the same kind of thing you’ll be doing with your cultural analysis essay, so it should be useful to figure out how these samples “work.”

Finally, we’ll get started with our speech presentations next Wednesday. Kicking things off will be George, Heather, Francecsa, and Joel. Looking forward to it. Have fun.

Meeting in Hatcher

Here’s your first reminder about next week:

  1. On Wednesday, we’ll meet for class in the computer lab on the main floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library (Hatcher 100). Enter from the Diag and go through the lobby past the stairs. Head up the ramp on your left and look for the computer lab on your right.

  2. We’ll be in the library lab the following Monday as well. The idea is to provide you with some general instruction about conducting research at the university that goes beyond Wikipedia and Google searches. Ideally, you’ll come to the lab with some ideas about the subject matter you might pursue for your cultural analysis essay. Becoming familiar with how to navigate databases, as well as understanding the roles of the research librarians on campus, should help you be more productive over the next three years.

  3. I should also remind you to read the Klosterman essays about fantasy football and Harry Potter. These might further inspire you to consider your own analysis project. By the end of next week, I’ll want you to have written a blog post about at least one of these essays OR one of the essays we read this week (Chabon or Posnanski). Your post should reveal some critical thinking about the arguments being advanced and the rhetorical strategies that contribute to the writer’s success (or lack thereof).

  4. Finally, I’d strongly advise you to check out the Peer Tutoring services as you work on your speech revision. There are at least two weeks before the next draft is due, so you’ve got ample opportunity to seek additional feedback. Don’t forget to document your Exploring Resources obligations by creating a new page on your blog and writing about your experiences. For more information, consult the Exploring Resources information on the handout (or here).

  5. One more thing: there are no regularly scheduled conferences next week. Monday, October 21 kicks off our next “B” week schedule.




Just a friendly reminder about your responsibilities related to this component of the course. Below is the same information found in the (orange) packet I distributed in class.

Exploring Resources at the University of Michigan

WRITING 100 – Fall 2013

The goal of this component of WRITING 100 is to give you opportunities to explore a variety of resources available at U of M and to encourage you to continue to use the resources you find most helpful.  This component is best described as exploratory because it puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to make your own choices about what resources to investigate.  To put it another way, this component is required, but it gives you the autonomy to choose how you will meet your responsibilities.  Ideally, you will cultivate relationships with several resources that you will continue to use during your time at U of M.

Here are the basic expectations and standards for all WRITING 100 students:

  • Students enrolled in fall or winter sections of WRITING100 are required to explore at least three resources. [MY RULE: At least two of these should directly address your development as a writer.]
  • Students should offer insights about and reactions to the resources they explored through reflective writing or other practices which ideally will have a place in their e-portfolios.
  • Students cannot repeat a visit to any given resource to fulfill this component requirement (for instance, visit the Peer Tutoring Center three times and have it count as separate exploratory academic support resource visits).  Of course, students are welcome to continue visiting resources on their own—that is the very point of the assignment!
  • This component is a requirement of WRITING100—like class attendance or the one-on-one meetings with instructors.  Both instructors and students should keep track of students’ progress toward this requirement; do not wait until the end of the term to begin your explorations.
  • Resources that require making an appointment are indicated below, but in general, students should plan ahead for all their visits to resources—this kind of time management is a vital college skill!
  • You will note that the list of possible resources includes some that are more co-curricular—that is, more social than academic in nature. 


You will create a new page on your blog titled “EXPLORING RESOURCES.” Each time you complete an experience with one of the resources, you should write at least a three paragraph account and post it to this page. You will complete a total of THREE responses. Each response should accomplish at least three goals:

1)      Provide a brief narrative of your experience. What did you do? When? Why? What happened? What problems did you encounter? What details from your experience were most memorable?

2)      Reflect on the usefulness of the resource. What about the experience was worthwhile? In what ways did it help or inform you? Be specific. What was difficult or problematic? What have you heard from others who use this resource? Did the experience meet your expectations? Did anything surprise you? Why?

3)      Evaluate how the experience or your continued use of the resource might help your development as a student and as a writer. Will this resource be valuable to you in the future? Why/not? Do you plan to use this resource again? Will you tell others about your experience?



Sweetland Peer Tutoring Center: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduate/peertutorprogram

Sweetland peer tutors are trained upper-level undergraduates who assist fellow undergraduates of all skill levels at any stage of the writing process, including brainstorming ideas for papers.  The peer tutors, one of the most valuable academic resources for undergraduates at U of M, work in Angell Hall during the summer.  In the fall and winter, they work in Angell Hall as well as in several satellite locations.  Check the website for hours and locations.  Note that all peer tutoring locations operate on a walk-in basis, so you should just visit one of the locations above during regular hours to work with a tutor.

Sweetland SyncOWL and OWL: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduate/webbasedwritingsupport

Sweetland peer tutors also offer online help with writing through two online consultation services, the SyncOWL (fall and winter) and OWL.  The SyncOWL allows you to work with a tutor via a live online video chat.  The OWL allows you to submit your paper to a tutor with specific questions and receive written feedback within 72 hours (note that this option is time-sensitive).  Both of these are excellent options if an illness or injury is preventing you from getting around campus.

Writing Workshop : http://www.lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduate/inpersonwritingsupport/writingworkshopguidelines

From the website above: “The Writing Workshop at the Sweetland Center for Writing aims to help students become more confident, skilled, and knowledgeable about writing and the subjects they write about.  This free consultation service provides students the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Sweetland instructor.”  Appointments must be made online and generally book up about a week in advance, so planning ahead is essential with this resource. You may not consult with a Writing Workshop instructor on any work for WRITING100, but you are welcome to bring writing from any other course.


English Language Institute Writing Clinics:  http://www.lsa.umich.edu/eli/resources/writingclinics

Like Writing Workshop, but staffed by faculty trained specifically to work with non-native students.  You may consult with an ELI specialist on work for any course, including WRITING100.  This is an extremely valuable resource for international students.




Instructional Support Services : http://blogs.lsa.umich.edu/issmediacenter/

ISS Media Center is staffed with people available to assist students needing help with tech-related class projects, including video and audio projects.  Check out their blog for information how to get help, and also check out their list of workshops.

Reference Librarians http://www.lib.umich.edu/shapiro-undergraduate-library/reference-and-research-help

The Shapiro Library reference librarians are happy to work with individual students or small groups to help with research projects.  This service requires an appointment that must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Duderstadt Center:  http://www.dc.umich.edu/training.htm

Located on North Campus, the Duderstadt Center houses the Digital Media Commons, which offers free introductory-level workshops to students interested in multimedia technology.  These workshops are great opportunities to explore tech-related interests.  See the link above for a list of workshops with descriptions and information about how to sign up. 


Tech Deck:  http://www.lib.umich.edu/techdeck

The Tech Deck works with individual students and small groups to help with “media-rich” class projects.  Students wanting to go the extra mile with their e-portfolios will find this a valuable resource.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/urop/students/academicprograms/urop

From the website:  “The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program offers several different programs throughout the Academic Year designed to assist University of Michigan undergraduate students on the Ann Arbor campus to discover the world of research through collaborations with U-M researchers. Students participating in the program are called research assistants and work alongside a faculty member, research scientist or professional practitioner on an ongoing or new research project.”  Consult with an advisor about this opportunity.


Math Lab


Located at B860 East Hall, Math Lab is a free walk-in tutoring service for students enrolled in math courses numbered through 217. Assistance with other math courses is not guaranteed, though tutors will make an effort to help any student seeking math help.




English Language Institute Conversation Circles: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/conversation/home

This program, sponsored by the English Language Institute (ELI), encourages cultural exchange and provides non-native students with opportunities for language practice. From the website: “In each conversation circle, a small group of non-native speakers of English (up to 6 people) are paired with a native-English-speaking volunteer, for a weekly hour-long conversation practice.  Participants browse the list of conversation circles, and can then choose to join the group with the most convenient meeting time and/or with the leader who interests them the most. Groups often meet at coffee shops or restaurants, explore Ann Arbor together, play games or sports together, or simply sit outside for a casual chat.  The emphasis is on day-to-day, informal communication (including slang and idioms), and becoming comfortable not just with English, but with U of M and American life in general.”


Study Abroad: https://mcompass.umich.edu/

Studying abroad is a wonderful college experience, and U of M has a number of resources for students considering this option, including help finding financial assistance. Visit the website above to begin considering the possibilities and make an appointment with an advisor to discuss your options.


Career Center : http://careercenter.umich.edu/

The Career Center offers excellent services to help students explore not just career options but also what different majors may be connected to what careers.  If a paper is making you think about your career choices, maybe it’s a good time to visit the Career Center.  To see a career counselor, an appointment is required; call 734-764-7460.


Ginsberg Center: http://ginsberg.umich.edu/students

The Ginsberg Center provides workshops and advising for students interested in community service and social action.  Visit the website above to explore the opportunities available through the Ginsberg Center.


Wellness Zone: http://caps.umich.edu/tags/wellness-zone

This excellent resource is located in the Union in room 3100.  Visit it and bring along a friend! From the website: “The Wellness Zone is a self-service resource to maximize emotional wellness and well-being. Wellness approaches available include yoga and meditation tools, massage chairs, Xbox Kinect system, biofeedback software, and seasonal affective disorder light therapy.  The Wellness Zone is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and until 5 p.m. Fridays during Fall and Winter terms and 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m. during Spring/Summer terms.”


Time and Stress Management:  http://mitalk.umich.edu/academic-skills

If you are having trouble managing work for your courses from a time or stress angle, a counselor can offer valuable advice and strategies for getting a handle on things.  An appointment is required; call 734-764-8312.

Arts Events: http://www3.arts.umich.edu/

If you are interested in the arts, find a lecture, exhibit, or workshop to attend.  The Arts at Michigan link above has listings for music, architecture, literary arts, visual arts, theater, film, and dance.


Student Clubs: http://www.umich.edu/clubs.php

The link above will lead you to a long list of student clubs at U of M.  Co-curricular activities like these are known to be an important part of students’ experiences at college; pick a club that interests you and attend a meeting!

Recreational Sports: http://www.recsports.umich.edu/

Whether you are interested in playing team sports like basketball or soccer, or like outdoor adventures such as rock climbing or kayaking, rec sports has a club, team, or trip for you. 


ELI Speaking Clinics: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/eli/resources/speakingclinics

The Speaking Clinic gives non-native students an opportunity to work on improving their spoken English in individual or small group settings.  No academic credit is earned through Speaking Clinics; instead, they offer short-term coaching on specific English speaking goals.


How I Write Series http://www.lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/aboutus/howiwrite

Each installment of this series “features two or three speakers discussing their stories, frustrations, and triumphs of the writing process.”  Come be inspired by the stories of experienced writers in a range of fields, and share your own! Snacks are provided, too!


 Got any other ideas? Check with me beforehand, and I might be able to approve additional “resources” as appropriate for satisfying the expectations of this component. You might want to write about visiting a campus museum or a unique collection in the library system. You might be interested in attending a talk given by a visiting scholar or hearing a visiting author read. You might enjoy a student performance on campus. This is a big place with a lot going on. Find the time to explore in a way that will benefit YOU as a developing student and writer. Just be sure to check with me ahead of time if you hope to use a particular experience to satisfy this course requirement.

Reminders for Monday

Dear Writers,

I wanted to clarify some expectations for the week ahead and remind you that we’ll probably have a guest observing our class on Monday (or, possibly, Wednesday).

finger string

For Monday:

  • You should bring at least FIVE copies of your speech draft to exchange with your peer group. Refer back to the assignment sheet for some tips about how you might approach this essay.
  • You should read through the packet of short essays that starts with “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie. As you read, you should try to find at least one good example of a place where the writer is SHOWING the reader something as opposed to TELLING the reader something. Again, the quick way to think of this concept is to recognize the difference between “I was sad” (telling) and “The cold tears froze on my cheek as I watched Sam drive away” (showing). SHOWING the reader is more vivid, more memorable, more “visual.” See what examples you can track down in the reading, and, more importantly, think about how you can apply this strategy to your own writing.
  • You should read “To the Legoland Station” by Michael Chabon and “Tweet Nothings” by Joe Posnanski, the essays that were distributed in class on Wednesday. No need to post a response to these essays (yet), because you have other writing to keep you busy. But do read them and be prepared to talk about them in class. The essential question to consider: what is the writer’s argument and how does he support it?


For Wednesday:

  • You’ll read and respond to your peers’ speech drafts in WORKSHOP. I’ll give you some handouts to help you prepare. We’ll also probably start to talk about the next major assignment which will keep you busy for most of the next two months.


Let me know if you have any question. Also don’t forget that next week is an “A” week, so make sure you’re aware of any conferences I’m expecting you to attend.

See you soon,